Thursday, December 29, 2011

Do You Believe?

Whether you’re a hardcore cynic or an enthusiastic optimist, the thought may linger within us all if there is life beyond death.
We just received word of the passing of my husband’s aunt. She has lost the ongoing battle with cancer and has taken her last breath. I had paid homage to her strength and fortitude back in October in a blog title ‘Uninvited Guest’ for National Breast Cancer Awareness month, along with two other women in my life still fighting the disease.
When the sickness began to deteriorate her body and the medication no longer helped, she made peace with herself and decided to enjoy every moment of every day with everyone she loved. Not only did her mental capabilities improve but her sense of spirit seemed to be rejuvenated. Anger, resentment, and bitterness was erased and only appreciation for life remained. She asked all five of her children along with extended family members to throw her a party as a celebration of her life. They dubbed it ‘Mimipalooza’. We had a blast along with over 4oo friends and family. It was a good night, a great time to reminisce and a wonderful opportunity for closure. I’m thankful our family was able to cherish and hold that memory of her.
Many of today’s stories and news headlines seem to be extremely negative or forlorning, but every once and a while a story grabs you by the heart and pulls it until it aches. Today, such a story touched my heart and I urge you to take the time to watch the seven minute video of a teen boy’s last message to the world.
Unable to do what most children do because of a severe heart condition, Ben tells his story via a webcam and from 3x5 note cards. There is no sound, no music, just a boy telling his life on flashcards. . It’s extremely powerful and makes you hope for the best, regardless of your religious background or beliefs. I personally believe in heaven and that we will all receive glorious gifts after we have left this earth. Not everyone will share my beliefs, and that’s okay, but isn’t it nice to imagine an entire world without sickness, crime, war, corruption? A place where you feel an outpour of love, peace, safety, serenity. Wouldn't that be nice?  I don't see anything wrong with holding onto the anticipation of improvement. I should hope my fellow human beings would be considerate enough to allow such a thought to linger.I dedicate this story to my Aunt Gloria who lived her life to the fullest without any regrets. She loved with all her heart and impacted the lives of many. We will miss your enthusiasm, spunk and charisma. We love you!
To all those who are battling some sort of health issue, keep the faith in yourself, gather strength from those around you and keep going!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Embracing Holiday Traditions

The leaves have given up their will to live and slowly drift through the crisp air to the ground below where the soil will cover their dried remains. Nature will begin its hibernation and relinquish the fury of winter for all to experience. Dusk begins to make an earlier appearance and Fathertime drags his feet during the colder months of the year. The holiday season rolls around to bless all with its presence and cheer. Traditions from long ago make their way to the surface as families practice customs of the generations before them along with their own twist on family rituals to share with friends and loved ones.
When I was a young girl, the Christmas festivities started when ‘Charlie Brown’s Christmas’ came on T.V. and we all sat around to watch poor Charlie and his sad little tree. We would hang ornaments on the fresh pine tree and around the house while we listened to The Peanuts anthem playing in the background. That was a tradition my mom had started for my sister and I, but she also incorporated an older tradition to remember those in our family who lived before our generation. Every Christmas, after we decorated the tree, we would put fresh oranges by the presents as a symbol of what was once a precious commodity in my grandfather’s family. He was the youngest of 19 children and was raised on a farm in Arkansas. Finances were often stretched pretty thin, especially for a family of 21, but every year under the Christmas tree all the children received an orange as their special gift at Christmas. They looked forward to eating the fresh fruit and singing Christmas carols with one another. They learned to appreciate the little things, a trait I think most of today’s society has forgotten about. When my grandfather passed away, we started another tradition of lighting a small candle at midnight on Christmas Eve in remembrance of his life and how much he loved Christmas. We turned all the lights off in the house (with the exception of the tree lights) and watched the candle flicker in the dark for a few minutes before going off to sleep, and before Santa came, of course! Everyone knew Santa came at 12:20a.m. PST in California, well that's what we were told anyway, while the rest of the world got Santa at midnight on the dot! Did I mention I have since been emotionally wounded by Santa's time schedule? Anyhow, moving on....
By the end of high school and into college, I was initiated into my husband’s family tradition of making homemade tamales at the beginning of December. All the women, old and young alike, gather on a Saturday morning for a short breakfast then the assembly line begins. I have the job of mixing the 20lb. bag of masa and seasonings before spreading the mixture over the husks. Talk about a work out! My arms are like rubber bands the next day! I usually mix 2-3 batches of masa…60lbs of the stuff! My nieces, sister-in-laws, aunts and cousins all join in the festivities with my mother-in-law leading the bunch. She is the head hauncho, the big cheese, the heffa, whatever you want to call her…she’s leading this crazy group of ladies while we make over 80 dozen of the delicious treats to hand out at Christmas.  Let me tell you, my mother-in-laws tamales are TO DIE FOR and are like gold around these parts! Seriously!
Having kids will usually turn any hardnosed person into mush, especially around the holidays! I have started a tradition in my own family beginning December 1st and carrying on until December 25th when we watch a Christmas movie everyday leading up to the BIG DAY! We call it Christmas Movie Marathon and we look forward to it every year. During our time watching the movie, we make traditional decorations such as paper chain wreaths, paper snowflakes, popcorn strings, pinecone ornaments, gingerbread houses and a sugar cookie decorating contest (Steep competition and the stakes are high, worst cookie has to do the dishes...just kidding, but maybe I should start implementing that rule since my husbands cookies are always dreadful and sad).
I have also started having a separate tradition with my mother and grandmother during a three day baking marathon where all the goodies are distributed to our close family and friends as a great homemade Christmas gift to show our love for them. It’s a wonderful way to spend time with my mom and grandma while continuing to carry on the family recipes and secret ingredients that make our goodies so tasty!  When baking has commenced, we take the treats and wrap them in brown parcel paper with twine, just like they used to in the old days! I’ll admit, Christmas is by far my favorite holiday not only because of all the lights and festivities, but more importantly because I get to make lasting memories for future generations to come through the experiences I have had, as well as my children who will hopefully, in turn, pass on the legacy to their children.
During this lovely time in the season, I wish everyone Happy Holidays and a blessed New Year! Embrace the special moments you get to share with family & friends and appreciate the little things! Warmest wishes, Kate

If you have a family or holiday tradition you would like to share, leave a comment! I would love to hear your story!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Available Now!


Veil of Darkness
Book Two in the ELEMENTS series.

Available on Amazon

Friday, December 2, 2011

Cover Reveal

Veil of Darkness

Book Two in the Elements series

Veil of Darkness is scheduled to be released in mid December 2011. Post your comments about the new cover and let us know what you think about the new design via twitter! Coming soon to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords! Veil of Darkness will be available for all electronic devises as an ebook.

A huge THANK YOU to Devan at Nimbi Design for her amazing work! Hugs and smooches for helping bring my image to life!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Interview with author Raine Thomas

Since becoming a 'twitter junkie' five months ago, I have had the pleasure of meeting a myriad of different people and enjoyed making new friends all over the world. One of the most interesting relationships I have experienced is the common bond I found with YA author Raine Thomas of the Daughters of Saraqael series. She is a genuinely kind person and will go out of her way to help anyone she can. In the short amount of time we have gotten to know one another, Raine has been extremely supportive and offers valuable advice for other authors breaking into the self-pub world. She was gracious enough to answer a few questions as a guest on Sired Scribblings and I am quite grateful she agreed. Please welcome Raine Thomas, YA fantasy/romance author.

Q: So many times you hear the term 'writer's block' and wonder if this is common for authors to experience. Does this happen to you and what works best for you to overcome it?

A:  I can’t say that I’ve yet experienced what is classically termed “writer’s block,” where the ideas won’t come and I sit in a stressed-out panic staring at the cursor on the screen. However, I’ve certainly stalled out in a scene and wondered what direction to take it. When that happens, I usually bounce ideas off my husband, who is a great sounding board. Between that and stepping away from the scene for a while to wrap my head around it, I’ve gotten through any hitches.

Q: On your blog Write as Raine and on your webpage you mention you have a day job as a wedding coordinator; Does the continual 'wedding bliss romance' inspire you to possibly write a novel or series for a different genre such as Romance or Women's Lit? Do you feel YA literature is where you are more comfortable?

A:  This is an excellent question, Kate. The fact is, the first complete novel I ever wrote was an historical romance. It was never published and I have no plans for it to be. I do write nonfiction books for wedding vendors, which expands my writing beyond just one genre or group of characters. I think this is a positive thing and don’t intend to change it. Might I one day write another adult romance, though? You never know…

Q: Your Daughters of Saraqael series has been very popular since its release in July, 2011. Do you have any plans to release another series, and if so, when and what will it be about?

A:  It’s been very exciting to see the response to the Daughters of Saraqael! I’m currently at work on a follow-up trilogy (the Firstborn trilogy) and intend to release all three books at once, just like I did with Daughters. The plan right now is to release the books in early-to-mid 2012. In the meantime, I’ve just completed work on my first Estilorian short story, which will be released soon as a free eBook. Hopefully this short story and any others I create in the coming months will give my fans something to hold them over until the Firstborn trilogy is released!

Q:  Is there somewhere or someplace you go to find clarity or motivation while writing?

A:  Not really. Most of my writing is done sitting on the love seat in my family room. I do enjoy sitting out on my back porch, which overlooks a pond. The view is quite inspiring!

Q:  While I was reading your Daughters of Saraqael books, I was intrigued by the uniqueness of the names of both your characters and the groups in the Estilorian plane. How did you come up with the original names?

A:  Thank you! I deliberately kept the names of the central characters (Amber, Gabriel, Olivia, James, Skye and Caleb) what you could call “normal” and easy enough to read without stumbling over them. Many other characters (such as the title character Saraqael, pronounced “Ser-AH-KAY-el”) share the names of people or angels mentioned in the bible, mythological beings, or I simply made them up. The names of the nine classes of Estilorians were entirely made up by me. I just ran them through my head until they clicked.

Q:  As a wife and mother, how do you juggle career and family life while still regulating the hours needed to write a popular YA series?

A:  It’s tough! I work at least 40 hours a week as a wedding planner (often 50 or more) and family time is very important to me. My writing time is usually after 10:30 in the evening (after everyone else is asleep) until I get too tired to stay awake. Weekends often include writing time, as well. It’ll get easier over time when I can ease up on the wedding planning to focus more on writing, so I keep that goal in sight! 

Q:  When I am not writing my own YA book series, I work in an Outreach Department which assists people in need and I noticed you like to give to those in need as well by donating a percentage of your book profits. Can you describe what charities or volunteer organizations are close to your heart and why?

A:  You serve a great cause, Kate. Yes, I have begun a program called Raine Gives Back. I now donate 5% of all monthly earnings from the sales of my books to a different cause every month, and I’m opting to pursue causes recommended by my readers. Eight years of working with youth in need in the Atlanta area served to make me highly aware of the financial needs of all nonprofit organizations, so I’m hoping the Raine Gives Back program becomes more successful over time. I would love to contribute to a variety of causes! So far, donations have been made to Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure® and, and I’ve identified St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital for my December cause.

Q:  Hollywood has really jumped on the 'band wagon' to make popular YA books into major motion pictures. Do you see an opportunity for your series to make it to the big screen and is this an option you can see becoming a reality? 

A:  How fun would that be? While I don’t know the first thing about writing screenplays or adapting books into movie format, I think it’s possible the books would transition well onto the big screen. In fact, I’ve had a surprising number of readers say that they would love to see the books made into movies. I suppose only time will tell!

I want to thank Raine for taking the time to answer my questions and a chance for her fans to get to know her a little better. I have enjoyed the Q & A and look forward to seeing her popularity soar as time goes on. If you would like to know about the Daughters trilogy or connect with Raine, please follow the links to her webpage and social media sites:

Available for purchase: Daughters of Saraqael trilogy


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

O Ye of Little Faith...In Our Youth

Today’s youth has received a horrible reputation for being ‘rude, ‘wild’, and ‘irresponsible’ says a recent study of contemporary teens versus those born before 1999. Adults from 1989 were asked to compare today’s youth to their own peers and words such as selfish, materialistic and reckless were used quite frequently from the folks from Generation X. Pretty harsh if you ask me!

Each generation of teen youth receives a failing grade from the older generations before them as they tend to say the younger kids in today’s society have it easier compared to when the baby boomers were born.

I don’t think any teen, either today or from years ago, has dodged the saying “when I was your age…” and wished they could be anywhere else but that conversation. Just for kicks and giggles, lets’ take a stroll back in time to enjoy the previous era’s and what the teens of that time might hear shall we?

1920’s (Roaring 20’s)
Teens were called the ‘Lost Generation’ by their respective elders stating the younger folks were disillusioned and cynical. Adolescents and young adults could commonly be found listening to big band music and doing the Charleston in a Speakeasy club while prohibition was the hot topic of the day. Teen girls scandalously exposed their arms and legs with the new ‘flapper’ fashion and wore their hair cropped in a bob while wearing makeup. (Also considered extremely indecent for the time) The 19th amendment was passed and this created a new level of fairness for women who now had political equality. (Hallelujah)
Moving on…
Obviously the early 30’s moving into the mid 30’s devastated many lives with the great depression and the dust bowl. Families were shattered as was their way of life.  This is probably the only era before or since that received a break from the ‘one up’ stories. Everyone was in dire straits and appreciated the opportunity to be alive one more day. Yeah, it was that bad.
Swing music revolutionized the way people expressed themselves through dance, the ‘pin up girl’ became immortalized, pencil skirts and chunky platforms were donned by the young girls and finally with father off to war and mother working in the factory the term ‘Juvenile Delinquent’ was born to the unsupervised youth. Naughty boys and girls…wink, wink.

Thank the Lord for 1956 when integration began and all children, regardless of their color, were able to attend school together, equally. Teens rebelled against conservative Middle America and insisted on listening to the new music sensation of Elvis Presley’s Rock and Roll. 1950’s teens were labeled ‘Separate Generation’ led by the likes of James Dean from Rebel Without a Cause. Those crazy kids!
It’s said to be the ‘Age of Youth’ as 70 million children from post war baby boomers now were becoming teenagers. This was the era of revolutionary thinking, dressing, music, and politics. Crew cuts now rivaled long haired hippies and bouffant hairdos accompanied miniskirts with go-go boots. This was the era of sexual revolution expressed in a myriad of ways including literature, film, music and clothing.  Protests were extensive demanding equal rights for all and historical icons leading the movements were important in carving a path for future generations to come. Thank you rebellious ‘Age of Youth’.
Welcome to the fashion era that went dramatically wrong in so many ways! Two words: bellbottom pants! With the Vietnam War still going strong, this divided most Americans politically and teens were often against the war as most young men were forced to enlist against their wishes.  It seemed a time for an advanced maturity level as a majority of young adolescents became heavily involved in political movements. To the watchful eye of the surrounding adults, the youth were considered to be a “lost cause of deadbeat, political fanatics who were lazy and opposed the typical American way.” Wow, talk about critical!
Enter the Generation X teens who were labeled the ‘Me, Me, Me’ era of status seekers. Teens were said to be materialistic as fashion trends were closely regarded by the name on the label. Conservative adults had a field day regulating and censoring the youth by banning classic literature such as The Grapes of Wrath, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and The Catcher in the Rye. The teens of the 80’s were certainly looked down upon by their older predecessors and were undoubtedly considered to be selfish .
Generation Z or Net Generation (The techi teen) has found an era all for themselves to flourish in. The World Wide Web was born changing the lives for everyone young and old. Elders criticized their teen children for their technology driven obsessions and distance from the family.

And so this leads us into our current era where the age old question persists “How is this generation going to make an impact on society?” Easy…just as the youth of yesteryear had to grow up one day and put their big boy or big girl pants on, so will our current youth. Everyone will make mistakes, as everyone should…how else does one learn? Giving labels to our youth will not teach them a valuable lesson or inspire them to succeed; it will affect their level of respect for the elders who have earned that particular position. I believe each generation has a gift for the next and our society has definitely been rewarded thus far with many positive aspects as well as negative. But is this not true for any of the previous eras of teens and young adults? We are a species of curiosity, intelligence, and problem solving. I continue to have faith in our youth that they will provide not only a new way of life in our future but improvement as well.  

So I ask you to give our youth a break and have a little faith in the underdog. Instead of comparing their culture to those from the past and throwing out insults, try embracing some of their ways to form a common ground. No one likes to be called something uncomplimentary or worse recognizing the fact that current adult mentors have zero confidence in the performance capabilities of teen society. Remember, they will be waiting for a time when you are too old to care for yourself and will happily enroll you into the nearest rest home…savvy little teens!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Invincible Inspiration

My family and I love to watch movies together and we especially enjoy watching our favorites repeatedly. Invincible, the true story about Vince Papale’s inconceivable rise to become a professional football player is one of our top five. We have played that DVD countless times but tonight prior to playing the movie we decided to watch the ‘bonus’ features about the real Vince. It was then that I began to slowly assimilate the harmonized kinship of our lives.

For the skeptics, let’s disclose the obvious differences. Yes, he is a man, (don’t hold that against him ladies; wink, wink) he is 6 ft. 2 inches  tall compared to my ‘fun sized’ 5 ft. 3 inches, and he happened to play professional football for the Philadelphia Eagles versus my nonprofessional, short lived college career of soccer. He is a diehard Eagles fanatic and I just happen to be a Raider fan that bleeds black and silver. (Although my boys have had some tough seasons, I still stand behind them; Go Raiders!) Vince lives in New Jersey and I’m a California girl who enjoys the beautiful weather and crazy drivers of my grand state.  It’s true, you could perceive the two of us as polar opposites but I’m not one to back down from a challenge so please humor me while I plead my case.

Although I am not a football player and there isn’t a movie that has been fashioned after me, Vince and I share two things in common; the love of our family and the spirit of a dream. These are characteristics many people have in common you might say, but when inspiration hits you like a ton of bricks, you pull yourself up from under the pile and write a blog about it! I suppose I could also compare the fact that we both waited until our thirties to pursue our dream. I’m a thirty-something year old rookie but not in the NFL, I’m a literary rookie and proud of it! I’ve taken my hits, been banged up a bit with reviews and probably will take a few more as time goes on. I’ll keep on getting up and continue to press forward because I have just enough Scottish stubbornness and Irish grit to take a beating without the wisdom to know when to throw in the towel. I’ll chase after my fantastical illusion because I WILL NOT be one of those parents who spouts off to her children about life lessons and doesn’t follow in the footsteps of her own advice. Taking the first step into the unknown is horrifying, intimidating, and downright scary but how will one know if you don’t at least try and try again until that goal comes within reaching distance.

Vince has been compared to Sylvester Stallone’s famous ‘Rocky Balboa’ character who has come from a tough neighborhood, makes a comeback and proved he had something to give even though everyone else said he didn’t. To give credit where credit is due, he did just that! For those who have not had the pleasure of watching the movie, go out and rent the DVD, it's a GREAT flick for anyone to watch. The sheer resilience and determination he personified was remarkable! Of course, it didn't hurt that Mark Wahlberg played Vince, so it was easy on the eyes throughout the film, from my standpoint anyway.

I don’t want to take away anything from Vince because he earned every bit of it, but I’d like to think I have some of those same qualities of strength and fortitude. I won’t be running up hundreds of stairs in Philadelphia or punching a rack of meat to prove how tough I am. I will continue to keep pushing out as many novels as my imagination allows and I’ll do it not out of spite but because I made a promise to my children, my word of honor to follow your dream because anything is possible. There is NO expiration date on dreams, go after them until it becomes your reality. As Vince has been quoted, “Don’t stop living your dream!” There are many of us out in the world who believe it is too late, they are too old, they don’t have what it takes; they would be wrong! The gift of free will is something all of us have within our spirit; let the will of conviction and courage break free and set flight. I was inspired one Sunday by a sermon I listened to from a good friend speaking on temptations and thought it was a great lesson to include: Do not give into the temptation of negativity but persevere the test of positive actions.

My simplistic advice for this blog post; be an example and a source of inspiration as often as you are able. You never know who will be watching you or what set of eyes will fix upon your actions. It is my hope that my own children will be able to look back from their youth (when they get older) and understand how much of an impact they made on me! Thank you does not closely associate my gratitude for the unconditional support I receive from my wonderful family and the infinite graciousness they pour upon me each and every day. They are the fire that fuels my intensity to succeed and the refreshing voices that help me to stay focused. I'm deeply blessed!


For more information about Vince Papale, you can visit his website or follow him on twitter @83Invincible

Living the ELEMENT of my dream! To learn more about the YA fiction series I have created, visit . Available online and in select book stores for purchase.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

For the Love of Writing

It is said ‘true writing’ (not proto-writing) was invented independently in two different places; Mesopotamia around 3200 BC and Mesoamerica around 600 BC. Debates have erupted in various circles also crediting Egypt in 3200 BC and China in 1300 BC, lest we forget about the Tartaria Tablets from Transylvania that predates all of the others from 5500 BC. No matter where ‘true writing’ surfaced, it is by far the most exhilarating concept known to man. The simplistic idea of having the tool to communicate one’s thoughts or stories for all to interpret across the ages of time is mind boggling.

Mankind learned to record their script on several different types of materials such as clay, tree bark, stone, parchment and later on papyrus (plant found in Egypt). The ancient Egyptian scrolls were used as the first form of a book in 'roll' format when they glued sets of papyrus together to create a tablet of sheets. Eventually this material was imported into Greece where it dominated the land as a new writing element from an exotic nation. After the fall of the Great Roman Empire, parchment became the main writing material once again as the trade with Egypt was no longer available. After the development of Codex (books), and before the invention of the printing press, monasteries would copy text into books by hand which is why they were so rare and expensive to make because of the labor intensive work it took to create and make a single copy. Unfortunately, some works of art were ultimately destroyed by the Monks because they were deemed 'dangerous' for their lack of religious content and were feared to have the ability of manipulating the person in contact with the book. 

Fast forward several centuries and you have the ease of uploading any form of writing onto the internet for all to view. As consumers in an advanced society, we no longer have to hold a piece of paper in our hands to read but can browse the electronic pages pictured across our mechanical devices. What is that saying for future historic prosperity? Are we removing an art form from our genetic line as humans by relenting to the ease of technical mechanics? Personally I’m inclined to say yes, although many people would say I’m not thinking about how this saves on natural materials and refraining from leaving my carbon footprint. But I must add this small comment before moving on; peruse the old books from before and notice the gorgeous handwritten calligraphy, the intricate swirl of cursive and the originality of personable printing. From an artistic stand point these scripts are priceless, but speaking as an author I am eternally grateful to be living in my current era of keyboards and automatic print! Can you imagine the carpal tunnel claims and ink poisoning statistics from the insurance departments of the renaissance generation? (snark) Now, moving forward…

I have asked several people their opinion regarding paper or electronic books with answers dividing the argument straight down the middle. Prior to my meager interrogation of several avid readers, I must admit I had a clear assumption that the younger generation would veer toward the viral world as opposed to the older contemporaries leaning toward traditional paper books (with my generation stuck in the middle of understanding both arguments equally). I was actually proved wrong on both points, which under normal circumstances I would not outwardly admit, but in this case, I’ll let it slide; for humanity’s sake of course! Depending on which side of the fence you stand, the choice is irrelevant because the art of writing wins the battle hands down. We are still able to read great works such as Austen, Dickens, Tolkien, Twain and Lewis. Or modern authors like JK Rowling, Cassandra Clare, Stephenie Meyer and Dan Brown, regardless of which source it is read from, the outcome is equitable. Whether you enjoy turning the pages and feeling the weight of the paper rustling beneath your fingertips while the smell of aged ink whisks lightly below your nostrils or it’s the ease of carrying your electronic device weighing less than ten ounces and holding up to 2,000 books while simultaneously surfing the net and responding to twitter. Whatever tickles your fancy is your prerogative.  The beautiful part of the great debate rests simply with that of the individual. You can stand loyally to one or share the best of both worlds by actively participating in either sets of scholarly utopia; paper and/or electric.

Writing this post made me think back to my younger years and remember how I first got started as a lover of words and who my person of influence was who inspired my reading passion. I was in third grade and my older sister Kim would sit with me in our room to read Greek Mythology while I envisioned the wondrous creatures, epic battles, and sheer beauty of the story. My imagination was filled with incalculable fantasies and extraordinary stories that still remain vividly in my mind today. How I loved to listen to the ancient expressions and later read them for myself and now share that same love of reading with my own children. I'd like to thank my sister for taking the time to read to her kid sis and thus spawning a lifelong fanatic of historic mythology. It’s a cyclical and harmonic cycle passed down through generations and the key to future works of art. As you sit and read this segment, what was the infamous book that turned the tides from a regular reader to bibliophile and how has that shaped your interest for your genre of choice? Is reading an escape from your everyday life; an opportunity to venture beyond the boundaries of time and relevance or purely out of delight? Post your comments on this blog or on twitter @fuentes_kate1 using hashtag #readingfan. I would love to read your opinions!

To learn more about my Elements of writing, you can visit my webpage at

Any historical content featured in this article was gathered from .

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Break the Bread

As children we are taught to share with others; our toys, food, time, love, along with many other characteristics. On the journey to ‘teen land’ our objectives have a tendency to develop into the realm of being self-absorbed, not necessarily selfish, rather unaware and solely concentrating on fellow adolescents, music, fashion, and/or/simultaneously on hormones. Not all teens go through the above mentioned, but some do and I can be honest and say when I was a teen I did just that. I walked around in my own little bubble, oblivious to the troubles of the world or even the financial burdens of my own household and how this type of stress can affect adult relationships.

When you finally reach the fork in the road to stay in the child world or venture into adulthood the 'sharing' characteristic surfaces once again. The choice is that of the individual; will they choose to sincerely share with others their happiness, wealth, education, compassion, love, and friendship or will they resort to the behaviors of gluttony, greed, and narcissism?

A thought ponders on the edge of my brain; are others truly and genuinely happy for their peers/friends or does an ulterior motive of sabotage linger in the dark corners of their psyche? When looking at my author colleagues, does the above rule apply as a competitor’s impairment?  Have I read too many conspiracy theory novels and watched far too many movies about treachery for my own good? I hope not, I rather enjoy those types of intrigue and would like to continue to benefit from the various forms of entertainment without the after affects of guilt or paranoia. So, back to the question at hand, how easily does ‘sharing’ come to you?

I’m personally drawn toward people/authors/writers/entertainers that exude individuality, creativity, charisma, kindness, and humor. The world is a vast exodus of untapped resources (literally speaking) and hidden treasures that are waiting to be discovered by the next individual. That could be any form of discovery including exciting new inventions, befriending someone from a different culture and/or religion, perhaps creating a novel. I will be the first to say small doses of competition are healthy (speaking from my experience as an athlete), and I will stand behind my opinion in which I’m sure others will wholeheartedly disagree. Of course, I welcome their argument without judgment and bring forth an open mind. The desire to be on top of the mountain is intrinsic in us all, but when you rise to the peak and take a look at those around you, do you want a friend to encourage you or a foe to pull your feet from under you to watch your descent back down to the bottom?

I choose thoughtfulness and positive support; it’s less painful and a safe bet you will receive it back tenfold. I would rather deliver the benefit of doubt as opposed to thinking my peers are out to get me. I have mingled in settings where fellow authors are leery of others and have a cynical outlook regarding their literary companions. I have sympathy for those conflicted only for the mere fact that embracing those ill feelings will cause you nothing but grief. I'm happy to report I have experienced nothing but genuine thoughtfulness from other authors and writers who are not the enemy but heartfelt comrades willing to help fledgling novelists new to the publishing world or give words of encouragement to keep on going.

When I look back at my early teenage years I cringe at how horrible my attitude was and I’m grateful I decided to try my luck down the path of benevolence. I have been growing ever since and hope to continue to search out new ways to give back to those around me who have assisted me along the way or new friends in need of a helping hand. Should I have written this in stone for all to see, absolutely! No one is perfect, no one is safe from ridicule but why not be the first to put it out there in an effort to expose your blemishes for others to compare with against their own and accept them for what they were. That's right, past tense, WERE. Change is definitely possible and most of the time can be accomplished without sacrificing a great deal. Share both your faults and your strengths; in the end you will gain a healthy respect not only for yourself, but from those around you as well.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Bestselling author John Locke

Late Friday evening all is dark in the house with the exception of the wall Scentsy (Lavender scent of course) and the blaring light of the computer screen. I gather my mojo and decide with all certainty to do it! Yep, I’m going to click the send button and take the virtual leap of faith by requesting an interview with John Locke, bestselling author and the person who happened to give me the encouragement I needed to continue my literary journey (unbeknownst to him of course).
I sent a small note via the ‘contact me’ section from John’s website and thought my blurb would be buried under thousands of inbox messages, never to be opened and more than likely archived automatically. To my astonishment and giddy elation, I received a reply the next morning from John Locke himself! Did that just happen? He graciously agreed to answer a few questions for my interview even though his time was extremely limited. (Due in large part to his anticipated release of his new and upcoming western for his eager fans)
Without further ado, please see what John Locke stated in our interview last weekend:

You must be in the top 1 percentile of men who are able to multi-task exceptionally well. May I say respectfully, great job and do you give private tips for husbands? (For the record, I know there are men who can multi-task; it’s just a rarity, an anomaly, at least at my household. Just kidding honey!)
Question 1:
I think my female readers would appreciate a male perspective on your unique situation; how do you juggle family time, career responsibilities (such as being a successful bestselling author), a feverishly devoted fan base, a businessman, and still continue to create and deliver outstanding novels? (In two different genres, I might add!)
John Locke:
I have to keep my priorities in line. First is my family, where I try hardest to always be available. Second is my full-time business, where I get a break because even though my business needs regular attention, it almost never requires immediate attention, which means I can postpone my work at any given time to help my wife pick up the kids or take them to practice, or run other errands, and so forth. Family and business take up the bulk of my time, but I’ve always had a few extra hours each day to devote to other activities. Now that I’m writing, it’s a matter of using that extra time for different things. I no longer cook dinner every night, or read books. I watch very little TV. On vacations I try to set aside three hours each afternoon to write, or market my books. I find ways to create blocks of spare time. When I can block off more than two hours, I use it to write. Most of the time it’s less than two hours, and I use the smaller blocks of time for emails, blogging, twitter, and interviews.

Question 2:
How would you describe a spontaneous romantic evening for your wife and how would that differ from your famous character Donovan Creed?

John Locke:
My wife is an extremely busy, high-energy person who goes all day like the Energizer Bunny and crashes in the evening. We have two kids at home who are always doing something with sports and of course, my wife and I are very involved at their school. That’s hard to quantify, but we volunteer a lot and my son does three sports, my daughter two. This year my wife is the field hockey team mom, which makes me team photographer, which means she and I will be attending 31 games in the space of 10 weeks. That doesn’t count the daily practices, or my son’s practices and games, or their celebration parties, and so forth. So, sadly, we don’t have much opportunity for romantic dinners, even spontaneous ones. How does that differ from Donovan Creed? Simple. Creed ALWAYS gets laid! (Can I say that on your blog?)

Question 3:
Do you see self-publishing authors versus big publishing industry as a modern David & Goliath? If so, is there hope in site for a cordial relationship, dare I say, a common thread of respect for literary camaraderie?

John Locke:
I don’t consider self-publishing to be the enemy of trade publishing, or vice-versa. I think there are many ways to create symbiotic relationships between the two camps, and to me they seem obvious. I think the biggest mistake people make is thinking deals can only be structured within specific parameters. But that’s old-style thinking. This is a new age in publishing, and as long as we focus on the reader, and put the reader first, we can do some unique and exciting things that have never been attempted. I’m working on one such idea right now.

Question 4:
Who or what has been your greatest form of inspiration and why?
John Locke:
My mother has always been my greatest inspiration. She taught me early in life I could accomplish anything, be anything, and have anything I desire provided I’m willing to put forth the necessary effort. That means study long enough, work hard enough, and practice.

Question 5:
You currently have novels in two different genres; three if we include your book How I Sold 1 Million Copies in 5 Months, is there room for another genre of books in your repertoire?

John Locke:
The short answer is yes, because this is what writers do: we write. I spend most of my life in sales, and happened to sell insurance. But I could have sold any type of product, because I was a salesperson. A writer should be able to write in any genre because writing is telling a story, and genre is how you tell it. Start with an exciting, action-based story and you’ve got a thriller. Put the characters in cowboy hats, change the setting and dialogue, and you have a western. Make them younger, clean up their language and actions and you have a young adult book. Switch the murder from the climax to the beginning and you have a mystery. In the end, it’s really just a story. How you tell it determines the genre.

I would like to thank John once again for his graciousness and willingness to partake in the interview for Sired Scribblings! Your time is extremely valuable and I wholeheartedly appreciate the opportunity to speak with you. Best of luck on your continued success with your novels! If you would like more information about how to get John Locke’s novels, please visit his website at Also available online at Follow him on twitter @DonovanCreed.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Soup for the Soul

Hair refuses to cooperate, kids drank the last of the milk last night (which means no cereal for me), new puppy decided to wake up at the crack of dawn (for no apparent reason), and my husband forgot to put out the trash bin. GOOD MORNING WONDERFUL DAY FROM THE GATES OF HADES!

It’s inevitable that one bad day will catch up with you sooner or later but sometimes it seems to hold out for long periods of time before crashing down on you like a ton of bricks. Today was that day! The victim in us all suddenly cries out in protest ‘why me?’ and a series of unfortunate events continue to rain down on your already pitiful hair making the remainder of the day drag on.

Crazy, ranting, maniacs come out of the woodworks to call you repeatedly throughout the hour and tell you (without empathy) how unhappy they are with you. The ‘to do’ list hit an all-time high comparable to the infamous list of Santa Claus himself. To top it all off, the buckle from your new fabulous platform shoes is digging into the ankle bone relentlessly causing further grief and discomfort. Just when you think it couldn’t get worse, surprise! It does…

Weary and drained your body is internally holding up the white flag of surrender but it is only lunch. ‘Push through, hang on a bit longer!’ you scream to yourself. The continued calls from more ungrateful, angry people flood the phone lines and you’re ready to throw in the towel in defeat.

A hand written envelope catches your attention and you hesitate to pick up the next call. Two notes written on college ruled paper are unfolded and the telltale penmanship of an elementary student emerges. The letters are from recently arrived refugee siblings from the Ivory Coast of Africa. Their family fled to escape impoverished conditions and religious persecution from their native country by arriving here in the United States and becoming citizens. The children, ages nine and eleven, are starting school for the first time in America and could not afford backpacks or supplies. Through generous donations (via the outreach ministry I work for) over 1,000 backpacks were supplied to students in need and the two siblings were recipients of the much needed packs. Their smiling picture receiving the bags and gracious letters were enough to seal the deal and snap me back into reality.

All day long I wallowed in self-pity yet these beautiful children from a life of hate and banishment are elated to receive a small backpack filled with basic essentials. Their sincere appreciation saturated the small notes and I immediately received a refreshed sense of determination to finish the day with genuine thankfulness for the blessings in my life. What a wonderful way to be humbled, by the innocence of two children making an impact in this tough world! Thank you to “A” and “J” for showing me the true meaning of Grace! (I cannot disclose their real names for confidentiality reasons)

If the above story wasn’t enough to pull your heart strings, I was hit yet again with a sensational and inspirational story via twitter regarding a mother’s plight to communicate on behalf of her son and his remarkable journey through life with autism. She resolves to continue her undying support for her child through unconditional love, patience, endurance, and education through life lessons.  To learn more about autism, please visit Jennifer’s blog at and for more on how to volunteer in support of refugees, please visit my links and resources page for the website to World Relief.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Power of Opinion

I often find myself repeating the same encouraging statement to my children 'believe in yourself' yet shamelessly I also find I tend to be the first person to doubt my own abilities. Does this make me a hypocrite? Why is that? Is it because we are our own worst critic or is it human nature to second guess our own talents?

In a technologically advanced society where virtual conversations and opinions are so easily accessible, I feel exceedingly vulnerable when putting my literary work on display for all to see as it has the potential to be ripped to shreds by thousands world wide. Thankfully, the feeling only lasts momentarily and I inherently push the send button to press my luck and ride the virtual opinion wave with gumption and eager anticipation!

I have experienced first hand the meaning of 'hard exterior shell' when my recently released YA novel, Elements The Beginning, hit the market. It is without question a debut book and unknown author are vulnerable to the onslaught of bad reviews. Concurrently it has just as much of an equal opportunity and substantial chance of receiving a positive opinion, capable of launching an author into a successful writing career from the same group of avid readers, reviewers, bloggers and critics. The catch is, as the writer, how much of the bad outweighs the good and vice versa?

I am not one to believe this is an easy feat to come by and the chances of being the exception to the rule and an overnight success are slim to none, but I would be in a perpetual state of denial if I didn't admit to daydreaming about it and conclude that anything is possible. (This coming from a fiction writer, of course)

Social media networks provide a myriad of marketing strategies, public relations, customer service, advertising and (the sometimes dreaded, brutally honest) personal opinion. Instead of feeling overwhelmed and defeated about my chances of extraordinary achievement, I am revitalized with the emotion that in the vast open planet, on this place we call earth, dreams can come true! Whoever said it was going to be easy?

I have decided to adopt the following quote as my motto; Success only comes before work in the dictionary (this quote actually is taped above my desk, no joke). Nothing comes without hard work, effort and diligence and in all honesty I wouldn't want it any other way. Personally, the struggles I have experienced in my journey have shaped me into the person I am today and continue to evolve into. I think it is safe to say many people may harbor the same opinion about themselves and their work ethic. Constructive criticism is extremely helpful, even if it stings at first, pick yourself up off the floor after a good cry or temper tantrum and put the suggestion to good use.

I must end this segment by expressing my endless gratitude for all the reviewers, bloggers, readers, fans, critics, librarians, literary agents, publishers, and everyday book fanatics for their extreme devotion and uncompromising allegiance to the literary world. Even if they are not hardcore fans of mine, their loyalty to books is duly noted. Thank you!

Keep the dream alive and hug an author today! You never know they might need it!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Lunch Break

Murphy's Law: Beware of the rare ubiquitous morning mood which deceives your entire being into believing this day will be flawless.

The above statement is extremely thick with cynicism, so please accept my formal apologies, but before you quickly click out of the doom and gloom blog please hear me out. As the only woman in a household of boys (including the dogs), I have the unique opportunity to capture the essence of man each and every day; their characteristics, absurd justifications, man-jargon, bodily noises and intriguing gestures, and specified gender habits no doubt passed down through a millennia of chromosomal heredity.

I was raised by a single mom, predominately female household, so my childhood experiences of "normal" family life varied significantly from my peers and I rarely got to witness the fascinating aspects of what regular men do in their own environment. I have since received an extensive education and often wonder if indeed other women have gone through the same experiences as I have or has karma decided to seek me out and punish me for all the horrible things I put my older sisters through. Hmmmm....

With that said, I will venture into enlightening you with a now comical story but extremely disturbing at the time. Follow along into the delightful, often riveting world of motherhood involving boys only

A seemingly normal sunny day in the summer month of June, I rose from my sleepless night (generously provided by my snoring husband of thirteen years). I began to go through the morning rituals of preparing for yet another day at the office, as always, and felt surprisingly rested. I quickly ran through the beautification ceremony, grabbed a bowl of cereal and was headed out the door when my eldest son appeared before me. Of course, I was astonished to see him awake since we were knee deep in summer vacation, but hid my stunned reaction like the true professional mother I am. We had a five to ten minute conversation about what their plans for the day were before I went into work and if they could do a couple of things for me to prepare for a bbq we were invited to that evening. My son agreed and I was briskly on my way.

The day had been quite busy and lunch crept up on me quickly. I hurriedly grabbed my things and headed home to get a bite to eat and start dessert for the party (five minute strawberry cheesecake, to die for!). Upon opening the door the most retched smell of smoke and burnt food hit me smack in the face. I called out for the boys in alarm but no one answered. I went running through the house searching for the source and came up empty handed. The stove was off, the regrigerator was fine, A/C was running and appeared normal when I looked it over in the garage, no black marks above any outlets in the house, clearly I was stumped. One hand on the cell phone to dial 9-1-1, I resumed my search for a fire. As I continued my quest I rounded the kitchen island and noticed the waste can was missing a bag. Hmmm, curious.....

Outside, near the garbage bin, there was a tuft of white plastic hanging down from the lid. I lifted the top and opened what appeared to be an empty bag but upon further investigation felt something at the bottom. I peered into the sac and saw little black oval objects with bits of yellow littering the base of the bag. I quickly realized I was looking at remnants of what used to be egg staring sadly up at me, begging for their torture to stop. I closed the top and said a quick prayer for the burned poultry shells, may they rest in peace.

Entering into the house again was like wandering into an abyss of volcanic haze with kindled sulfur radiating through the air. I hastily turned off the A/C and began to open the windows in the hope that a strong wind would take pity on our situation. No chance, summer sun was in full swing without a cloud in sight. Wonderful! Opening the last window, I see my favorite pot sitting on top of the patio table apparently sun bathing. Odd? Still in detective mode, I go into the backyard to encounter the sad image of the remaining skeleton that was once a kitchen cooking utensil. Inside the pot was scorched with pieces of shell pasted to the sides as if a bomb had obliterated from within the core of the egg. Crusted streaks of foam littered the exterior of the pot like petrified liquid and it appeared to be crying.

By now I was blatanly aware my children were still M.I.A. I returned to my once beautiful kitchen and began the tedious chore of removing pieces of shell from the walls and undercarriage of the range hood that had been blasted from their boiling bath. Lunchtime was over, I still haven't eaten, children no where in sight, need to go back to work. UUGGHH!

Several calls later to my son's unanswered cell phone I receive a text from my son explaining they were at the movies with grandma and would see me after work. My nerves in check knowing my children were safe and the house still stood unharmed, I grudgingly proceeded to finish my work duties until the glorious five o'clock buzzer rang.

Entering into our still stinky house from a day of bliss and blunder, I notice my beautiful angelic children sitting on the couch reading books. First sign something is amiss; "Hi mom, how was your day?" followed by hugs and kisses. "Fine, thank you." I answered, waiting for the explanation. Crickets could be heard because they then continued to return to their interest in the books giving no retort to my quizzical look.

"Do you have something to tell me?" I asked. "Oh yeah, grandma picked us up and took us to see Transformers 3, it was awesome!"

"Anything else?" still standing at the door, wondering how much more I could take. "Nope." said the youngest, now chiming in.

"Do you want to tell me why the house smells like a fire, my pot is burnt to a crisp on the patio table, and there are charred eggs in the garbage." patiently waiting.... "Oh yeah, I accidentally forgot about the boiled eggs and they exploded."

"Why didn't you tell me?" still amazed about the entire situation. "The house could have started on fire and you two could have been hurt!" Curious looks from both boys now stared unbelievingly at me. "Well, you didn't ask." said the bewildered older child as if I was the one proposing an alien statement.

Note to self: Always ask random safety questions when dealing with adolescents, even if you think it should be self explanatory, such as "did you almost catch the house on fire today?" Obviously in the mind of the male species this is not totally out of the ordinary.

P.S. I am not a feminist or a man-hater, this is merely my rendition and accounts of my crazy yet exciting life as a lone woman living in a house of cavemen!