Best stairs ever!
No, I don’t mean the kind at the gym. You know, the stairs that you become oxygen deprived on while the woman next to you (younger, always younger) zooms up like she’s on an escalator?
I mean the kind of stairs that make you feel good about life…
Well, last weekend in Portland, I found these stairs at Powell’s Bookstore, and they made me really happy. Maybe it was finding them at such a great bookstore, healthy and thriving since 1971. Or maybe it was standing among all those print books and knowing that one way or another I can make that happen too.
Sure, I’m currently an e-book author, but sometimes all the categorizing that goes on… self-published/traditionally published; e-book/print book; small presses/large presses; commercial fiction/literary fiction; well, it makes me tired.
I’m a writer because I write. I’m an author because you have been my reader. And that makes me happy too.
And while I find myself at the end of the best spring break ever with my family! (See photo below of my backyard to see how OVER spring break is.)
I still feel a little spring in my heart. I wrote this morning (not a lot… we all have colds as a last souvenier of the trip) but enough to get me going again, to take me another rung up my own staircase.
I’m not sure what I’m doing right now, what’s ahead with novels, screenplays, e-books, print, but I do know whatever the next step, I’ll be in good company.
It’s Spring break time at my house. And while I imagine this in my head…
I am marooned here for a quiet week of sun and reading (not necessarily in that order.)
In fact, my Spring Break starts with a…
Luckily for me, the van is headed to Portland, home of Powell’s Bookstore! I may not have the tropical beach, but I will definitely have the books.
Now, it’s true I am an e-book author and love my Kindle a lot, but I also read old-school I’ll post some trip pictures on Facebook so hop on over and join the conversation! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kathy-Dunnehoff/100342156725545?ref=hl
Meanwhile, Happy e-Reading & paperback reading too!
I’ll admit right up front that this is probably not the best day for me to do a blog post…
1. Daughter home with cold caused my writing time to be replaced with Hallmark movies with dialogue so bad we replaced some of it with our own commentary. (It doesn’t make it right, but it does entertain us.)
2. It’s the middle of WINTER!
3. I am still wearing fuzzy pyjama bottoms. It’s 4:40 p.m., people.
4. It’s the middle of WINTER! Did I mention it’s the middle of WINTER?
But, I am ever the optimist (except when I’m not and then my family just steers clear) and I’m going to say something good about the end of January even if January doesn’t deserve it…
It’s a great time to read…
1. I’ve personally downloaded at least a dozen FREE books over the last couple of weekends and bought half-a-dozen more, and some of them look especially good.
2. Since it’s dark a good deal of the time, it’s okay to curl up on the couch and read. It’s not like I could be out in the garden, right?
3. It’s very, very quiet. And although that’s not great for a person’s social life, it’s swell for uninterrupted reading time.
4. When the color outside my window is this…
I can travel the world (and worlds that don’t even exist) and feel the sun on my face and adventure in my heart.
On a cold end of January day like today, I feel, as I have since I was a little girl, that I can jump into a story and take a wonderful wordy vacation. And right now that’s the only good thing I’m going to say about January!
The bad hair day (in addition to mine!) is suffered by the main character of Back To U, Gwen. The novel is a free download today on Amazon, and the beginning of the first chapter is below (and yeah, she’s having the kind of bad hair day you wouldn’t wish on anybody).
But if your Sunday is less than stellar, have a novel on me! It’s free just until midnight, so let your girlfriends know (even the ones who never have bad hair days.)
The addition of a powerful ingredient can change the whole recipe.
Missy loved chili. That’s what was important. She’d just keep telling herself that as she chopped the onions and tried to ignore the sharp vapors that stung her eyes. Gwen felt the first tear seep out and stepped away from the cutting board, chef’s knife still in her hand. And there, in the middle of her butter-yellow kitchen, two months after Steve walked out twenty years into a lifetime commitment, her eyes gave up.
A flood of tears unleashed, and flood was all she could think when the cascade began down her face. It fell over her jaw like Niagara, and along the neckline she felt lacked the smoothness she’d taken for granted until her last birthday, the sneeze away from forty, thirty-nine. She lifted her face to the farmhouse reproduction pendant light she’d shopped for all fall when Missy started her senior year. She felt the deluge of tears pour into her blouse, soak the collar, run in a rivulet between her breasts. She loved that light. That light was never going to leave her.
She lowered her face to check the time, but the clock on the Viking Stove wavered in a black and white blur. She’d have to estimate since her eyesight was swamped. She’d started the chili at four. She’d browned the meat, chopped peppers. Had to be four-forty-five when she’d hit the onion. Missy wouldn’t be home for an hour. Gwen didn’t want her to see her mother like some kitchen serial killer, onion soaked knife in hand, unhinged and venting tears. It would be the last night to even wonder when Missy was coming home. She’d be gone too.
Gone. Gwen could cry every night alone in her kitchen. She looked at the light again, the tears not even slowing. She thought some moisture had traveled down to the waistband of her capris. That damn light. The two of them would be left there. Steve in his condo. Missy in her dorm room. She hated the stupid farmhouse reproduction pendant light, and she was going to do something about it. First, she’d stop crying and finish the chili. Missy had to come home to eat it. It was the last supper. Gwen shifted as the tears made their way into her underwear. And after the last supper, Missy would get in her graduation car that Gwen had filled with a coordinated mini household. There was the Egyptian cotton duvet cover and poppy red towels with a monogrammed laundry basket. It was everything Gwen had wanted that first year of college. And when the graduation car and the matching hangers left the drive-way, Gwen was going to yank out that damn farmhouse reproduction pendant light and do nothing but chop onions and weep until she was dry.
She’d need a job too. Yank out the light and get a job chopping onions to pay the utilities for a house no one lived in. She took in a breath. Had she been breathing in the deluge? It was like getting air under water with no possibility of coming up to the surface. It was a surface where no one lived, not even her. She’d be there with her twelve inch chef’s knife and onions and do what? Keep getting up? That had been hard enough when Steve left in the spring and there was only the occasional sighting of Missy. For months the possibility that Missy would share a meal or at least say hi had kept her going. She’d wait for the moment Missy would sail in to grab something out of her bedroom, her first bedroom that had become her second all those nights she’d stayed with her dad. But even the chance of a Missy sighting would be gone in about fifteen hours if her water-soaked estimation was accurate.
She had to pull herself together. Her mom had suggested a good bra and a new haircut, like that had helped her mother ever steer them in a useful direction. Gwen knew she could get control of herself again. Hadn’t she held her life steady for years? She shook her head to clear it and felt the tears fly like water off a dog’s fur. It had even soaked her hair. The salt would frizz her curls for a week. She wiped the back of her free hand over her cheek, the knife still in the air. Maybe the flow of tears had slowed. Like a hard summer rain, it couldn’t last long. She felt her eyes still producing plenty and her vision remained blurred, so she could just be kidding herself.
She tried to set down the knife but missed the edge of the counter. It was the same light shade as the floor, and she couldn’t trust that she could see it well enough. Maybe her eyes hadn’t slowed their leaking after all. She shuffled across the kitchen, one palm out and one hand led by a blade. She felt her way to the living room, jerked as her progress was stopped by the knife digging into something solid. She felt with her other hand. It would just take a little wood filler to repair the chunk taken out of the back of the dining room chair. No one would know but her.
Luckily, the August sun blazed through the high south window of the bathroom, and she could, thank god, follow that much light. The feel of carpet gave way to tile, and she knew she’d arrived. Slowly she lowered the knife, heard the rattle of metal on ceramic and pushed it until it stopped at what had to be the baseboard. She straightened and began to feel her way towards the shower. It seemed a better, bigger place to aim for than the sink, and she could warm up from the chill a soaked shirt in the air-conditioning had given her.
She grabbed at the row of towels and felt the first hunk of soft cotton. The second one she reached for fell to the floor, but she clung to the last one. If she just used it like a rope she could measure her way to the shower stall. A couple of steps and the porcelain tub stopped her progress. She felt it crack her right shin and might have sworn on her way down to her knees. Her life had all come to this was the thought that wanted to skitter across her mind, but she stopped it. Optimism could work in any situation. The good news? Despite the searing pain her shin bone radiated, she wasn’t crying any harder. It wasn’t even real crying. It might not count since she felt like she was leaking. There was none of the hitched breathing and sniffling that had accompanied every crying spell she’d ever had, not that she could remember the last one. A couple of years before there’d been an orphaned girl movie she’d seen with Missy when dark teen drama held great appeal. She might have cried at the end of that one too.
Still on her knees, she unbuttoned her blouse, so clammy it made her shiver to touch it. She’d have to get it in the washer as soon as she could see and, of course, after she’d gotten the chili simmering. Her bra, wet as well, she tried to rest on the blouse but couldn’t see clearly enough to be sure she’d succeeded. She stood, the throb of her leg reminding her to scoot back from the direction of the tub just in case. The capris slipped off, the wet waist band cold along her hips. The underwear was mostly dry. Things couldn’t be too bad if your underwear were okay. If paramedics were called in, she’d have that going for her.
She felt for the tub with tentative sweeps of one hand and heard the swoosh of shower curtain. She pushed it aside, lifted her foot higher than the tub rim could possibly be, and stepped into the slight grain of the tub floor. She’d never noticed the texture before. Necessary, she supposed, to prevent accidents, and god knew a woman blinded by her own tears, hands covered in onion juice, husband run off, daughter running off, needed to be protected from falling on her ass.
The shower knobs were easy, a sixth sense in your own home. You always knew how far to turn the cold, the hot, to give you the right mix. She reached for and knocked over three bottles before she gripped one. A shampoo? Body wash? A conditioner that would just seal the tears into her skin? Whatever it was, pushing on the top of the bottle didn’t pop it open. Apparently everything needed to be difficult. She gave up, unscrewed the lid and threw it over the shower curtain. She squeezed the bottle and a gush of something lavender-scented filled her palm and slipped between her fingers. She rubbed her hands over her hair, face, along her throat, and between her breasts down to her waist, the path her tears had taken. She turned into the blast of water and let everything wash away.
I attended the University of Montana in the 1980′s when hair was big and Yugos were small. I wanted to put a photo of my college days in this post, but my mall bangs wouldn’t fit. Let’s just say that at a distance and in a pair of leather pants I might have passed for one of the guys in Poison.
But I loved that perm, I loved UM, and I love remembering that time in my life.
That’s where the recurring fantasy began… what if I had the chance to go back? Not go back in a time traveling way. I had fun, but please, who wants to be twenty again? I mean twenty on the inside. Not twenty on the outside which would cost a fortune and not really work at all. I’d just have small hair and really large lips which wouldn’t fool anybody. No, my fantasy would be to step foot on campus now with all I know and want to know and just enjoy it. Instead I wrote Back To U.
To be an interesting novel, though, my main character couldn’t drag her husband and daughters with her like I would. She’d be single with an empty nest. And the empty nest I gave her? It’s a running joke at my house that when parents would say how brilliant their children were, I’d say that my girls would probably run off with the first all female Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band. (So far they haven’t, but there is now a real all female band, Lynette Skynyrd!)
And this Sunday September 30th & Monday October 1st, you can download Back To U for FREE. Because it’s also my fantasy that I’m not the only woman who likes to imagine the “what ifs” of life and still enjoys, at the end of the decades, the “what is.”
In the time it takes to watch a Romantic Comedy… you can read Hollywood Beginnings!
That was my plan when I set out to write a novel for summer. I made it a Quick Read, so you could finish it on the beach (or during a couple of lunch hours or waiting in the van… yeah, I know how busy life gets!)
I’ve always loved the Frankie and Annette beach movies and came up with the premise…
“What if…” your mother had been an up and coming star but left Hollywood before you were born? What would have driven her from stardom, and how would you, as her daughter, feel about growing up in Minnesota?
My main character, Amy, feels a little robbed. And when mother and daughter return to the City of Angels for a funeral, an over-due L.A. adventure is exactly what Amy gets!
And you’ll get Hollywood Beginnings with all the laughter, romance, and real women’s aha moments I could pack in a Quick Read… For FREE until midnight tonight! Download it in seconds from Amazon by just clicking on the cover!
The winter that I wrote The Do-Over, I fantasized about a woman who takes a vacation from her life. Now, let me say that I have a great life, but who couldn’t use a little break?
I’m heading to Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina with a bunch of girlfriends & I’m very happy to say it looks like life is imitating art!
Hope you’re enjoying your own first month of SUMMER.
Sixteen years ago I became a Mom, and I celebrated the day.
Thirteen years ago I became a Mom again, and I celebrated the “Mother’s Day Three Day Weekend.”
This year with a sixteen-year-old daughter and a thirteen-year-old daughter, I have been referring to May as “Mother’s Day Month!”
But this year in addition to receiving, (’cause my family knows when Mama’s happy, everybody’s happy) I’m doing a little giving.
All day Mother’s Day Sunday, I’m offering my novel, Plan On It, for FREE. This full length romantic comedy is about a woman who sets out to have a baby and decides to choose the father based on what she knows best… the science of biology! You can download it right from the Amazon Kindle store
I wrote Plan On It by swapping babysitting with a neighbor, and I’d like to celebrate Mother’s Day by giving it away. I’ve given away over 50,000 downloads of my other novels and want to see moms out there enjoying a free read on their special day.
I hope you enjoy Mother’s Day… Mother’s Three Day Weekend & Mother’s Month!
(Update on the first give-away… The lucky winner is Sammi P.! Check in for another spring present!)
think it’s about time for a give-away, a little swag to say thanks!
Through writing, I’ve met amazing readers on Facebook and Twitter and Amazon and Goodreads… whew! did I leave anything out? Oh, yeah, and in person in my classes and workshops! And now, I’ve got the inspiration for The Do-Over… the bath products that started it all, LUSH.
So… Relax, take a bath! I’ll be drawing for the gift basket in just 5 days. To enter to win, just look to the top of this page on the right and pop your email in the box. I promise to only send the rare but entertaining announcements for FREE books, NEW books, or if GEORGE CLOONEY passes me a note in class.
Good luck, and while we’re all winners (especially GEORGE CLOONEY) one of you will get an email from me on Sunday April 15th!
It’s 34 degrees here in Montana, and it’s Spring Break. Yep, the vacation that centers around warm weather and all things beachy has begun with SNOW. So, to celebrate, here are 10 reasons we all deserve a little warmth.
- It’s past the official first day of spring, so bring it!
- My backyard looks like this…
3. I like my backyard when it looks like this…
4. College students probably don’t need a week on a beach as much as the rest of us do.
5. I’m pretty sure I heard Oprah say, “You get a vacation and you get a vacation and you get a vacation!”
6. Frostbite doesn’t glow the same way a tan does.
7. Even bears know it’s time to stop being cooped up in the den.
8. Admit it, you’ve rented every movie in Redbox this winter and are starting to see even the bad ones twice.
9. There are some really cute bathing suit cover-ups out there, so the only thing to fear is fear itself.
10. You’ve been good all winter, and when Santa came by on a sleigh yesterday, he said you could take a week off!
Enjoy the spirit of Spring Break even if you have no sunshine or time off!
To celebrate… March 31st & April 1st, download for FREE the romantic comedy
Plan On It: 6 Men in 6 Months
You may not have a beach, but you can have a beach read!
P.S. If you’re not signed up for my email list (at the top right “Subscribe” box just pop in your email) you’ll want to be by March 29th… Someone will win a bubble bath gift basket just like the one that drove Mara to Canada in The Do-Over!