WRITER’S RETREAT

I’ve been on four writer’s retreats and am amazed at the considerable amount of work I’ve accomplished each time I’ve taken the opportunity to get away from my lounge chair and compose while enjoying the beauty of the Northwest.

My most recent adventure included a trip to Port Townsend, WA, a lovely coastal town on the northernmost end of the Olympic Peninsula. It’s famous for its graceful Victorian homes, whale-watching tours, delicious seafood, and Fort Worden State Park where An Officer and a Gentleman with Richard Gere was filmed.

It’s also home to Manresa Castle, a unique hotel boasting rooms with turrets, an antique closed-in elevator, and haunted rooms. Continue reading

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HOW TO FIND TIME FOR YOUR PASSION

Life is chaotic and busy. If you daily trudge to a full-time job and spend hours in traffic, you can add two to three hours to your eight hour work day. I live near the Seattle area where workers have gradually started their commute earlier and earlier to beat the congestion. Unfortunately, many others had the same idea, and now there are miles-long traffic jams at four am.  I used to make that trek and eventually caved to the idea of public transportation. So I’d ride the bus to downtown Seattle and walk several blocks from the bus tunnel to work. It meant rising much earlier than my body wanted to. On the way home, this weary commuter snoozed until I arrived at the Park-and-Ride. I’m much luckier now. In the morning, my commute is a mere forty-five minutes from my home in the South Puget Sound.

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I’m a novelist, and regardless of the shorter commute, I still struggle to find time to write Monday through Friday. In addition to writing, I work a full-time job and am raising a teenage boy. Couple that with ordinary life like commitments at church, paying bills, cleaning house, laundry, grocery shopping, and cleaning the dreaded cat pan. I feel like I’m putting what I really loved to do on hold far too often. Guilt beats me up when a fellow blogger or fan asks me, “When is your new novel going to be published?” I have become an artful liar. “By summer’s end, the raw draft should be ready for an editor.”

I think I have found a solution though. My body rises at an ungodly early hour even on weekends. If I get at least a half a cup of coffee in me, don’t bother to dress, or turn on the TV, I’ve got a chance to get some serious writing done. Like a child with ADHD, if I get distracted by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Gmail, I’m a goner. Before I know it, two hours have passed, and by then the animals are circling my feet for breakfast, and my grandson has stumbled upstairs for cereal.  I wish the pharmaceutical companies had a pill for self-discipline.

That’s what it takes to complete a goal. Self-discipline.  Sometimes, mine is in short supply. In the last ten years, I’ve written five novels. I want to make room for the sixth novel on my website header below. cropped-fb-kelly-2017-blog.jpg

I faithfully read fellow author Kristin Lamb’s blog:https://authorkristenlamb.com/ Her advice? Just do it. She even emails me and other followers at random hours to join her for writing sprints. Maybe it’s a half-hour or an hour. She emails, “Hello from the I-nag.” It’s a call to action to hyper-focus and a reminder that even fifteen minutes or a half-hour can inch me towards my goal.

My writing matters…A LOT. But so does life. I have some dear family members who are facing serious health issues. That’s a sharp reminder to me that in the whole scheme of things, they are more important than a completed novel.  I continue to keep my eye on the target, but precious time with loved ones is the greater goal.

Til next time, dear friends.

Kelly

SECOND WIND

The dictionary describes second wind as: a new strength or energy to continue something that is an effort. I’ve needed that for some time now and just couldn’t find the heart to carry on.

I’ve been writing seriously now for close to eleven years. In that time, I’ve completed five books. I pounded out those stories with a fevered pitch and crossed my fingers for success. It’s been a mixed bag. I’ve had years of decent sales and some that could be described as anemic. The last three years have been complicated by changes in publishers, a marketing campaign with a company that failed to deliver on promises made, and a year where my books were off the market as I transitioned between publishers. During that time, I sank thousands of dollars into marketing schemes that didn’t seem to affect the bottom line. Eventually, it took a toll on my drive to finish the next book.  Continue reading

CHRISTMAS GIFTS

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There are many gifts of Christmas including a gracious, giving attitude by many people. Individuals dig deep into their pockets to buy toys for disadvantaged children. Others drop coins into the Salvation Army red kettle. Still others donate turkeys and canned goods to area food banks. Don’t you wish we could keep this warm, caring attitude for the whole year?

We also take special care to find just the perfect gift for our loved ones. If you have a book lover in your life and are looking for just the right book, I’d like to share the books I have authored with you. Hopefully, you’ll find one that sparks your interest.
KTG COVER 4Seattle homicide detectives, Nick Winston and Pat Strom, search out crime in the underbelly of the Emerald City. This time, a serial killer is murdering lesbians in the Northwest’s most gay-friendly city. Winston and Strom are called to the apartment of University of Washington student, Kylee Harris. The provocative young woman is slaughtered in her bed, and the killer leaves behind a grisly clue that shocks even the most cynical detectives. https://www.amazon.com/Kiss-Girls-Make-Them-Die-ebook/dp/B06XBR46LV/ref Continue reading

LIFE INTRUDES

Wow! I had to look back in the archives to find out how long it’s been since I wrote a blog post. Almost three months! That’s forever in the land of blogs. I once read that if you don’t communicate weekly, you’ll lose your audience and they won’t come back. I hope not. I raise my finger in protest and sputter, “But I had to get my grandson ready for the new school year! And then there was the house appraisal!” The prep work to spruce up my home for the appraisal was a heavy lift. I ended up painting most of my house’s interior and increasing my Home Depot credit card balance as high as the national debt.

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Whew! Now that it’s done and my leg muscles have recovered from running up and down a ladder, I’m ready for life to return to normal. Which means, talking with you, reading, and writing on my new book, Bless Me Father For I Have Sinned.  Continue reading

A NEW BEGINNING

When I finished my last book, Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die, I promised myself I’d take six months off before I started a new novel. The publishing process is grueling. Because I still work a government job full-time, my opportunities to write are limited.  It usually takes me a year-and-a-half to bring a novel to fruition. Frankly, I get tired and I wanted to spend time enjoying life instead of occupying my lounge chair pounding away on my laptop. I actually wore out most of the keys and had to have the keyboard replaced! It’s only been four months and already my fingers are itching, and I know it’s  time to start my next book.typewriter pexels-photo-481672

I vacillated between two plots. I joined an online dating service some time ago and thought there was ample fodder for murder and mayhem dating strangers. Seattle had a horrific case just last year. A women went out on a date arranged on an online site and ended up in pieces in several dumpsters around the city.  It spooked me and upon reflection, I dis-enrolled from the dating site.

My stories have always included romance and murder, but dead bodies and the grind of police investigations dominated the story line. I thought it was time to inject more romance into my next novel. My new tale involves a powerful love between a priest and a parishioner. Nothing like forbidden love to spark a murder! I decided my new novel will be dubbed Bless Me Father For I Have Sinned.

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Just a note about my recently published novel, Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die. My book recently won first place in the  East Texas Writer Guild’s book cover contest. Real congratulations go to the designer, Jay Aheer of Simply Defined Art. If you’re a fellow author looking for a stunning book cover to grab attention, I whole-heartedly recommend Jay Aheer. Here’s how to find her. https://www.simplydefinedart.com/

I invite you to visit my website KellyMarshallBooks.com