Category Archives: Writing

Starting Something That You Know Won’t Work

j0182826In general, my personality is such that it is difficult for me to start something I don’t think I’ll be good at, and nearly impossible for me to begin if I’m “sure” it won’t work. It seems like a waste of time and effort.

So the new Bible study topic our group just started is particularly interesting to me. It’s about finding the Messiah in the Old Testament. We all have a pretty good idea of the Messiah in the New Testament – Jesus was born a man even though he was also God, so that he could take the death penalty for sin for all people, and we could once more be reunited with our God and Creator. We know He did that because He loves us and doesn’t want us to be separated from Him.

I knew the Old Testament is full of prophecies of the coming Messiah, Jesus. But when we started at the beginning, we found the first prophecy that there would be a Savior coming to redeem us in the third chapter of the Bible. Hardly anything had happened yet in terms of the history of mankind, and already God made mention of His plan to deliver us from our sin. In fact, as our Bible study leader Doug pointed out, after Adam and Eve sinned God explained how we would be redeemed before he even told Adam and Eve what their punishment would be!

While we can’t be sure if Lucifer defied God and was kicked out of heaven before or after God created the world and mankind, we do know Lucifer had already fallen at some point after Adam and Eve were living in peace and without sin in the Garden of Eden. And that’s another piece of the story most of us know – Lucifer, as a serpent in the Garden, encouraged Eve to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the only tree God told Adam and Eve not to eat from. So mankind, as well and Lucifer and some of the angels, also fell from God’s grace.

Now here is the part that has my head spinning. God is all-knowing, so He knew what was going to happen, knew we would disobey Him and knew He had to have a plan of redemption ready, and He went through with the whole thing anyway! He created us in His image, loved us from day one, knew we would turn our backs on Him and break His heart, but he created us anyway!

j0178844John and I chose not to have children for a lot of reasons, but one of them was that we weren’t sure we would be good parents, and one was that we didn’t want the heartbreak that having children seems to bring. God knew long before we all did what heartbreak children can bring and He chose to have children anyway. That’s just shocking and amazing to me. I can’t see myself ever starting something I knew wouldn’t work.

But then I think about all the books and stories I write. The whole point of a great piece of genre fiction is showing how seriously messed up things can get, and how it can work out in the end. A person can start out lonely and alone and be a large chunk of their own problem, but they can find love in the end. They can start out cut off from their family and hiding from the world and discover that they have super powers that can help make the world a better place. They can be kidnapped, forced to denounce everything that’s important, and still beat the devil in the end.

So many stories reflect the Big Picture Story of Mankind – life seems to start out well for the protagonists, then something trips them up and/or all hell breaks loose, and suddenly it’s hard to believe life can ever be good again. It’s hard to believe the protagonists will even survive, let alone find peace and happiness again. But there is always a plan that includes a satisfying and happy ending.

And like any good author, God figured out the plan to bring about a happy ending before he even started bringing the story to life.

Wow.

Writing SmileyStill wrapping my mind around that. But in addition to the hope this kind of grand design gives us all, I feel more hopeful as a writer of stories. I’m going to go start a new story that I “know” won’t work. The protagonist’s life is all messed up and I’m not sure yet how I’m going to help her fix it. Characters are going to die. Readers might not even like the story. The book may not be bought by a publisher. It may not work.

But I have a new burst of courage to try.

Stop and Say Hello This Saturday at the LA Times Festival of Books

LA Fest of Books logo

I’ve always wanted to go to the LA Times Festival of Books, but I’ve never been able to due to schedule conflicts, etc. This year I not only get to attend, I’ll be signing books there! Yay!

The Southern California chapters of Romance Writers of America are sharing a booth at the Festival this year, and several authors will be signing in two-hour blocks on Saturday and Sunday, April 18 and 19, 2015. I’m first up on Saturday morning from 10:00am to 12 noon, along with my new friend Mia Hopkins. We’ll be at booth 916 near the L.A. Times Stage.

I’d love to meet you if we haven’t met yet, or say hi again if we have. Stop by and chat for a minute. I’ll have all three stories in the superhero series, Adventures of Lewis and Clarke, available in print at discounted prices. Admission is free, and parking is $10. (It’s on the USC campus. Details on how to get there are on the web site.)

During our two-hour block, Mia is even bringing in some cowboy models so you can have a photo taken with them. ;)  Be sure to tell your friends!

Hope to see you there!

3-superhero book covers

Here is a press release for more information on our authors: Romance Authors at Festival of Books 2015 press release

Amazing Writers Conference!!

I had SUCH a wonderful time this past weekend at the California Dreamin’ Writers Conference put on by the Southern California chapters of Romance Writers of America! Everything about it was fantastic – hanging out with old friends and meeting new ones, teaching what I know and learning what others had to teach, pitching a new twist on an old idea to the editor and agent I was most interested in, gathering new information from companies I already have a great relationship with, meeting lots of new people at the book signing – and so much more!

Kitty at CA Dreamin Conf 2015 small

In fact, I was so busy that I not only came down with a cold when it was over (which always happens when I burn the candle at both ends at these conferences) but I also never once thought about taking pictures! Ack! How could I forget?

Because I was so busy having an amazing time!! Thank you to everyone who attended! I hope you all had as great a time as I did! Thanks to my friend Denise who snapped the picture of me at the book signing. :)

And for all those who know how much I love my birthday cheesecake, you won’t be surprised that it was the ONE thing I did take a picture of before everything started. LOL! Thanks to my friend Jess for the wonderful treat! I made it last all three days of the conference! :-D

Kitty birthday cheesecake from Jess SoCalRWA conf

70-Author Booksigning on Sunday, March 29

California Dreamin Writers ConferenceIf you didn’t already know, there are going to be 70+ authors signing their books in Brea, California, this weekend. And I’m one of them – woohoo! Here are the details:

Where: Brea Embassy Suites, Brea, CA
When: Sunday, March 29, 2015, 2-4pm
Who: Mostly romance writers of all types, but some also write urban fantasy, young adult, and more

You can find a map and a list of all the authors (including links to their web sites) HERE.

Please share this on social media so your friends in Southern California can stop by. It’s free and open to the public. You buy the books you’d like to get autographed, or just come and shake hands. :)

Lady Jane Salon – Author Readings

There will also be a Lady Jane Salon Saturday night, March 28, from 9-11pm at the conference. This is also open to the public. There will be 12 authors in each of two rooms at the Brea Embassy Suites, each reading from one of their books for 10 minutes.

I’ve never done this before! Ack! But you have to try new things, right? I’d love for a few friends to show up! :) I will be in the Tut room, adjacent to the hotel bar, and I’ll be reading from 9:20 to 9:30pm.

Also in the Tut room, in order of appearance, are: Mary Leo, Elizabeth Boyle, (then me), Jane Porter, Lucienne Diver, Dayle Dermatis, Susan Squires, Christine Ashworth, Vicky Dreiling, Christie Craig, Teresa Carpenter, and Louisa Bacio.

Reading in the Giza room are: Laura Drake, Louella Nelson, Patricia Rice, Rebekah Ganiere, April Kihlstrom, Susan Meier, Linda O. Johnston, Debbie Decker, Lisa Kessler, Shirley Wilder, Anne Cleeland, and Maggie Marr.

Hope to see you and your friends there!

Restart: Beginning Again At Any Time

I’ve been teaching a time management class for writers in January for the last few years called Going the Distance. I’ve been thrilled that it’s been so hands-on useful to my students, and I started thinking I should do another shorter class in the summer called Restart. It would be about taking the time to stop and re-focus when your schedule gets out of control.

Yesterday, I had a brief Restart moment myself. The last few years have been very difficult financially and career-wise for both me and John. The last few months of unemployment I’ve been trying to think of ways to bring in money without totally turning away from my writing and teaching business. After looking at a lot of options, the only appealing one was to try to grow the teaching side of my business.

That has taken up most of my time (8-12 hours a day, 6 days a week!) since I put out my last book in December (A Very Merry Superhero Wedding). When I have tried to work on “My Bullheaded Superhero Valentine”, my latest superhero short story (that was supposed to be out by February 14), I have had to fight to get every word on the page, and still it’s only 15 pages long. Combine that depressing number with the numbers I pulled together for our tax accountant, and I was half-heartedly wondering at what point I should just give up.

Then John was unexpectedly called back to work two days ago! I immediately lost the feeling of wanting to give up, but I felt I needed to take one of those Restart moments and ask God again what I should be doing. You know, check in, touch base, see if there is a new direction, same direction, or if I’ve been blown off course and need to correct my route.

Turns out, it was the last one. I’ve been so focused on our daily need for money to pay the bills, I was chasing that rabbit and too often ignoring the one thing that I’ve been certain of the last few years – that God wants me to write.

And that’s why I’m here. I need to course-correct. So I’m going to hit the Restart button and start blogging regularly here again. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy the posts. ;) But sometimes you need to do things because it’s what you need regardless of what the marketing experts tell you. And what I need is a place to talk about the things that interest me – like spirituality, neuroscience, relationships, and comic books. So I’ll be doing that on Wednesdays every week.

One thing I used to write a lot of is devotionals – little stories about life and how a Bible verse or subject applies to it. I love writing those stories because it’s an outlet to share the silly, ridiculous, interesting, and heart-wrenching things I’ve seen or experienced as well as giving voice to the things I learn about God and his amazing love for us. So I’m going to start writing devotionals again (yay!) and post them here every Sunday.

That nudge I got from God yesterday – that I’m not really doing what I know I should be doing – has turned around my dragging feet and helped me not to feel so down about my writing career. Just the act of writing this post has revived my spirits already! And this is just day one!

I encourage you, if there is anything you feel like you should be doing but haven’t been, take a moment to stop and think and listen. Hit the Restart button in that area and begin again. You may feel your spirits revive, too! And please share it with me here. It’s more fun when we have a conversation instead of me monologuing like a super villain!

Is God Necessary in a Story About the War in Heaven?

Lightbulb idea gifSo I’ve been thinking about something, struggling with “pros and cons” arguments to help me decide how to proceed with a new story idea. I realized I needed to answer this question:

In a YA (young adult) paranormal set in modern day America where the plot is about a teenage girl’s role in the angel-demon war in heaven and on earth, do I or do I not write God into the story? I’m not talking about God as a person who talks and acts. I’m talking about the characters referring to God, that sort of thing.

I was asking God himself what he thought <grin> and it occurred to me that you guys have a wide variety of belief systems and reading preferences. I should get quite a good selection of answers and opinions here. Will you help me? :-D

Here are some of my pros/cons thoughts on the topic:

1. Mainstream publishers, traditional and digital only/first, separate “inspirational” and “not inspirational” mostly along the same lines. If there is a lot of “God stuff,” then there is also little to no swearing, drinking, sex, violence, etc. You can’t have both, as if somehow Christian or godly people didn’t do those things, or that they all believed the line between okay and not okay was in the same place.

I am more than happy that there are lots of people who read and write that kind of inspirational – sometimes I like it, too – but I disagree that it’s the only acceptable way to tell a story with spiritual/faith elements, or the only way to separate stories along the lines of what readers want. This is why I and a lot of other people self-publish – because we want to write stories that are not currently acceptable or marketable per other companies’ definitions.

I write about people like me. That means my characters and I are talking to God, complaining to him, asking his opinion, getting ticked off at him, and about fall over with gratitude when our prayers are answered, while at the same time indulging in a little swearing, taking things that aren’t ours, saying mean things and gossiping, getting into sexual situations that we know to be contrary to what we believe, and on and on. That’s my idea of writing about “real” people. I do think I need to be true to what I really believe about people, but I also want to be true to what I really believe about God. Technically, I *could* write what I want to say with or without direct and numerous references to God. I just don’t know that it would be as honest and transparent a story.

2. I could get really creative and write about the angel-demon war in my story without too much reference to God. But it would be an experiment on my part. I can see leaving God out of a lot of things, but how do you leave him out of heaven?? I don’t know if it would be as good a story. It would be just another story about interesting other beings that we don’t understand and can’t control, and that have no bearing on whether life is good or bad except by way of things they do or don’t do around us.

Supernatural TV show posterThat’s the direction the TV show Supernatural takes. I love that show, but they make it work by making part of the story equation the fact that God has left heaven, left the angels to do as they will with no direction. It makes for interesting and entertaining stories, but that’s not how I see it. God and what’s happening around us is all highly connected, regardless of whether we can see it or see it correctly. That is the most interesting part of the story! That we don’t really know what’s happening, especially what we can’t see, and we’re trying to figure it out.

3. I’ve had some people write in reviews of Unexpected Superhero that they didn’t like the God-stuff. Some people said they’d probably try the second book before deciding if they would read the whole series. Other people said they were done, they didn’t like it at all. Still other people loved it and can’t wait to read the rest because they liked having all those things I mentioned earlier together in one book. I figure those are potential mega-fans, the readers I’m most specifically targeting, and I definitely want to make my target audience happy. :)

So knowing that I can only please some of the people, and that should be my core group of fans, I’ve got to decide how to proceed. Once you’ve said “this is me as an author,” people will expect it. The superhero series will continue the way it began because that’s keeping a promise to the reader. When you’re about to make a new promise by writing a new series, you get to decide again what precisely you want to promise.

I think this conundrum is very much like several years ago when many authors who were happy to write softer love scenes were pushed by their publishers to write more graphic scenes. Some writers liked the freedom, others hated the push. It’s similar to an author deciding if they are or aren’t going to write a certain amount of violence. Who was it who said a few years ago that she sort of had to leave the romance genre because her publishers didn’t want to allow as much violence as she put in? But leaving opened up a whole new audience for her and she’s now a big thriller writer.

I know what it comes down to is doing what I am comfortable with. BUT…if I’m comfortable with a little or a lot of X (in this case “God stuff”), how do I make a decision that will please the largest number of fans I already have, and hopefully build on that as well? For this series, I have to decide if I can and want to write a series about the effects on earth of the war in heaven without too many direct references to God. Or I need to relax and believe that my audience likes lots of things that I like, and make it a really kick-butt book with lots of scary and interesting supernatural stuff.

Since many of you have read my stories (because you’re awesome!), I figure you are some of the best people to ask. What do you think? What do you think you would most enjoy reading in an a series about an angel-demon war?

I hate to beg, but I really hope some of you will reply. :) I love talking about the deeper, esoteric reasons behind why we write and read stories. And I have to make a decision that is rooted in the deep reasons why I write. I’d love to have other opinions to think about as I work through this.

Thanks so much, my friends! I hope you enjoy talking about this, too. Either way, thanks for listening and double-thanks for replying!

Love and hugs! :)

Released Today – A Very Merry Superhero Wedding

A Very Merry Superhero Wedding book cover by Kitty BucholtzIt’s out! My new book, A Very Merry Superhero Wedding, released today! Woo-hoo!!

It has been a long, exhausting, exciting two months! My writing friends, Debra Holland and Brenna Aubrey, suggested I try to get a Christmas novella out by Christmas week, and I took up the challenge.

Of course, because I normally write longer books (350-400 pages), it was really hard to write a shorter story. Haha! A novella is generally thought to be about 20,000 to 40,000 words, about 80-160 pages. This one came in at 45,000 words! I decided to still call it a novella so you didn’t wonder why it was so short compared to Unexpected Superhero, book one in the Adventures of Lewis and Clarke series, and the other books that will follow. ;)

As of today, the book is available on Amazon for Kindle, and on Smashwords for all formats. It’s on the way to iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and other online retailers, and will be available in print in the next couple of weeks.

Congratulations to the 5 winners of the paperback version in the Goodreads Giveaway – Nancy A, Sandra B, Jessica L, Rachella B, and Alena K!

Here is the book’s description. I hope you enjoy it! And Merry Christmas!

A novella in the Adventures of Lewis and Clarke superhero series

WEDDING DREAMS…

Tori Lewis can hardly wait for her Christmas Eve wedding to handsome Joe Clarke. But her friends and family don’t think it’s prudent to marry someone you just met. There’s something about him, though. She’s never felt safer in her life. The only question is — does she have to tell him all her secrets before the wedding?

Joe Clarke expected to be a happy superhero bachelor for years to come. But after meeting Tori Lewis on Halloween, he can’t get her out of his head. Marrying a woman he barely knows is hands-down the craziest thing he’s ever done. So how does he explain himself to a woman who doesn’t believe in superheroes?

…AND CHRISTMAS FIENDS

Meanwhile, the city is going through a Christmastime crime spree. In addition to the usual madness and thievery, a gang of robbers is targeting mall shoppers. Joe must juggle his wedding duties with his alter ego Superhero X’s commitment to protect the citizens of Double Bay.

Will it all come together without ruining the perfect Christmas wedding?

Buy it now!

A Very Merry Superhero Wedding Has a Cover!

My newsletter subscribers get to see and hear about everything first, so since they’ve now seen the new cover, I can show everyone else. Check it out! Release date – December 24, 2014!

And if you’d like to join my newsletter and hear about what’s new and what’s on sale before anyone else, click here or type in your name and email address in the form at the top right of this page. Enjoy!

A Very Merry Superhero Wedding book cover by Kitty Bucholtz

Enter to Win Prizes at a Facebook Party

I’m participating in the 12 Days of Ebook Cheer promotion December 1-12, and we’re having a Facebook party today! I’ve never done one of those before, have you?

So this is what happens – most of our authors are going to be stopping by this page sometime between Noon and 3pm Pacific (3pm-6pm Eastern). We’ll be posting funny questions or telling you a little about our books (all 12 are on sale for 99c through Friday night!), and then we’ll be randomly drawing winners to give prizes to!

You can go to Facebook right now and join the party by hitting the Join button near the top right. I think that’s how you get Facebook to remind you when the party starts. Then go read and comment and have fun! Hope to see you there!

We’ve got some more fun prizes for you to win in addition to what happens at the Facebook party. There’s a Book Cover Contest (you know who I’d love to win!), you can buy or gift any or all of the twelve books on sale, and you can answer fun questions for a chance to win Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift cards! You only have through Saturday, December 13 to get in on this action. So click on the picture below to learn more about the fun!

Please share this post using the social media buttons below and let all your friends know. :)

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12 Days of Ebook Cheer Begins Today!

Guess what fun we’ve got starting today? Twelve fun ebooks for only 99c each for the first twelve days of December! Click on the picture to go to the web site. I’m excited to have Unexpected Superhero rubbing book spines with these other wonderful books! :-D

12Days10by_White