Field Notes – Autumn 2016

Holy cats! I meant only to take off from social media for a week–maybe two–not a whole month! I forgot that autumn is THE craziest time of year for me, and I was swept away by all things non-blogging-related. But I have been busy with all things writing-related, and that’s always a good thing!!


FIELD NOTE #1: I’m wrapping up my mom’s estate, which has taken me a lot longer than I thought it would. I’ve learned a lot through this process, and I wish I had known half of it when I was her main caregiver. I think that if I had been more aware of what I was truly up against, I would have been more firm in encouraging her to get her affairs in order. If anyone is dealing with an elderly parent and is looking for advice or even a shoulder to lean on, feel free to get in touch. I completely empathize with anyone in this position, and there are important steps you can take to make the process a bit easier and more manageable.


Thank you to everyone who sent me kind emails and Facebook and Twitter notes asking how I’m doing, and keeping me in your thoughts as I spent the time grieving for my mom. I know that grief is supposed to have 5 stages, but I swear there have got to be sub-stages, that it’s not all black-and-white clear transitioning from one stage to the next. I definitely played round-robin throughout all the stages–and then some–but you know what? Grieving is hard work. It’s exhausting. And it can play tricks on your mind if you sit with that sadness or unanswered questions for too long. Writing, as always, was my savior, so I’m finally getting back on track.


FIELD NOTE #2: I finished reading the amazing collection of chapters, short stories, and novels submitted to me for my Dare to Write Summer Writing Challenge. Dare to Write Summer Writing Challenge 2016I had a ball, and I hope that the feedback I provided everyone was helpful and encouraging. That was really the main goal–to pick out the parts that sang to me. Here and there I tried to offer some constructive feedback, but only if something jumped out at me. This challenge wasn’t about me looking for trouble spots or flawed areas, but about honoring a writer’s passion to create a brand new world. Sometimes, I don’t think we write often enough with the simple joy of writing. We worry too much about HOW to write. And really, if we’re not enjoying the process or honoring the act of writing, then the how doesn’t matter anyway.


Because I enjoyed running this challenge so much, I’m thinking about offering another one in the next few months. I’d love to hear from you about what kind of a challenge you would be most interested in. If I can figure out how to include a survey in a blog post, I’ll get that up and running soon. I’m not tech-savvy, so I may have to resort to the old-fashioned, boring, leave-your-suggestions-in-the-comment-box-below option.


FIELD NOTE #3: Book 3 of my series for writers is now available on Amazon: Writer . . . Uninterrupted – A Handbook for the Confident Writer. coaching handbook for writersI have to say, of the three books I’ve written so far, this one was the most challenging. I felt myself pausing with each bit of advice I wrote, because I’m not always a confident writer. I kinda felt like a fraud by talking about ways to be confident when I suffer from rocky self-esteem. For that reason, though, I’d have to say this book helped me grow and find a better path to my writing goals. I hope that if you choose to read it that you will discover a stronger writing-you, too.


FIELD NOTE #4: I’m back to teaching adult classes in writing after taking the summer off. I have missed working closely with writers, especially in a traditional classroom setting. While I love the online connections I’ve made over the years, nothing beats having a dialogue with another writer or offering a personalized, direct answer to a specific question. Plus, it gives me a chance to give back to the writing community–there have been so many wonderful people who have helped me get this far. I like taking the opportunity to share what I’ve learned so far.


FIELD NOTE #5: Halloween is one of my favorite days of the year, and I celebrate all month long. I’ve got the graveyard, the spooky lights, the ghouls, and the eerie sounds ready to go.

A Halloween garden

Springtime, tulips rise from the earth. Halloweentime, bones do.

I’ll be hosting my annual party for the kids as the Black Widow, hoping they can help me solve the mystery of my second murdered husband. Shall be very grim and disturbing–bawahahaha!

How is your autumn going? What are you going to be for Halloween?

Have a writerly day!!






27 thoughts on “Field Notes – Autumn 2016

  1. That sounds like a chore tying up all the loose ends. I do dread that someday since I’m the oldest kid in my family and don’t really want to be in charge, but might be anyway just by default of my birth order. Glad you’re getting your head above water once again. Fall is crazy busy. Good luck with everything on your plate–especially the fun Halloween party–and glad you’re back again to be uplifted by your writerly words.


    • Thank you, Char. I am not the oldest child, but I am the oldest girl. I guess for you, no matter how you slice it, you’re likely stuck with the job. Stock up on emergency kits of chocolate now!!

      My problem was that I was trying to respect her independence and her rights, which I don’t regret of course, but I might have come up with a better strategy had I known what I was really in for! Like sorting junk from valuables ahead of time . . . yeah, that would have been a smart move. 🙂

      I love autumn, so that has helped my mood a lot. The Halloween party will be a blast. Kids are now old enough where jumping out from behind a tree with a zombie mask is perfectly acceptable! 🙂


  2. Writing can be great therapy – I’m glad it’s helping you through this time. Halloween is my favorite holiday too. I remember hearing about your murder mystery Halloween party – that’s such a great idea – hope you have lots of fun with it this year!


  3. LOL Kate! I thought I’d take off 6 months and it turned into 18. OH my but life does have a way of getting faster and faster!!! (to my great chagrin I have not finished your book yet!! I am so old fashioned and like to read a ‘real’ book rather than the Kindle. I enjoyed it so far, though!)
    I hope you are finding healing moments as you complete your mom’s estate. Much love to you.


    • Great minds think alike! 🙂 Blogging is really easy to put on the back burner, and really, when you have a job and a family, it should be last priority. But it’s so much work to get it back on track. I need to find a better system! I don’t blame you about the e-readers–I’m not a fan of them myself. I much prefer a real book, and I’ll reach for that over a Kindle any day of the week. I have considered making print versions of the handbooks, but that requires technical knowledge, and well, you know . . .

      Great to hear from you!! xx


  4. I’ve heard it is a lot of work taking care of loved one’s estates. I’ve seen some family members go through it. I’m sure you’ll look back and think, “How did I ever get through that?”

    Congrats on Book Three’s release. Best of luck with it!


  5. Nice to see you back Kate. Sorry to hear about the task of settling your mom’s affairs while still going through the grieving. Indeed there are many more than 5 steps. I would like to thank you again for offering up your time and expertise to edit a chapter of our work. I love your style. And also stoked that I won a copy of one of your books which I can’t wait to sink my eyes into and of course review. Happy Halloween! 🙂


    • Well, I kind of knew I was in for a tough road, but didn’t realize how much Scottish bullheadedness I’d be up against!

      I thoroughly enjoyed reading the submissions and giving feedback. Actually, the challenge helped me in terms of inspiring me to get back to my own fiction, which I didn’t expect! I’m glad that you found something useful out of my thoughts. I really got into your story, and I just know that many women and men can relate to what you experienced. Your story is a valuable one to share.

      Happy Halloween to you too!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. All the very best to you. My mother is also terminally ill back in London and my two sisters and I are holding our breath in terms of dealing with the estate when that comes up. Turning to writing that sounds like another great book from you! (I’m struggling to get going with book number two!)


    • Paul, I’m so sorry to hear that. It must be tough to be so far away from her. I hope all turns out as smoothly as possible, but even if not, I can swear to you that you will get through it, even if it feels like there is no way you will. My thoughts are with you.

      I hope you’ll enjoy the book–although hearing that you’re struggling to get going with book 2 sounds rather foreboding! 😦 Hope it’s not the book that’s making it difficult!! Ack. :/


  7. I hope all will soon settle back into a less hectic routine for you, Kate. Dealing with loss is never easy, and we all find our “new normal” in different ways and at different times. Writing can be a wonderful help in the process.

    Book 3 is now downloaded on my Kindle. 🙂


    • Yes, a new normal is highly anticipated by this girl!! Thank goodness for writing, really, all things creative. I’ve found solace in baking and gardening and, lately, decorating for Halloween. Feeding that creative spirit does wonders for us on all levels.

      Thank you for your support! I hope you enjoy. How is your writing coming along?


      • Well, 6,882 words in September and so far for October—8,444 words. Kat’s part of “SATC” has three scenes needing completion before her first draft is done. Maybe I can finish this rebuild after all! 🙂


  8. You’ve been a busy 🐝! Good work on all. You’re so right about the estate planning; going through that right now and also moving in my father-in-law.

    Good job finishing the third book and teaching your classes! I have to admit, I got the most delight out of your Halloween accomplishments – you are soooo much fun! 🎃


    • Thanks Amy! I love Halloween. I have to admit, I nearly decided against doing it this year because I am neck-deep in the estate. But then I knew I would always, always feel guilty. Now I’m past the overwhelmed part and looking forward to scaring 11 – 14 year olds. Yesss!!!

      When you say you’re moving in your FIL, do you mean he’s moving in with you? My thoughts are with you as you deal with the aftermath of losing your MIL–if you want to talk you know where to find me!!


  9. Wowza, honey. You deserve the 2016 Female Badass award! Sending more hugs your way, because…hugs. And, I promise to pick up your third book after I catch up on the other two! I’m finally wrapping up my pile of library books so I can concentrate on indie friends for a bit. xo


  10. You’re having a very busy autumn so far Kate, I’m glad it’s so fruitful but hope you manage to fit some relaxation in too. My mother passed away six years ago now and I’m an only child, so I understand the challenges of what comes afterwards. Halloween is my favourite day of the year and I do wish we celebrated in as big a way as you do!


  11. Congrats on getting book 3 out! I think I did get book 2 but haven’t read it yet, I’ll have to check. I want to get back into some writing. Well I’ve been dabbling a little, but I think I’m going to use NaNo as motivation to carry on with what I started writing in last year’s NaNo, which I didn’t touch again after the end of November. If I can complete a first draft this time, however rough it is, I’ll be pleased.

    Sorry about all the stuff you’ve been going through too! It’s nice to have the autumn things to focus on.


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