Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Celebrating My Journey as a Writer!

As I approach the seventh anniversary of changing my professional title from Landscape Architect to Author, I cannot help but reflect upon everything that has had to go into the pot to make this happen.

With a whole lot of gumption I opened my laptop, after watching Clint Eastwood on Inside the Actor’s Studio, and decided to write a book based upon the thought that it would be a lot of fun to meet him… but how would one go about meeting a celebrity? Casually?

From that one idea, Charlotte’s Restrained, The Accidental Stalker was born. And from it, the whole Accidental Series. There is a tongue-in-cheek component to the title of the series, because while I had gumption enough to write one book, I didn’t know I would write a series. That was an accident.

What happens along the way? From deciding to write your first page, to deciding to make it your career? If you are smart, you read blogs, books, listen to webinars, go to workshops, develop a community of readers/reviewers, and begin to forge your way into the world of social media.

Early November 2013, I attended PubCamp, hosted by a local Seattle business called Honest to Betsy, I don’t even know how I came to know of them, but it was the best thing that happened. At the time, Charlotte’s Restrained had NOT seen a proper Development Editor, a Copy Editor, or Illustrator! I sat in a room at the Center for Urban Horticulture (where I had taken classes to become a Landscape Architect), and listened to people who were fifteen to twenty years YOUNGER than me using acronyms and jargon that made my head spin.

So, I did what any late 40-something person does. I raised my hand, and admitted to the lovely young techno wizard that I didn’t have the slightest clue what she was talking about. She politely surveyed the group of wannabe authors attending her lecture and asked who else was clueless. I think about half the people raised their hands. Phew! We set the restart button and the ball got rolling on a much more basic level.

As I drove home that night, many things registered within me. First and foremost, I had the realization that I had not used my brain that intently in years!! I also had purchased the skills of a Development Editor, committed myself to understanding all the jargon thrown at me, and to finding a toe-hold in the local writing community.

About a third of that happened. I received the input from the editor and found out that I had a lot of work to do. So, off I went to write, rewrite, edit, synthesize, revamp. My budget is tiny… so tiny you can’t see it, so I used the services of once again and got a great bid from a Copy Editor to clean-up my book. Let’s see, by now this is January or February of 2014. Having used up my budget, I created new cover art and prayed that it would be decent enough… which turned out NOT to be the case and I hired a professional to redo them this past summer.

Keep in mind that while all this was happening, I had already written Venus Rising. For every part of me that is a comedian in Charlotte’s Restrained, my broken self is in Venus Rising. I felt trepidatious at sending this book out into the world, but once again went through the process of Development Editor and Copy Editor. I decided that if I could handle the blows of the editors, who can be brutal, I could withstand the pressure of the personal exposure I'd feel putting Venus Rising out there.

Was everything solved? No!! In February 2014 I went to a birthday party to celebrate with several friends. Over a glass of wine, or two, perhaps three, I whined incessantly about how nothing was happening with my supposed writing career. I will freely admit that a handful got fed up enough they wandered to the bright side (the kitchen where the food and wine was). A few hung out in the dreary, ‘What am I going to do?’ environs. I received an incredible pep talk from those that remained, and what followed changed my life.

The next day I signed up with two read/review groups on Facebook. I created a website, an author’s page on Facebook, and created a Twitter account. Twitter blew my mind. So, I took baby steps, and read every ‘How to Use Twitter’ blog I could lay my eyes on. No, I do not have millions of followers. I have about 2500 and I follow about the same. The great things is these aren’t people who spam me endlessly. They are writers, readers, bloggers, artists, social media experts, all people who have the same enthusiasm for reading and writing that I do. A part of my soul gets fed by these people on a daily basis. (There is the potential side benefit that my local friendships have improved since I whine less.)

So, where do things sit? I write about five hours a day, I spend two hours on social media, I read and review an average of four books per weeks. Occasionally I get really lucky and am invited to book clubs to speak about my books. Life as a writer keeps me very busy.

 I was recently asked what I would tell high school students who are considering writing as a career what they ought to do. My first answer: develop your business skills while you are building your communication skills, while you are creating your brand. There’s more to it, but if you can get this triumvirate happening, you just might stand a chance… if you can actually write.

Thrilled to bits, I can say that in the time it takes to birth a human I have taken my books images and content to the best level that I can. I have finished a third, have started two others, and have a novella in mind for my next project. Am I millionaire? No. Not even a hundredaire. Many things make this okay, one of them is reality. Very few authors are overnight sensations, even fewer make it big, even less will do so with only a handful of books under their name.

Days pass where I type and wonder if I am doing the right thing. Fortunately I have the luxury of following this path without distraction (meaning, no other job). While I am appreciative of the absolute freedom to write, some days it can take all my strength to pep myself up to sit down and write. I know that the day swiftly approaches that I will compromise and find a part-time job doing who knows what and write part-time, but that is okay. For at long last I believe that I am finally connecting with readers. Not in the, “make a lot of money,” way, but in a much better way.

I recently received this email from a male reader, the husband of a dear friend, who turns out to be a great friend:

I don't generally read romance novels, and i don't think I'm your target demographic, but I read Charlotte's Restrained and it was funny. So, now it's Venus Rising, and I'll get to the middle one too.
As for why....that's complicated. The truth is, I almost certainly wouldn't read them if I didn't know you. But, I wouldn't read them just because I know you either, though I would probably buy them.
To me, writing is a very personal act, and to publish is to put a bit of yourself on public display. Even if your characters bear no resemblance to you, your portrayal of them reflects your views on them to some degree.
Writing a sex scene, for example, I imagine must be a bit of a negotiation with yourself about just what, exactly, you're willing to put your name to on the subject, even for a work of fiction.  Indeed, the choice to include sex scenes at all I expect was the subject of some thought. And areas where you might be less guarded perhaps reflect more of your real self (or not).
So, an author reveals herself through writing, including through the choices topics. And the question for me then becomes, is this person even remotely interesting enough for me to care, and can they write well enough to keep my attention.
Usually the answer is no. It’s hard enough to be interesting, let alone a good writer.
So, I cracked the first book strictly because I know you. I kept reading because I can hear you say "Des Bannerman" (and I imagine you mockingly frame his name in the air with your hands when you say it), and I keep reading because you can write.
I don't feel obligated to read it in the slightest, I'm not that nice. :)
And now you know your audience consists of at least one elitist snob.  :)

That is why I write! Thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 30, 2014


1. Include a picture or video of yourself in a Halloween costume!
That’s me, on the right! I went as a Lichtenstein painting, cause’ scary stuff scares me.

2. What is your favorite scary movie?

I both loved and was terrified by the movie, Aliens!
3. What scene from a book or movie scared you more than any other?
Just Killing Time by Derek Van Arman is the all-time scariest book!! Seriously. I read it in Hawaii, stayed in the condo, and locked all the doors and windows. Here is the synopsis from Goodreads, because I couldn’t open the book to find the part that scared the poop out of me.
"Serial killers have very little to do with the myths. They are your neighbors, the people you meet at the PTA. They ride the bus with you, your children play with their children, they break bread with you at family gatherings..."
That is Jack Scott speaking - the head of the federal agency that hunts the most dangerous criminal alive - the serial killer. Zak Dorani is one of them. For thirty years this brilliant, twisted murderer has been methodically seeking out his helpless victims and slaying them. Only once was he apprehended - by Jack himself - only to be set free in a mockery of justice that began a decades-long duel between a ruthless killer and the lawman who has learned to think like one. Now, as a bloody trail signals that the hunt is on again, Jack Scott needs every bit of his canny expertise and every member of his skilled team to catch a human monster with many different faces before a beautiful widow and her son with the key to the killer can become his latest prey.
4. If all of Stephen King's bad guys were after each other, who would win and why?
I think Annie Wilkes from Misery would win. She was a twisted, demented, determined and vengeful woman. Nothing could stop her and she stopped at nothing. I haven’t read every Stephen King novel, but I’d say, based upon stereotypes, most male villains wouldn’t have the patience to wait for an author to rewrite a manuscript.

5. Give a Treat! Provide a link to a Halloween treat or beverage recipe.
Bleeding Heart


2 ounces dry vermouth

8 ounces premium gin
Ice cubes
4 Pickled Baby Beets, each placed on a cocktail skewer
1. Chill 4 martini glasses in the freezer or fill with ice water and let sit until frosty, about 5 minutes (pour out water). Add the vermouth, dividing evenly; swirl to coat the glasses, then pour out. Add gin to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously until chilled; divide among chilled glasses. Garnish each with a skewered pickled baby beet, and serve immediately.
6. Provide the cover, link and 2 or 3 sentence elevator pitch for the book or series (of your own) you would like to feature in your blog car.
What could go wrong celebrating New Years in the swanky, celebrity-packed, French Alps? The answer is nothing, unless your name happens to be Charlotte Young.

An entertaining series of events allow Charlotte to hunt Des down, helping her restore her reputation and uncover a misunderstanding. Fifteen minutes of fame just isn't all it’s cracked up to be!



WHOA! If you are just starting the story train, click HERE to go to read Ginger Gelsheimers introduction on Train Car #1 for the beginning.


"Buried Alive?"
His ugly nasally voice! Just the sound of his horrid voice caused memories to rush forward.  “Doctor Moore! The man who shot me, as you say, long ago, is somehow inside me as well. It won’t matter that what efforts the doctors went through to bring me here, to this day. Your Past Life Transplant is about to fail.”
Panicking, Dr. Moore grasped the fragile arm of her patient. “Who is it?”
“Carson Barlow, my sister Mary’s husband.” I gasped, struggling to get the words out, my insides roiled in agony. “He’s doing something. My innards burn fierce.” Sweat beaded on my brow and slid down my long drawn cheeks. Suddenly I began to shake hard enough my teeth rattled, yet I struggled on. “After she died, some folks from New Orleans, came to my door,” I drew deep breaths, gasping my words out, “said he practiced witch craft.”
The present world faded away as Carson Barlow’s voice bellowed, “Shut up! I’m going to kill you for this.”
The superior, calm voice of a Lord Hampshire interjected. “Don’t be a complete fool. If you kill her, you kill us as well and that I won’t allow to happen.”
“Thank you, thank you, Lord Hampshire!” I spoke aloud, having no idea how Lord Hampshire could control the repulsive Carson Barlow.
“Don’t thank me yet, madam.” There was a tone in Lord Hampshire’s voice that told me he was as much to be feared as the cold-blooded bastard who’d killed my sister.
Click HERE to continue the story with Author, Lisa Hall!


Monday, September 8, 2014

Jerry Seinfeld on Drinking Tea

As mentioned in previous blogs, my mother is from England. Over the many years that she has been my mother, life’s ups and downs have been met with, “I’ll make you a cup of tea,” or “I could sure use a cuppa!” You’d think that being her daughter and sharing her gene pool that I’d have some understanding of this, but I confess, I don’t.

As with such things, it must be cultural.

Today I was driving to a yoga class, and to distract myself from the impending pain, I listened to the radio. Country wasn’t doing it for me, so I turned to a local station where the DJ and crew is famous for segment called, “Second Date Update.” The way it basically works is that two people go on a date, but one or the other don’t want to go on a second date. So the reject suitor can call in, tell their story, then the DJ calls the reject-or and tries to suss out what the problem is. If all goes well, a second date occurs. If not, back to trolling bars, websites, and grocery stores in search of l’amour.

Over the years I’ve heard some doozeys. One couple made it back to the man’s apartment, and just before he disappeared into the bathroom, he told his new lady friend to pick out a movie they could watch. He had neglected to put his porn collection away. When he came out of the bathroom moments later, she was gone. The gist of it is that she wouldn’t go on a second date, even though he apologized for not considering his collection to not be something just left out in public.

Perhaps my all-time favorite has to do with a guy picked the fancy restaurant, left with girl, before paying the bill. The next day the girl goes to the same restaurant (since she’d enjoyed herself so much) only to be thrown out by the manager. When the story was repeated on air, the guy announced that his credit card was maxed out and he didn’t want to be embarrassed. What?! He  didn’t offer to pay the girl back when she paid the bill. This was possibly his only redemption! Dude! Again, no second date.

So on my way to downward dogs and warrior pose, I hear the woman recount her side of the story (I will fess up to the fact that I missed the guy calling in and offering his perspective on their date). From what I can gather, someone else approached her (perhaps at a bar), and the guy she was on a date with wanted to duke it out there! He became so enraged that HE TORE HIS SHIRT OFF! The DJ and crew were offering all kinds of feedback, “Dude, you ripped your shirt off?” or “Girl, I think you are better off without him.”

The guy interrupts, and says, “Look, I’ll do whatever it takes. I’ll take you out for tea.”

Everyone in the booth at the radio station starts laughing, you can barely hear the girl say, “Alright, I will go out with you for tea.”

For real? There was a moment of confused silence before everyone started bombarding the woman with questions. When it was finally quiet enough for her to be heard, she said, “I like a sense of humor, and if he is willing to go out for tea, I’ll go.”

Is this what I have not understood all this time? That a cup of tea is entertaining? The takeaway from this is, when in doubt, drink tea. Writers could use a cup of tea to resolve dialog issues, Earl Gray or PG Tips can solve political issues, while rose hips mends broken hearts. This seems very Jerry Seinfeld-ish to me.


Jerry Seinfeld and George Constanza are in Jerry’s apartment talking about nothing. A buzzer rings. Jerry walks to the intercom and hits the talk button, Elaine announces herself, he pushes the button to allow her into the building. He resumes his conversation about nothing with George.

Elaine enters the apartment, throws her coat and purse down on the round wooden kitchen table. “The weirdest thing just happened,” she announces. Irritated confusion is painted on her face.

“What?” Jerry asks disinterestedly, while pulling a bottled water out of his fridge.

While pushing his glasses into place, George mutters under his breath, “Weird things happen to me every day, but does anyone care? No.”

Elaine stares at the ceiling for a minute, while twirling a long hank of brown curly hair. “The delivery guy comes into the office today and just as I’m signing for the package, he says, ‘You want to go out to tea with me?’ Just like that, no warning, no flirting, nothing!”

Kramer bursts into Jerry’s apartment, “Tea, what kind of tea?” His body quivers with exuberance.

“What different does it make?” Elaine throws a question back at him.

“Tea? Who asks a girl out for tea? This isn’t the 15th century!” George asks argumentatively, throwing his hands in the air.

“Tea! That is odd.” Jerry finally adds calmly, ignoring the interruptions, seriously pondering the situation. “So, what did you say?”

Elaine took her turn throwing her arms into the air, “I told him I’d have to tell him tomorrow!” The words “of course” floated in the air.

Zeroed in on every word, Kramer stepped over the couch with his long legs, and settled himself in amongst the cushions. His face serious. “Chamomile or Earl Gray?” he asked.

All eyes turned on him. “Whadda ya mean? It tells us something about him. Earl Gray says he’s classy! Hey, what if he wants to take you to the Palm Court and the Plaza Hotel?”

“Alright, alright, don’t get carried away, he’s a delivery man for god’s sake.” Seeing Kramer has grabbed Elaine’s attention, Jerry adds a touch of sanity to the conversation.

“He could be secretly rich!” Kramer says, looking at Jerry cautiously. Seeing Jerry is returning to his conversation he bravely continues, “Well then, maybe Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon. Be careful if he orders Chamomile. Chamomile says, ‘I’m not fully committed.”

“What? How do you know about these places?” George demands, utterly baffled.

Kramer stands-up to his full six feet two inches, shoves his hands into his worn grey cotton pants. He assumes the air and tone of a sophisticated man, and rocks back on his heels. “I know things! Oh yeah, I get around!” He loses it in the end, and punches the air with his index finger, dramatically.

“Gotta go,” Elaine says, surprising three men. The three turn to face her, wearing confused expressions.

With a rising voice, Jerry demands, “Where are you going?”

“To get my hair done.”

“For what?” Jerry nasally New York twang kicks in at full tilt.

“I’m going out for tea.” A hint of a dimple betrays her cautious admission.

“Whadda ya mean, you’re going out for tea?” Jerry’s voice is full of confrontation, while George berates Kramer for putting ideas into Elaine’s head.

With that, Elaine picks her purse and coat up and flounces out the door without a backwards glance.

“Well how do you like that?” Jerry says to no one in particular.
Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Call Me, Anytime!

(Girls Night Out - Wicked, love Elphaba)
A few days ago my daughter said, “You are to crochet, what I am to sewing, what Pigpen is to cleaning.” I laughed until I almost wet myself. She’s right!

We were sitting in the airport departure lounge, watching a woman crocheting an afghan, sweater, or some such. Her hands were a blur as she whipped her crochet hook through, around, and under the yarn! It seemed possible that before boarding was called this crochet-capable lady was going to have blankets for everyone on the plane.

To explain. I have miles of yarn. I bought junk yarn, convinced that eventually I would progress to silk and bamboo blends. I bypassed perfecting any skill and just bought beautiful yarn. Every once in a while I pull out a skein or two, crochet endlessly for a few days and then put the unfinished project in its hidey-hole.

Last summer, my fashion-capable daughter decided to learn to sew. I am a demon with the sewing machine. My seams are sown straight, folded, top stitched; after the fabric has been painstakingly matched my pleats are perfectly distributed. Naturally she asked me to teach her. I was ecstatic. I envisioned hours of sewing together, prom dresses constructed, dollars saved, original designs!

She bought all she’d need to sew a beautiful yet simple summer dress. After a few hours of lip biting, she completed a complicated bodice pleats, then looked at me, face flushed, sweat on her upper lip, and announced, “I hate this.”

“I know honey. I could tell you weren’t having any fun.”

“But I want to be good at it.”



“Want me to finish it?”

Her eyes sparkled, “Would you? Please, yes, that would be great!”

I promptly took the heap of materials, put it in a hidey-hole, then took her out for frozen yogurt. My plan was to finish it in secret, present it to her, she’d get to wear it without any negative feelings. So… a few days ago I found the bag of materials, fitted the dress on her, and well, she’s grown! Those bodice pleats! They are our undoing.

We laughed.

Time goes way too fast to worry about you what cannot do. Focus on what you can. My daughter makes great macaroons.

What do you do best? What do you enjoy? I love to write (obviously), read (also obvious), but more than anything, I love human interaction. So, I invite you to contact me via this blog, on Twitter or Facebook. Maybe together we can broaden our horizons! I know a lot about plants (I am a Landscape Architect), the aforementioned sewing, how to travel on a shoe-string budget, many things. I’ll warn you up front, I know nothing about Physics. That’s my husband’s department.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Curious where authors find their muse?

How Charlotte’s Restrained came to be…

Late in the summer of 2008 my husband and I were watching an episode of Inside the Actors Studio. Host James Lipton was interviewing Clint Eastwood. This multi-talented man fascinated us. After the interview was over, we chatted about how amazing it would be to invite him over for dinner and get to know him. The obvious problem: how to contact Clint Eastwood? Next obvious problem: if we could call him on the phone, what would compel him to want to have dinner with complete strangers? Sidestepping these crucial issues, it didn’t take long for the plan to evolve. It also didn’t take long to realize that it would be preferable to go to his house for dinner. After all, he lived in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California and likely had a better cook than me.

At the same time, I spent the first week my kids were back in school perfecting my domestic goddess-ness and realized I was as good at it as I wanted to get. There was something else I wanted to do more – write. I fired up my laptop and started writing. I didn’t have a strategy, hadn’t jotted down an outline or done any research. I also had zero contacts and resources. All I had was plain old-fashion gumption. Honest to Betsy, it never occurred to me that I couldn’t write a book.

It was also completely obvious to me to borrow from reality and write a book about encountering a long admired celebrity. Mirroring real life, there would have to be plenty of twists and turns. However, in the fantasy world, we can make incredible things happen. I needed people, loads of interesting and entertaining people who could make such a feat happen!

Let’s face it, we want it all. We want romance. We want to be a part of a group of friends who grew up and grow old together. We want to travel. We want to eat good food and drink great wine. We want to wear fabulous clothes! So, how to get it all in one book?

Charlotte, her BFF’s, a celebrity, and a handsome Irishman!

I like to think of myself as mostly normal, so I feel comfortable representing all women, when I say that we know we’ve found a real friend when we don’t worry about the state of our house when they stop by. We are really good friends if we’ll change our clothes in front of each other. We know we are Besties if when we really mess up, the other person may be really angry, but needs our own special brand of crazy in order to feel like life is do-able. Oh! And the most important factor: laughter. All of us want someone we can belly laugh with.

Charlotte, Hillary, Tiziana, Kathleen and Marian are such a village. These five women have history, have bled for each other, talked each other in and out of bad and good situations. Let each other be real. Fortunately for us these vivacious women are scattered around the globe, giving us the opportunity to travel to exciting places, where they meet up, drink up, and get into a little trouble.

We also have Des Bannerman, the King of Romantic Comedies in Charlotte’s Restrained. Des Bannerman is my vision of a mega star. A decade into his career he is riding the wave of major-motion picture success. He’s the go to man for chick flicks. Des Bannerman started out with a really big dream, but has become a little jaded by all the glitz and glory, and lives a life surrounded by people he trusts, but doesn’t really get to meet new people, because how does he meet them and who can he trust?

Pivotal to the story, is Liam Molloy, the Irishman who steals Charlotte’s heart. Liam has many things going for him; he’s gorgeous (of course), he’s the source of envy (providing many opportunities for the ladies to banter about men and “love”), and he has a great sense of humor. To be honest, I borrowed from reality again, the banter between Charlotte and Liam is much like mine and my husbands.

What makes a compelling story?

Beneath it all, I believe that we thrive when we know we are a part of a village. No one person can give us everything we need, BUT when we have a village we have everything! Friends, lovers, pets, children, frenemies, co-workers, all provide us with opportunities to grow and love. The most successful tales take place in the village concept.

To make the village happen in Charlotte’s Restrained, we are blessed with the opportunity to travel to London, Rome, New York, Dublin, and Saint Tropez. Amongst the many benefits of all this travel is that we get to see and feel the tempo of life in different parts of the world – we eat and drink foods that may be new and unique, we walk down streets ladened with history and float on oceans that are azure blue.


I love getting to know authors, most of those that I’ve reached out to have been amazingly accessible and supportive. You can learn as much about me as you can stomach at or on Twitter (@KennedyCelia), Facebook (Celia Kennedy, Author). On my website there are links to my blog WomanReinventsSelf. That’s where you read the good, the bad and the ugly!
If you look for me on Pinterest ( you will find boards that I have created for Charlotte’s Restrained, Venus Rising, and my current work-in-progress, Kathleen’s Undressed (a sequel to Charlotte’s Restrained).

Monday, August 11, 2014

The View From Where I Sit

I have sat in this chair before. The one where the view from where I sit seems more compelling than the one I’ve stared at for so long. Today I sit at the worn wooden table in my rented apartment, where I can look down the hallway, through the corbelled arch of this 1920’s building, and out the transom window to the blue sky beyond. I have been in Montreal for eight weeks and I still haven’t figured out the metric system. It will be 29 degrees Celsius today. I’m not sure what that is in Fahrenheit, all I know is that it will be hot!

As an exchange student in 1995, I sat on a bus, staring out the windows, absorbing the verdant green hills that rolled past and the honey colored stone buildings of small villages I could see in the distant landscape of rural England. I had travelled from Brighton to Edinburgh, from Liverpool to Lowestoft, and though I was about to head to Europe for several months, I already knew I didn’t want to go home to all that was familiar. Now, after eight weeks in Montreal, I feel that same sense confusion. A foot in both worlds. The one that is known, and the one that has yet to be explored.

Years ago I recognized myself for who I am. A vagabond, a wandering spirit, an adventurer, an explorer. I disguise myself regularly in the clothes of someone else. Mother, PTA President, gardener. I only expose this wandering spirit to my husband, because in this we are kindred spirits. We want to go everywhere, live in all kinds of spaces and places, eat strange foods, try new things. It never fails to amuse me that while I moved every two years of my life, my husband lived in the same house for the majority of his life. Yet, we have this mutual need. We also have the mutual desire to provide a stable environment for our children to grow up in.

Hence the disguise.

Is this a new revelation? No. I have parents, siblings, friends who demanded that we return before we left on this adventure. One child is filled with wanderlust, the other says, “No! I want to go home. I want to stay there, FOREVER!” Am I confused? Yes!

Recently, yesterday actually, a friend created a Facebook Page where a bunch of us who worked together back in the late 1980’s, started sharing details of our lives. Many were from Europe and going to work was akin to landing on foreign soil daily. In reading their updates it was interesting to see that a handful had children and had continued to move all over the world. It’s been on my mind quite a bit this trip that whether we move or stay, what we have to do differently is help our children understand us better. I think we have worn our disguise long enough.

I know that all of this is why I write what I write. It isn’t accidental that the books I have written, and those still waiting their turn to make it to digital format, take place all over the world. As natural as it is for others to want a homestead, a place where grandchildren will come to visit, I need to see the world, to have minimal restraints. This is witnessed so perfectly in a recent book review when the individual wrote, “the research is sound and there was enough of London in it to make me believe that the writer had been there.” I want to tell her, “I have! I have! Many times.”

One form of vicarious travelling that I do is in forming connections with authors around the globe. We are able to relate and support each other in ways never experienced before. While we do not sit in salons in Paris or London, we Skype, chat, tweet, and post. It is a gratifying community to belong to. For me it goes far beyond the writer’s relationship of promotion and research. It’s the knowledge that we dreamers can dream alongside someone else.

As there are armchair quarterbacks, there are keyboard tapping travelers.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Charlotte Restrained Travels the World via Fiction Addiction!

Years ago, when I was studying Landscape Architecture, and was just about to give a presentation to professors, students and invited professionals on a project that was months in the making, I would tell myself, “It’ll be over in two hours, just relax.” This was after countless hours of research, miles of concept doodles on bum wad (what we called trace paper), and then days and days spent crafting fluffy and technical design drawings.

Many of these same skills have come to bear as an author; during the writing process and now as I promote Charlotte’s Restrained and Venus Rising. I have been asked several times as we prepared for the book tour which three words I would use to describe myself, my answer: curious, perseverant, witty. From beginning to end, the world of authorship is a tough row to hoe (or tough road to hold). It twists, turns, and meanders, and there is no map to follow!

Back in February, with two completed books and three partially written ones under my belt, I was ready to throw in the towel. Ready to take a paying job where I could show up, complete a set list of requirements, pack up my bag, and go home. Then three remarkable things happened.

I went out with a bunch of friends, most of whom are embarking on new careers, and we brainstormed with wine in hand. The ladies convinced me to look for different in-roads.

I was already reading books and writing reviews, so I went in search of book review services where I could connect with fellow authors. Immediately after signing up, I began receiving ten or more requests for book reviews per day. When the list hit eighty seven books, I had to put the brakes on. I am happily plugging away at the list, thrilled to be supporting new authors such as myself.

The third event was creating an account on Twitter. Though I worked at Microsoft as a software tester years ago, I am not a technology junkie, so this was a big step. I was going to have to figure out Twitter, try to find people to follow, forge connections, and then… and only then, start to promote my work.
What I had told myself years before as a Landscape Architecture student has changed, the big reveal won't be over in a few hours. Writing and promoting my work and those authors I respect will occupy most of my days.

At this point in the game I have read many blogs on Twitter Etiquette, writing, publishing, social media, and self-promotion. There are so many people in the Twittersphere who’ve unknowingly helped me gain confidence through their generous sharing of knowledge. The path that was once full of twists and turns now seems a little less circuitous, and so I thank you sincerely.

To all of you who have supported me, in person and online, I am forever in your debt.

I invite you to participate in the fabulous book tour that Fiction Addiction has organized for me. We’ve made it super easy, all you need to do is click here or go to my website. You will find links to interviews, reviews by respected reviewers, and Giveaways!

As always, thank you for reading!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Inspiring Blogger Award... and Seven Interesting Things About Me!

Author Glynis Astie tagged me to participate in the Very Inspiring Blogger Award/Tour! Happily I received this invitation as I sat on the couch reading her book, French Twist.

This is a very fun tour to participate in, I get to share seven interesting things about myself. Then I have the honor of asking seven authors to participate. Which is terrific, because then I get to learn more about them (I'm hoping they'll share the juicy stuff).


1. I married my fiancé's best friend.

2. Bill Gates took me water-skiing.

3. I have backpacked through Europe three times and drive my family nuts when I yell, "I've been there... and there!" I'm usually jumping up and down while I point at the TV when I do this. 

4. While I was in college I worked for the Nuclear Engineering Division at a Naval Shipyard. My job was to assist developing tools to defuel nuclear reactors. (My parents picketed the shipyard on a regular basis.)

5. I've played blackjack with Mike Tyson.

6. (Sons suggestion: Most dangerous thing I've ever done) I went canoe surfing off the shores of Oahu during hurricane storm warning in an outrigger. With the ocean roaring in our ears, we rode the waves several times. We also flipped a time or two. I'd feel the canoe nose going under the wave, brace myself for the two bodies behind me to slide down. With a thud, we'd all go crashing into my friend sitting in front of me, just before being launched into the ocean. Bathing suits, sunglasses, hair bands, all went missing. "Want to go again?" Mike asked. "Oh yeah!"

7. (Daughters suggestion: Most glamorous event I've ever been to (other than my wedding)) While attending the University of Liverpool, the college of Architecture was celebrating it's two hundredth birthday. Princess Ann, Queen Elizabeth's daughter, attended the function. We were taught how to curtsy, shake hands, make chit chat. We were expected to dress nicely. However, we were starving college students. So off we went to Oxfam Charity Shop to buy a dress. I found a lovely LBD that I still own for about $5.00. I DID not meet Princess Ann though.
Who to tag? I would love to know more about Jan RomesJane Porter, Roberta Goodman, Kelsye Nelson, Erin Lawless, and Evan Asher.
The rules are, ladies and gentleman, post the logo, link back to me, Celia Kennedy, then list your seven things! Ready? Set? Go!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

TOUCHED BY FIRE, By Lorrie Farrelly

Touched by fire was Oliver Wendell Holmes’ description of the three million men – many of them scarcely more than boys – who fought in the War Between the States. Over 600,000 of them would die; nearly all those who survived found their lives changed forever. At the war’s end, veterans poured into the west; some sought adventure, some sought fortune, some wanted only to outrun their demons and find a reason to go on living. Most could scarcely remember peace; many had no choice but to try to start over.

I’ve always been interested in the Civil War, and I love Westerns. Sorting through a box of old family papers, I came across two documents I’d never seen before. One was a parole pass, and the other, an oath of allegiance. Both had been signed in 1865 by my great-grandfather, William McClain, who had fought in Georgia Infantry. In signing, he swore he would never again bear arms against the United States, and he would abide by all new laws, including the emancipation of slaves. In return, he could go home as a paroled prisoner of war – assuming he still had any home.

I stared at that young man’s signature for a long time. I had so many questions: Why had he fought for a new country founded on terrible injustice? Had he feared for his home and family? Had he expected excitement and glory? And what had he felt as he signed those papers? Humiliation? Bitterness? Exhaustion? Relief? What would he make of his life now?

These questions were the inspiration for my Western historical romance TERMS OF SURRENDER. A Readers’ Favorite 5 Star novel and an Orange Rose Award finalist, it’s the story of former Confederate cavalry Captain Michael Cantrell, a young man who has lost everyone and everything he loved. He roams the Western frontier, seeking peace and new purpose to his life. When a violent encounter in Wyoming Territory lands him in the middle of Annie Devlin's war, Cantrell chooses to make a stand with the young rancher, testing the limits of his courage – and his passion.

Michael and Annie’s family became so important to me that I had to continue their story. The second
novel in the series, TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT, is set in 1885. Annie’s younger brother, Rob Devlin, now a widowed physician with a young daughter, boards a train bound through the Wyoming wilderness. When a fellow passenger, Tess Rutledge, suddenly collapses, Rob’s skills save her life. But in caring for her, he is drawn into her life-and-death flight from a brutal man who is determined never to let her go. Rob and Tess have a chance for a future together – if they survive.

In the final novel in the trilogy, TERMS OF TEMPTATION, Michael and Annie Cantrell’s headstrong daughter, Kinley, strains the patience – and the restraint – of Deputy Game Warden Bram Killoran. He’s wanted Kinley since the day he first saw her outside the Paradise Saloon – backing a burly drunk three times her size up against a hitching rail and giving him a truly inspired and colorful upbraiding for mistreating his horse. Kinley’s determination to defend herself and the animals she loves will make her Bram’s unlikely ally. They are irresistibly drawn to one another, but when her passion and spirit clash with his tangled conflict of duty and desire, not only their hearts will be in danger, but their very lives as well.

“A delight to read...The way Farrelly writes her characters makes quite an amazing page-turner!"
D. Pinzon, Readers' Favorite

“Evocative and compelling ... Readers can expect to find humor, violence, gritty action, and exquisitely-wrought tension throughout ... For readers who seek more depth and layers in their stories."
D. Donovan, reviewing for Midwest Book Review

“Reads like an epic novel. A historical romance that providestwist of supernatural flair.
B. Casto, Readers' Favorite

Lorrie always loves hearing from readers! Find her at:

Monday, June 2, 2014

Meet My Main Character, Blog Hop!

I’ve been tagged by the fabulously funny Chicklit Sisters, Pam Burk and Lorraine Campbell, authors of several quirky novels that are loaded with hilarious and tender moments. I thoroughly appreciated How To Survive Your Sisters (being one of three girls in my family). Be sure to read this book and their other novels, penned under the name Ellie Campbell.

What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?

The main character of my work-in-progress is named Kathleen Ehlers, and though she is fictional, she is larger than life. She sprang to life in my first novel, one of five friends in a very close sisterly relationship.

Reappearing from Charlotte’s Restrained are Charlotte, Tiziana, Hillary, Marian, Liam, Ted, and the King of Romantic Comedies, Des Bannerman. Adding to the witty and sometimes vitriolic banter is Sébastien Langevin, who takes Kathleen’s ordered life and flips it upside down.

When and where is the story set?

I love to travel, and so do the characters in my books. This book primarily takes place in Paris, France, during Fall Fashion Week, 2008. However, we’ll take jaunts to London, Rome, Saint Tropez, and Seattle where we’ll explore Kathleen’s inner-workings at some of the finest restaurants and establishments these beautiful cities have to offer.

What should we know about him/her?

Kathleen is an elusive character in my first novel Charlotte’s Restrained.

After I finished writing the book I found myself wondering about her. Why does she flitters here and there in the background? We feel like we get to know her, but really, we don’t. I wanted to explore this further, and decided to write a sequel, casting her as the central character.

What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?

We learn straight away that Kathleen is a very artistic person (her current outlet is in remodeling apartments across Paris) but works in a world of facts and figures as a Product Acquisition Lawyer for L’Oreal Paris.

She’s done a great job at having it all; professional success, financial security, a glamorous life amongst the who’s-who in Paris. She’s brutally independent and content with living life on her own terms, and there lies the crux of the story. Why is she so determined to fly life solo?

What is the personal goal of the character?

Kathleen would tell you her goal is to take Paris on, one apartment at a time, one acquisition at a time. To be a real estate mogul and break the glass ceiling at L’Oreal Paris.

However, in witnessing the major changes in the lives of her four closes friends, she begins to consider letting go of the past and living in the present. But to do this will mean bringing all of her friends that we’ve met in Charlotte’s Restrained, up to speed on who she really is versus who they think she is.

Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

Kathleen’s Undressed. I really like two word titles.

When can we expect the book to be published?

Fingers crossed, Fall 2014.

If you’re enjoying the ‘Meet My Main Character’ blog hop, I’ve tagged to follow me the very talented Daphne DuBois, author of Fairies and Creatures of the Night (2013) and The Seller of Fortunes (2013). Also meet Laurie WJN, author of The Misadventures of Me and My Uterus (2013) and a YA novel (yet to be named) about Anna, and the Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918. And, we have the talented Glynis Astie, author of French Twist (2013) and French Toast (2014).

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Blog Tag Tour - My Writing Process

I’m always up for playing a game, especially if it is a word game! Author Laurie WJN invited me to join fellow Authors and Bloggers in a game of Blog Tag. Yes, I could probably use physical exercise, but the temptation to write is too great. My promise to myself is that after writing this, I will run a couple miles… or eat some chocolate.

I had the pleasure or reading and reviewing Author Laurie WJN’s book, The Misadventures of Me and My Uterus. Make sure to visit her site, where you can appreciate more of her writing and great sense of humor.

The game is afoot, er, ahand!
What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on Kathleen’s Undressed. This is a sequel to my first book Charlotte’s Restrained. After I finished writing Charlotte’s Restrained I realized that Kathleen, one of the five main characters in the book, had a very elusive nature, and there is much to explore here.

These two books, though primarily lighthearted comedies, are very much about the bonds of friendship between women. In leaving Kathleen’s nature a little more abstract, I realized that I could build a story that would allow these five lovely ladies to once again come together in real hotels, restaurants, and other locations in London, Paris, Seattle, and Rome. We continue to explore their evolution via their witty banter, brutal candor, and admirable lives.

How does your writing process work?

I studied Landscape Architecture, and in my very first design studio a professor asked, “Why should a client hire you?” To be honest, being only two weeks into the program, I was stumped. One rainy November afternoon, a few months later, I found out what my process is: a cup of coffee, a molasses cookie, and a cloudy Pacific Northwest sky. The perfect cozy atmosphere to ponder solutions from as many perspectives as possible! …while doodling! Doodling keeps my brain in a foggy state, letting the right and left sides hammer out a solution that is unique, and meets the needs of the client.

I apply the same process to writing that I apply to landscape design. It might seem odd, but the old saying, “write what you know,” relates. Do what works for you in other aspects of your life. If you figure out how to solve a problem while doing yoga, do yoga. If you need listen to music and dance, crank the radio and do your dance!

How does your work differ from others of its genre?

In my own life I have found that laughter, candor, commitment to love and friendship, good food and wine, as well as the opportunity to travel, consume me. An urgency for them all co-exists. When one dips off the radar, all of me gets out of whack.

In women’s literature, I think the Damsel in Distress concept exists because readers want to be consumed by the heart thumping passion that true love or new lovers possess. Life doesn’t end after the declaration of eternal love! All parts of life get woven together; we introduce our lover to our friends and family. We have first, second, and third arguments. We run out of toilet paper.

How our love grows and changes can be just as heart stopping. That’s the stuff of life, what I want to write about.

Why do you write what you do?

“Because I must,” seems so cliché, but it is the honest truth. Years ago, long before I found any of the passions of my life, I was talking to a friend about his passion, physics. Hours could pass and he wouldn’t notice. I wanted that.

One rainy day, in March 1990, I watched a landscaper planting pansies in the rain and I thought, “I’d rather do that.” So I quit my job at Microsoft, and signed up for classes at the local community college and found art history, which lead to Interior Design, which lead me to the University of Washington to study Architecture and Landscape Architecture.

All these areas of design have a lot in common with writing. They all tell stories about a period of time, a place, and the people who occupy the space. They are life. It all just… captivates me.

Who's up next?

Authors Mary Ann Bernal and Lorrie Farrelly.  Mary Ann, and is the author of The Briton and Dane Collection of novels as well as several short stories. Make sure you swing by her blog.

Thanks for Reading!