Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Presenting the Author: 24/7

By: Kathleen Pickering  http://www.kathleenpickering.com

My life is a three ring circus. No wait. My husband said living with me is like a three ring circus.


A far more honest assessment, for sure. One for which I take immense pride.


Because if a writer is going to be effective in her work, she must experience life. Things have to happen. Places must be seen. People must be met, interviewed, interrogated or just plain stalked! (Just kidding. Actually, no. I’m not. Ask Heather Graham or Bonnie Raitt. Another story for another  time, but at least I didn’t leave Heather horror-struck and plastered against her tour bus!)

What does this have to do with my promise from my last blog to reveal the second Tweet I am tweeting on Twitter? (What a fun sentence!)

My friend and mentor, Heather Graham, proves the “you gotta live to write” theory to me constantly. Meaning an author views the world and “is” an author 24/7. The simplest event in an author’s life is a possible morsel for a plot.

Today when I post this blog link on Twitter, my Tweet will read: Member of the Peer interviews Heather Graham at my house!


Heather is always doing exciting things to fill her “creative well” to the brim. And, sure enough, one of her adventures was an interview with British transplant Luke Parker Bowles from Open Road Media in New York. She was photographed by Tim Wu.

Heather Interview

Heather’s interview is part of a future media campaign and I was invited to join in the fun . . . which makes Heather’s “you gotta live to write” theory suddenly a part of mine.


A good student pays attention!

Now, you may ask what makes this event a three ring circus in my life?

Well, it’s simply that this interview happened on Monday when I had just returned the evening before from a quick two day jaunt to New York for a family gathering of 75 people for a double-engagement party for my sister’s twins. And that on the heels of a five day real estate search to help another family member invest an insanely huge amount of foreign dollars in US real estate. (Yes, I am a Realtor in my secret life.)

All of which is fueling new stories. And, there is more.

This fun filled day with Heather and friends was followed by in instant surge of 12 family members, including a first for us which was both mothers-in-law under the same roof for the Thanksgiving holiday.

mothers in law

Did the family drama that ensued give me fodder for a new book? I know I don’t even need to answer that one.

I still have a few more days before I launch my mother-in-law back to Chile. However, the circus continues. While attending to my MIL’s needs (and they are many), going to yoga classes, taking a 12 week on-line Agents for a Conscious Evolution class, brainstorming with author friends, contributing to social media AND spending quality time with my husband, I am scrambling to finish two more book proposals for my editor to cement her beautiful offer for a three book contract with Harlequin.

What can I say to that?

I am thrilled for the circus that is my life because after I finish this blog, I can finish the two “romance in real life” proposals for my editor. Why? Because I gleaned story ideas from my travels and mingling with family, friends and strangers. I am an author 24/7. I live to write and I write to live. The trick is to see every moment as a writing opportunity. Oh, and to make really good use of those few hours of sleep!

Soooooooo . . .

Ladies and gentlemen, and children of all ages! I invite you to tell me how your lives fuel your creative wells. I am already laughing at the prospect of how Basil Sands will answer this one. (I just read on Facebook that he was grilling 40—count ‘em—40 steaks in freezing weather.)

Let the show begin!



  1. Kathleen, as they say in New Orleans, "True that." Or, "Yeah, you right." The street is full of ideas. There is a different story in every home you pass. Or restaurants. My wife and I were in a restaurant recently and sat next to a table of women who were on their second pitcher of margharitas. Oh, the stories they told. Not just to each other, but to me! Watch. And listen!

  2. Yup, we writers run the risk of spending too much time alone and inside our own heads. Yikes, that can be scary, lol. Getting out and about with people is important to keep that creative well filled. Having said that, though, I'm breathless after reading your post and wonder where the heck you get all that energy, and can it be bottled and sold?

  3. I can't keep up with you and Heather, Piks - I mean, I require down time!! As chaotic as my life can get, there has to be quiet evenings where I'm just watching Two and Half Men re runs, lolol
    I agree though that the writers I know are always receptive to the craziness of life - yelling, and THEN what happened???

  4. Hey, Traci and Lisa!! Thanks so much for visiting from the Romance and YA world!!

    It's so true that we need down time as well. Believe me, I do carve "ME" time out, especially to "percolate" as I call it, before writing.

    Gotta say, I love deadlines, though. Keeps the focus in check. LOL!

  5. You're right, Kathleen,

    Everything is fodder to feed the imagination and if we just pay attention, when we're sitting there in front of the WIP it can all just pour back out for us.

    Change a name here, a place there, and into the narrative it goes.

    Wish I had a tape recording of all the things my family said this year at Thanksgiving - I should bug the house at Christmas!

    BTW, has anyone else checked out Mythological Sam - The Call, by Kathleen? A great read. Now there's an imagination at work.

  6. Both mothers-in-law in your house at the same time, Kathleen? Yikes. My husband and I still shudder when we remember the last time (and I do mean the last time) both sets of family visited us. We call that episode of our lives "The Vodka that Killed Thanksgiving."

  7. You are right in that we are writers full-time and that everything we experience becomes fodder for our books. I'm envious; you're insanely busy and yet you manage to stay so slim and radiant. As for your advice to go out and live life, I think I'll head over to Sawgrass Mills Mall. Any excuse to go shopping...

  8. My husband always tells me that I'm oblivious to the world, but I'm not. I'm constantly drinking in everything around me that you should get my attention first, and THEN converse with me. Otherwise, the stream of information flowing through my brain will run over you. Does that make sense?

    It is exactly what I do, people watching and connecting objects with memories. How I move from one thought to the next is a mystery, always. Jeez, no wonder I can't sit down and write a novel. :D

  9. Hey, Paula!! Indeed. How lucky we are to have an outlet for all our observations and musing!

  10. Hey, Jill!

    I know about the MIL's. Don't ask! Imagine Mother Theresa meets Charo! I have one telling me I should dress as the Blessed Mother would dress---I have another telling me my cleavage isn't low enough. So, I can understand how vodka becomes a magic elixer! LOL!What a riot!!!

  11. Nancy . . . shopping. The great escape!

  12. Oh, Diane, I'm thinking you might consider flowing some of those internal conversations through your keyboard. I'll bet before you know it, you'd have a novel.

  13. Oh, Diane, I'm thinking you might consider flowing some of those internal conversations through your keyboard. I'll bet before you know it, you'd have a novel.

  14. I find inspiration from all the many bizarre things that seem to happen around me! My boys are also amazing - when you hear a young child's view of the world it opens your mind to all sorts of possibilities.

  15. Great stuff, Kathy! Keep it coming!

  16. 28 hours in the life of Basil:

    8 pm - editing narration of book about serial rapist...almost done.

    10 pm - read Bible with my boys & try to erase serial rapist character from thoughts...he's way creepy.

    11 pm - lay in bed

    11:01 pm - think about how modern
    pirates hiding out on an island could be captured by Marines Mike & Mojo for part of my WIP

    1 am - drift to sleep & dream of Marines chasing serial rapist pirates around island

    4 am - wake up to pee....I'm over 40

    4:05 am - 5 am - repeat 11p-1am sequence till again asleep...but this time the serial rapist pirates have the upper hand and found some of the escaped hostages

    6:45 am - jolt awake realizing I need to finalize my "Ebook Self Publishing" presentation for Tuesday night at the library

    6:55 am - sit in comfy wing-back recliner and boot up laptop then realize I already prepared the presentation.

    7 am - make coffee, sit down and finalize presentation for Sunday School. Teaching kids "Jehovah Shalom", God of Peace.

    10 am - drive ten miles to church on icy rain slicked roads (yeah, it rained on top of our four feet of snow Sunday...very fun driving).

    11 am - teach God of Peace Lesson to kids

    12 pm - retain calm exterior with class room of 6 six year olds who all have something amazing to tell me...all at once.

    1:30 pm - try to reign in a few dozen lunch energized kids to practice for Christmas play...reminding self He's a God of Peace

    2:30 pm - Piano Recital for two sons, ...one played jazz, one played classical...both did really well

    3 pm - In Laws call during recital, "FIL is sick, can you come cook for this little dinner I am having tonight. Its our choir Christmas party. Its only about 40 people"

    4 pm - Start grill, 30 mph freezing wind blows flames toward me wherever I stand...at least the fire on my coat is warm.

    5:45 - finish cooking steaks, help finish plating food, eat, help wife & kids do dishes while party goers play Christmas party games.

    7 pm - finish dishes, last of guests leave, kids ask to go home so we can watch netflix movie "Thor".

    8 pm - watch Thor....it's cool

    10 pm lay back in bed again

    10:30 - wonder if Thor could help Marines get serial rapist pirates and save hostages on island.

    Midnight - remember I have a day job and force self to sleep. Dream about USMC MGySgt Thor Odinson, chasing pirates around the library while I am talking about ebook self-pubbing on Tuesday.

    two days after the grilling even, my nice wool coat still smells deliciously like smoked meat

  17. When your family is slightly touched, there is always fodder for a story. Now whether they like it or not is another thing!
    Ears Opened!!
    Do you ever sleep??? Any of you??

  18. Thank you all for posting.

    @Clare: young ones truly have a clear perspective on reality!

    @Basil . . . "at least the fire on my coat is warm." To you, I say for all aspects of your life: Drop and roll, my friend.

    @Mary-- I'm sure we could trade stories.

    @Aleka. So great to see you here. Thanks for stopping by!


  19. LOL @ Basil!!

    My sociopath and your serial rapist should get together and exchange notes. :D

  20. Well,let's see today I got a letter from an inmate in a federal prison trying to run a con on me (yes, I will be contacting the prison and FBI tomorrow).

    However, a friend I showed it to said it sounded like an episode of Law & Order . . . ya know . . . there might be a story there.

    And then tonight I made Oreo Truffles just to see if I could. My day off last month was a drive down Route 66 stopping at every garage sale, going to the gun show in Tulsa to get an autograph from an iconic western star, cruising around my old home town, taking pics of the "bowling balls for world peace" sculpture, and then stopping off to see Bill Medley of The Righteous Brothers in concert and having him autograph my t-shirt in front of a bunch of middle-aged women torn between envy and admiration.

    And I have to work my day job tomorrow before driving to a rail depot Kansas City to pick up the merchandise for my business (I back my station wagon up next to all the semis, use the "drivers only" door and go up to the dispatcher who says, "how many containers" to which I reply "8" [as in boxes, not semis] and all the drivers laugh).

    None of us are getting out of this alive. If you can't get a laugh or a story then yur doin' it wrong!