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For nine years I’ve had a dog. Boxer. White, with a left-side pirate patch and sad eyes. High-energy, clever, eager to please. But I’ve had so much more than that.
For nine years I’ve had a shadow, first following me around as I followed the kids, then trailing behind me as I did my work in an otherwise empty house when everyone else was at work or school. My shadow slept by my side while I wrote stories I thought no one would ever read, sat in the kitchen while I cooked, looked for me if I disappeared when he was napping.
For nine years I’ve had an angel whose need for exercise motivated me to walk, which turned out to be the best thing for my depression. He urged me to keep up with that little act of self-care and helped me get back to feeling like myself. And he jogged with me, at least until his aging body couldn’t run anymore.
And then we walked again, because I couldn’t lace up my shoes and run without him.
For nine years I’ve had a friend, someone I could talk to when there was no one else, who listened without judgement. He laid his head on my lap and gazed up at me, letting me know I was loved unconditionally, that I was never alone.
For weeks now, my shadow has been fading. He hasn’t been eating. He’s been in pain, though no one can tell me why. I’ve done everything I could to keep him with us, even when he didn’t like the examinations and medicines.
But he kept fading.
A few days ago, my friend gave up. He stopped trying to follow his family around the house and instead stayed in bed all day, only getting up when prompted—and then not at all. The light went out of his eyes, though he still listened, still responded to gentle affection.
I didn’t want to give up, but there comes a time when it’s cruel to force someone onward when their journey is so clearly over.
We humans take familiar things for granted—shadows, friends, angels. I think I’ve appreciated mine while I had him, knowing it wouldn’t last forever, but I still wish we had more time.
We don’t, though. Today it was time to repay all the kindness this beautiful spirit has heaped on my family all these years.
Jack spent his last day in the shade of the maple trees in his yard, surrounded by his family, before his trip to the vet. He died peacefully at 4:30.
It hurts. A lot. But he’s okay now. And we will be, too.
LITERAL DESTRUCTION. FROM INSIDE, GUYS. THROW IT.
Can I throw it at whoever wrote this ad?
Or whoever decided it was right to show on my blog?
This thing on? Hello?
*blows dust off stage*
I know, things have been quiet around here, but we’ve got something exciting for you today: The cover reveal for Revelation! This is the second-to-last book in the Immortal Soulless series (my pen name’s dark, decadent, and deadly urban fantasy series featuring vampires in Newfoundland), and things are just getting darker and more intense as we approach the finale.
Convicted of treason and sentenced to oblivion, Aviva finds herself hunted by the vampires of her own clan. But she’s convinced that Tempest won’t give up on their plot to bring Maelstrom to its knees, and would sooner be damned than stand by and watch as her home is destroyed—even if nearly everyone there has turned their backs on her.
Alone and unprepared, Aviva heads to Tempest’s territory intent on gathering information on their plans, proving her loyalty to Maelstrom, and maybe saving the love of her afterlife in the process. She expects pain, challenges, and simple, brutal cruelty. What she finds instead is a fascinating, isolated kingdom where allies are enemies, wrong is right, and lies are truth.
It’s only by embracing Tempest’s pure darkness that Aviva stands any chance of surviving. But if she loses herself in this seductive world of pleasure and power, what chance does she have of finding her way back again?
So when is this beauty going to hit your Kindles, Nooks, phones, or whatever you read ebooks on*? That’s the best news. We’re just sorting out one last detail, and then the book will be yours. No drama, no waiting…In fact, it’s already available through Amazon and iBooks!
Now, you definitely don’t want to just go ahead and jump into Immortal Soulless at book six (or three, or four…) Conveniently enough, Resurrection (Immortal Soulless Book One) is currently available for just 99 cents for a limited time! It’s a great time to start a series that will keep you hooked all summer long. ** Here’s the link.
*Paperbacks will be out ASAP as well, but as this means waiting for a proof copy to make sure everything looks okay, it will take a little longer. Books 1-5 are available now in paperback through Amazon.
**I mean… I guess that depends on how quickly you read, though. You might fly through them in a week. If so, let me know and I’ll toss you an imaginary gold star. That’s some impressive reading.
You’ve seen this calendar all over social media, right? The Merb’ys calendar (by the Newfoundland & Labrador Beard & Moustache Club) went a liiiittle bit viral last year, raising over $300,000 for mental health. This year they’re doing it again in support of Violence Prevention Newfoundland & Labrador…
…and I just happen to have one to give away along with a signed copy of Bound.
Why? Because I’ve been meaning to do a paperback giveaway that celebrates my own merfolk, and what better way to do it than by supporting a good cause?
From the calendar:
“Violence Prevention Newfoundland & Labrador will be the main recipient of the funds we raise this year. We wanted to help them continue their very important work of changing attitudes and breaking down stereotypes. Their goal is to challenge negative attitudes of masculinity and empower men to become meaningfully engaged in violence prevention.”
To enter, click this link to go to the rafflecopter giveaway. You can earn entries by spreading the word about the giveaway on Twitter, visiting my Facebook page (share the giveaway post while you’re there if you’d like, but it’s not required), or by subscribing to my very infrequent email newsletter. New subscribers receive three free stories as a thank-you for signing up, so really everyone’s a winner.
Please note: This giveaway is not endorsed by the NL Beard & Moustache club. I’m just giving away their amazing calendar and spreading the word on their project because I think it’s awesome and I love me some mer-dudes. For more information on the NLBMC or to order your own copy of the calendar, visit nlbmc.com
(That’s only halfway true, but you’re welcome for the earworm.*)
A month ago, my phone disappeared.
Vanished. Poof. I had it out in the back yard. I know I brought it into the house; I just don’t know where in the house it ended up. Calling it wasn’t an option; by the time I realized it was missing, the battery was dead.
Cue the frantic searching. I tore the house apart. My husband, who’s a much better finder than I am, did the same. We retraced my steps (which were very few on that lazy summer day). We checked cupboards, freezers, freshly folded laundry, and garbage cans.
Not a trace.
I was so mad at myself. I wondered whether I’d have remembered to plug it in (or at least have noticed where I put it) if I’d taken my meds that day. I felt ashamed of myself for not being able to manage the simple task of not losing the miraculous tiny pocket computer that had served me well for several years, and I beat myself up pretty hard for being so irresponsible.
I mean… almost all of my friends live in my phone. I LOST MY FRIENDS.
Now, I was due to upgrade my phone a year ago (cue conspiracy theories about the phone company kidnapping my poor iPhone to force the issue). I could have just gone out and done it. But I’m stubborn, and I was convinced that the moment I got a new phone my old one would turn up. I was determined to not give in.
So how did that go?
There were inconveniences for sure. We went on a week-long family trip that involved splitting up for appointments and activities, and we had to do it without “WHERE ARE YOU?” texts. I didn’t have my music or podcasts in the car or on walks. I couldn’t post anything to Instagram (the horror, I know).
But all in all it was really okay.
I checked my email less because it wasn’t in my pocket and realized what a huge waste of time it is to check it at all from my phone. I got help with the break I’d been trying for months to take from Facebook, and I found that I didn’t miss it**. I checked Messenger occasionally from my computer in case people needed to contact me, and I don’t think anyone else really noticed I was gone.
I missed out on a lot of work-related FOMO, that’s for sure, which meant a little less anxiety at a time when it’s been a real struggle. I forgot to take the “real” camera on a day trip and managed to focus on enjoying and remembering the day instead of posting constant photo updates to social media.
Turns out experiences really do happen even if I don’t record and share them. Weird.
No, it wasn’t a blissful vacation or an eye-opening epiphany. I didn’t miraculously gain an increased attention span, and my brain found plenty of other distractions when I didn’t have my phone in hand. I didn’t even get any extra reading done. But slipping the electronic leash for a while helped me realize that I don’t always want to be available or in the loop.
I broke down and upgrade a few days ago. It was the music that pushed me to it, really. The weather will be cool enough to take my dog for long walks again soon (I hope), and I need the motivation that music provides to get me into my running shoes and out the door. And there are times when it’s important for people to be able to reach me even when I’m not at home–my husband, my kids’ schools.
But I’m going to try not to let this phone be the constant companion my last one was. It won’t be my go-to when I’m in need of a quick hit of distraction or the sense of validation that comes from checking Instagram likes. I’m not going to have it in my hands at all when I’m talking to people in person.
…because that might have been my biggest take-away from this experience. When I didn’t have a phone to distract me I noticed how reliant so many of us are on them. We Google minor facts and news items instead of staying focused on the present conversation. Phones are in-hand during restaurant meals. Even lulls in conversation can be an opportunity to check notifications, as though it’s not worth just sitting quietly with friends and family when the grass might be greener somewhere else.
That’s not a criticism. I’ve guilty of it, too. And I want it to stop.
So thanks, old iPhone, for disappearing. Your absence made it clear what I really needed you for and what I absolutely didn’t, even if I thought I did.
And new phone? You’re on notice. I’m the boss. Not you.
(Also, please don’t get lost. I can’t afford to replace you for at least two years.)
*If you don’t now have Katy Perry stuck in your head right now, please tell me how to avoid it.
**I missed being in touch with my reader group, and I think I might have missed an invitation or two. That’s about it.
Let me show you the view from my front window just over a week ago:
It got better. We’ve got grass again now, though we’re expecting flurries on the weekend. But still. It ain’t summer.
But according to the calendar, we’re almost there. And that means it’s time to plan for summer reading, and I’ve got a couple of books to share with you–one on sale, one FREE, both Urban Fantasy by Canadian authors. Whether you’re looking for something hot and blood-spattered or a ghost story to chill your bones, we’ve got you covered.
Resurrection (Immortal Soulless Book One)
Since the night of Aviva’s murder she’s been forced to accept a new reality—burned by sunlight, dependent on the blood of the living, searching for her place in a dark world she didn’t believe existed until she awoke without a heartbeat. When rogue vampires arrive in her clan’s territory and threaten the uneasy peace of the supernatural world, this uncertain new vampire with troubling gifts may be the only one able to stand between a pack of ruthless killers and the unsuspecting humans they prey on.
Amazon reviewers call Resurrection “decadently dark,” “completely gripping,” and “a phenomenal new take on vampires”!**
99¢ for a limited time! Available via Amazon Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and iBooks
Death at Peony House
Magic is a dangerous temptation
After lights are seen in the windows of the city’s abandoned hospital, sorceress and journalist Daphne Heartstone heads to Peony House in search of a headline.
What she discovers is a dead body and a clue to a hundred-and-fifty-year-old cold case.
Detective Hunter Avery, the man Daphne loved and lost, warns her away from the case, but the ghosts of Peony House have demanded her help.
Not to mention, her job is on the line if she doesn’t have a story on her editor’s desk for Saturday’s edition.
Daphne has worked hard to escape her past of dark magic and blind ambition, but as she walks the balance between light and dark, she’ll learn how many promises she’s willing to break to protect the people she loves.
Personal note from Kate: I love this series, and this book being FREE for a limited time means now is the perfect time to dive in! Unforgettable characters, mystery, ghosts, a bit of romance, a whole lot of interesting worldbuilding… this is my jam. Fair warning, though: This is a complete series, and it’s hard to put down once you start.
*Fullest of full disclosure: I’m mentioning these books because I think there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy them if you like my books, but I do have personal relationships with both authors. Krista Walsh is an author I’ve worked with for a few years as a critique partner, and we’ve left our fingerprints all over each other’s books. And Tanith Frost is… we’re close. We share office space. And brain space. If you’re wondering what I’ve been up to since I last published under my own name, there you go.
**If you prefer a “clean” read, this isn’t the series for you. It gets hot in here. And dark. And there’s cussin’. Gasp.