October 2014.

Little Village

Anyone can imagine that it’s not a difficult thing to get swallowed up by the enormity of a big city. In the city where I live there are approximately 1.2 million people living here. My neighbourhood alone has about 20,000 people in it. But on my street – where my house is – is my little village in the big city.

I know everyone within who lives within a four house radius in each direction of mine, and not just their first names. I know their kids, what they do for a living and probably what they did last weekend. I live on a street where the kids play in the front yards and ring doorbells to see if their friends are home.

We neighbours have open invitation parties and BBQ’s, most of which are impromptu. We have a habit of leaving our garage doors open saying we are home and to come hang out. And it’s not surprizing for a water balloon fight to break out or to see people just chilling in their front yards.

I truly live in a Norman Rockwell version of reality. So I encourage you– Get to know your neighbours. Perhaps you can find your little village in a big city.

harmless

 

A good author will have several summaries of their story on hand depending what it is needed for. Here’s one I’ve been working on for the inside cover. Does it make you want to read the book?

 

Harmless  – By Katherine Dell

Have you ever made a wish? One, so seemingly insignificant that you never gave it a second thought—until one day when it comes true? And now, there is no amount of wishing that could ever take it back.

Rachel Barnes, a seventeen year old high school senior finds out just how much one single moment like that could change her life forever. After her brother’s death years ago, and the recent divorce of her parents, Rachel’s mother makes a major decision to move from Vancouver. Rachel is forced to leave the city she’s called home for her entire life and to settle in a small town in northern BC—called Hazelton. It is the small town where her mother grew up, and where her grandmother still lives. This is where her mother hopes they can finally put back together their life that seems so broken.

Linked to her family’s native origins, Rachel soon discovers the secrets about Hazelton that have all been forgotten. Secrets so old they are legends. Legends so old no one will ever believe are real. Until that one night—that everything seemed so … Harmless.

Deer Cover

I’m so close to being finished the first draft of my novel Harmless. Yeah! But, now that I’m almost done it’s starting to bring up questions like, will my book have a sequel? Yes, defiantly! It’s taken me a while to craft an ending that both solves my main characters problems and creates a whole new set for her to solve in book two, but I’ve done it. My book will not only have a sequel because some of my favorite books have sequels, but also because – I’m not ready to stop writing about my characters. I often wonder if other writers get this attached to their characters.

Not too long ago, I took a writing class at Mount Royal Collage (Now Mount Royal University). I remember my instructor telling the class – You know you’re a writer when the thoughts and voices of your characters keep you up at night, demanding to be written. Okay, maybe those weren’t her exact words – but that was the gist of it. Perhaps this is why many writers are such night owls, doing their best work at night. My characters defiantly demand to be written! In more than just one book. Their experiences are not over yet.

As a writer, I’m constantly thinking about the characters in my book. I ask myself, why do they do things? Where are they from? What put them in this situation? How do they react? I know them so well they’re almost real – well as real as a character in a book gets. :)

So, after I’m finished writing Harmless, I’ll be working on its next book. My characters adventures are… To be continued.

This is a short story I wrote a little over a year ago. I was taking a writing class and it was one of my assignments. Rachel and her Grandma are characters from my book, Harmless that I’m currently working on.

Hope you like it. Katherine

 

 

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-white-tea-cup-image11989135

Conversations Over Hot Tea

I walk into the kitchen and see it right away. Two cups of steaming hot tea set out on the kitchen table. Crap – she wants to talk. Maybe – if I back up real slow she won’t even notice I’m out of bed yet. I slide my worn cotton socks over the yellowing linoleum but the creak near the fridge gives me away. Busted.

“Hey, you’re awake.” My Grandma’s voice floats over the newspaper she’s reading. She’s sitting in her ratty old lazy boy in the living room.  I’m not sure why she won’t just get rid of that thing, it’s at least circa 1970’s. the chair groans when she shifts her weight. “Were you planning on sleeping the whole day? Or are you going to do something with what left of it?”

“Well…” I blink my eyes wide a few times and fish the last bit of sleep from the corner my right eye. Ugh, how many hours of sleep did I get? My head is pounding from a well-deserved hangover. I’m not fooling anybody about my level of alertness, not sure why I’m even trying. “I thought maybe I’d spend some time with mom today. Maybe go for breakfast or something.”

“It’s twenty after twelve Rachel.” She finally peers over the top of her Saturday Post; slowly taking the time to fold it back into its original tight bundle. “Your mom’s ran out to the office for a while to catch up on a few things. Said she’d be back around supper. So, I’m thinking breakfast is out.”

She’s not really staring, just giving me that look only a grandmother can give. She’s mad? no confused? no… I don’t know. My head hurts. She’s never been very hard to read. Although, I can’t say I’ve stopped to wonder on too many occasions. She’s always one to be out with it, no guessing involved. ‘To old to be anybody else but me.’ She would always say. ‘Don’t like me, that’s your troubles.’

She’s crossing the threshold of living room shag to kitchen lino when she says it. “I made some tea. Come at the table with me.”

Tea. Whatever she has to say must be pretty heavy if it involves hot beverages. My mom, my grandma, and just about everyone in this strange little town, insist that important conversations take place over hot tea. It’s definitely something I’m still getting used to. Hot tea that is. I’ve never really been a big fan.

The kitchen chair’s old bones groan in protest as I sit at the table. I find a comfortable groove and wrap both hands around the welcome warmth of my mug. Everyone has their own mug in this house. Mine’s the one with the kitten on it that looks just like my grandma’s cat. My mom has the one with the running horses, and my grandma’s is the one with the soaring eagle. Pretty sure they all came from that touristy place in town, along with the dream catcher that hangs in the window above the kitchen sink. Strange place to catch dreams if you ask me.

She takes a long sip from her tea, breathing in the hot vapours. “You’re not the only one who’s lost someone they love, you know.”

What? We’re talking about this now? I pick another kernel of sleep from my eye. Everyone knows I don’t talk about Eric’s death. What is this? Some sort of one woman, hot tea intervention? Man – one night of drinking and I’m branded clinically depressed. Is that it? He died six years ago. I’ve dealt with it, or I am dealing with it. Whatever – I’m fine. I’m fine. Just breathe Rachel. You don’t have to say anything, just sit here and drink your tea.

“Your Grandpa Harold, he died three years and twenty-two days after your brother Eric did.” She’s looks down at her mug of tea, like she sees something other than her own reflection swirling back at her. “I know that because I counted the days. I also know it was four days after Harold died that we had him cremated, and two more days after that when we held his funeral. It’s been one-thousand seventy-four days I’ve been without your grandpa Harold. On bad days, I still find myself keeping track.”

She gives her tea a stir even though she’s put nothing in it. “Keeping track of things was one of the ways I coped with him not being around anymore. Another thing I did after he died was – bake. I baked, and I baked, and I baked. Most times, when someone passes away your friends bring you things they’ve baked. So you don’t have to cook for the inevitable crowd of people that’s going to show up around that time. For me it was the opposite. I’d bake things and take it to them.” She looked up gazing off into nothing, from what I could tell. “I didn’t like being alone for any stretch. I baked as an excuse to see someone so I wouldn’t be alone. I baked everything; pies, cookies, casseroles. Oh, the casseroles; baked-sadness, oven-roasted-pity, bad-luck-pot-luck. Baked so much, our tiny grocery store ran out of cream of what-ever soup, so I couldn’t bake anymore – or so they said.”

“Are we still talking about Grandpa?” I had to jump in and say something. This conversation is getting weird and rambling, even for Grandma.

“Yeah, we’re still talking about Grandpa.” She loosened her grip on her soaring eagle mug. “What I’m trying to say is, we all have our ways of dealing with things when people die. I know how much it hurts to have people go before you, but at some point, it’s okay to start living again and enjoy things like you used to. Not just going through the motions. Whether you like it to or not, life keeps on moving. And if you spend forever baking sadness, you won’t notice – life is leaving you behind.”

Well – what do I say to that? I get it. I do. Maybe it’s time I check back in. Maybe.