Sunday, March 31, 2013

Blog Hop--Chocolate and a Good Book

Welcome to my blog hop where you can win two of my very favorite things—chocolate (a $20 See’s Candies gift card)and my novel The Rhyme’s Library. Here’s a review of the book (chocolate doesn’t need a review. And no, I haven’t met this reviewer, nor were they compensated…not even with chocolate.

In the second book that I have read from this author, she is fast becoming an author for me to watch for in the contemporary mystery genre. The Rhyme's Library is a clever murder mystery, rife with family and small-town secrets and an engaging, intelligent heroine at its center. Blair is cleverly created, a librarian by default, she has a fascination with the "word a day" theory, in fact each chapter starts with a word and its definition; some obscure, some not. When she finds the body of her newly deceased aunt in the basement of her family home, turned library, the coincidences, secrets and suspicious characters just seem to appear in every person she encounters. Stalled or put off by the police, injured, threatened and nearly drowned in several rainstorms, Blair perseveres trying to piece together the puzzle that is her family.

Kristy Tate has managed to craft Blair into an empathetic character that you do not pity, despite rather tragic and scary circumstances. While injecting a bit of humor into some of the situations, and adding several eccentric characters who manage to provide cryptic clues and miscues, the pacing never stalls, and there are more than enough suspects to wonder about. While never reaching a frenetic page-turning pace until the very end, this book was difficult to put down. A wholly surprising and satisfactory ending that hints at the potential for a romance leaves readers wondering just what the next book will bring.

If you would like to win, here’s what you have to do:
1.       Follow my blog (1 entry)
2.       Like my facebook page, Kristy Tate, novelist(2 entries)
Please be sure and leave a comment with your contact info! If you are interested in writing your own honest review of any of my novels, please e-mail me at for a smashwords coupon. Here’s the link to my Amazon author page:

Please visit my blog-hopping friends.

Monday, March 25, 2013

More on my Decision to Self Publish

Here two ancient blog posts explaining why I chose to go indie. My decision was unique to me and my crazy, big life and also, frankly, suited to my hermit personality type. I’m happy with my decision.

My writing goal is to be an influence for good and to provide entertainment that supports my values. My debut novel has had more than 60k downloads and has been on Amazon’s top 100 list of historical romances for five months. I don’t think I could have had that sort of reach with a small publisher.

I started writing on a daily basis more than 15 years ago. For many years I taught piano lessons and saved the money I earned to spend on writing workshops, conferences and classes. Besides studying English lit. at BYU a hundred years ago, I’ve also taken  writing classes at UC Irvine, Orange Coast college, Saddleback college and online classes through RWA and Writer’s Digest. I had $4,000 of piano money when I first self published Stealing Mercy. Each book costs about $500 to publish and I have published 5 full length novels and have a 6th with an editor. Except for blog hops, I haven’t spent any money on advertising or promotion. I no longer attend conferences because I would rather spend my money on producing books than attending conferences.

 I won’t list the conferences I’ve attended. Or the awards I’ve won. Or the near misses with publishers and agents. I mention this to show that I didn’t wake up one day and decide to write a book. I started writing stories when I was eight years old. I don’t intend to stop. I’m a marathon writer, more Agatha Christie than Harper Lee.

I’m incredibly grateful to live in our insane digital age that has allowed me to balance my passions. And I’m really lucky that my husband and children support me financially, emotionally and spiritually. And I’m also lucky that I belong to an amazing critique/writing group.

In short, I’m just really, really, really lucky.

Friday, March 22, 2013


My friend’s son used to cut my hair. If I went to where he worked in a Newport Beach salon, he would have to charge me $125., but since he cut my hair in his kitchen—I saved a $100. It was great. The only downside was he liked to chat and it always took him more than 90 minutes to cut my (very thin) hair.
We would talk about the Gilmore Girls (we were both fans) religion (I’m religious, he is not) and music (despite the more than 25 year age gap, we had similar musical tastes.) He always had some new artist or band he would want me to listen to.

I was sad when he moved away and my hair suffered. I tried different salons . Some hairstylists were chatty, some were not. All were extremely expensive. None of them listened to music and by this time Rory had left Stars Hollow to become a journalist and Lorelai had finally committed to Luke.

It’s been years since my friend’s son moved away and I haven’t replaced him. I now go to the beauty school and a different student does my hair at each appointment. I have yet to be disappointed and it’s so cheap, even cheaper than my friend’s kitchen, if I’m disappointed I can return to a more upscale salon, let them fix the damage, and I would still be financially ahead.

But not everything is about finances and contrary to popular opinion, the state of my hair isn’t very important, either. I like the beauty school. There’s a ton of people there, the students have really high aspirations of working for Hollywood and magazines, there’s usually a lot of drama and often several people—students and instructors— fuss over my hair. I have yet to leave without feeling like a million bucks.

But it’s not my friend’s kitchen. With my friend’s son I had an emotional investment. We liked each other’s company. To the students at the beauty, I’m just another head of hair.

Here’s my point: There are many ways of doing the same things and achieving the same results. We can build relationships during the process…or not. Either way, my hair still gets cut.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

More About Pants

I chose to stay at home and miss a family member’s funeral so I could be here for my daughter’s prom. Pictures, hair and make-up trumped the family gathering. I really debated this decision, but in the end, due to a tragic teeter-totter accident, I was glad I had chosen to stay at home.

Still, yesterday, before the teeter-totter debacle, I was feeling badly about missing my sister-in-law’s funeral.  All day I kept telling myself I was going to go the mall and buy some new make-up. Just after this next chapter, I said after every chapter of the fourth book of the Traveling Pants. At dinner time, I promised myself that I would go to Trader Joes and buy something veggie and delicious that my husband would never eat, but instead I continued to read and made a pan of brownies (that was my dinner.)

I wasn’t happy with the fourth Traveling Pants (just as my sister had promised me all those years ago) although I’m not sure a day spent reading wasn’t a better choice than a day at the mall. It was certainly cheaper. (Something veggie and delicious from Trader Joes would have been better than a dinner of brownies—no arguments there.) I won’t read Sisterhood Everlasting, but I don’t regret reading the fourth Traveling Pants books (even though I disliked it.) Here’s why:
I’m going to write a New Adult series about four girls—four friends who aren’t self-absorbed. They will meet men who will act like men—not puppies waiting for someone to throw them a bone (or a boobie. After reading The Pants—I’m wondering if Brashares knows any actual males.) I’m going to write about young adults who believe in monogamy—because here’s the thing: There really are people in the world who want to share themselves completely—spiritually, emotionally and physically/sexually—with only one significant other and when two people who want that find and meet each other and make that commitment to each other before God—that is a reason to celebrate. That is more magical than any pants could ever be.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Fences and Neighbors

The men from the association came today and painted my back fence green. My neighbor calls this color “new money.” I don’t know if I like it and even more perplexing—I don’t know if the fence will stay this color or if it just the primer.

After almost 25 years in California, it’s still odd to me that someone can come and paint my fence “new money green” without my consent. I grew up in a world without fences. When I was a child, my neighbors, the Reeces, put up a fence to keep the Wright’s dog out of their yard. I remember my mother trying to console the crying and near hysterical Mrs. Wright.

I don’t know how many years or months later after the fence debacle Mr. Wright left Mrs. Wright. Mrs. Wright went to a hospital—looking back, I wonder if it was a rehabilitation center—but I was very young, less than eight years old and I don’t know. I was a stranger to alcohol and even divorce. This is what I do know: while in the hospital Mrs. Wright met and befriended a woman named Rose whom she hired to be a nanny.

One Sunday afternoon we came home from church to find cars lining our street. I remember the crowds and emergency vehicles. I remember being told not to leave the house. For once it was sunny and I wasn't even allowed in the backyard. The only other time something like this happened was when bears had been spotted in the woods across the street.

Later I learned that Rose had killed (I don’t know if it was accidental or intentional) the Wright’s two year old son, Danny, and placed his body in the crib. Sometime later the Wright’s moved away. I don’t know what happened to Rose, she left with the police.

But in the scheme of things—a fence, even one painted new money green—seems like a very small concern.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Magic Pants and Stories

I’m reading the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Years ago I read the first one, but after having finished the second one today I think I’m in new territory. I know I stopped reading the series after my sister spoiled it for me, but for the second time this week I finished a book in tears.

“What is it about those books that makes you cry?” my husband asked. (He’s naturally suspicious and distrustful of anything and anyone who makes me cry.) “It’s a story about four girls.”

“What’s with the pants?” (Every book has a picture of a pair of pants on the cover.) “They’re magic pants,” I said. “Magic pants?” His dislike goes up a notch.

I told him that I’m thinking of writing a New Adult series about four girls who, when they graduate from high school, bury a time capsule under a tree on their high school campus. I remind him of my daughter and her group of friends who did the same thing. For three years the girls met for lunch under a tree they named Fred and when they graduated from middle school, they made a time capsule, buried it and dug it up when they graduated from high school. I know this because I drove them to the middle school at midnight the night of middle school graduation. They ran onto the campus armed with shovels and came back in tears.

I remember that I wanted to tell my daughter and her friends that in teenage time, four years is forever. Acne fades, breasts grow, love sweeps in and blows away—a lot happens and people change in the four years between the onset of puberty and graduation.

But even more can happen and change during the college years and that’s what I want to write about. Maybe it’s because my baby daughters are about to start college in a school far from home…maybe this is my way of joining them… I don’t know, but I do know I have four girls in my head, each with a different story waiting to be told.

“You won’t write about magic pants, will you?” my husband asked.
“No magic pants,” I assured him.
“Good,” he said—confirming the fact that he can’t see the magic, although, if he could only remember—there really was something magical about our college years, when we met and married. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Where Do Writers Get Their Ideas

Probably the most common question people ask me about writing is where I get my ideas. Generally, I tell them my ideas come from living. Recently, I got an idea from death.

My husband’s brother’s wife died from bone cancer on Saturday. The diagnosis came just after the first of the year, giving her and her family very little time to grasp the new reality.

A few days before Vickie died, I had a death dream. One moment I was driving a car around a bend and the next I was floating above a field. Immediately I realized that although I was outside above a frost covered the field—I wasn’t cold. Wind moved the trees, but I felt nothing as I watched the scene of the accident. A few minutes later all sounds disappeared and everything around me became eerily quiet.

I thought of my husband and suddenly I was where he was. I watched him receive the news of my death. I had the same experience with each of my children.

I woke before dawn and I did what I often do when I’m upset. I put on my running shoes, plugged in my IPod and headed outside. The world was covered with frost (I was in Washington, visiting my family—the world in California, where I live, is rarely covered in frost) but unlike in my dream, my feet were firmly planted on the ground.

As I ran I thought about my dream and related it to writing. In my dream I was able to watch my loved ones receive the news of my death, but what if a writer was able to watch readers read her books? How would that change the writer and her work?

This is just one example of how one writer (me) gets her (my) ideas.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Oh Danny Boy

I'm in Washington visiting my 91 year old father and helping my step mother celebrate her 90th birthday (even though she insists she's only 89. I guess when you are 90, you can be however old you want to be...but when you are 90 you eat free at the Golden Corral. There's something to look forward to.)

My dad still lives in the house where I was born. Dr. Huber, our neighbor, delivered me.  He's gone, although his house still looks about the same. Someday, probably sooner than later, my dad will go too. My dad's house looks as it has always looked. The gardens are immaculate. The house is tidy and well cared for despite that the kitchen was last remodeled in the mid-sixties. (I know this for a fact because I have pictures of my 7th birthday party with the remodel in progress.)

The weather is gray and drizzly and my thoughts are heavy and dark and even though I had a goal of finishing my novel this week it's hard to write a light, fluffy novel with witty characters who banter and kiss when I wonder what I'll find here when I next return.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Great Review for The Rhyme's Library

Thanks for another great review!