Changes

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Life has changed in the past year, and yet much has remained the same. I retired from a 34 year career in government, hoping to devote more time to writing novels and blogging, but–

First, I had to deal with a pandemic. It didn’t seem to affect me much, as I had work to do on my house, along with getting acquainted with a new granddaughter. Then a cautious visit with family revealed how vulnerable travel was, though I successfully paddleboarded across a small arm of the Chesapeake Bay, with a nervous, wet, shivering Cockapoo sitting in front of me. He can swim; I cannot. I learned that he loves to travel and thinks hotels cater to him.

Back home, I had trouble regaining momentum on household projects. But then, I had an offer to do writing part-time for my previous employer. I renewed work on a consulting project. Met a new boyfriend. Committed to a major house renovation. I found my rhythm, but with a constantly varied schedule.

What this means, dear readers, is that you can expect new books to come out in time. I will blog more regularly. Pictures will be posted. Many new developments may arise, as one granddaughter begins college and another learns to walk. But I will embrace all the changes coming in my life, and share the insights they bring.

Audio is Available!

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More Than a Point of Honor, narrated by the incomparable Kayla Ricker, is finally available in audio. Check it out at Audible.com. As I listened prior to approving it, I found myself so caught up in the suspense that I forgot to look for missed words. I hope you will also be captured. .https://www.audible.com/pd/More-Than-a-Point-of-Honor-Audiobook/B07TP5VYBD?pf_rd_p=d4bd4ee1-b56e-4ffb-8f73-3fbb8d604669&pf_rd_r=58XVX52MW0E1GFJD0XZP&ref=a_author_Ka_c19_lProduct_1_2

Audible, where the audio book is found, offers a free trial for the first 30 days of your membership. Why not give it a try today? And while you are logging in, the mystery What the River Knows is there, too. Inspired by a 40-year-old Kansas cold case. https://www.audible.com/pd/What-the-River-Knows-Audiobook/B07CVN636X?pf_rd_p=d4bd4ee1-b56e-4ffb-8f73-3fbb8d604669&pf_rd_r=58XVX52MW0E1GFJD0XZP&ref=a_author_Ka_c19_lProduct_1_1

What’s next? You just might see The Judas Seat with a new cover, fresh edits and an audio version next… https://www.amazon.com/Judas-Seat-Katherine-Pritchett/dp/1452800677

Character Development

I will be presenting a session on character development at the July 17 meeting of the Kansas Writers Association. This got me thinking as to what readers look for in a character.

Do you look for a trait that you identify with? Or that you wish to develop? Do you look for a character totally unlike yourself?

What about villains? Do you hope for someone you love to hate? Or someone with a redeemable characteristic?

Please comment. I know what writers THINK readers want, but ultimately, if we don’t write characters you care about, you won’t love our books.

What is old is new?

I wrote a poem in high school, sometime between 1968 and 1971. It expressed what I felt going on around me. We had already seen the Watts
and Kent State riots, the Manson family had murdered Sharon Tate, protests against the Vietnam war were ongoing, and Watergate was just beginning. The Hong Kong flu was raging. Today’s headlines feel like déjà vu. It feels like we’ve been here before. Maybe we have, maybe the earlier experiences were just warnings that worse was to come.

I still believe in America, in our vision of equality and justice. But our reality is far from it today. Unless we recommit ourselves to that vision, to living together with respect, fairness and kindness, I fear the vision will go down in flames.

An echo from my past, reverberating again:

They Say My Country Is Dying

They say she’s been in this world too long.

They say her day has come and gone.

She was the daughter of a lofty idea.

She was born of men’s sweat and tears and blood.

But they say my country is dying.

They say it’s wrong for men to believe.

They say loyalty and God are dead.

She was sustained by faith and love.

She breathed and cried and was alive.

But they say my country is dying.

They say freedom must triumph over all.

They say the system is wrong, and they thirst for blood.

She says freedom must triumph over all.

She lets them thirst and talk and shout.

And they say my country is dead.

                   –Katherine Pritchett

Please, think before you speak or react or share a post. We, the people, the everyday people, can stop this madness by seeing each other as people, not “the other.” We all bleed red.

Life Imitating Art?

Does life ever imitate art? When I was diligently writing on The Judas Seat (https://www.amazon.com/Judas-Seat-Katherine-Pritchett/dp/1452800677), it seemed that North Korea would be in the headlines, and we were approaching a dangerous flash point. Then I would get sidetracked to something else, and Korea would calm down. Now, however, as I work on the edits to turn the book over to my traditional publisher, it’s happening again.

In The Judas Seat, the North Korean leader dies, to be replaced by a new leader, a former South Korean cabinet minister who defected to North Korea. An anxious world convenes peace talks to divert from the nuclear brink, but the only negotiator that the new leader will accept is a man who doesn’t want the job: hero of More Than a Point of Honor Richard Matthews.

What will the death or serious illness of Kim Jong Un do to the stability of east Asia? Or the world? Who would succeed him? Would it lead to new peace initiatives? Or war?

Get it here

While More Than a Point of Honor won’t be available for purchase until January 14, you can pre-order it here. The audio book will probably take a couple of more months to be finished.

https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/6410-more-than-a-point-of-honor.html

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Katherine+Pritchett

Cover reveal

At long last, here is the promised cover reveal for the re-release of More Than a Point of Honor. This time, it will not only be available as a print book, but also an e-book in various formats, and a audio book narrated by the fabulous narrator of What the River Knows, Kayla Ricker. I’ve cut some scenes, tightened the writing and made it, I hope, a better book.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the buy links. They will also have a clearer view of the cover. Evidently, I still have much to learn about videography…

More Than a Point of Honor cover

The Lesson of the Evergreen Grove, re-posted

Two of the trees are gone now, replaced by deciduous trees. Trees are gone in my life, too, but like this grove, the roots that connect us still intertwine, holding the circle together. Much has changed in my life and the world, but this grove, like my circle, remains steadfast even through change. Merry Christmas, everyone. Tell those around you that you love them, and even more, SHOW them. Love will win.

(Author’s note: This post first appeared several years ago, before the lights were changed to white, before the hospital was updated, back when there was a Christmas truce in wars. But despite change, I think it bears repeating.)

They stand near a busy intersection in Pratt, America. Just north of the empty, snow-dusted swimming pool, they serve as a stepping stone in a path of parks stretching from the highway that borders the south edge of town to the capstone park adjoined by Highway 54 as it cuts Pratt in half. They must be visible from some of the hospital windows, just above them on the hill, these seven stately evergreens, each wrapped in a different color of festive lights.

As I drove past them last night, intent on just where on the racks and shelves of the busy stores I would find each item on my list, I was stopped short in my mental rush by the simple beauty of the arrangement. Each tree is unique in its own right. Though all are old and tall, some tower above the others. Some are full and round, others tall and spindly. Some cluster together, but two stand aloof at opposite ends of the grove. Some have branches that drape down, others’ branches sweep upwards as if in praise. Each is a testament to the glorious diversity of evergreen trees.

Then the lights — white, yellow, red, orange, pink, green, blue. Some are spaced precisely around the trees, others splashed on with a hurried hand. The orange lights blaze out for all to see. The blue ones are so subtle, they can’t be seen until night is well advanced. Together they present the same colors that make up the spectrum and the rainbow.

Shopping finished and more at peace, I drove back past the lights — and there it was. Glorious diversity. God made each of us as unique as this grove of evergreens, the tree that symbolizes the never-failing quality of His love for us. Some of us are round and full, others tall and spindly. Like the trees, some of us gather together, while others stand aloof. Some of our shoulders droop, while others of us lift our hands in praise. We are covered in many colors of skin, just as the trees wear different colors of lights. Yet each of us is a testament to the glorious diversity of the world we live in.

As this Christmas season rushes by us so fast that the bright colors begin to blur, I hope we can take the time to appreciate the world God made for us — the glorious diversity and the marvelous complexity of it. Each year near midnight on December 24, the entire world does seem to pause, to hold its breath for just a moment. Warring guns fall silent, and people around the world stop. Some give thanks that a baby was born nearly 2,000 years ago, just so He could die for us. Some people may even look heavenward, wondering when that bright star may come again.

Until it does, maybe from time to time we can remember the lesson of this grove of evergreens. Although each of them is different, they draw their nourishment from the same source underground, where their roots intertwine to help each of them stand. They all draw warmth and life-giving light from the same sun. They’re not so very different from us, this grove of trees. And as they stand together to celebrate this season, their lights send a message to all of us.