Year of reflection

As I started to write this, I began to think back over the many years I’ve been on Earth and this blog began to take too serious a tone.  I want and need positivity in my life, although, sometimes when I’m writing, I use realistic and sometimes sad things to write the stories.  That can be depressing and I don’t want to bum you out.  I love laughter and want to entertain my readers, but leave them wanting more.  I rethought writing anything negative as I want something positive to end the year with.

The Shiny Squirrel CoverSomething I do when there is a lot of bad happening in the world, is I hunker down, hibernate, and write like crazy to avoid the news, the barrage of it, and, of course, popping on and off social media.

This year I was able to crank out twelve books.  Let me correct that, that is, three complete books, and nine novellas.  No, I am not bragging, I have no life when I’m writing voraciously, it’s like a mania that I can’t control.  I definitely get aches in my joints from sitting too long, my shoulders and elbows too!  My fingers have been known to actually tingle from the intensity of my typing and, I apparently clench my jaw when I write.  This means my teeth hurt!

The first that I came out with was Inn the Dog House.Inn the Dog House.jpg

I often wonder if every lesbian loves dogs and cats and secretly wishes to have a day-care center for them?  Nah, just like everyone doesn’t like human kids, not everyone loves fur-kids.  That’s okay.  Diversity is what I like about our community.  Besides, who would have this kind of money to indulge like my character did?  It helped that I was in the Pet Industry for 30 years and had a bit of inside-knowledge…oh, and Pininterest helped a lot!  Check out the page on my website because I put the designs for the doggie daycare on there that I myself cobbled together.  Was pretty proud of that too!

The second book I came out with was Flight.

Flight Cover

Now, THIS one was to be only a novella.  I finished it, and then, my girlfriend said, no, I think this should be a novel.  But, I was DONE with it! <insert whine here> (rolling my eyes at her influence).  And yet, that niggling doubt created a whole ‘nother tangent that I went off on.  It also added a year to the release!  Now, my editor (who does not help me with these blogs, punctuation and other errors are my own), does not like this cover.  Apparently those with phobia’s about flying have reason not to like this cover.  However, that shouldn’t keep you from reading this awesome mystery.  Maybe you shouldn’t read it when flying or waiting for a flight?  I’m imagining the expressions of other passengers as you read this and they see the cover?

My third novel this year was An Island Between Us.

An Island Between Us

I loved the idea of doing it all yourself and these women, after WW2, were discriminated against enough that they decided, let’s make our own world.  That would be so scary, their families had reason to become alarmed, and, what an amazing story they became.

I did actually ‘write’ another story that is not available to the public.  It was for my mother’s family and I’m very proud of it.  However, since it was only for family, it is not available for sale.  Still, at the family reunion and to those generations of cousins and their kids, it will prove to be an invaluable resource of dates, pictures (I did it in color), and stories that we shared.

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That’s my mother in the middle of her parents, the youngest of four.  The stories that came out in the completion of this book were amazing.  Sharing the pictures in this manner made me nostalgic for a time that no longer exists.  All of these people pictured here are gone now, the gentleman on the far left of the front cover, my Uncle Eugene was the last to go at 92!  That was in 2018.  My mother has been gone 19 years now and I wish I had written down every single story she told of her family, youth, as well as wisdom.  If you have the opportunity to do so, do it!  I am now working, of course, on the Meinel side of the family.

After my three (four) books I had some time ‘off’ as my main editor was back at school and unavailable.   I was in a creative mood and my back up editors were working on other things for me.  So, I decided to come out with a series…in fact, these stories had been in my head for YEARS and YEARS and I decided to do a creative spin from the various points of view of the women I so wanted to write about.  Some of it worked, other’s didn’t like it, but overall, I enjoyed writing them.  I released FOUR at once!  Then one a week for a while a month or so later.  I have more planned, but I was pleased to use these terrific pieces of art that I found and manipulated to my needs.  I think these covers are so eye-catching, you would never know what they looked like originally.  I think I’m getting better, not only at my writings but at my illustrating.

Welcome to A Woman Down Under series:

There is nothing like a strong woman!  I’ve got several heroines in these books and wait, there is more to come!

Lastly, I must not forget my faithful Alice.  She’s still whispering in my ear as I came out with her latest antics.  Don’t worry, I have more of her planned too.

Mandating Malice

She’s an insatiable bitch for a lesbian serial killer, but she’s the kind of woman who keeps on giving…and killing, and more…

Well, in this year of reflection, I must NOT forget that my wonderful book Pioneering, won for Best Historical Lesbian Romance!  YAY!

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and Cavalcade was an Honorable Mention!

Cavalcade Bestseller Honorable Mention

In researching and setting up various pages on my website to showcase these honorable mentions, finalists, wins, etc, I found several that I had ‘forgotten’ or been unaware of.  Check out all this here.  I’ve had at least (that I could find) TEN honorable mentions/finalists in the past years, many that I didn’t even know about!

So, overall, I’d say I had a pretty good year!  You should see what I have planned for 2020!  Thank you to all who follow me, read my works, and send me emails, inboxes, and reviews.  Leaving a Review....jpg

I hope that it all makes your life a little better for having me and my works in it, because I know I appreciate you!

Thank you

Labels ~ Model?

Some things should be labeled, some things should not be…

Some labels that I gladly accept (in no particular order): entrepreneur, lesbian, business owner, mom, writer/author, marketeer, and publisher.

Some labels I never expected to hear: diva, stud, model.

The idea of being called a stud is laughable to this femme lesbian, but there you have it, I have not only been labeled one, but it’s official…and, they are using my picture as a model for their calendar!  I love their explanation of what a divastud is and I really do think I fit it so I gladly accept these new labels even if I laugh at them too!

Check it out here and you can order prints of their calendar while you are there!

Lezbelib

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I am pleased to announce that Lezbelib has joined us in celebrating lesbian literature over at the Lesfic Bard Awards!  Yesterday they gave us a shout on their site!  Check them out!  You can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+!

Support like this for our new awards is wonderful and we do appreciate everything everyone is doing to get the word out there about it.  We hope that it becomes an annual thing for everyone involved and that we become the premier award in lesbian literature.

Thank you!

Planet Nation

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I am pleased to announce that Planet Nation, has joined us in promoting lesbian literature.  Not only have they given us a shout out (thank you!), but they are offering to the WINNERS of the Lesfic Bard Awards the following:

– a guaranteed editorial/interview for the winners on Planet Nation (will be arranged via email)
– all authors who enter the awards can be offered an author profile on Planet Nation and also informed of how Planet Nation can support them (https://www.planet-nation.com/lbq-women/getting-know-community/138)
– advertising of the awards on Planet Nation website (please provide a 468×60 landscape jpg image)
– social media support (please provide up to 10 Tweets incl. hashtag and @s along with the time period they should be used within, I.e. they may change during nomination period, etc. Countdowns to closing, etc).
How is THAT for support of Lesbian Literature?  Please, show YOUR support to THEM in gratitude for their help by subscribing to their site, following them on twitter, and liking their Facebook page!  If you want, please let them know you appreciate their support by sending them a thank you, let them know the Lesfic Bard Awards sent you!
Please SUBSCRIBE to the Lesfic Bard Award News!

Thank you Kitty Kat Book Review Blog!

The Lesfic Bard Awards are on the lookout for judges for the awards. Details below on how to participate. The awards are brand new for 2018 and a great opportunity for authors and readers alike. Judges Contact awards administrators: Judges@lesficbardawards.com Calling all judges! Minneapolis, MN – The Lesfic Bard Awards has issued its Proclamation for Judges […]

via Call for Judges for Lesfic Bard Awards! — Kitty Kat’s Book Review Blog

Curve Magazine

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I have a memory of watching one of my favorite lesbian movies, one of the first that I ever watched.  The main character is reading a magazine that turns out to be about lesbians.  It was the first time I had ever heard of such a thing.  My memory of seeing Curve Magazine for the first time is vivid.  My regard for them has just increased because they have chosen to help the Lesfic Bard Awards by announcing our call out for judges.  I thank them and encourage you, my friends and followers to thank them by following them on Facebook, Twitter, and all of social media.  Better yet, get a subscription…

My warmest regards to Curve Magazine

Top 100 Best Lesbian Books

I am pleased to announce that my book The Outsider made it in the Top 100 Best Lesbian Books by The Lesbian Review!

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Check out their review here.

Buy it here.

Thank you so much to the fans and those who like my style of writing!  Keep in touch as I release another one this week!  ~K’Anne!

Another NEW year, celebrate WITH me!

I don’t know why this date always sticks out, because I don’t recall the exact day I found out I had cancer.  However, I do remember it was April, I’d just come back from an expo with my sons, my mother had died of brain cancer in January, I was selling my house in Southern California, I was finishing up my lengthy divorce that had taken over six years, and I was very, very sick.  I couldn’t breathe.  It was a Wednesday when I got in to see the doctor.  On Thursday I had x-rays, on Friday I went in for a biopsy…I was awake for the surgery where they removed the lymph nodes in my neck…it was gross because I could see the entire procedure on the shiny light above me, I couldn’t move from the anesthetic paralysis they had put me in, but they wanted me to talk to them, you know, in case they hit my vocal chords?

I’d been sick for a year, I knew it, as a woman, as a mother, and as someone who feels things very intrinsically.   I ignored it.  Why?  I was trying to raise two boys.  They were, when I found out my prognosis, aged twelve and ten.  I was also trying to run two businesses, one of them internationally and it was growing exponentially.  I was also trying to maintain two households.  I had a house in Huntington Beach, CA and another that I was renting in Los Osos, CA.  Then, my mother started behaving oddly.  She was living in our house in Huntington Beach and I was ‘home’ for the weekend.  I remember the first sign vividly in October of 2000 as it still hurts, even though she didn’t mean it, and it was so out of character for her.

We were watching some TV and a commercial came on about abuse.  A woman of about forty was yelling.  You would assume by what she was yelling that she was saying it to kids, abusing them.  Then the camera panned out to show a little old lady, practically cringing away from yelling woman.  I was horrified.  I turned to my mother and told her how much that commercial upset me.  Not that it was okay if it was children she was yelling at, neither was it okay to yell at a defenseless older woman.  My mother looked at me almost blankly for a moment and said, “Well, what do you think you do to me?”  I stared at her in the same horror that I had felt at seeing that commercial.  I gasped.  I also defended myself.  I said, “I would never speak to you in that manner!”  She had raised me correctly and she knew I would NEVER raise my voice to her.  She subsided after that.  I, however, realized something was wrong.  My wonderful, kind, and patient mother was behaving irrationally, that was the ‘first’ incident that I was aware of.

In November of that year, I bought another house, this time in Los Osos, CA, across the bay from Morro Bay, CA, so we could all live under one roof again.  It had to have a fenced in yard since we had two dogs, five cats, two growing boys, and my mother and I, as well as near enough to my warehouse in Morro Bay.  We were all elated as I signed the paperwork.  I had told no one as I didn’t want to jinx it until it was complete, good thing too as a week after I signed the seller changed their mind.  I felt horrible as my mother was so excited about us living together again.  She adored her grandchildren which she had helped me raise once I became a single parent.  I firmly believe that with her help they turned into better human beings than they would have it I had been completely alone for those years.

At Thanksgiving, I arranged to have someone else cook our dinner, I was too busy with work and picked it up.  We really enjoyed the meal and my mother was behaving oddly.  I kept asking her if she was okay the whole weekend before I had to get back to my other home and work up in Morro Bay.  It was a four-hour drive.

My mother knew my 1-800 number (it’s a free number to call businesses to those of you who don’t have that in your country) by heart and called me at least once a day, or I called her to check in.  A week or so before Christmas I couldn’t reach her.  I tried for days.  I had the police go do a ‘wellness’ check where they go pound on the door and ask the occupant if they are ‘okay.’  There was no response.  I finished up my Christmas rush of orders as fast as I could and headed down as soon as the boys were out of school for the day.  No one answered the door, my key worked, but the door was bolted.  I could, however, hear the dogs barking.  I had to lift my boys, one by one, over the back fence.  My biggest worry was that she had died in the house and they would find her, there was nothing I could do.  They went through the dogie door.  I went around to the front of our town home and they let me in.  My mother was sitting on the couch and was like, “Hi there!”  I was not amused, but I was relieved.

Fortunately, across the common area of our townhome complex lived my friend Jill.  She had been a nurse for years and I went to see her after we visited for a while at mom’s.  I asked her what I should do and she recommended I take my mother to the E.R. and tell them about her altered state, just as I had told her.  With that course in mind I went home and asked my mother when was the last time she had bathed.  Clearly, she could no longer take care of herself and this altered state of mind worried me.  Was she taking her meds?  Was she feeding the dogs?  I had regular orders of groceries delivered, part of our phone calls so I could just arrange that all the time.  Everything ‘seemed’ fine but I knew something was wrong.  She asked me if she stank, I assured her that she didn’t, but wondered if a bath would make her ‘feel’ better.  It did.  We had a delightful evening together, just like always.  The next morning, I took her to the E.R., she would never return home.

Getting her to the hospital alone was a nightmare.  I had one of those extended vans and she couldn’t get up in it.  I tried to lift her, but as we were about equal in weight and height, that didn’t work.  Then, her colostomy bag broke and we had to clean her up.  It took two HOURS to get her out the door and to the E.R. which was about ten minutes away.  I felt so bad as though I had failed her as a daughter.  I hadn’t, but I felt that way.

They kept her because based on my description of her behavior, they ran a scan and found a brain-tumor.  The doctor was eager to operate.  I could imagine my mother’s horror at the idea.  She was a very conscientious and particular person…about the way things should and shouldn’t be done.  She was very classy, very dignified.  She’d already survived thyroid and colon cancer, she would not want her head shaved and them digging into her brain.  The tumor had metastasized already but not from her other two cancers.  I have a theory that when she went in for her regular checkup in June, that they found out about the tumor, and she chose not to tell me.  She chose to let it go.  I decided then and there, knowing my mother, that she wouldn’t want the brief amount of time the doctors would have given her with such a surgery.  She would want to go on, she was tired of fighting, she was tired of living, she would want to die with dignity.  We’d talked extensively over the years about her two cancers, her three strokes, and I knew her well enough to know what she would want and the decisions she would make if she could.  I refused to allow the surgery.  I told my mother who was lucid, but had short-term memory loss, my decision.  I wasn’t sure she was nodding because she trusted me or because she agreed with me.  After telling her three times that weekend that she was dying of a brain tumor, I was done, I wouldn’t tell her anymore.  It hurt too much.  This was Saturday when I admitted her, by Monday she was in a coma.  They said she would never awaken again and probably be dead by Thursday.  This was right before Christmas 2000.

My mother not only woke up again, she recognized me, my boys, and my brother when he visited.  Nothing like making a liar out of the doctors.  During the last days, she had a stroke.  She always thought she would die of a stroke since her mother had, so when she tried to ask me what was wrong with her and I couldn’t tell her again that she was dying of a brain tumor, I told her she’d had a stroke.  THAT she could understand and comprehend and it seemed to give her comfort.  She even tried, during the last days, to comfort me when I was crying about her dying.  She told me I would be okay, patting me on the stomach.  She was right, I would be okay.  When she slipped back into her coma a few days later, I told her to go on, don’t hang around for me, I would be fine, she raised a strong woman, and I loved her.  She died the next day on January 4, 2001.

Four months later in April I was dealing with my own prognosis and possible death.  It was terrifying for my two boys.  I tell you, if they didn’t exist, I probably would not have fought so hard.  The doctor told me if I did nothing that I would live maybe 4-5 months…and it wouldn’t be a very pleasant death, choking to death.  I became a human guinea pig.

You might wonder why I tell all this, part of it is to remember because I need to, to exorcise it from my psyche.  Part of it is to tell others that no matter how bad things are, you can do it, you can deal with it.  I write about strong women in my books because I am a strong woman, my mother was a strong woman, my grandmother was a strong woman, my great-grandmother was one too…so I come from a long line of strong women and that is what I know and write about.  Here’s a bit of trivia, I am the youngest daughter, of the youngest daughter, of the youngest daughter, of the youngest daughter…how is that for a legacy?  I have no daughters, lol

No matter what you go through, what you may go through, you can do it…I firmly believe that the fates, that a higher power, God if you believe, doesn’t give you ANYthing that you can’t handle.  So, celebrate with me that it’s been SIXTEEN years since that long-ago prognosis.  I’m here, I’m still publishing stories that I hope you all enjoy, AND there is more to come.

If you wish to read more about my cancer story, please click here, here, here, and for the first mention, here.

AND, as always, check out my website to look at all my amazing books!  (Click on the picture to be taken to the site)

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Meeting Dorothy Allison

2012Dorothy-Allison1Okay, I will confess I didn’t know who this keynote speaker at the GCLS Con was.  I did my research and read about her and her book BASTARD OUT OF CAROLINA which was made into a movie…cool.915lAeWg9HL._SL1500_  I didn’t expect to find myself sitting NEXT to her at my first reading…and again, I was sick and clueless and didn’t recognize this great author.  Thank goodness MY reading of SHIPS,SAMSUNG my FIRST novel written in 2003 was before this great orator went on to deliver her reading.  She blew us ALL away and following her would never have the impact.  I was absolutely astounded when this woman leaned over after my reading and said, “Good Job!  Great story.”  It’s always wonderful to be told that, but to be told by someone who you cannot help but admire…well, let’s just say WOW and leave it at that.  Her reading left the audience in tears, mesmerized by her words, her delivery, and the story…11-Dorothy-Allison  Seeing her at the awards dinner later in the week was only a bonus, she is gracious, kind, and down to earth.  Her southern accent endears the listener and enhances what she has to say.  Whether you have read her works or not, run, don’t walk, and get them!

To rub shoulders with the greats, to have them acknowledge a fellow author, these things stay with a person.  I can only hope if/when I might make that status that I remember humbly how wonderful they made me feel at a moment in time…and pass it on.