Kaki Warner: Persevering and a Giveaway!

Kaki WarnerThank you Petticoats & Pistols for inviting me to visit today—it’s always a treat to hang out with the Fillies.

 

This has been a hectic year for my husband and me. Remember that big forest fire in Washington State last summer? It burned to within yards of our house and turned 60 acres of timber at the back of our property to ash. Then the floods came. Then we were sideswiped in our new car, suffered a devastating loss in the family, and I had two knee replacement surgeries. But like Chief Dan George advised in Josey Wales, we endeavored to persevere. And it worked! Our house was saved, insurance paid for the lost timber, our car is all fixed and no one was hurt, our grief is easing, and my knees are getting better every day. Plus, I lost 50 pounds through it all. Double win!

 

So how is this relevant?

 

Writing is a lot like life—full of ups and downs, disappointments, euphoria, and sometimes a lot of self-doubt. But if you endeavor to persevere, you’ll get through it to the good stuff. I’m living proof of that.

 

Throughout all this drama, I was trying to write the most difficult book I’ve ever attempted—HOME BY MORNING, the story of Thomas (the Cheyenne Dog Soldier) and Pru (the educated daughter of a white plantation owner and a slave). This couple had been introduced as secondary characters in the first book of my runaway bride series—HEARTBREAK CREEK. Their story wove through the next four novels, generating a lot of mail and questions about when they would get their own book. But I had my doubts.

 

Home By MorningDid I have enough story left for a book?

 

How in the world would I get into the heads of characters so far beyond my own life experiences?

 

Could I do justice to their story without getting mired down in political correctness, politics, or trying not to make them victims, or too modern in their thinking and experience?

 

Then I realized…they’re just people, regardless of their culture, race, background. They want what we all want—love, acceptance, and respect. So I put my head down and started writing.

 

And then a wonderful thing happened. A whole new character showed up, with the voice and the spirit and the charisma to help me bring Thomas and Pru’s story into the light. Lillian, Lillie, Katse’e.

 

She taught me a lot. How to reach outside my comfort zone and take a risk on new ideas, different cultures and experiences. How to tame the doubt with humor and courage. How to listen.

 

Those are worthy lessons for any writer. (Too bad I couldn’t have figured it out thirty years ago…but then some of us are slow learners, I guess). Has that ever happened to you? When a person, or a character, or an experience reaches inside your mind and tweaks it just enough so that everything falls into place and makes sense? Not yet? Then endeavor to persevere. It’ll come when it’s time.

 

I hope you’ll get a chance to read HOME BY MORNING. If you do, let me know what you think. I can be reached on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/kakiwarner.

 

And to show you how much I appreciate you dropping by and leaving a comment, I’ll be giving away two signed copies of HOME BY MORNING.

 

ABOUT KAKI:

After Kaki, her husband and their coonhound retired to the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains in Washington State, Kaki decided to get serious about writing. She sold her first book to Berkley (Penguin Random House) the year she went on Social Security. Since then, she’s penned nine novels, a novella and a short story. It’s been a fun, wild ride, and along the way she’s been blessed with kind reviews, a Maggie, a RITA, and four RITA nominations. But what she values most are the wonderful people she’s met…both readers and other authors. So her advice: don’t let anyone tell you you’re too old to start writing, or it’s too late to try something new. The rewards can be astounding. So just do it.

Guest Blogger

62 Comments

  1. Loved your post Kaki. Also, the fact that you were on Social Security when you sold your first book. I’m 62 and you’ve given me hope that just maybe, if I work hard, I too can fulfill my dream one day.

    I would love to win a copy of your book. Thank you for the chance.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

    1. Oh, Cindy, please don’t give up. I’ve had a lot of happy, rewarding moments in my live, and getting my first book published is high on that list. It’s about validation, I guess. Or knowing you’re never too old to tackle something new. Actually, I wouldn’t have been smart or insightful enough to do writing justice UNTIL I had some living under my belt. So use those years of experience to enhance your writing. You can do this. Get it done and send it out. It can happen to you, too. Good luck!

      1. Thank you Kaki for the inspiration. I look back on my life and know I have a lot of fodder to use. I was a military brat and lived in Japan for almost four years. I’ve been on an airplane (before jets) that lost not one but two engines, then after being repaired lost another one on take-off. I have spent a day on Wake Island (Located in the Pacific – takes two hours by bus to go around the entire island). I have worked in two television stations and met lots of famous people. A famous country music artist’s mother was a dear friend of mine and so I ‘rubbed elbows’ with the country artist on more than one occasion and my list goes on and on. My husband insists I should write a book just about my life. Maybe I will…..

        Blessings to you!
        Cindy W.

        1. Whoa, Cindyl you definitely have a lot of “fodder” for books. I think you should give it a try. But unless you’re writing a memoir, try not to let the truth get in your way. Just do it. Blessings back.

  2. Thank you for stopping by. I enjoyed your post.

    1. Thank you, Janine, for coming by, too. I always enjoy visits here. It’s such a fun blog. Good luck winning a copy of HOME BY MORNING.

  3. Kaki,
    How inspiring!! To write books after you retired. I am not social security age yet but everyday the body tells me I am not getting younger :). It is wonderful to see you writing and still fulfilling dreams.
    I have not had a chance to read any of your books. But am looking forward to it.

  4. Hi Mary, glad you came by. It is pretty awesome to fulfill a dream at my age. But that’s what’s great about writing. Age doesn’t matter. Just put together a good story and you have as good a chance as anyone of being published. Just don’t give up, no matter what your dream is.

  5. Thank you for sharing these words of encouragement, Kaki! I would love to read Home by Morning and appreciate the giveaway opportunity!

    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

    1. Glad you came by, Britney, and good luck winning a copy.

  6. Hi Kaki, so glad thing are starting to look up for you. I have been through a hip replacement myself and I know its not and easy thing to get through but thinga do get better. It has been almost a year for me. Also every time I have had a new car someone always hits it. The car I am driving now was side swiped shortly after I bought it. I have decided not to buy new cars now. I will drive my old one until it falls down. We just have to keep pushing forward and life does get better. I love your books and I can’t wait to read your new book. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Quilt Lady. I’m already over the hump and starting to get around without a cane. Yay! Can’t wait to start hiking again. And you’re right. Things always get better if you give them a chance. But I have to say, we’ve been very lucky overall, so that helps. Thanks for coming by and I’m glad you enjoy my books.

  7. I so love your books!

    1. Wow, I really appreciate that, Debbie! It’s truly music to a writer’s ears. Hope you like this one, too. Thanks for coming by.

    2. So excited for new books!

  8. Great, Marsha! Hope you win a copy of this one. Thanks for visiting!

  9. My son and I visited the NW about a year ago. The Cascades are absolutely gorgeous!! How wonderful it must be to live in that area of the country! I am looking forward to reading HOME BY MORNING it sounds like a wonderful book! TY for the opportunity to win a copy.

  10. Another new author for me to add to my list wow what a great summer of reading it is and continues to be.

    1. Great, Kim! hope you enjoy it, and good luck winning a copy.

  11. Thank you for writing amazing stories

    1. Wow, thanks, Patty. And thank YOU for reading them. It’s no fun writing them if no one reads them. Glad you came by.

  12. Betty, I do live in beautiful country. Even after a devastating fire, we’re all bouncing back. But someday not too distant into the future, the North Cascades will have to deal with another huge fire…there are millions of acres throughout the NW & BC, Canada that are riddled with dead trees from bore beetles. So I’m glad you and your son got a chance to see them now. Thanks for your comment, and good luck winning a book.

  13. Hi, Kaki! Welcome to Wildflower Junction.

    I’ve always loved your sweeping tales of life and love. Can’t wait to read this one.

    When I write, each character brings his or her own unique voice — and baggage. On the good days, I feel everything the characters feel. As long as I don’t try to force them to tell the story I want to tell and instead let them tell their own, we get along reasonably well. Sometimes.

    Keep writing your engrossing stories!

    1. Hey, Kathleen (cool name). Great to be here, as always. And congrats on that beautiful plaque you won. That’s impressive. And I know what you mean about letting your characters roam. It seems to be the only way I can get their true voices on paper. And readers think WE write the stories. Ha!

  14. I have read all your books and loved them. I have had two knee replacements also. I will never be able to bend them like I did the real ones but there is no more pain. To me that is all that counts. Please don’t put me in the drawing for Home by Morning because I already bought it.

    1. Thank you for the kind words, Goldie. And I’m sorry your new knees aren’t perfect, but glad you’re pain free. So far, my biggest problem has been getting them straight, but they’re doing better. The PT is awful, but definitely helping. So glad you came by, and thanks for reading my books.

  15. interesting post,sorry you had such a bad year,,glad things are on the upswing,cant wait to read the book,,sounds good to me,,a few years ago i had a tuff time,,had a tramitic injury,,got divorced after 30 yrs..empty nest when the last child turned 18 and graduated,,so moved 1200 miles away to start all over,,and i so glad i did,,had some bumps along the way but its been good so far,,second chances are sometimes better than the first was

    1. Wow, Vickie, that really was a tough time for you. I really admire your courage and determination to get through it. I am always amazed at the strength and resiliency of women, and you exemplify that so well. Congratulations on your second chance and I know it will only get better for you. Good luck on winning a book, and thanks so much for your comment.

  16. I cam’t wait to read this one. Thank you for the giveaway!

    1. Then I wish you good luck, anon 1001. Thanks for dropping by.

  17. Thanks for sharing with us today Kaki… sorry all of that happened to you. I enjoy your books!

    1. Thanks, Colleen, but all’s well now. And I’m delighted you like my books. Makes all the long hours and angst and worry worthwhile. So glad you came by

  18. Hi Kaki,

    I can’t wait to read Thomas and Pru’s story. I love when characters show up in writing and show me the way, and give a life lesson I need outside the fictional world, as well.

    Wishing you all the best!

    Kirsten Lynn

  19. Hi Kirsten, delighted you came by. It’s weird, isn’t, how often our characters surprise us. I think that’s at the heart of my best writing…when I get out of my own way, and just let it happen. Sounds like it’s the same with you. We’re clearly insane, lol.

  20. Avatar

    You are a new author to me and am anxious to read your books, they look like ones I would enjoy a lot,thanks for sharing on this site.

  21. Thank you for a great post, Kaki! I absolutely love the title…Home by Morning and would love to read it! Thank you for the giveaway!

    1. You’re welcome, Melanie. And good luck winning a copy!

  22. You’re welcome, Pauline, and thanks for coming by. I hope you’ll give my books a look…maybe your name will be drawn for a free copy. Good luck!

  23. Hi Kaki, oh, friend, it’s always so good to see you here! And I am so glad you received the finances and recovered health to get through the bad times, and the emotional strength to break out of the comfort zone. That’s such a scary place to be sometimes. And your career is so inspiring. God bless you and best wishes for much success with Home by Morning!

    1. Thanks so much, Tanya. Yes, we’re doing great, but then we had a lot of support which always helps. Nothing ever keeps us down long. I really appreciate the very kind words. Hugs.

  24. Excellent post, Kaki! I’m sorry you had such a stressful year. I love that you can see the silver lining – I’m sure that’s one reason you are such a great writer!

    1. I really appreciate that, Glenda. And we’re doing fine, so no worries there. But I truly do believe in perseverance, whether you’re going through a period of bad luck, or just stymied in your writing. It has certainly worked for us. Thanks for visiting and good luck winning a book.

  25. Thank you for the post and for endeavoring to persevere. Your story and attitude was just the encouragement I needed this evening. I pray continued blessings on your journey.

    Thank you also for the opportunity to win your current book, sounds like an interesting one.

    1. Great, Kathy. Glad if I helped. I wish you good luck in winning a book. And I hope things improve for you soon. Thanks for coming by.

  26. I have enjoyed your books. I can understand your dilemma in writing this story. The attitudes towards these two characters would be different then than it would be today. Hard not to inject that when trying to get them together. Yes they want what we all want, but sometimes it is not attainable. I will be very interested to meet your new character, Lillian, and see how you handle bringing Pru and Thomas together.

    So sorry to hear how your past year was. It is in the category of things can’t get much worse, they have to get better. I am glad things are starting to work out in a positive way for you. I hope this coming year holds nothing but good for you and your family.
    I was very interested in your writing “history.” We are of a similar age and it is encouraging to know that even a “late” start is not a hindrance to success. I did dream of being a writer at one time, but decided I would enjoy what others have to offer. I will still create my stories for myself and enjoy doing that. I am just thankful there are people like you who act on their dreams and share with us.
    I hope the release of HOME BY MORNING is a big success. I look forward to reading it.

    1. What a wonderful post, Patricia. Yes, it was difficult to deal with issues that are so divisive today. However, I will admit, I softened it a bit…I have to skirt that fine line between keeping it real, and writing a romance, which has a high degree of fantasy. I’d be interested in hearing your take on how I did if you get a chance to read the book. Thanks so much for coming by.

  27. What an inspiring post, and love your bio info. You’re right, we’re never too old to do things we want to do. I met a wonderful woman years ago at church. I was about 40, she was probably close to 80. She had experienced a lot of hard times but was always active and positive. We would ask “How are you Frances?” and she would always say, “Hangin’ in, hangin’ on.”

    I retired about a year and a half ago and and am looking forward to trying out many more new things.

    1. Good for you, Sally. Try out a lot of things and you may find a new passion. Some of the best times, I think, are after retirement. Have fun and good luck!

  28. Hello Kaki. Loved this post. Very interesting. One of my favorite kinds of book. I would so much love to be your winner. I am 80 too, but so much I can’t do now. Have lots of problems I might not have if I had been a lot more actiove woman, but can’t change that now. Please put my name in. Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

    1. Hey, Maxie. I know what you mean about not being as active as you should have been when you were younger. A great lesson for all of us. And especially for writers–we spend entirely too much time at the computer. And now after being even more laid up with these new knees healing, I’m raring to get back to walking and being more active. Thanks for coming by, and I hope you feel better soon. Hugs.

  29. Kaki,
    It was such an encouragement reading your post today. What I’ve taken away from it is keep persevering,just don’t give up.minlike this message and it’s so true. Thank you for the giveaway opportunity, I would love to read a copy of your book !
    Deanne Patterson
    Cnnamongirl at aol dot com

    1. Thanks for coming by, Deanne. And yes, perseverance is the key to getting through this life. And it’s not too hard if you just tuck you head down and push through. Even if it doesn’t work, you’ll know you gave it your best shot. Keep plugging!

  30. I think perspective definitely changes with time. Everything is drama worthy when young but I think you learn that you really have to go with the flow. Things are going to happen because that’s life (and you definitely had a bunch thrown at you all at once). Thanks for telling us about your new story!

    1. Hi Catslady, thanks for visiting. And you’re right about learning to go with the flow as you get older. That’s what I’ve loved about retirement–the total freedom of being on my own schedule, doing what I want to do. Of course there were years when we battled all kinds of stress and demands but we kept going and are now happier than we’ve ever been. Youth is nice, but being older can be very liberating.

  31. I LOVE Kaki Warner. I found her 1st book at our library and became hooked. I am soo looking forward to reading about Pru and the Indian 🙂 That was such a tender love story.
    I saw the paperback but can’t read it as the print is extra small (and Im not that old) so I’m waiting for my library to get another copy in and check the text size.
    I read paperbacks regularly and for some reasons this and the last of Kaki Warners text was very small. (I dont even own reading glasses)

    1. I thought the print was small, too, Christine. You might check with your library to see if they’ve ordered it in large print. It’s being offered this month in LP through Doubleday, Literary Guild, etc. book clubs. What’s helped me is having an e-reader that allows me to change the size of the print to something easily readable. And simple drugstore magnifying glasses might help, too. Just DON’T stop reading, LOL.

  32. Kaki – Love reading your books, they are always inspiring & tell a good story that we need to dwell on in our fast paced lives. We may be getting older but we are also wiser, so keep those books coming, love the old west. Thanks, for the chance to win a copy of Home by Morning.

    1. I’m so glad you like my books, Lois. And I do think I’m wiser. Or maybe I just dropped off a lot of baggage. But I feel more confident and freer than I ever have. Thanks for coming by and good luck.

  33. I love your books and can’t wait to read Home By Morning.

    1. I appreciate that, Kelly. Glad you enjoy them. Good luck and thanks for coming by.

  34. I’m sorry you’ve had to go through so much lately. You have a wonderful attitude. You are a new author to me. I haven’t read any of your books. Thanks for this chance.
    susanlulu@yahoo.com

    1. Thanks, Susan. I hope you get a chance to read some. Glad you came by.

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