Tag Archives: beth

The Trials and Tribulations of Romance


“This is true love – you think this happens every day?” ~Wesley, The Princess Bride

The answer to that quote is ‘no, true love is often elusive.’  I recently read a unique and interesting take on relationships, mostly of a romantic nature, but also friendship, appropriately entitled: Fractured: essays on love, friendship, and the nightmares in between by K.J. Pierce.  I downloaded and read it in one sitting.

Author Keiti Pierce has led a colorful life with an eclectic succession of ‘man boys’ with whom she explored the possibility of obtaining that intangible ‘something more,’ that rare relationship in which she can fully express and share herself with someone equally capable of giving back.   The search continues, but she’s learned a great deal along the way and gleaned insights well worth sharing with fellow seekers, or anyone interested in how people relate—or don’t—and why that might be.   This quote taken from her book struck me as profound, “As easy as it is to blame someone else when hurt feelings come into play, it really was irrelevant who was at fault in the demise of my previous relationships, romantic or otherwise. The fact of the matter is that they all had one thing in common: me. I figure that has to mean something.”

I agree.  And so she begins with herself.  Wise indeed.  While deeply pensive and introspective, Fractured is also rich in the comic as Ms. Pierce is gifted with a wonderful sense of humor.  And that’s a good thing because she’s needed it.~

And now, my interview with Author Keiti Pierce:

To get us started, I have some questions for you to ponder, the sorts of things all of us, readers and writers alike, wonder about.  Normally I find myself interviewing authors of romantic fiction, but as Fractured is a deeply personal work of nonfiction, I won’t ask if you’ve killed off any of your characters (I, of course, have) or what attracted you to paranormal or historical romance…  In Fractured, you explored the real thing, or lack thereof, in your own life.  Are you a diehard romantic (like me) and is that what prompts your search for ‘true love?’   *Perhaps you have a different wording, such as meaningful and lasting relationship? 

Keiti: You’re right, I haven’t killed off any characters, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t *thought* about it on occasion.  🙂  I am absolutely a die-hard romantic, something which many of my friends have shared a laugh over.  I tend to have a bit of a tough exterior so it isn’t always apparent.  I’m sure the dreaminess of True Love is part of what prompts me; there’s something utterly compelling in the idea that there is one perfect person for me – that’s the romantic part.  The 40-year-old me, though, has a hard time reconciling the concept of true love with the reality of my life – in that I sometimes feel that, as an adult, I’m supposed to be beyond the girlhood fancies.  Regardless, I think for most people, myself included, there’s a draw towards wanting companionship – someone to share your life with, good, bad, and ugly.

Beth: Also along those lines, what draws you to search your soul and share those discoveries?  Do you hope to help fellow seekers along the way?

Keiti: Ultimately, it comes down to a general sense of dissatisfaction with where my life is at the moment.  It just so happened that when I sat down to write it tended to involve relationships, romantic or otherwise.  I was very lucky as a teenager and young adult in that I had a great group of friends who were supportive and who accepted me for who I was.  I chose to walk away from most of them when I was 24 due to growing up a bit and deciding that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life clubbing and absorbing all the emotional chaos that went along with it.  In doing so, though, I stuck myself in this weird middle ground.  I don’t feel wholly comfortable in what I call normal society, but I don’t feel like I belong in the freak scene any longer either – at least not to the same extent.  This affects every aspect of my life, but what it means in terms of dating is that “normal” men tend to think I’m too weird and “freak” men tend to think I’m too normal.

Basically, it all comes down to sorting out for myself where and with whom (if anyone) I belong.  For me, writing is far better (and less expensive) than therapy and taking meds; my original intention in writing these essays was wholly selfish, sort of a writing-induced exorcism.  (*I totally agree ) That being said, it’s ridiculously easy to fall into the trap of thinking I’m the only one who feels this way and certainly if my essays remind others that they’re not alone, either, that’s fantastic.  If I otherwise provide a laugh or two along the way, that’s a HUGE bonus.

*Indeed it is.

Beth: Back to the beginning, what was it that made you want to be an author?  Are you one of those writers like me whose been scribbling since childhood, or did the burning desire to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard strike later in life?

Keiti:  I’m not sure there’s one defining moment that made me want to be an author.  I can’t say I’ve been writing since I was 5 or anything like that.  The first story I can remember writing was co-authored with a friend of mine when I was in eighth grade and it was, oddly enough, a romance between us and our favorite members of Menudo (a Puerto Rican boy band back in the 80s for those who might not know.)  I actually still have the notebook packed away somewhere.  Anyway, I’m pretty sure it was more of a way to break the monotony of school than a burning desire to write. (*Beth again, school bored me senseless and I also wrote little pieces and poems) It wasn’t until I took a creative writing class in my early 20s that I realized I was relatively adept at something (and honestly I was beginning to despair.)  From there, I ended up studying English Literature / Creative Writing at Agnes Scott College where I fully indulged myself in actually learning the rules of writing.  Mostly so I could try to break them.

Beth: A follow up question, have you ever written in another genre besides nonfiction or considered it?  If so, might I suggest romantic comedy? 🙂

Keiti:  You’re not the first person to suggest I write romantic comedy.  I had this fantastic roommate when I lived in Los Angeles who swore I should write Chick-Lit.  My original intention out of college was to write scripts (film and play) but I find that I start scripts, get a great storyline going then they languish in a drawer because I get distracted by another idea.  I’m a great ideas person, but sometimes my follow through stinks.  I am considering trying my hand at fiction – I’ve had this idea for a YA series in my head for the better part of 20 years, but fiction not a format I’m wholly comfortable with. (*Get comfortable because you’d be terrific!)

Beth: Do you ever struggle with writer’s block?  What are some of your coping strategies?  Apart from bribing yourself with chocolate, as I do.

Keiti:  I constantly struggle with writer’s block, though that may be my tendency to jump from idea to idea more than anything else.  I’m also (if you’ll pardon the pun) a fractured writer.  I can’t concentrate on anything longer than about 10 minutes.  Generally, I’ll write for a bit, take a break to think about what I’m writing, distract my brain by playing online games then go back to writing.  This gets repeated quite frequently. (*I hear you.)

Beth: Clearly there are many individuals who helped inspire this work, whether for good or bad. Is there a particular someone who was the catalyst for your writing Fractured?

Keiti: Absolutely.  Name and identifying characteristics withheld, of course, but it’s someone I love dearly who quite unmaliciously broke my heart, though I think the unmalicious part made it so much worse – it’s easier to walk away from someone if I’m angry.  The emotional wreckage is what gave me the kick in the ass I needed to actually start compiling this collection.  I still struggle with how I feel and what to do about him – I tend to think the best of people even when many other people would have already walked away.  This is an unfortunate pattern for me – one that makes me feel like I’m the resident idiot of lost causes.

And that indecision is probably why I chose not to include an essay specifically about him – I started one, but ended up feeling like I was writing it to serve an agenda more than anything else.  I’m still too emotionally attached to sit back and look at it from an honest viewpoint.

I also discovered that revisiting old wounds and remembering the “good, old days” was extremely emotionally taxing.  It got to the point where I was sick to death of thinking and writing about relationships.  Perhaps one day I’ll do an updated version of Fractured with additional essays – there were some people I simply couldn’t write about quite yet – but for now I’m ready to move on to other topics. (*Understood, and a big hug)

Beth: Who are some of your favorite authors? Favorite books?

Keiti:  My hands-down favorite author is Oscar Wilde, book:  The Picture of Dorian Gray, which is ironic because it was Wilde’s way of sorting out two very conflicting sides of himself – the chaste Victorian side and the rebellious indulgent side.  I can only hope my own exploration doesn’t end in quite the drastic finish.  🙂  My next favorite is Anne Rice’s A Cry to Heaven, which has some of the most beautiful language I’ve ever read.  I’m also partial to Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan series and the Harry Potter series – I’ve just finished re-reading that in prep for the last movie.  Right now I’m reading this great book called Desperate Romantics:  The Private Lives of the Pre-Raphaelites by Franny Moyle.  It seems I can’t get away from relationships no matter how hard I might try!

Aside from that I’ll pretty much read anything you put in front of my face. (*I much admire Oscar Wilde too, and if Author Linda Nightingale is reading this, she’s got to be his biggest fan ever).

Beth: Any new projects you’re at work on, or new directions you’d like to tell us about?  Any further comments?

Keiti:  I haven’t started anything new, yet, but I plan to start work on another collection of essays about growing up as an Army Brat within the next couple of weeks.  I have an urban romance short story, Weeping Ash, available for sale on a number of different sites including Smashwords, BN.com, and iTunes.  (It apparently hasn’t yet shown up on Amazon, but kindle formats can be purchased at Smashwords.) I also have 3 scripts that need attention and a completed children’s play (Bethany and the Belfry Bat) that needs to be shopped around, though I am considering turning that into fiction, as well.  All-in-all, I’ve got plenty to keep me busy on the writing front for a while.

Beth:  Agreed.  I hope you will return to my blog when you have more to report.  And we’d all love to hear about your happily ever after which the die-hard romantics among us still believe will come.  🙂

Keiti has generously agreed to give away a download or two of her new release, Fractured, to one of the visitors who leaves her a comment.

Fractured is currently available at Smashwords and will move onto Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online booksellers.~

Tips For Surviving A Writer’s Conference By Historical Romance Author Liz Arnold


LIZ ARNOLD is an historical romance writer with a new book out from The Wild Rose Press, MESSAGE TO LOVE, set during the Spanish-American War in 1898.   Beautiful cover.
Today Liz is talking today about what she does to survive a writer’s conference!
I’m interested to hear this.  Take it away Liz~
After five hours in the car, I didn’t feel like going to the writer’s conference. The driving, the early morning preparations, and saying good-bye to my children combined to make my body sluggish and my heart heavy. But the conference began that evening at 7:00 p.m. with “Night Owl” sessions until 11:00 p.m. Twelve hours of activities were planned for the next day. I had an hour and a half to check in, change clothes, and pick up my conference information. I didn’t want to miss anything, but I was really zapped!

Thanks to great organization and nice people, the hotel and conference check-ins went smoothly and left me with time on my hands. I changed into exercise clothes, grabbed a bottle of water, and headed for the hotel activities area.
Thirty-minutes of easy yoga later, my head was clear and I felt energized again. I had done deep breathing exercises and several gentle yoga poses and I felt peaceful and open-minded. The water helped the tension headache drain away and I was excited to go to the conference.

I had a fabulous, productive weekend because I incorporated some basic principles of exercise and hydration into my plans. I also carved out a few minutes both days to write in my journal. These activities helped me cope with the stresses that accompany a writing convention. Stress isn’t all bad. New people and surroundings, and intellectual challenges create a normal amount of stress that is easy to deal with if writers will remember a few important tips:

*Water-sounds simple, but it’s easy to forget especially when attending a conference sets a writer off his/her normal schedule. It’s always available, just make a habit of drinking several ounces every two hours no matter how long the line is at the restroom.
*Exercise-your body may feel fatigued from the extra walking and excess sitting, but the cure is more exercise–specific exercises that increase circulation and reduce swelling. Simple yoga poses will help immensely. Using the hotel treadmill or exercise bike will do amazing things for reducing swelling.
*Food-take along foods you are used to eating so your body is not shocked by all new foods while you’re at the conference.
*Journal-writing a few head-clearing lines on a scrap of paper while at the conference will do wonders for keeping you focused. Don’t take your regular journal from home with you. Don’t want to misplace it! Write a few notes on hotel stationary and tape it into your journal when you get home.
I would love to hear what you’ve done to survive a con!
Thanks for having me, Beth!
Thanks for joining me here, Liz, and for all the excellent suggestions.  Anyone have some of your own?

Cat Tales



I’ve always had cats, an integral part of my world and our farm. Two reside indoors now; Minnie Mae, a funny little cat, and Percy, a manly tabby and our most recent acquisition. Percy is the ultimate lapcat who lives for cuddles. How can you not appreciate that sort of affection?

We fondly remember Gabby, a lavender Oriental Shorthair, related to the Siamese and just as vocal, and her chestnut-colored son, Pookah, named for the invisible creature that steals things. We used to call him “the paw” because of the way he opened drawers or cabinets and pilfered whatever he liked, usually hair thingies. He and Gabby were mad over scrunchies, and colorful bands that hold hair in pony tails.

Pookah was a gorgeous cat and an excellent thief, but he sucked his tail. Not very manly. A kind woman living in Florida sent us Gabby years ago to comfort the children after the tragic death of their young cousin Matthew. Gabby came to us on a plane, an odd infant highly unlike the barn cats we were accustomed to.

At first we didn’t know what to think of this little gray monkey forever disappearing into the highest cabinets or crouching on the tops of doors and wardrobes. Nor did we understand her peculiar cry, but once we learned to know her, we were hooked. That’s how we came by Pookah, the big-eared kitten we kept from a litter of three after we had Gabby bred to a fancy Siamese, Cappuccino. He wasn’t manly either.

Then there’s Minnie Mae, the tabby kitten-cat my daughter Elise and I raised from early infancy after her stray, airhead mother inadvertently left her in our care. She was so tiny she barely spanned my palm and is still small for a grown cat. Minnie Mae is a whimsical creature with a series of purrs. Elise calls the chirrupy purr when she scampers across the room, her ‘bouncing purr.’ Then there’s her inquiring purr, when she has a question, which is fairly often being a thoughtful, observant cat. Her excited purr hums forth when she greets us after a long absence, say overnight. She sleeps outside hubby and my bedroom door and eagerly awaits the dawn.

When I was a child I listened repeatedly to a favorite record that I still have about the adventures of Dick Whittington and his cat. Dick would exclaim: “Here comes Ripple Dee Dee! Oh, cat, I love you very much.” And I do. All of them.

For more on my work visit:
http://www.bethtrissel.com/