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#Ology by Gallant

Where do I even start with this album and singer?

If Keith Sweat, R.Kelly and Smoky Robinson had a love child….

So the last FULL album I’ve purchased–well the last English album was “Unbreakable” Image resultand from my review, you can see I wasn’t impressed.  So, after that, I’ve been gunshy to go out and auto buy people’s albums these days.

Then the lord blessed my ears with Gallant.

There’s a backstory here. I have to admit the only reason I know about him is because of Tablo from Epik High. Yes, Epik High is a Korean group – Hip Hop mostly and Tablo is their rapper. This cat is straight up dope, I am not even gonna lie. And to add to his fantastic self, he is super bright. Anyway, Tablo and another singer, Eric Nam did a song with Gallant called Cave Me In. When I heard that song that first day, I listened to it all day at work–am talking on repeat. Then I went home and listened to it until I fell asleep.

The next day, I woke up and went digging for who this Gallant person was and I hit the mother load. This guy is truly talented and he doesn’t need gimmicks. Every song he’s dropped so far has smashed my brain. I am now actually looking for a song I’ll hate by him because he’s been perfect so far.

His debut album was called Zebra and that dropped in 2014. His latest album Ology dropped in 2016 and I’m late to the party but holy hell I’m glad I’m here.

When I say every song he’s dropped so far has smashed my brain, that’s what I mean.

Bourbon, Skipping Stones, Open Up, Miyazaki (is in English no matter what the title says), Weight in Gold – to name a few, all brings me back to those days when R. Kelly was truly the king.

As a writer, I’m always on the lookout for musicians and music to inspire me. More so now than ever because I tend to go through crazy bouts of writer’s block. And my lord does this guy deliver.

So, ever since Sam Smith dropped his album, I’ve been buying an album for my birthday. This year, Ology was the pick and I am so happy I bought it. If this was a CD, I’d have run that thing into the ground already.

The first time I listened to this album, the whole album, I packed a bottle of water and my sunglasses. I headed down to the lake, spread my blanket and got comfy.  In that moment I was the only person on earth.

Let me say this – Gallant makes intellectual music.

What do I mean by that?

Every song on this album is a contemplative, source of brilliance that that shocks me every time I listened to it. I’d given up on RnB–I mean, if you listen to half the stuff out today you would understand why. But the feelings that rage through me hearing these songs take me on a creative journey I didn’t think was possible anymore.  Gallant uses the English language like a needle to weave beautiful imagery with his voice that I can’t help but be sucked in by.

Ology is a journey and every song takes you a little further, add a little more spice and pushes you to the next. It’s impossible not to go from one song out the next–one step after the next. From Blood + Tissue To Chandra I am breathless every time I listen to this album. I could be sitting quietly, and a lyric from one of this song pops into my head and I tremble – it’s that profound.

I can go on and on – But listen for yourself. His singles are all on youtube and you can buy his album on iTunes. Trust me – you NEED to hear Ology. It will change your life.

Hugs,

Kato

My FIRST private reading…

Subtitle: A novice author’s trek to a far away signing…

My girl in BC has hooked me up with a private reading. I am terrified.

Why?

Well, first of all, it will be my first private reading–my second reading over. I did one reading in Ottawa at RTC a couple of years back and I had other authors with me to have my back. This time, I will be running this bus by myself.

So, I have the story written and ready to go in eBook. Print to come. I ordered all the prizes and had them ship ahead of me to BC so I didn’t have to lug all of it on the plane. Turns out, if I bring a suitcase I have to pay them 25 dollars if it’s 60lbs or less. More if its heavier and if I want to carry two. I find I reprehensible that you can’t even bring clothes on your vacation anymore.

Anyway, I digress.

I have all that finished but I still have so much to do. With conventions, someone else is planning it so all I have to do is show up and bring books and swags and a smile. This time, my girl Manda and I are doing this solo.

She’s managed to get us a space to do the reading, created a facebook event thingy that has people accepting, declining and not sure-ing. We’ve had to cap it though because with me coming from Toronto, it would be a pain to not be sure of a number so I could have swag for everyone.

Things that I am still freaking out over:

  1. My banner – For those of you who’ve never been to a signing before, each author has a lovely banner that has their name, slogan, website, how to find them on the interwebs on it. I am now the proud owner of 2. One is preset up and will be used when I have a ride to said convention and don’t have to take regular transportation. The other, well it will be folded and packed in my suitcase. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get the creases out when I get there.
  2. Gift baskets – I LOVE putting together baskets and giving them away at the signings. I’ve already ordered things for at least three baskets and sent ahead to BC. But I still need to put them together. Which means when I arrive in BC, Manda will have to take me around to gather supplies, baskets, wrapping paper, ribbons and the like (ahhhhhhhhh!!)
  3. Picking the right passages from my books to read: This is a little problematic. Why? Most often readers want you to read some sexy bits from the book. While I write these bits and I’d like to think I’m quite good at them – I get all blushy and weird when having to read it out loud. Hence my dilemma. And for this signing, it was requested (in other words I’m doing it I just didn’t know it yet) that I read at least one – *Cries in a corner*
  4. Speaking in Public – For most of you who know me, you know when I get nervous I talk REALLY fast and that’s when my accent gets supremely thick and then no one can understand me – not sure how I got through Radio Broadcasting with a perfect GPA or passed my acting classes either. Le sigh. But, I will have to start practicing (once I pick the passages). My neighbours are going to think I have a weird fetish where I tell me lover what to do in narration.
  5. Naughty games and shenanigans – With just over 2 weeks left to go before the signing, I must find fund things for my attendees to do to earn their prizes (And trust me, there shall be some good ones). If anyone has some naughty games, please send them my way. I’d be ever so grateful.

And that’s just the few things I can think about right now.

*sigh* This is going to be one crazy ride folks!

Hugs,

Kato

 

Passing on Some Advice

Hey everyone!

Most of you who follow this blog are people who know me personally. But a few of you don’t. So let me recap.

When I was twelve years old, I was adopted and moved to Canada. To say coming to this country was a culture shock – well, that would be the understatement of a lifetime. In Jamaica, the only cultures I was used to were Jamaicans (Blacks), Chinese Jamaicans (Chinese) and a few Russians (when I said a few I meant like 2). On television, I’d watch programs like Rags to Riches starring Josephe Bologna and Tisha Campbell – Side note, for all you young’uns who think GLEE was the first television musical for kids of the age, think again. Don’t believe me? Click here.  It was a thing, trust me – There should be eps on youtube

Gawd I just aged myself.

Anyway, watching these programs and from meeting a few people who came to visit our high school, I knew there were other people in the world. But when I moved to Canada – oh boy–Tamils, Indians, Africans, Somalians, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans and the list went on and on. As I began learning about all these different people, my desire to move about this giant globe began growing.

I’ve always wanted to travel to different places – provinces, countries. But I’ve always been scared. Dating is another thing that I’ve just completely put off because after a couple bad experiences – I mean BAD experiences, I’ve decided I was done.

In February (2017), a friend of me extended her invite to British Columbia for what felt like the billionth time. I met her in University and she’s one cool chick. After she moved to BC, I never thought we’d even talk again. But then there is Facebook…

She’s been inviting me to since before she even left Ontario and each time I always had one excuse or another.

  1. I don’t know if I wanna to go BC.
  2. It’s so expensive! I can go to BC for the same price as an all inclusive to Cuba!
  3. I’m terrified.
  4. I don’t know, maaaaaaan!

And the list of excuses went on and on.

Anyway, in February I decided really contemplating going. I mean, this year I’m turning 34 and I have no traveling on my list of things that I’ve done – I mean sure I’ve been to Cuba and different places in the United States but BC is a destination. Between the beginning of February and the middle of the month, I’d changed my mind a million times – I going. I’m not going. I’m going. I’m not going–I’d looked up the price for the trip about the same amount of times and each time the flight is a good price.

Then, I went to visit my parents and mother told me “you should go. What’s keeping you from going?”

Then she called my grand uncle, who was on the brink of turning 90 years old (The greatest grand uncle a girl could EVER have by the way). He asked to speak with me. Here’s the gist of the conversation:

Me:  Hey Uncle. How are you?

Uncle: I’m still here.

Me: Did you go to church today?

Uncle: No. I’ve been in a little bit of pain. To tell you the truth, Baby. I didn’t even know it was Sunday today. Listen, I’ve lived my life to this point and I have no regrets. Live your life. Travel, meet people, don’t spend it alone….

This was the point I started sobbing.

Once our conversation was over, I handed the phone back to my mother who was looking at me with a quizzical expression. She went back to speak to my uncle and I was still crying like an idiot. Her look turned to concern and she finished her talk with him and asked me what was wrong. I told her and she forced me to book my flight right then and there. I was going to wait until I got back to my apartment to do it but she didn’t want me to wait.

The point of this post  is this.

I’d like to share the advice my uncle gave me.

  1. Live your life.
  2. Travel (maybe not the world but at least your city, province or state)
  3. Meet people
  4. Don’t spend your life alone.

That last one is kind of hard for me since a good eighty percent of the time I don’t like people. After working where I was for 6 years, I’d seen some of the worse side of people and I drew into a hole. I became anti-social and just didn’t want to deal with any of it. I’m trying my best to be better.

I hope this little post uplift someone and opens someone’s eyes. I hope it touches your heart and help you do at least two of the things on this list. I wish you happiness and freedom and love.

Hugs,

Kato

 

Allergies and asshole food servers

Sorry for the horrible language in the title, but I am going to be as REAL as humanly possible with this post.

A few days ago I was reading this post where someone who used to work for a popular fast food chain said when skinny girls come in and order a salad with diet coke, they give them regular coke instead. This person thought this was funny and people everywhere was laughing at it and sharing it – that was how it came across my feed.

There are so many things wrong with this. Forget the fact that the person is PAYING for their salad and diet coke. That’s the least of the issues with this. Let me break it down from my personal issues.

I am allergic to caffeine.

Yes, I am aware that my birth nation produces some of the best coffee in the world and I am QUITE aware of the irony in all of this.

If I consume a large dose of the thing I can go blind. Trust me, it happened when I was a teenager after my first gulp of coffee to stay awake studying for exams. So I know what I’m talking about.Image result for allergies

Over the years I’ve had to cut out soda, some chocolates (imagine, chocolate? Oh gawd what did I do in a previous life to deserve that, right?), certain juices, certain cakes, certain foods, Tim Hortons Ice Cap, and almost EVERYTHING at Starbucks and second cup. No, I cannot drink decaf, that has a certain amount of caffiene in it that would just render me useless after consumption.

Over the years I’ve become a basset hound when sniffing out coffee and cocoa in products that I consume.

Sometimes, I say screw it and indulge in a square of dark chocolate and then I have a massive headache for the rest of the day and is practically useless. A year ago, after chatting with my doctor and explaining how I’m going batty drinking nothing but selected iced teas and water, he introduced me to Coke Zero. Now Coke Zero taste like death because there’s barely anything in it but it’s caffeine free and so far hasn’t caused in diverse side effects to me. But I try to limit my consumption of the stuff.

After a few gulps, I’m now able to tell it apart from diet coke and regular coke.

Now happens to a child, if said child has my same allergy and his mother walks into let’s say for argument’s sake McDonald and orders a salad for herself and since her child says she wasn’t hungry but thirsty, the mom orders a coke zero. The server looks at the mother, thinks this order his bullshit and decide to serve the mom regular coke instead. Remember, the mom isn’t the one drinking this, the child who is allergic to caffeine is. What happens when this child, consume said drink and begins going through an allergic reaction?

My point is – serving someone something they did NOT order is an asshole thing to do. I don’t care what you think of their order. They are paying for it. Your business sells what they are asking for, provide them with the product they are asking for. If you don’t have it, say to the person “well, we’re out at the moment, would you like a substitution?”

On the same topic, this comedian once was saying if your kid is allergic to peanut the child should stay home – okay inconsiderate asshat. An allergic reaction isn’t something to joke about and the fact that you’re picking on a child makes you a jerk. But, if enough people in the world wasn’t allergic to peanuts there wouldn’t be warnings everywhere. Of course, since I moved to Canada I’ve been learning more and more about the world and I’ve adjust the way I live.

What do I mean by that – in my office I asked around to ensure no one is allergic to anything I would usually bring to eat here. Peanuts being one of those things. I try not consuming peanut in public spaces and if I do eat a peanut product in public spaces, I ensure I wash my hands and mouth thoroughly before touching or speaking to anyone.

Yes, I know, this kind of infringes on me a little bit but I’d rather be inconvenience that knowing I caused someone to die.

Anyway, back to coffee.

For me, the reaction headache (am talking someone is inside my head trying to scoop out my brain bad), vision problems and in the worse case, temporary blindness (in my experience).  Your dumb joke, isn’t work someone’s health or their lives. And you may think I’m being dramatic but an allergic reaction can be anything from hives, watery eyes to death.

Yes death.

The truth is, all we have to really do is show a little bit of caring to others. There are going to be people around you who are allergic to things. God knows every year I go through the itchy eye, scratchy throat, blocked sinus routine where I pop Claritin like candy.

Bottom like is this – be considerate to others. Try not to be a complete douche when someone tells you they are allergic to something. It’s not like they asked to be intolerant to it. They had no control over that bit of their DNA – so stop being asses and do the right thing.

Hugs,

Kato

 

#RTF2017 Hangover

I’ve been to a few writer cons in the past four years. I’ve had good experiences and bad experiences, but let me tell you, deciding to attend Romancing the Falls 2017 (RTF2017) was one of the best writing decisions I’ve made in a long time. Sometimes you attend a convention and because you’re not NYT Bestseller so and so people don’t talk to you. Readers avoid you and other authors treat you like the you have the plague.

Let me break down RTF2017 like this.

Freya Barker

I met this goddess a few years ago at the first Romancing the Capital. I was new to cons, my first foray into the unknown and I was TERRIFIED. I guess I wasn’t very good at hiding it because she saw it instantly. I remember her saying to me “don’t worry so much. It’s not that serious. You got this.” Then she gave me one of the biggest hugs ever. And to think she didn’t know me. I think the only reason she knew I was one of the authors was that I was wearing the name tag that said “Kendra Mei Chailyn: Author” on it. When I tried getting into RTF2017 as a signing author, it was full. I made it into the con via the waiting list. But I didn’t mind. I waited and the day Freya send me the message that someone had to drop out and I would be getting her spot, my heart got back into that knot–the same one I had that first day I was standing outside the Holiday Inn in Kanata wondering “why am I even here?”

From that first message, Freya showed me kindness and understanding all the way through to the very end of the con. She checked in with me, made sure I was okay, made sure I was set up, made sure I wasn’t freaking out. And the hugs–yeah well, the hugs were everything!

RTF2017 Volunteers

Honestly, these people were some of the best. They were busy as bees from helping us set up our tables, to carrying things into the hall, to ensuring we had everything. During the signing (That was about five hours long) many of us didn’t get a chance to get up and move around. These volunteers were our mouths, eyes and ears and errand persons throughout the whole thing. They ensured we were fed, hydrated and that we were having the best time. They worked tirelessly to take care of us the writers and our readers and for that, I cannot be more thankful to them.

The Marriott (The location/accommodation)

The hotel was beautiful. The best part of my room were my bed and my shower. There were a few hiccups with our bathroom doors and the elevators but those were minor compared to everything else. The rooms were clean, the sheets pristine. I had a lovely time. The elevators–well, there were a lot of people going in and out of the place, up and down constantly. The wait times for the lifts were unusual but we made do.

The Authors

I cannot remember being in a place with so many authors and not feeling as if I didn’t belong. At RTF2017 authors were coming up to me for hugs and pictures. Most of whom I had no idea who they were. They were people I spoke to on facebook and a few of them I had never interacted with. Random authors helped me set up my banner, others shared carts with us (since our hotel seemed to only had like four of them), the male authors helped my friend Allison and I lift boxes into her van, their husbands helped us lift boxes off carts. Hell, I was standing at one point, I guess I was looking a little overwhelmed and the fantastic JC Hannigan stopped to give me a hug and a verbal self esteem boost.

Rosanna Leo checked in on me just to give me a big hug (And it wasn’t until I got home that I realized – crap! We didn’t take a pic together – Next time for sure). I met the incredible AW Clarke who had Allison Cosgrove and I cracking up the whole way home. The downside about this is we didn’t get AW on the dance floor – hrm…oh well, next time.

Let me tell you, there are so many wonderful interactions I had at this thing, I don’t think we have all day to talk about them all.

Allison Cosgrove

This lady–this lady was responsible for me getting to Niagara Falls and home again. A few times I came so close to just giving up and walking away from this whole convention, but she was always there with a kick in the pants or a virtual hugs. She ventured into Toronto to pick up my books and bags. She asked to be seated close to me so she could ensure I was okay. She held my hand through this whole thing because I was coming off a really bad experience and I was a little gunshy. She helped me out of my shell at RTF2017 – helped me be more social, suffered with me in stilettos, gave me the strength to do Karaoke (Thought Christine had to save me through Say A Little Prayer, the reggae version from My Best Friend’s Wedding)…The whole experience was a million times better because of this lady and I am SO grateful and humbled and proud and over the moon by her.

The Readers

From all over the world – our readers descended on Niagara Falls. They showed up, showed us support, some even bringing us goodies. It never ceases to amaze me at the depth of the love these ladies and gents show us. Sometimes I think all we do is pot words on a page and sometimes I find myself wondering if it is all worth it. When I see our readers at cons, asking me to sign things, to take a picture or fresh faces asking about my work and interested in getting to know little, ole me, it makes my heart swell. Sometimes I cry with happiness and in those moments I am reminded not to take it all for granted and to enjoy every moment. So to you who make us who we are, who make us feel like rock stars, from the bottom of my heart – I thank you.

Christine, AK, Shannon, Sue

These ladies–these ladies you want on your team when you’re terrified and an introvert and desperately trying to grow. From long conversations to breaking it down on the dance floor, from screwing up Diana King on stage to testing out new dessert and musing over the risotto, from having a small break down about the next con to trying to find yourself – these ladies were there before, during and after it all.

Chef Becca

On our way back from Niagara Falls, Allison and I took a detour. Our GPS went gangsta and brought us to somewhere in the middle of God’s nowhere but we managed to find Becca at work. We talked, she fed us (Delicious lobster mac and cheese *Drool*) and then we gifted her with swag and books because she missed the con because she had to work. She was so happy to see us, it was worth being punk’d by our GPS just to get to her.  If you guys knew the story of what had happened just a couple of weeks before the con, you’d understand why this trip was a little difficult for me to make at first. But Becca is one cool chick.

There’s so much more I’d like to talk about–but this post would be massively long.  But RTF2017 was a major success. I’ve reconnected with people I haven’t seen in a year. I met new and exciting readers and fellow authors and bloggers. I’ve connected names to facebook names – I hugged, laughed, danced, eaten, talked to strangers in the elevator. In this one weekend, I feel a renewed energy I never thought would ever be possible. And for that, I thank all who made this weekend so spectacular and I send to you my love and many, many hugs.

And now – back to reality and our regular schedule programming.

Hugs as always,

Kato

**PS: You may have noticed I didn’t use any pictures in this post. This is because as you may know or have guessed, quite a few authors use pen names – If they wish to share their photos, I am sure they will but I will respect their privacy at this moment.**

Suicide

Hi everyone,

For those of you who are personal involved with me, you know I am a big supporter of helping those who suffer from a mental illness or contemplating suicide that sort of thing. I read this article where it seems the newest trend among teenager is suicide by cop. Now, for those who have no idea what that mean, let me try and explain it as best I can. Suicide by cop is when someone points a gun at a police officer, ignore all warnings to drop the weapon and the cops are then forced to shoot the person.  So far, there have been two cases that I’ve read about–one in San Diego and one in L.A. Both these teenagers left suicide notes.

Now, I hear people asking “why did they have to kill the kid?” “Couldn’t they shoot the kid in the leg or the arm?” ” Can’t the cops tell a fake fun from a real one?”

These are all valid questions. I don’t know the answers to two of these but the last one about the fake vs real guns, I can speak from experience. One year, I wanted to dress as a police officer for Halloween and I set about putting together the pieces I needed. I went into a costume store and began browsing the weapons section. Trust me, these guns look real. It isn’t until you pick them up (some of them) that you realize they are indeed fake. So, sometimes it is impossible to tell if a gun is real or fake.

As for the other two questions, I don’t know the answers but I’m going to hazard a guess. When it comes to police officers and people pointing guns at them, cops are going to take the person out so that said person cannot recover and shoot at them in that situation. And while I’m a big supporter of protecting our children, you have a gun pointing at police officer. In one of these scenarios, after the cops demanded he drop the gun, not only did he point it at them, he began advancing on the cops.

Others are saying it wouldn’t be a big deal if the cops got shot because they are wearing Kevlar – this does not protect an officer from a shot to the head or neck and in some cases the abdomen. I’m not doctor but even I can tell you there is no coming back from a bullet to any of these places.

Over the past few years, the relationship between civilians and police officers in the United States had deteriorated. I don’t have to tell anyone that–it’s all over the news. Cops doesn’t trust civilians and vice versa. The relationship visible minorities and the police even worse. Now, this article did not state what race these boys were so it is safe to assume they aren’t from a visible minority.

But this article isn’t about race or even the stagnant relationship between people and law. This is about our children losing hope so much so that they chose to end their lives.

As parents (I’m going to say we even though I’m not a parent yet) we need to start talking to our children. We need to raise our children with the idea that yes, we are your parents. Yes, if you act up we will shut that down but if you’re in trouble, if you feel at all like life is being one big pile of suckage, you can talk to us and we won’t judge. I can only speak from my background.

I am Jamaican. And after university I fell into a MAJOR depression. When I went to those who should help, I was promptly told that I wasn’t depressed. That there was nothing wrong with me and I should find something to do. Keep in mind, at the time I was working two dead end jobs, writing full time and desperately trying to build a social life – but apparently I wasn’t doing enough. I had to struggle, with the help of a few close friends, my niece and a few rather expensive therapy sessions (because my doctor refused to refer me to a therapist to make it be covered by OHIP). Thankfully, I still have days where I don’t want to get out of bed but now I know how to manage and I have those I can run to.

I am from a culture that for the most part doesn’t believe in mental illness. Hell, some people from my culture still believe if someone dies suddenly that someone obeyah them (voodoo curse) or duppy lick dem – they were struck by a ghost. So most times, getting help from anyone in this culture is next to impossible.

Our kids aren’t perfect. They are flawed just like we are and with the rising issues in the world, we have to be a little bit more open and tolerant of each other. We have to teach our children that it’s okay to not be okay. That when they are having those days when all they want to do is die, all they have to do is seek you out. If you don’t know who to turn to, there is the Kid’s Help Phone. I’m pretty sure if you’re in the US and call them and say “I’m from Boise and I’m thinking of ending it all” they aren’t going to say “We can’t help you.” They WILL help you.

If your child comes to you and asks for help, if you don’t know who to help them, you can google resources in your area. There are TONS of websites telling you where to go and who to talk to. If you can’t do that walk into a police station, fire department, hospital, medical clinic,  and explain the situation to them and ask what to do. These are trained professional. They are there to render assistance so you and your family can be happy and healthy.

Please–we need to find a way to stop this rash of suicides amongst children. It seem every day I read the news there is another one.

Here are some resources:

For Canadains:

Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 – Please keep in mind this line is also LGBT friendly.

Right By You

The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention: This is not a crisis center but if you need educational materials including where to get help, how to coop with a loss due to suicide etc

Ontario Association for Suicide Prevention: This is not a crisis center but they can help you out with info, resources etc. And if you click on their link to Crisis Support there are a few places that can help.

Now these are just a few places. There are others.

For Americans: (Keep in mind that I am Canadian and I am not familiar with any of these – if you have any others you’d like me to add, please let me know in the comment section below)

Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention:

Suicide Hotlines:  This seems to be a list of hotlines by states including Hawaii

The World

Your life counts: This site has a list of crisis lines around the world. There seem to be a few countries missing from the list but it is a start.

Hugs everyone, and please be safe.

Kato

I’m Still Here – Update

Hi world!

I know – I’ve been MIA for a while and it’s not because anything bad happened. I’ve just been bogged down with adulating so hard. Okay, check this out – So I have THREE Signings this year. So, after battling a kick ass case of writer’s block, I was doing the day job and writing full time.  I went through a complete rebranding with my writing. The website has always been changed. Though there is a link from the old site to the new one, you can simply click here to check it out.  I actually change the website twice in the space of a couple of months to get it to look smexy! Please, give it a look and tell me what you think!

Cover art by Boundless Tales Design

Onward to my signings. The first will be in Niagara Falls – Romancing the Falls! It’s my first time signing at this convention but I am nervous and excited about it. My second signing is on a smaller scale in Victoria, British Columbia that I’ve dubbed #Rocksteady! I am WAY over the moon about this one. This will be the first time I have my own, personal signing. I tell you, I have some AMAZING friends in my life. My gurl Amanda hooked me up and it’s going to be amazing!

 

The third signing will be in Ottawa at Romancing the Capital! Yes, I have been to this one and I am REALLY looking forward to signing again this year!

At the moment, I have two brand new novels getting ready to hit the market – The first is Someone Like You and it’s an interracial story and the first in my plus size female heroine under the new branding. The second is Rock Me Tonight , interracial, plus size female. And a third which I decided not to tackle in self publishing, To Catch a Falling StarI’m super excited for you guys to get your hands on these stories.

Someone Like You is a lot spicier than I write regularly. I wanted to add a little bit of a kick to these stories. No, I’m not leaving romance writing permanently, I’ve intertwined my love of romance with my urge for a little smexy to see what would happen.  The story is now waiting for Amazon to approve it for Kindle but it is available for Print if you click here!

Here is the blurb:

Fashion mogul Kiani Concord’s life just fell into darkness. In one night, she loses her sister and her brother-in-law.   But she has no time to grieve, because she finds out she is to be the legal guardian of her 16 year old nephew.

What? Is this a joke?​

Buckling down, she does what any responsible sister would, gives up her luxury condo, put her life on hold then moves into her sister’s house to raise a teenager. Getting through the funeral and other arrangements is tough enough; Kiani can only imagine what the next few years would be like. After the first fight with her nephew, she runs to her favorite diner and bumps head first into Jack Trudelle.​

Songwriter and Widower Jack Trudelle have been off the market since his wife’s death. But, he is beginning to believe his sister-in-law and daughter that it is time to get back on the horse. When he meets the beautiful and curvy Kiani Concord, he knows there is something special about her.

Now, if only she would stop running and face the passion he wants to give her…

Rock Me Tonight is a bit of a reader request kind of story. For the signing in Victoria BC I was asked to write something super sexy and super romantic. When I saw the cover on Taria Reed Designs, I took one look at it and sent her an email. It is VERY rare to find a

Cover by Taria Reed Designs

pre-made cover, this caliber with a plus size AA female. I had to jump on it. I didn’t eve have a story planned. That night, once the cover was in my inbox, I silently freaked out. What if I couldn’t come up with a story? What if I came up with a story and my Muse decided to disappear on me again? Yes, I was silently freaking out but then Sadie and Bas smacked me at the back of the head and their story was born! Yes, this too is SUPER sexy.

 

Here is the blurb:

Sadie Watson has looked for love in all the wrong places. After her last disaster, she is done-over it all. To mourn the death of her latest relationship, Sadie dipped into her trust fund, and takes off to Toronto for a much needed break from small town Canada. On this trip, all Sadie wants is to be left alone. But when she meets Bas Logan, she’s reminded that no good deed goes unpunished.

​Bas Logan, lead singer and guitarist of the band Potion, is rock and roll royalty. He likes his women leggy, blond and size two. When he meets Sadie, she  matched none of his conquest criteria so when he is attracted to her desperately, he cannot understand it. But when he shows Sadie a little attention, not only does she have no idea who he is, she flat out blows him off.  Further confused by this, Bas is determined to find out what it is she doesn’t like about him. But this could be a bad idea or by the time Bas realizes what is happening, it could be too late.

So those are the two I have pretty much ready to go. I am also hard at work now on a Thriller titled Barrister. Yes, this is a complete deviation from my romance/erotica roots but I thought I’d spread my wings a little. The character was speaking to me and because

Cover Art by The Book Cover Machine

I couldn’t possibly put him in one of my other books because of how deliciously dark and twisted he came to me, I figured he deserved his own book.

 

I am sitting on the blurb for Barrister because I am unsure of how to word it but for now, here’s the teaser I’ve been using:

When the fates write your destiny – you can fight it, or you can accept….

One more thing – I’ve been hard at work trying to get into the Kindle Worlds. So far, I have one short story complete titled Miracle and the Beast. I wanted to do something a little different than SEALs or MARINES or GREEN BERET so I’ve chosen to use Germany’s GSG 9. They are like SWAT meets Army Rangers kind of badassedness. The tale is now in the hands of my amazing editor. I am currently sitting on the cover art for this one, waiting until I’ve had it submitted to the Special Forces kindle world.

As you can see, I’ve had my hands full. Preparing for my May 20th convention has been a trial in itself. From thinking of swag, to finding what I want to make my swag to actually getting around to ordering and making said swag, to fighting with Amazon to get what I need and finding a printer willing to do it with a short turn around – *faints* it has been a hectic few weeks.

If you don’t have plans for the May long weekend, please visit us in Niagara Falls at the Marriott on the falls for over 50 amazing authors. There shall be swag and fun times. And stop by my table, if only to say hello.

Love and blessings,

Kato

That moment you want to send an author death threats – A Review

Accepting the Moon: Prequel (Moonrising Book 0) by [Haigwood, K. S.]I decided to do one review for all three, because I feel this was the best way to put my scattered excitement together for all of them without seeming a little out of my mind.

Let me start out by saying this. I really dislike series books, especially when they are so intricately intertwined with each other. Why? Well, now I have to sit and wait until the authors get around to finishing the other book before I can figure out what happens next. But still, I binged listened to the audio of all three books (so far) in the Moonrising Series and between wanting to burn things and send the author death threats, I enjoyed the series. As I write this, I may or may not have slept last night – hey, don’t judge me!

Before I go further I have to say this – as a fellow writer I have to admit that I get attached to characters. Mine, especially, but when another author put life and care into the ones they create, these people, these beings gets entrenched in me as if they were created by me. I know that might sound corny but it is the truth.

Lets start at first with the narrators. For Accepting the Moon and Midnight Moonrising the narrator was Pyper Down. I saw her name and instantly rolled my eyes so hard, I am pretty sure I saw the back of my head. But, she was amazing! Her changes in voices weren’t as dramatic as a few others I’ve listened to, but boy, the emotions, the attitudes – It all fit perfectly with what I imagined in my own head.

For Andromeda’s Reign the narrator changed to B.D. McMonnies. First, ladies, keep a change of panties handy and a cigarette. Don’t care if you don’t smoke, you’re gonna need both. All my favorite characters (damn its so hard to write all this without spoilers. I don’t wanna give anything away here) a life that was just perfect. Everything from Ace’s attitude to his Beta’s – all of it was in stunning, voiced, audio. This cat is good!

I have some qualms about this series but that has nothing to do with the author or the work. I’m just a giant nerd who loves certain things and really need to get the hell out of my box. Now, let’s begin with Mena. Cheating husband with a secret is an  Midnight Moonrising by [Haigwood, K. S., Conley, Anne]understatement! Cheating husband – asshole, check! Secret – Well, trust me when I say said secret isn’t that he has a love child he’s been paying child support for, for the last twelve years. When you find out, YOU ARE GONNA BE FLOORED!

*ahem* back to Mena – Lord have mercy! I spent half the second book wanting to smack the crap out of her. She was infuriating and I’m really easy when it comes to characters, sometimes I even fall in love with the bad guys but this chick tested me. I ended the first three partially liking her but that’s neither here nor there. Other readers will LOVE her but I’m a little hinky with my character love.

I reserve the strongest feelings for the secondaries in the series, characters who made me laugh, made me cry, made me scream, made me fist pump–yes, I did fist pump (quite a few times actually). There is one secondary character in particular that I really hope the authors give his own book. He’s feisty and funny and loyal and *sigh* yes, I am biased but you will too once you read these books.Andromeda's Reign (Moonrising Book 2) by [Haigwood, K. S., Conley, Anne]

Ace, my feelings for him started out making me want to smack the crap out of him. Then as the story blossoms, he begins to grow. By the end of Andromeda’s Reign the things I wanted to do to that shifter would make even him blush.

What? I’m allowed to have book boyfriends!

Phoenix is still a bit of an ass but I understand why he is the way he is and what makes him tick–a few of those tickers aren’t healthy for man nor vamp–but I get it. Though by the end of the third book I wanted to stake him myself, I am reserving judgment until K.S and Anne gets around to releasing all the books. Then, I will render a decision on him.

The constant shifts often times made me want to scream but I supposed that is the mark of a good writer–ones who can keep you guess, make you comfortable then rips the rug out from under your feet! I love that!

The twists I never saw coming, which I secretly enjoyed.  The bottom line is the Moonrising books are spectacularly woven. Everything–from the lore and the language, the almost poetic feel of it,  to the striking and almost impossible flawless depths of each character will leave you satisfied and hungry for the next book.

K.S Haigwood and Anne Conley created a world you can be immersed in, one packed full of love, betrayal, confusion–all the things that take your emotions on a rollercoaster you never want to get off. I, impatiently, awaits the next book in the set. I hate rollercoasters (what’s with being afraid of heights and all) but this is one I really would like to stay on.

Please get your audio here, kindle and paperback here. You can stalk er I mean visit K.S Haigwood here as well as Anne Conley here.

Hugs,

Kato

 

BT Urrela – One hot mess

I’m 33 years old. And I have been a part of the romance writing community longer than BT Urrella. And this post isn’t about name calling or anything like that – there might be some shade but it cannot be helped.

When BT Urrela first came to my attention, it was through Michael Stokes. No one does the male body better than Mr. Stokes. I didn’t care that BT was an amputee –  a gorgeous man is a gorgeous man and believe me he is beautiful to look at – but apparently, from what I’ve been reading, he may be good to look at but he can be a bit of a prick.

Before I get to that – I also watched him on the television show Coupled and from what I saw, I thought for sure he was a pretty decent guy. With that said, when I found out I could buy his picture for book covers, I was over the moon! I didn’t care how much they cost. I was determined to save and save until one or more of those pictures were mine. But most of you know me, and bad behavior is bad behaviour and I can’t tolerate that.

Let me say this, I am a strong believer in second chances and of learning from one’s mistake. But when you do asshole things on more than one occasion, people have to start thinking that, yes, you are an asshole. Maya Angelou said “when someone shows you who they really are, believe them.”

It came to my attention that BT has ‘fat shamed’ someone and at first I laughed because I couldn’t believe it. I mean, he seemed like a nice guy, writing, modeling, the world is his. Why would he do something like that? That is until someone dropped a screen capture and I was floored.

To be honest, he claims it was a joke. We all have those moments when we make what we thought was a funny joke and it turns out it wasn’t so funny. We have those.

But this, I don’t know why  Mr. Urrela thought this would be funny. Someone needs to look up the definition of the word “joke” and send it to Mr. Urrela. First of all, taking someone’s picture without their permission is illegal–first of all. And an ex-playboy bunny is finding that out the hard way at the moment as she was charged for doing this exact same thing. Only difference is, the guy isn’t naked and the woman in that other case was. Secondly, how dare you take someone’s picture without their permission and post it on social media?

That is cruel.

The man is there working out, trying to be healthy and instead of going over, shaking his hand and working out with him, you’re posting his business all over social media as a “joke.” I dare you to take this to this man and see if he finds it funny.

Then, to make matters worse, when the backlash began, Mr. Urrela, began calling all those who opposes his assholeness “crybabies” because apparently, being a decent human being and calling bullshit to his crap makes people “crybabies.”To add to that, he began deleting comments from all who opposes his assholedness.  (Yes, I am quite aware that assholeness and assholedness aren’t real words but this occasion calls for it).

 

Seriously? Then, his photographer starts defending him. How can you defend this mess? Sure, from a business standpoint I get it, you’ve sunk so much work into Mr. Urrela that now you’re trying to back him thinking it will make the mess magically go away but it just makes me not want to support you either. You cannot, in good conscience think this is okay.

Then, after the above post, Mr. Urrela posted something he thinks is an apology. Listen, if he’d posted that before he posted the above, then I would be like “okay, he knows he has been king asshole and he is sorry he was being king asshole” but after the above post I just think that now he’s only apologizing because, one, he got caught. Two, someone is making him, and three he doesn’t mean a word of it. Then, he and his photographer begins deleting people’s comments whenever they say anything about the whole situation that isn’t kissing both their asses. Someone tried explaining that even if BT meant this as a joke, it was a poor one and he shouldn’t have done it. Another author was called “a nobody trying to start something” and blocked. So even after people are trying to explain to him why the few of us who is livid at his behaviour, are the way we are, he doesn’t listen. Doesn’t care. This shows he’s not sorry at all. He just said it to save face.

Look, the romance industry has been taking hit after hit recently. From underhanded business dealings within publishers, to lack of diversity to models who think they are the be-all and end all in the industry. We have been trying to show the world that romance is a serious field, that we are inclusive, that we love and support each other and that we carry ourselves with integrity and decorum. But this, Mr. Urrella, is not okay. This goes against everything we authors have been fighting for since day one. For people to take us seriously. How can they do that, when we fat shame others then act as if we didn’t do anything wrong?

Here’s my bottom line – If when people began showing outrage, Mr. Urrela had manned-up and gave a true apology, things would not have gotten this out of control. And before you say, this isn’t a big deal, imagine this man in the photo was your child. And you’re going through the internet and see this picture, with that same caption and all the comments below it. Would you think this wasn’t a big deal? Or imagine if the man in the photo was you – Would you think this was funny?

We’ve become a world of assholes because we’re behind a keyboard and a screen. We do not take people’s feelings in account because we feel we cannot be held responsible for our actions. Maybe, the few of us standing up won’t be able to do much, but at least we can let Mr. Urrela and people like him know this is not okay.

Mr. Urrela, I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but the gym is for working out and maybe picking up chicks (we hate that by the way). You shouldn’t be taking anyone’s pictures unless they are of you! You’re the kind of sorry excuse of a human being, that makes some people not want to go to a gym, who make women wear make-up to go work out because some idiot with a camera is going to take their picture and broadcast it to the world. That is NOT a safe environment.

People do not go to the gym to be your very own, private punchline.

And word of advice, when you show up somewhere late, you don’t walk in banging around, dropping things, slamming doors – no. You’re late. You walk in, take the first seat you can find, sit down and shut the hell up. You’re new to this community, and for you to be causing such an uproar, it’s not appreciated. And if you can’t behave your damn self, get the hell out.

I will no longer be supporting Mr. Urrela or anyone he operates with. This includes photographers. I may be a small fish in a big pond but this small fish is going to stand up to this kind of behaviour the only way she can – by spending my money elsewhere.

Hugs,

Kato

 

Queen Midas In Reverse

Image resultOkay, honestly, I read this story without reading the blurb. I thought it had something to do with a girl with powers to change things from gold to something weird or to reverse anything turned to gold by magic. Yeah, nothing like that. You should probably read the blurb first lol. And the cover had me thinking royalty, but nope, none there either. Anyway, here is the blurb, read it first – seriously – read it.

The Rock and Roll Fantasy gang find themselves in a special Contemporary Romance from USA Today Bestselling Author Diane Rinella.

For Jacqueline, a second date is as rare as a unicorn. She’s beautiful. She’s intelligent. So why is she experiencing a string of first dates that leaves her ducking behind bushes and running for buses? Contrary to her nature, trading in her heels and curling iron for an easy chair surrounded by cats sounds appealing. Is she cursed, or can she find the man who will steal her heart.

Let’s start off y saying this. I usually cannot stand stories written in the first person present tense. Nothing grates on my nerves more than reading a book that tells a story as if it’s happening as I read the book. I love a story that tells the story as if it already happened and the narrator is well, for lack of a better term, telling me the story. So that was a little ick for me.

Queen Midas in Reverse itself is super short. For all you know me and my tastes in romance I love two POV’s, the main female and the main male and that’s it. This story has a third but isn’t as problematic but just surprising. I could have done with a little more of the story because it was so fast and ending a little abruptly. I wanted more romance, more softness, more.

Let me break it down. The characters are awesome – there is absolutely no doubt about that. I am a SUCKER for friendship in a story–especially strong female ones. There is nothing like having that awesome person who is there with a kick in the pants if you need one or a hug or who will literally throat-punch a sucker for messing with you. That I am down with 100%.  When I read secondaries, there has to be a reason they are in the story. And these women had purpose and further the story beautifully.

Whenever my niece reads one of my books, I usually get a phone call that goes “Seriously aunty? You are mean to your characters.” But I should let her read Queen Midas in Reverse.  It’s not mean where Ms. Rinella kills off half the characters then sits back and go “take that suckas!” No, this was the kind of mean that had me going “oh no she did not just do that!” And at one point I was looking at my tablet screen going – in the middle of a food court saying out loud “This cannot possibly get any worse!” And then it did! Hilariously!

Jacqueline – Lawd I thought I had bad luck with men. And the “dark reaping”? I couldn’t breathe I was laughing so hard. I can totally relate with going out with a guy because he looks “normal” and then gets hit with a double uppercut when he turns out to be nuttier than a fruitcake.

This story will have you giggling and laughing out loud. I did enjoy it. It’s a tale that will keep you from going psycho on the streetcar as you’re stuck in rush hour traffic. You will love Jacqueline dearly and her friends are a riot. I really do wish it was longer and we could see more of mister hottie with the gorgeous eyes.

Stalk–er I mean–visit Diane Rinella here. You can find all her goodies there.  Snag your copy of Queen Midas in Reverse here.

Hugs

Kato