From my very first post I wanted to pay homage to the speech which inspired the title of my blog, Ain't I a Woman? by Sojourner Truth. Such a beautiful speech, such a beautiful name, such a beautiful woman. It is one of my favorite pieces. I strive to emulate this style in my own work. Poetic and powerful. Honest and unafraid. Memorable. And I like brevity. It too is beautiful. This is the standard I wish to be held to as I explore the question with you ~ ain't I a writer?
"Obliged to you for hearing me, and I do have a few things more to say..."

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Tickets on sale now

     I'm excited to be part of this special event, and can't wait to see what Patrick has painted after visiting me. I plan to read a lyric essay I wrote at Ghost Ranch while enrolled in Lauren Rusk's master poetry class. It is sure to be an entertaining evening.

The Poet’s House at The Music Hall Loft
October 4 at 4pm
Art Opening & Poetry Reading
Featuring Original Paintings of Poets’ Houses
by Patrick Healey
also featured are
Betsy Sholl and Mekeel McBride
together with…
Bill Burtis
Mark DeCarteret
Shelley Girdner
Kimberly Cloutier Green
Nancy Jean Hill
Jody Hetherington
Kate Leigh
Paul Marion
S Stephanie
Tammi Truax
Andrew Merton
Mimi White
Poetry reading in The Music Hall Loft at 4pm.
Live music by Agnes Charlesworth, Cynthia Chatis, Douglas Green
Art opening, poetry, live music. Featuring paintings of New England poets' houses by artist Patrick Healey, this event at The Loft will also highlight readings by the poets whose houses are the subject of Healey's work. Original and arranged music by Agnes Charlesworth (piano), performing with Cynthia Chatis (flute and voice), and Douglas Green (bass). October 4 at 4pm, The Music Hall Loft, 131 Congress Street, 603-436-2400. $20.00. Reservations required.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Go Local

Upcoming Author Event. A little something for everyone. Bring the kids. Bring the grandparents. Bring some strangers. Just come! Support local writers.

Local Author Fair
September 16, 6 – 8 PM
Portsmouth Public Library

Want to meet local authors, find some great autumn reads, and enter to win fabulous prizes? The Portsmouth Public Library will host a Local Author Fair on Wednesday, September 16 from 6 – 8 p.m. Special guests will include Portsmouth author Katherine Towler and award-winning writer James Patrick Kelly!

Kelly is the science fiction author of BurnThink Like a Dinosaur and 1016 to 1. Katherine Towler is a poet and author of the trilogy of novels Snow IslandEvening Ferry, andIsland Light.

This event is FREE and open to the public. Visit with local authors and enter to win prizes from the Music Hall, the Gundalow Company, Louie’s Italian restaurant, Bennett’s Store, Pickwick’s Mercantile, Strawbery Banke, and more!

40 authors from the Seacoast area will participate:

+        James Patrick Kelly     Fiction/Science Fiction                                                                       
+        Katherine Towler        Fiction/Literary                                                                                  
+        David Barnette            Fiction/Fantasy
+        Jacquelyn Benson        Fiction/Historical Thriller/Romance
+        Jeff Deck                     Fiction/Horror/Science Fiction/Nonfiction
+        Tim Horvath                Fiction/literary
+        Shelby June                 Fiction
+        David Random             Fiction/Humor/Short Stories
+        Amy Ray                      Fiction/Mystery/Thriller
+        J.E. Seymour                Fiction/Crime
+        Tammi Truax               Fiction
+        Earl Yorke                   Fiction/Science Fiction           
+        Michele Albion            Nonfiction/History/Women/Technology
+        Nancy  Beveridge        Nonfiction/Moving & Decluttering
+        Marilynn Carter          Nonfiction/Cookbook
+        Bette Freedson            Nonfiction
+        Jessica Kliskey             Nonfiction/Self-Health and Nutrition
+        Rachel Leah                Nonfiction/Death and Dying
+        J. Dennis Robinson      Nonfiction/History/True Crime/Travel
+        Barbara Sedoric          Nonfiction
+        Stefany Shaheen         Nonfiction/Memoir/Health
+        LeCain Smith               Nonfiction/ Holistic Health Care/Integrative Medicine
+        Donald Trefethen        Nonfiction/Local History
+        Ellen Walker               Nonfiction/Memoir/Autism
+        Robert Wheeler          Nonfiction/Travel/Photography
+        Richard Winslow         Nonfiction/ History
+        Nancy  Grossman        Nonfiction/Poetry
+        Crystal Kent                 Nonfiction/Youth
+        Steve Carter                Poetry
+        Kate Leigh                   Poetry
+        Peter Horton               Young Adult/Local Historical Fiction
+        Joyce Shor Johnson     Young Adult/Middle Grade
+        Valerie Lofaso              Young Adult/Paranormal Fiction
+        Robert Miller              Young Adult
+        Pat McDermott           Young Adult/Historical Fantasy/Paranormal/Romance
+        Susan Benedict            Children’s
+        Denise Brown              Children’s
+        Carol Lincoln               Children’s
+        Alvin Walker               Children’s
+        Stephanie Workman   Children’s

Contact:     Laura K. Horwood-Benton, Public Programming & Community Relations Librarian | 603 766 1711

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Sunday Book Launch!


     Tomorrow evening at five o'clock at my local indie bookstore, RiverRun, we will be celebrating the launch of a brand spanking new anthology of short stories by seacoast area authors. I am thrilled to have a story included. Mine is something that I tinkered with for a long time. It is based on a couple of my ancestors, primarily the story of how they met and married, but is a work of fiction. I wove into their story the history of how we treat breast cancer, which has changed so drastically in the last century. I wanted to write something that would reflect the progress made on that front. I thought for awhile it might become a novel, but ultimately decided it works better as a short story. It was my first serious attempt at historical fiction, which is what I have been focused on for several years now.
       There are many other authors and types of writing represented and there is sure to be something to please everyone, so you should get yourself a copy. Better yet come celebrate with us, and hear a few stories read by their authors.

      Here is a link if you are not close by;




Thursday, July 23, 2015

Making Fall Plans

       I don't want to miss this!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Tightening Just a Bit

      A couple of times readers of my manuscript have suggested that I tighten up the language, and I was never sure what that really meant.
     Recently an AROHO sister, Kristen Ringman, posted an interesting piece about the overuse of the word JUST which caught my attention. I know I use that word a lot. The writer explained how the word is often used by women writers to soften their expression or to seek permission to even have something to express.

      I decided to search my work-in-progress for the word just and found that I had used it 277 times out of 123,000 words. I checked each instance carefully. While some were justified I eliminated more than 100 of them that served simply no purpose.
      I believe that must be a good example of tightening. Like kegal exercises for the female writer. Do I dare now do a search for VERY...

  1. 1.
    based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair.
    "a just and democratic society"

  1. 1.
    "that's just what I need"
    synonyms:exactlypreciselyabsolutelycompletelytotallyentirelyperfectly,utterlywhollythoroughly, in all respects; More
  2. 2.
    very recently; in the immediate past.
    "I've just seen the local paper"
    synonyms:a moment ago, a second ago, a short time ago, very recently, not long ago
    "I just saw him"

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Still Mile High #HNS2015

       Just waking up from my first night at home after attending the 2015 conference of the National Historical Society in Denver. The travel was tough, and it was not an inexpensive trip, but I think it was worth it. I met many wonderful people (history geeks are such fun!) and heard several great speakers.

View from my room.

       My Blue Pencil writing mentor, author Wendy Perriman, gave me some seriously helpful feedback on the beginning of my novel, as did the two agents who heard the first two pages read aloud in another session. That combined with the material Larry Brooks covered in his workshop on The Architecture of the Historical Novel, really had me thinking and working during the conference.
      The end result (so far) is that the novel I brought home is changed, and for the better. I'm really excited about the changes as I did not see them coming. The changes include a new title that came to me in Denver. Now I'm on to final revisions with feedback from my beta readers, and then I'll be sending it off to agents.
      My primary objective in attending the conference was to see if I could get one agent interested in my book, and two asked for more! All in all, that is so encouraging in what can be so daunting a process.
Diana Gabaldon talking sexy.

      It was also wonderful to meet and get books signed by Diana Gabaldon and Karen Cushman, and to get my pic taken with the very dapper General George Washington, as portrayed by Vern Frykholm.
 General Washington arrives.

Now --- back to work.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Most Unusual Feedback

     Reports from my beta readers are still rolling in and I am pleased to report that the feedback is by far mostly positive and encouraging. I gave a talk about the book this week and three people stepped forward to volunteer to be beta readers without being asked. They are just that interested in the story!
     Below is beta reader feedback that I think is most unusual. A poem! It was written by the current Poet Laureate of Portsmouth, New Hampshire (where much of my novel takes place), Katherine Leigh. She has left it untitled and says it is dedicated to me, and to George Washington.

We have made colossal mistakes in structuring
The world, with no respect for the obvious,
That all is here to be shared, not taken by force.
No brilliant idea for commerce is greater than kindness.
No amount of money makes up for lost integrity.
How do we forgive ourselves the crime of slavery?
Transform our emotions to a prism of empathy
Released from a prison of cultivated ignorance?

How did Washington, born to a culture depending on slavery,
See the totality of its harm, while others thought necessity?
What helps our brains notice greater truths over daily
Habitual falsities reflected by common greedy ways?
Why do the masses of abused not trample their abusers?
Is it the shock of witnessed cruelty that prevents them?
Those that flee are condemned, hunted, their families tortured.
Like stressed animals who know not which road to take,
Though glutted on their slave-supported lifestyles,
The public was lead by the General, by their President,
To perceive by degrees what is fair and constitutional,
To re-examine a set of beliefs hollow and convenient
For justifying an otherwise obvious crime against humanity.
To accept the equality of people whose skin colors alone
Made up their diversity. Washington was popular,
He was careful. He was most advanced in his thinking.
He was elected?, appointed, pleaded with to accept leadership.
He knew the burden of far-sightedness and took responsibility.

Even now, have we learned to honor mental diversity,
In ourselves and in others, that which makes us
Different can make us whole? Can we identify and be the full
Extent of our inborn uniqueness, admire skin color,
Emulate race and culture, acquire exposure to ideas that differ
From our own, find ways to blend? It’s a good solid mandate,

And, apparently one requiring championship that has no end.

Kate Leigh, all rights reserved.