The Bluestocking Review

You know that whole bit about “balancing faith, family, and writing?” Well, today was definitely a test of that. Last night, I’d planned to write this blog post today, but today had other plans. I’d anticipated down time in which to write, but my day ended up being busy with work, house-hunting stressors (don’t get me started), a family dinner, and a husband kindly filling me in on all the new Apple products revealed in their Spring Event 😉 It seemed that every time I sat down ready to type, an interruption occured.

But isn’t that life? The good, the bad. The easy, the difficult. Balance.

And so, here I sit at 11:00 pm on a Friday night…writing. Balancing.

As a novice writer (did I mention busy?), I have no real clue on how to market a book. Slap a few Facebook and Amazon ads up here, whisper about your book to a few friends there, run some price promos, and hope for the best.

Let’s face it–I’m doing this because I enjoy it. It’s my hobby, not my career (although if it took off, I wouldn’t complain–ha!). So I’m perfectly content with a handful of ratings and a couple of sales per month because I thoroughly enjoy writing and seeing my own work listed online.


…When Christian Fiction blogger The Bluestocking stumbled across my book and left a 5-star rating, what did I do?

I squealed. Stared in disbelief. Scoured her blog to convince myself she was legitimate. Followed said blog. Pondered on it for weeks. And finally–reached out and asked if she would be willing to write a review on it.


And here it is, folks. My day has been made. And this is by far my favorite line:

Add to that a brooding male lead, a brave heroine, and some like-seriously-bring-a-fan swoony kisses and this was easily a five star read for me!

A bit about Victoria, “The Bluestocking”:

My name is Victoria, I’m a 26 years old and proud to be born and raised in New Zealand. I’m a Hotel Receptionist/Makeup-Artist/Facepainter/Christian-Fiction-Reading-Fanatic! While other people get excited about celebrities like movies stars or athletes; I get excited when an author likes my Facebook comment, I’m over the moon if they reply to my email, and don’t even get me started on how excited I get over a signed book!

I was homeschooled, and I know what you’re thinking, but don’t worry I’m not one of the weird ones, I sometimes talk to people and occaissionally leave the house… It was my parents who installed in me a love for books. I was always surrounded by them growing up and both my parents would read stories aloud to my siblings and I.

I’m a big history buff, hence historical fiction is my favourite genre. I’m just so fascinated with how people used to live in times so different than ours. Once I read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice I was completely sold on romance books! Every book I read needs to contain at least a smidge of romance to make it worth my while.

I read Christian fiction because it is just so full of hope and God’s truths. Each book teaches me about a different aspect of God while also being an analogy of God and His great love for us. I hope to share on this blog not just some great reads but also all the awesome things these books teach me about God.

Lastly you’re probably wondering about the name, why’s it called The Bluestocking? Well I’m glad you asked. A bluestocking was a Jane Austen era term for a woman that was bookish or intellectual. At the time it wasn’t a complimentary term, a woman that spent her time reading and learning was not valued. I chose the name because we are blessed to live during a time and in a society where intellectual women are celebrated and valued, and if the term was still used today it would be a compliment.

So if you are still with me, I look forward to sharing my love of books with you and I hope you’ll catch the bug and become a Christian-Fiction-Reading-Fanatic too!

I hope you will check out The Bluestocking blog and give it a read. If you enjoy Christian or Inspirational Romance, be sure to follow her for new recs!

Happy reading,


April Fools’?

April has decided to begin by gracing us with a beautiful day! The sun is shining, the sky a bright blue. After several days of rain, rain, and more rain (oh, and tornado watches), it’s a welcomed change.

The kicker?

It. Is. COLD.

Classic April 1. Can’t have it all, I suppose.

I’ve been quiet online for a while now. My personal life has been just plain busy lately–in a blessed way. In March, my son (The Boy) had a birthday and got to enjoy seeing friends at the park, a small family party, and all things PAW Patrol.

But in all this busy-ness, I did manage to make a little time for myself and *gasp* READ A BOOK. Even when I do have some “me time,” it’s usually spent writing, so to actually sit down and read/finish a book is huge for me. (Side note: Wynny’s story is finished and in editing stages!)

If you’ve read my intro post, you know I am a fan of Mimi Matthews. She writes mostly Victorian proper romances and is such a talented writer (The Work of Art and The Matrimonial Advertisement are my favorites). So it’s no surprise that what I chose to read was another one of her works.

Fair as a Star was released last year, and even though I preordered it, I read it just last month. It was such a sweet story. Ms. Matthews always does an excellent job of working certain disabilities or issues into her stories that would have been viewed with a sort of stigma in that time period. This book was no different.

Our heroine, Beryl (I just love that name), seemingly has everything going for her, but she fights an inner demon that no one sees–one that we understand today is depression. In the Victorian era, women suffering from depression would have simply referred to it as being “blue deviled.” But some doctors took to extremes in an attempt to “cure” mental illness. Some techniques required the subject to be wrapped for hours at a time in wet bedsheets or to submerge them in baths of freezing water. Is it a wonder these didn’t work?

Unfortunately, as demonstrated in The Matrimonial Advertisement, one who admitted to depression or mental illness could be taken advantage of and committed to an asylum against their will.

Many would end up suffering in silence to avoid any unwanted outcomes, but thankfully Beryl chooses to confide in her friend Mark.

Mark makes a wonderful hero–he’s secretly loved Beryl for years, and when she admits her bouts of depression to him, he doesn’t pass judgment. Though Beryl believes the condition makes her broken, Mark shows her it does nothing of the sort. He offers to help her through difficult times, to be there for her in whatever way needed.

And that’s what I loved so much about Mark–he doesn’t look for ways to “fix” Beryl. Even Beryl herself understands this melancholy has always been a part of her and has no reason for it–something unlikely to be simply “cured.” Instead, he chooses to be her friend through it all–and eventually, to let her know his love will be a constant.

Fair as a Star is a sweet, easy read with very little angst. There is an issue of Beryl being already betrothed to none other than the brother of Mark himself, but in true romance fashion, everything gets resolved. It was a nice little break from reality and I was able to like the main characters easily. If you need a light reading recommendation for this holiday weekend, give this book a try.

And, speaking of Easter weekend, my book An Impossible Choice will be FREE on Amazon–that’s no April Fools’ joke! It’s a great time to grab it if you haven’t had a chance to read it yet.

Let me know what you’re reading currently! I’m always looking for books to add to my TBR list.


A Little Inspo

If you write or simply enjoy reading a good book, ever feel like a particular song or album just…fits? I do. In fact, four out of the five novels I’ve written/am currently writing have attached themselves to their own little “soundtrack” in my mind.

It’s varied for me each time. Sometimes, I hear a song and think Wow, that would make a great storyline! Others, I’m working on the story already when I hear a song that fits perfectly. Sometimes it’s the lyrics, but not always. It may simply be a single phrase or the overall feel of the music. But whatever the reason, once it’s there, it stays–and my story now has it’s own little anthem.

It can be the furthest thing from that particular literary genre…but that’s the beauty of the arts. The styles may change over time, but it’s the emotions, the thoughts conveyed that are timeless.

I thought it would be fun to let you all in on what music I found inspiring as I make each novel available. You may think the songs I connected with are terrible. You may think Really, Kate? That doesn’t fit your work at all! But that’s okay, because it’s my imagination and I’m in charge there. ~grin~

My mental playlist for An Impossible Choice was brought to me by none other than the Backstreet Boys (swoon). I have a *very* wide taste in music, but BSB is one of those bands that I grew up with that has stayed a constant favorite. I had the opportunity to go see them in concert in 2019 (remember those things?) and they tied with Imagine Dragons for the number one ranking of my favorite concert ever.

In the case of Damon’s and Argel’s story, I was listening to the DNA album when inspiration struck. In particular, the song “Passionate” brought Damon’s character to life for me and everything grew from there. “Nobody Else” showed me Damon’s need to be the object of Argel’s love. And “Chances” inspired the restaurant scene in the hotel. What were the chances that the woman he’d barely met, but couldn’t forget would be working there? Not to mention the odds that she was his enemy’s niece.

The rest of the album may not have any specific ties to An Impossible Choice, but I will forever associate DNA with the story.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little “fun fact” about me and writing. I’ve always said it’s weird how my mind works–but it works. Now, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” and forget to read An Impossible Choice if you haven’t yet. And stay tuned–Wynny’s story is coming!

To New Endings

I think all of us can say that 2020 has been a year to remember. There’s been so many unprecedented events that, well, our world has turned upside down in many ways. I hope the majority of them are temporary (although I am a fan of all the curbside pick-up options–those can stick around).

I don’t know of a single person who isn’t glad to see 2020 leave. Could 2021 be better? Worse? No one knows of course, but whenever something comes to an end, there’s always hope that what follows will be better.

A lot of things have come to an end for me personally this year. Our work routines were altered, church services changed, no more Bible classes for the kids. We moved from one congregation that we loved very much to begin working with another one–one that we also have grown to love deeply.

The most recent change was selling our house. We’re waiting on the closing date, but we’ve completely moved out, and if I’m being honest, I’m a little sad. Even though there were several reasons for listing it, reasons that I still stand by, we had many memories made there. We were happy. We brought our baby home to that house.

But just because something comes to an end doesn’t mean life does along with it. Something new begins and new memories will be made. New work routines and ways of interacting with others and worshipping with the church. We learn from our experiences and those help shape how our “new” turns out.

I’ve also ended my “writing drought,” as I think of it, and finally have my new book available on Amazon! An Impossible Choice is available on Kindle and KindleUnlimited, and tells the story of Argel and Damon who have their own current circumstances brought to an end, only to be blessed by new beginnings.

If you have a chance to read it, I hope you will enjoy their story as much as I did writing it. I’m the type of writer that when an idea takes hold in my mind, it comes to life and the characters live with me until I’m able to write it all down. I grew to love Damon and Argel more than any others I’ve written. I’d be honored for any honest reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

And so, here’s to endings–whether good or bad. For where there’s an ending, there’s a new beginning. And beginnings are always accompanied by hope.

Winning by Defeat

Yes, you read that right: Defeat not Default. But more on that in a moment…

Let me start off by saying what an honor it is to have you visiting my little corner of world-wide-web! If you’re reading this, please know that I’m extremely grateful for you and hope you are entertained and inspired by my musings. I would love to hear from you!

And now, for a little introduction…

Hi, I’m Kate and I’m feeling defeated.

Wow Kate, what a way to start off a blog. Stick with me, it will make sense. I promise.

The year 2017 was a year of change for me. These changes (let’s be frank, they were ginormous) brought their own new challenges that forced me to grow as a person and take on new roles.

After eight years in the medical industry, I left for a new position in the financial world. While there were many similarities and ways that I was able to transfer my skills, there was and still is a learning curve. I knew my previous job inside and out, and I could anticipate potential problems or questions with the best of them. Switching to a job where the industry was completely new, honestly it felt like I was drowning at times. I enjoyed the work, but I don’t enjoy not knowing what I am doing. I remember on a training call asking when it gets easier and laughter answered me back. After she grew tired of belly-laughing, the trainer informed me that it could take a good year to feel like you’re no longer drowning. You grab at small pieces of information you learn along the way and realize after a while that it’s all keeping you afloat. It will only get better from there. Well, here I am in 2020 and still floating. At times, I even feel as if I’m back in the boat!

Another big life change that took place for me in 2017, and the sweetest one, was the birth of my son. My husband and I have been married since 2008, and we finally decided it was time to take the plunge into parenthood. It has been the most exciting, indescribably rewarding adventure despite the lack of sleep and added worry that naturally follows.

And somehow, despite that sleep-deprived, challenging year, I also managed another significant change–I wrote my first novel.

Writing was never something that had been on my radar. Sure, I’d written short stories in school when required and even had one published in some book that collected stories from students across the country. Unfortunately, I couldn’t even tell you the name of that book. I’d probably cringe to read it now. But it wasn’t something I’d ever considered pursuing or even tinkering with as a hobby. I was simply happy to read all my Christian fiction and historical romance to my little heart’s content (Deeanne Gist and Mimi Matthews are some of my faves!).

While adapting to this new “mom” thing that year, I found I had more time to read despite my lack of sleep (hello being awake all hours of the night). I found myself flying through books, but growing frustrated that the majority of them were pretty un-relatable to me from the heroine’s POV. I wanted the stories to be realistic for me, to read of women that I could see myself making the same decisions were I in their shoes. I know everyone has their own opinion on this–some people like to read about characters of the exact opposite disposition as a way to escape and be someone new. But I like to be emotionally vested in the story, to relate to what’s being said and done.

And so, that year I decided to write my own story. I began completely clueless as how to proceed (remember that whole hate not knowing what I’m doing thing?). I came up with a storyline and began writing–literally writing–it down in a small notebook I had on hand.

As I wrote, an ember of excitement began to burn and soon I had transferred the entire story to my computer as I set to editing my work. The characters I had created took hold of my imagination and would not be forgotten. Soon, more stories came to mind and I began researching all things literary agents and queries and synopses. I thought Aha! This is it! Prayed a few [many] times and set to writing my query letters.

Rejection after rejection.

Don’t give up, they say. It only takes one, they say. And, yes, they would be correct. But that one didn’t come for me—though I did receive an encouraging response that my writing was close and with some detailed editing, could be reconsidered.

And so, I set to edit the mess out of that story. But by the time I was ready to resubmit, the agent was no longer open to queries.

Defeated once again.

Hello self-publishing! I created my own book cover and launched it on Amazon for Kindle and had small success (a handful of five-star reviews, fan messages from complete strangers), and I thought this time, this is it!

And then, the excitement slowed. Nothing more happened. No one continued reading my story.

Since then, I’ve unpublished my first novel to spend more time editing it, while writing two more. One of them was queried extensively as well, with no luck. After receiving a rejection from an agent that I just knew was the perfect fit, I honestly felt like giving up.

Writing, let alone querying itself, takes up so much precious time–precious free time that is already quite small after family, career, ministry (Oh, did I mention that my husband recently became a part-time evangelist for a local church? No? Hello new title of Preacher’s Wife). I found myself in a struggle to balance it all.

I’ve never been one to wallow in self-pity, but something about this year finally got me. Despite quarantine, I felt I had even less time to devote to my little joy of writing. I’d prayed time after time along the way and nothing seemed to be working, so I decided to quit. Perhaps defeat was telling me I should. My stories gathered dust where they sat shelved in the recesses of my mind.

Over the summer, I noticed a disturbing trend to my life. I was regularly struggling to get to work on time, not working out, eating horribly, and I lost interest in many things, but especially in putting my stories into words.

I felt utterly defeated in nearly all areas of my life. I had been trying to be all the things all the time and it was burning me out. Any efforts seemed wasted. I mean, why even try?

I began reading about depression and many sources stated that in this year and all things 2020, it was sneaking up on people who typically didn’t deal with depression as a lack of interest in things they once enjoyed.

That was a wake-up call for me. I began looking into how do I fix this? and unfortunately there is no quick-fix answer. But several things stuck out to me, in particular was the notion that you do the things any way. Locking away yourself from healthy relationships and hobbies will only make things worse.

Specific to writing, the advice was given to write any way. You may not have the ability to devote yourself to writing full-time, but write when you can. An hour here and there to yourself? Write. You may not get published or become a best-selling author, but you’ve written more than if you had never tried.

Whatever your goal, keep trying. Grab at anything you can, no matter how small, to stay afloat. Eventually, you’ll find yourself back in the boat.

And so, I’ll keep writing, keep praying, keep working. (Stay tuned for exciting book news to come!).

Because I’ve realized in life what often appears to be defeat is actually opportunity.