Friday, October 12, 2012

Apropos of Nothing: Kitty Sutton Answers 5 Questions

She was born Kathleen Yvonne Kelley. Sounds Irish does it not? Irish, in part, however the other half is Cherokee. She grew up along the Little Blue River in an old part of Kansas City in a family that was well known as musicians and performers on the Kansas City scene. She had a varied and difficult childhood. Her mother, being newly divorced and only making $1.50 per hour, placed both of her boys and Kitty in Catholic Children's homes. The boys went to Pius X Home for Boys and Kitty to St. Joseph Home for Girls. They were essentially orphanages, but the arrangement was supposed to be temporary. Kitty ended up being at the girl's home, going home to her mother on the weekends, until she was five when one of the nuns lost her temper and threw Kitty out of a second-story window. After trying to conceal the deed by putting Kitty in a room in the attic without any medical attention and in a coma, Kitty defied the odds and woke up, forcing the nuns to call a pediatrician. They chose one who would come in the middle of the night. Little did they know the pediatrician they called was the one Kitty's mother had used for her regular care. The good doctor immediately fetched the mother to bring her daughter home.

However, life still did not go well for the girl. Over the years, her mother became increasingly mentally ill and subjected Kitty to emotional torture that would have twisted a weaker personality.  Her love of art, music and dance helped to sustain her, and, though she knew only a little about Him, she had faith in God. She also found solace in her creativity. Finally, at sixteen, Kitty escaped and ran immediately to authorities – who refused to believe her. Since the girl refused to be taken back home, they decided to put her in a situation that would make her want to go home.  So, without her have committed so much as a curse word, she was put into Juvenile Detention.  When the case workers came back to see if she had changed her mind, they were surprised that she would rather stay in jail, with some very rough, criminally inclined young women, than go back home to the emotional torture she had endured for so long.

This gave them pause, so they decided to do a little more investigating. A few days later, they returned and asked, “Kathleen, did you know your mother is crazy?” This is what she had been telling them all along. So, before her senior year of high school at Southeast High in Kansas City began, she was placed in foster care. She was placed in various homes, all with horrible results because some people thought you took in a teenager in foster care so that they could be the maid and babysitter.

Finally, they found a home for her during the Thanksgiving holiday where she remained until she set off for college with a scholarship in music and dance at UMKC. There, she met here husband of forty-one years. Kitty began to write early in her marriage. While raising their three children, she had no opportunity to use her God-given talents until they moved to the Missouri Ozarks near Branson in 1992. After being asked to sing at an open-mic night, she was given a job on the spot as an entertainer. One thing led to another and within two years, Kathleen Sutton became Kitty Kelley (used as a stage name) with her own Branson show. Finding this success in her life did wonders for her self-esteem. She produced three albums and appeared on numerous network television shows. In Denmark one of her songs, “Grandpa's Fiddle,” placed at number eight on the pop/country charts the same week that Garth Brooks’ “American Bar Association” placed at fourteen. Her show continued with good success until 2004, when illness caught up with her.  That fall from the two-story window so long ago became a source of extreme pain, and Kitty had to close her six-days-a-week show. 

She picked up the writing she had practiced as a form of therapy and began again in earnest.  This time, though, she decided to focus on an aspect of her Native American heritage that, after much research, was obvious had been sadly lacking in the historical record. She set about to right that wrong by writing in the genre of Native American Historical fiction and produced her first novel, Wheezer and the Painted Frog, under her married name, Kitty Sutton. She had planned to publish the work by herself, but was unsure of how to accomplish such a technical feat. She often posted in a group on Facebook called Book Junkies. She quickly made friends, one of whom is the author of this blog. Upon hearing about Kitty's book, Susan felt her own publisher might be interested in this unique subject. One thing led to another and a request was made to Kitty for the manuscript.

Now Kitty is very happily writing daily. The second in the Mysteries from the Trail of Tears series, Wheezer and the Shy Coyote, was recently released. Her publisher is Inknbeans Press and Kitty could not be happier about it.

Talk about responsibility. 
All those years of raising my family, I yearned to sing and perform. I accepted a few invitations to sing at several Kansas City nightclubs, but came away with a feeling of disgust for the lifestyle.  I had no desire to sing to a bunch of people who would not remember the next day where they had been the night before. So I put all I could into raising my family – trying not to repeat the terrible mistakes made by the adults I knew as a child. I studied the Bible and became one of Jehovah's Witnesses and with this new knowledge, I was able to keep my marriage and family together.

I learned early on that my nature did not fit in the corporate environs, so I began my own business.  I was able to use my creative skills in many different endeavors which supplied a good bit of our income. Once my children were raised, I had no qualms about pursuing my lifelong dream – with excellent and satisfying results.

Complete this sentence: "My favorite time of the day is…"
My favorite time of the day is around 2 A.M., when all are in bed and I can have the time to create at my leisure. I do my best work in the middle of the night. Sometimes, I go out into my garden and pull weeds with the help of a flashlight or I go down to the chicken pen and give them a late night (or early morning) treat.

What would be the most difficult news for you to accept about someone in your family?
It would be the news of losing my wonderful husband and partner in art. I would miss him terribly and there is no human on this earth that I trust more than he. We are as in love with each other as we were all those years ago when I was a troubled young woman who needed love and reassurance. There would be no replacing him.

Tell about a "special" gift that you received when you were a child.
Yes, I was given something special, but it was not something I could hold or set on a table and look at. But it was as important to my life as anything I can think of. After coming home from being thrown out of that window and the long hospital stay that it involved, I was able to attend a family reunion. Back in the 1950s, family reunions were much more prevalent than today. My grandfather, who owned Stinson's Music Store at 40th and Troost in Kansas City was, of course, a well-known musician as well. Most of his children were known around town as some of the best jazz musicians of their era. Anyway, I knew nothing about that – I was only six at the time. My grandfather played the violin, but I had never heard him play it. On this occasion, the entire family had brought their instruments to have a good jam session. I don't know how my grandfather  knew that I loved to dance, but he wanted to warm up his fiddle and he told me to dance to the tune he would play. While he played and I whirled around letting my six-year-old body do whatever it felt like doing to keep the beat, I discovered that this was something I loved. When the song was over and all the family, at the time about 200 of them, clapped their pleasure of my performance, I will never forget the feeling of empowerment I felt at the moment. I did not know what it was called then, but that feeling followed me my entire life. That is why I wrote “Grandpa's Fiddle,” which gained some acclaim in Europe. When I close my eyes, I can still hear his fiddle, blazing away while I turned and swerved, tapping my little feet to the beat and receiving a gift that I have cherished. In truth, I believe that it was that empowering moment that kept me from losing my mind during all those helpless years under my mother's mental illness. That was a great gift.

Say something about spontaneity.
Spontaneity is my middle name actually, to a fault. I have a hard time sticking with the grind because I get inspired and then go rushing off to experiment with my new ideas. That includes everything in my life. I must say, it has contributed to a very interesting life, but it has caused many a problem as well. That is the life of an artist, whether it is writing or visual art, when the call of creativity yells loud and clear, we must obey. For me, if I ignore it, I get depressed. It took me years to figure that out. Now I just give in to my creative spontaneity and then do my best to take care of the mundane in between the inspirations.

Actually, Kitty, I think we met on Twitter first! I loved your first book, and I look forward to reading the second in the series. I'm glad that I was able to assist you, even in such a small way. Best of luck to you in all of your endeavors!

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Apropos of Nothing: Jo Briggs Answers 5 Questions

Jo has always lived in the southern part of England, in varying counties, despite a desire to live abroad; she has yet to experience that, except from a holiday perspective. The place Jo is pulled toward mostly is America, in particular New York; but she has yet to step on a plane in that direction, the long-distance element so far being a hindrance. 
As a child, she appeared in some TV commercials after attending a famous drama school in central London from the ages of 4-7.

Jo’s interest in writing has been there in the background, for as long as she can remember; it was something she had always wanted to do since she went to school – after doing well in her English Literature classes. She used to carry a notebook around with her and write ideas down, but she was quite private about her writing until becoming an adult.

Her first published novel, Broken Strings, is due out at the beginning of October to celebrate her birthday. It will be the first of a trilogy detailing the trials and tribulations of the lives of its two main characters, Mia James and Grey Bailey. 

Talk about newspapers and how they affect your life.
I am quite opinionated in what papers I want to read. I avoid what the British refer as the gutter press like the plague. They are namely the ones that have all the dubious celebrity stories and the reputation for alleged phone hacking to get stories. I am definitely one for the electronic age so now read most newspaper stories from the Guardian and Independent on my iPad.

Tell about the last time you were late for something.
I am always punctual; it drives me mad when people are late.  I tend to arrive over-early if anything.

Say something about apologizing.
I am a great believer in saying sorry when you are in the wrong.  It is sometimes not easy to do, but you have to be the better person. 

In what ways does TV influence your life?
I used to be a TV addict, but now I often can go a week without seeing anything if I am busy elsewhere without it bothering me. These days the only TV shows I view are a few British and Aussie soap operas, Vampire Diaries, True Blood, Dexter and Revenge. I do like things like CSI, NCIS, and The Mentalist, but I do not sit down to them rigidly each week.

Tell about a time when you were lost.
I have no direction sense at all, except left from right but ask me which way is North and I have no idea! In the days before Sat Nav, I drove to see my boyfriend who lived in Derbyshire from where I lived in Berkshire and his directions made no sense once I came off the main motorway. I saw the same roundabout about 50 times! Was not happy.

To learn more about Jo and her work, visit:

It was a pleasure to get to know you better, Jo. We have a bit in common: I always wanted to live in New York as well, but have yet to even visit! Good luck with your first book. 

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Apropos of Nothing: Rosemary Smith Answers 5 Questions

Rosemary was born in Louisiana. She used to tell people she had the good sense to leave the state before she was branded a Cajun. People laughed. When she got older and learned a few things, she realized that Louisiana was not a bad place at all.

As a military family, she and her husband, Al, lived in Europe for nearly six years and met people from all over the world. Rosemary sold her watercolor and oil paintings to feed her creative streak. She also wrote poems and stories but never shared them with anyone outside her family.

When Al retired after twenty-six years in the Army, they chose to come back to Louisiana for him to fly for Petroleum Helicopters. He loved it. Rosemary continued with her real-estate career, and life was good.

They discovered very quickly that they’d both missed the sounds of cicadas in the summer heat, the tastes of crispy fried shrimp, spicy boiled crawfish and icy cold Sugartown watermelon, and definitely the people.

Rosemary likes watching the egrets fish in the coulee (a fancy name for a fancy drainage ditch) in the woods behind her house. The little green lizards even inspired her to write a series of books for children. She enjoys making a big gumbo on the first cool night of autumn. Most of all, she enjoys hearing the voices of her Cajun friends as they sit around her table to share it.

Louisiana is a magical place, full of mystery, wildlife, good food, and fun. Rosemary won’t be leaving again. When she dies, they can bury her remains in a cypress box in the swamps she loved. Louisiana is home.

How do you decide between right and wrong? 
 I ask myself if I would want my mother to know about it. My mother must have instilled a massive sense of guilt in me from birth. She nearly died having me, so even now I feel like everything I do has to justify my existence. I only recently realized that all my novels and many of my stories have an underlying theme. I am sixty-five years old and still trying to please my mother. My characters seem to feel the same way. Even my Vampire. His mother was the one who asked, “Does it have to be human blood?”

Tell about a "special" gift that you received when you were a child.
My first really “special” gift was a set of World Book Encyclopedias….Red Covers… I read them from the front cover of A to the back cover of Z more than once. My parents thought it was to help me with my school work, but it opened doors to all kinds of exciting worlds and made me even more curious about EVERYTHING. It made me want to see it for myself.

When do you feel most confident? 
When someone reads something I wrote and says good things about it. Praise makes me brave.

Say something about spontaneity.
I am quite spontaneous. Heap a little praise on me about one of my books or stories and then take a few steps backwards. It could get dangerous…in a fun way. 

What is one thing you could do to improve your life? 
Write a book that people like well enough to tell their friends about so that it ends up a NYT bestseller. And be Richer, Thinner and Taller…………if all that fails, I want to win the Powerball….

To learn more about Rosemary and her writing, visit:

Thank you for stopping by, Rosemary. I remember the first time I opened up an encyclopedia – it was like getting access to a world I’d never known existed. I couldn’t concentrate on what I was actually looking up because of all the interesting tidbits around it!

On Wednesday, Jo Briggs will be answering five questions. I look forward to seeing you again then!

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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Apropos of Nothing: Debbie Bennett Answers 5 Questions

Debbie has been writing since primary school and hand-wrote her first novel at age fourteen in a fancy ring-binder. After that inspiring debut, she wrote several (mostly unpublishable) novels on a manual typewriter and later computer, until an agency contract in the 1990s led her to think she might actually be good at it.

She’s worked in law enforcement for over 25 years, in a variety of different roles (both front-line and back-office), which may be why the darker side of life tends to emerge in her writing. In 2005, she was long-listed (top 25) for the Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger Award, which gave her the self-confidence to independently publish the crime novel Hamelin’s Child on Kindle and other e-outlets in 2011, closely followed by a young-adult fantasy, Edge of Dreams, and a collection of short (and not-so-short) stories, Maniac & Other Stories.

She spent nine years editing and publishing anthologies, newsletters and other publications for the British Fantasy Society, and has had numerous short stories in print in a variety of outlets, from award-nominated anthologies to women’s magazines. She’s also reviewed for the BFS and Starburst magazine and was a reader for a national short-story competition for many years. has links to all my books on multiple platforms. where I blog on 6th every month about ebooks, writing and anything else.

What kind of emergency scares you the most?
OK. Over-the-top answer here as I’m going to say what immediately springs to mind… nuclear war! I said it was OTT, didn’t I!? I was born in the mid-‘60s and remember a lot of news surrounding the Cold War as I was growing up. And then I saw the BBC drama Threads in 1984, which terrified me (I have it on DVD and it still scares me as an adult). I live near to Hack Green nuclear bunker in Cheshire which is now open to the public – they have public-information documents on display there that I remember seeing in the house as a child.

Oh and anything involving my beautiful and talented teenage daughter!

Which of your senses do you value most?
Definitely sight. I’ve been short-sighted since I was a child and worn contact lenses from age seventeen. My eyes are less tolerant now, so I’m stuck with glasses a lot more – and I hate them. My husband and daughter have perfect vision and neither of them appreciates it.

What would you like to receive on your next birthday?
A contract for a film option on one of my books? Not likely, I guess, so I’ll settle for something Eeyore. Most of my birthdays have been Eeyore themed, from cakes to slippers to cuddly toys. I like Eeyore.

Describe the funeral service you would like held for you.
Gosh, that’s a question I’ve never had before. Something low-key and not too sad. I think funerals should be a celebration of life, not death. If I could watch, I’d like to know what I’ve meant to the people I care about and maybe people could share happy memories. Most of all, I’d like people to think I did something useful with my life and didn’t waste or squander it.

Share a compliment you received recently.
“Mum, you look really nice!” Said by my 16 year-old in a surprised tone of voice as though mum and looking nice don’t usually belong in the same sentence. Generally I’m a source of entertainment at best, and embarrassment at worst, especially when I’m wearing – heaven forbid – a denim jacket or jogging pants (not together – even I draw the line there). I can’t recall just what it was I was wearing at the time either.

To learn more about Debbie and her work, please visit:

Wow, Debbie! Thanks so much for stopping by! I remember being truly terrified of nuclear war once upon a time – I guess other fears have overwritten those of the Cold War era.

On Monday, Southern author Rosemary Smith will be answering five questions. You’ll want to read her answers! 

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Apropos of Nothing: Ed Drury Answers 5 Questions

Ed Drury is a musician and writer currently living in Portland, Oregon. No one is sure just how long Ed has been around. Just one look at him suggests it has been for a very long time. He was born in the vicinity of his mother, and, yes, it was a long time ago. Ed writes music for indie films, television and theater. Seriously – he's been paid to do that! He also has worked as a psychiatric aide, respiratory therapist, computer programmer, technical writer, store clerk and has done some acting, but has never been arrested.

Complete the sentence "The loneliest time for me is…"
The time I spend in large groups of people.

Give 3 reasons why you like yourself.
I have a pretty decent understanding of myself. I love animals. I like it that I am not excessively deep or brooding.

Say something about hitchhiking.
Kids, don't do this!

What would you like to receive on your next birthday?
Ah, I would like just one day where there are no acts of violence anywhere in the world. That would be the best gift I could receive. Also, my birthday is very close to Halloween, candy is always good.

What are your reasons for wanting to go on living?
Good question! I love creating music and writing. Those are things I hope to do for years to come. I also love to hike and there are a lot of new hikes I've been meaning to take. Plus some old familiar ones I wish to see many more times.

To learn more about Ed and his work, please visit:

I don’t think I’d ever heard the didgeridoo before – at least not in a context where I knew what I was hearing! It’s fantastic, Ed – thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you get what you want for your birthday.

Novelist and editor Debbie Bennett will be with me in two days. See you then!

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Apropos of Nothing: Rich Meyer Answers 5 Questions

Rich Meyer is a freelance writer, editor and proofreader who has written numerous trivia quiz e-books, flash fiction stories and is working on his first novel. He is an active volunteer with the Old Time Radio Researchers group, dedicated to the preservation of old-time radio shows. Rich is an avid fan of Frank Zappa, Doc Savage, comic books, and, of course, trivia. Rich lives in Pennsylvania with his wife Mona and their family of furry children.

Say something about illness and how it has affected your life.
I spent a good portion of my early childhood in and out of hospitals with ear infections, pneumonia, and came close to dying once when I had an adverse reaction to a German Measles vaccine. As such, I kept to myself most of the time and developed a love for reading, particularly comic books and science fiction novels, and drawing. While if I hadn’t been sick, I might’ve gone on to somewhat more physical endeavors, I feel I’m a more rounded individual because of those early trials, even though at the time I really had no awareness of what was actually going on.

Which of your senses do you value most?
That’s a toss-up between my sight and my hearing. While I use my sight much more in what I do (watching movies and old TV shows to collect trivial bits of information), my wife and I recently adopted a blind kitten. That little girl is showing us that being blind is not the end one might think it would be, as she is one of the most active kittens I have ever had the fortune to have in my life. I guess one must consider what one would rather not do: never again see a great piece of art or a striking landscape scene, or never again hear a glorious symphony or a powerful guitar solo?

Talk about competition.
I’m not big on competition. I don’t always worry about winning or coming out on top, since I know no one is going to do that very often for very long. I would (and have) made a horrible salesman.

The only semi-exception is when I play trivia, particularly in the World’s Largest Trivia Contest in Wisconsin; while I take a personal satisfaction whenever I can be the first on my team to find an answer to a question, I also don’t worry too much about being the winning team, since that is a VERY hard thing to do. However, my current team is pretty well-versed in the trivial arts, so I may change that attitude at a moment’s notice.

Give 3 reasons why you like yourself.
First, I have reached a level of personal integrity that allows me to deal with the hypocrisy of modern life without getting stressed out about it.

 I take care of my own.

 And finally, I have a sense of humor, which is the most important weapon a person can have in any battle.

What would you like to achieve with your life?
I have no real goals at the moment, other than to live a comfortable and stress-free life. I would like that, when people look back at me after I’ve moved on, they remember me as having a modicum of personal class and style, and that I left a lot of smiles behind.

To learn more about Rich and his work, please visit:

Fascinating interview, Rich! I’m no slouch when it comes to trivia – I just may have to invest in some of your books. I’m also glad to read that Ruby Xev is settling into life with you and the rest of your family. Her pictures are adorable!

On Thursday, the talented musician and writer Ed Drury will be joining me for his moment in the hot seat. Come back then, won’t you?

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Apropos of Nothing: Kevin Tomsett Answers 5 Questions

Kevin is 34 years old. He is almost married to Kim and has two sons, Morgan and Shawn, and a daughter, Cameron. He likes nothing better than using his downtime to play Skyrim or Lego games on his Xbox 360. When he is not playing, he can be found watching the Grand Prix. When not doing that he will probably be at work; if not at work, he can be found bashing out his latest bestseller!

Describe your best year in school.
My best year at school would have to be the year after I left – I hated it that much.

Say something about space travel.
I love the idea of space travel like in Star Trek, and the thought of other races out in the expanse of space makes us as human beings seem small.

Tell about an understanding person in your life.
That would have to be my almost wife Kim. She has stuck by my side through thick and thin.

Say something about apologizing.
It’s not an easy thing to do.

Describe the kind of car you would like to own.
That’s a hard one. I guess something like an armoured Hummer.

To learn more about Kevin and his work, please visit:

Thanks for taking a few minutes to chat, Kevin. You are a man of few words – you must save them for your writing!

Come back Monday – Rich Meyer, Trivia Master Extraordinaire, stops by to answer a few questions with no right or wrong answers!

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