Sunday, November 17, 2013

I am writing like wind and fire and stardust and it is still taking a long time....thanks to everyone cheering me on. Thanks to everyone wishing I could do this faster, but I can't.  I can only tell you that the re-write of  third book of the trilogy is getting deeper and steeper and ....stranger ....

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

 I am buried in my own writing and I am doing writing consultations.... 
 (((( for more critique and consult info contact me:::  kathleenduey at earthlink dot net. 

.......but it's hard to keep up with the blog in the middle of all this. If you are tired of having to wait for news here, I am on FB  and give people (SMALL*) updates almost daily.

All three of the books I am working on are progressing faster than they were before I decided to switch back and forth. It's working. YAY!  When one of the projects needs time to breath....I go visit the others.

I love tangled trees. This one was in a yard with a big dog.
Good thing I can speak DOG. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Writing/Teaching/ and my Aunt Molly

I took this picture walking in a strange city years ago....because it reminded me of my Aunt Molly's fancy windows. She is the reason I write and the reason I finally began to teach writing at conferences, schools, and retreats. It wasn't anything she said to me. It was the hatbox full of poems and little stories we found when she passed away in her late eighties. No one in the family knew she wrote. She hid it. If it hadn't been for an intuitive teacher and that magic hat box, I might never have even tried to write.

This year I have taught writing at six academic/retreat/and/or SCBWI events. I had the joy of being an SCBWI mentor last year and will be teaching at two more writing events before this year is over. I love the opportunities to help other writers and widen my own understanding of every kind of writing.

Two years ago I began doing writing sessions/consultations/skill teaching/ via Skype or phone..from my own home.  I fell in love with the one-on-one sessions. They are held in my own quiet room where I can conduct long-duration consults, with no one tapping the table to remind us of the time elapsed. I can ask enough questions to make sure I understand what the writers are trying to do, then help them do it.

I will work with any serious writer.
To see my usual rates and session choices you can contact me @::    kathleenduey at earthlink dot net

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The oddness of scents and books

I have to get to work....but first.....

This is the Ice Cream Bean Tree that shades the sliding door of my office. When it is blooming there is a sweet, very strange perfume in the air that appears and disappears with every tiny breath of a breeze.
This tree is making it's first appearance in a book this morning....
where it makes some people sick and not others....and no one knows why.


Saturday, August 03, 2013

Late afternoon sun-sifting via one of my epiphyllums. I am sorry that I am so absent here. I am writing like mad, like wolves are behind me. I am slowly unwinding the editor's comments on the first draft. Wow this is a complex book. Who wrote this massive, convoluted two-timeline monster of a........oh. Yeah. I did.

Friday, June 28, 2013

  So this morning I am working on Outside the Walls to address astute agent concerns. Since I don't outline plots or character arcs, I have decided to start here:

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Oh, look.

It's morning.
I am working on three writing projects now:

book #3/ A Resurrection of Magic

Outside the Walls, a story about tradition and fear.

Russet, a story that spans a lifetime. Maybe. (It began as a twitter novel and amazes me every day.)

And I am preparing for teaching at the Monterey CA festival of the arts in a few weeks.

I love my job.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The massive trunk of my Phytolacca tree. Every part of it, bark, flower, leaves and sap, is poisonous.

The revision process for A Resurrection of  Magic book #3 is just now beginning. YAY! The editor and I are in contact and she will soon begin wading through  600 pages of strange people with weird, elongated lives. Sadima and Hahp began their stories in Book#1 living in the same city, but 200 years apart in time. That gap has closed, slowly but surely, and they are now breathing the same air and looking at the same sky. Except that it isn't the same. The magicians keep changing it. They won't listen to me or anyone else. They never have. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Outside the Walls: The Maker's Place

      The Moon was windblown and bright. I could see the girl, but she was an outline, part of the night, and she didn't answer me. She just started walking again, heading back toward the wagon road. We followed her until she turned and gestured at us to stop. "Hide here and wait for me," she whispered. 
         Before we could react, she was running down the narrow, muddy track, disappearing into the trees. Fob and I looked at each other. I could tell he was still angry. I was, too, but that was the least of my worries. The girl was almost impossible to like, but I liked her anyway because she wasn’t afraid. I was. I had never known anyone who wasn’t afraid. So I started walking, following her.
            When I heard an odd sound, I ran and I could hear Fob’s footsteps behind me. We kept going, staying close to the edge of the rutted road so we could disappear into the trees if we needed to—then we finally stopped when we saw the glint of another metal cage shining in the moonlight.  It looked like the one we had seen on the wagon, except it was bigger and full of odd things: There was a pile of what looked like dried clover, a long, thin rake of some kind, a mound of blackish tar, and a row of woven baskets like the wagon drivers hired people in the Old City to make, but they were woven much finer, the sizes and shapes more complicated than any basket I had ever seen.
            Fob and I stood shoulder to shoulder, looking at the cage until a little breeze ruffled the clover and I stepped back from a strong, strange smell in the air—just an instant before the girl was coming toward us, waving her hands,  screaming at us to run. We turned and sprinted back up the road. She caught up and we all kept running until we were back on the far side of the meadow, gasping for breath. Then she turned to me.  “What’s your name?”
            That pissed me off. Things were bad enough without stupid jokes. She was the only one who had kept her name a secret.
            “What’s your name?” she asked me again.
            “Dickens!”  I leaned toward her and shouted, hoping to startle her into jumping. But she didn’t. She just turned to Fob. “Tell me your name.”   
            He looked at me, then at the girl. “My name is Fob,” he said quietly. “You know that. What’s your name? Have you found a new one yet?”  The girl shook her head, and they stared at each other, like dogs that were about to fight.
            The girl glared at Fob for a moment more, then she exhaled and stepped back. “That was a makers-place. One where the poisons are made.”
            My  skin prickled. Fob and I had both awakened by the river without any memories. Everyone in the Old City does.  I looked at the girl. “The children in the wagon seemed so sad and—”
        “No,” she interrupted. Her shoulders dropped and she looked up at the moon before she answered.  “They are small but they aren’t children. Those are the makers.”

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Russet (in progress)

    When the train slows, then stops, I close the curtain--all but a slit, so I can peek out. From where I am sitting I mostly see the tops of people’s heads. They are getting off the train, hugging the relatives and friends who are there to pick them up.  
     I am almost relaxed until I think I see the jeans-and-running shoes guy.
     I hold my breath.
     Yeah. It’s him.
     He’s pacing a wide circle, or I might never have noticed him. He’s not glancing up or down. He isn’t looking for me. He tilts his head and I realize that he has a phone against his ear. I sit up straighter. Is he talking to my father?
     I put the make-up back on in a few seconds.
     More this time.
     I want to look a little older, sixteen or seventeen, less gloss, more color on my mouth. 
     I leave my jeans on, switch to a soft pink tee that says “Geek
Magneto” under a loose, light jacket from the Salvation Army bin. It covers my lack of breasts and my battered knuckles. Then, once I am a girl again, I hurry.
     I swim upstream against the people boarding.
     When I finally get through an open door, the man is still pacing in circles.
      I fall into step with a group of people headed his way and strain to hear his end of the phone conversation. I slow down as we get closer and fiddle with my jacket zip, my back toward him, then pretend to answer my own phone before I walk past. I catch seven words: “No. Not yet. But he’s here somewhere.”  
       I keep walking, my skin crawling, my stomach tight.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Every morning I check email. This morning, among the fan mail, there was an especially kind letter from a reader in France who loved my books and was learning to speak English in part so that she could read my work in English. I skimmed her letter, then went down though other emails, answered a few business things,  cleaned out a few ads, etc, then went back to answer the fanmail and it was all there....except for the letter from France.

I tried to find it, and I have no idea how I lost it, but I did. So I apologize.

Dear reader in France, in case you read this blog, I want to thank you for the kind words and for liking my books and taking the time to write me. Your English is far better than my French will ever be and you made me smile. Thank you.

All best wishes,

Tuesday, April 02, 2013


     I am always amazed at the evolution of any story I write. The more I   follow the characters around, the more I begin to understand their world, their hearts. This place is a bleak one, I knew that from the start. I have been reading about child labor, witch trials, faeries, folk tales, and the history of segregation in many cultures, recent and ancient. So.... 

Here is the first page of the book as of this morning. 

                                               Chapter One  
            The night-walkers only come when the moon is a thin, curved slit of cold light. They wear black robes and each one carries a sleeping child. Sometimes there are three or four night-walkers. Sometimes there are ten or twenty.  Each child is left to wake up on the riverbank below the Old City. 
            They don’t know where they are. 
            They don’t know who they are.
            They can’t remember where they came from or anything else.
            I couldn't.
            No one ever can.          
            A few of them will sit and stare at their own bare feet long enough to starve. Every year, some wander into the river, and let the water bury them somewhere far downstream. But most of them stop crying and start looking for food when the sun comes up. 
            Almost everyone helps them at first.
            We all know how hard it is.  
            But there are as many hungry children in the Old City as there are pigeons, crows, mice, rats and ants. And there is never enough food for all of us. Never. 

                               I don't use plot charts, but if I did, they would look like this: 

Monday, March 25, 2013

home again, home again....

I am working on the story that is evolving from the original Dickens and Fob idea. It has changed and grown and fascinates me. I am also writing Russet and it is astounding me. It's like nothing I have ever written. When one stalls, I switch. The day the editor is done with Book #3 Resurrection of Magic, I will begin revisions. This schedule feels like going home for me.

 (I wrote series for MG kids, 6-12 novels a year. (Proof here:  They are all on Amazon, too, but eBay does better pics. )  And to write.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Thank You

In the last three days, over a thousand people have read this blog. Some of you go way back and start at the beginning. Some of you leave comments, or email me later...
Thank you.

Thank you all for  liking my work. Thank you for saying my books have touched you. You have touched me.

I am grateful every morning for the people who write to tell me what surprised them in the story, what made them shiver. I love the notes that tell me which characters they are worried about, in love with, scared of, angry at.

I realized a few years ago that your responses to my writing were kind of guiding it. It has to be the same for all artists of all kinds. If the crowd stands up to applaud an amazing guitar-solo, that solo will probably be a little longer next time. With bigger reaches and faster runs. Because the guitarist will be braver.

Thanks to everyone reading about Russet and worrying about him. I am worried, too.I want him off that train, but I don't know if that will make him safer...

Thanks to everyone who is waiting for the third book in A Resurrection of Magic.I will begin the revisions soon. I will make the story exactly what it has to be in order to be true.

You are all making me braver....

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

...a little more Russet

While I continue to wait for editorial response to two different projects, I am writing the next novel: Russet.

At first glance, I probably look happy in the pic. I am not. I am standing up behind my chair, because I needed to back away from the screen. I'm wondering if what I just wrote could possibly be true.
If it is, I can hope again.

           My father.
           He’s got gray-blue contacts, is shaved bald, has lightened his skin and changed his posture--but it’s him. I am sure of it. 
         My heart’s slamming against my ribs, but  he glances at me without interest, then looks at the next row of passengers. I yawn and slide down in my seat for a fake nap as he walks past.  
           He looks even more haunted than I remembered.
           I am about as tall as he is now.
           That feels strange. 
           My father is a monster, I know that. 
           He made my mother leave and he fucked me up past repair, I know that, too. 
           But I saw him.
           And he didn’t see me.  

Thursday, February 21, 2013


       I told my first grade teacher about my father’s stories. She smiled at me. “Oh! He has such a great imagination!”
       She must have said something about it at the parent-teacher conference. I spent nine days in the basement. My dad cried when he let me out. He used to cry a lot. Punishing me hurt him. But they were watching us, he said. They would know if he wasn't trustworthy. 

      My memories are like riptides. I swim at an angle, work my way to the edge, then escape. I manage to stretch, refocus, stand up, then I catch my breath when I see a stranger in the mirror. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Consultations and critiques

I have added a new level of consultation services this year, aimed specifically at authors who are getting requests for full manuscripts from agents and editors....and then receiving  a pile of  "Interesting premise but not quite ready" responses.  

This is me, after the National Book Award people called me, trying to believe that it happened.  

It is not a detailed, marked up, beginners' critique focused on craft. I read your book, whole, and respond with specific suggestions to make it impossible to put down. If you have skills that need sharpening to pull it off, we work with that. We will Skype or phone to go over everything real-time... I will ask what you meant to do, and help you do THAT.

I do this in my spare time....and there isn't a lot of that.  Two or three people a month, tops. So if you are interested:  Contact me:   kathleen duey at earthlink dot net

I don't like to quote final fees until we talk. I don't have a cookie-cutter approach to this. I want to focus on each writer's needs.

I do critiques of  smaller writing samples for people who need skill-help.

and this explains why I began helping writers outside my usual conference appearances:

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The STORY Pile

my backyard last spring....

In the years  it took to finish A Resurrection of Magic, (and I am not quite done yet, the editor is reading it) I wrote only a few other things, mostly for younger readers--the polar opposite kind of story.

But I kept a running record of story sparks, writing down the bones of the vaporous ideas that just appear when I am watching people or that come in the night ::: the sharpened and the weird...

I have over 600 files now.

SO.....look out!