Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Cait London Is On Her Toes

Who can resist these?

As an Aries, my creativity meter runs high and energetic; we're sort of go-for-it people. That is why I celebrate my April birthday all month long; I see no reason to confine it to one day. Ready to take on challenges, I'm blogging in 2 places today: here about Toes (as they apply to writing) and I’ll probably drop by my own blog. Check my website for further schedules.

Wilson, my pumpkin who is currently sitting in my bread bowl and watching television, has drawn much interest. Wilson was purchased last October, intended to be the content of one of my homemade pies. However, his longevity is attributed to my too-busy schedule. In February, he sat at my bread bowl while I drove to my daughter's in Lexington, KY, some 9-11 hours of snow and ice covered roads. We were too busy to attend to Wilson, named after Tom Hanks' Wilson, and he returned to my home, secure in his bread bowl. He's actually a great companion, and there are pictures somewhere of him wearing leis. I blogged about him at Love is an Exploding Cigar earlier, and he has developed quite a fan base.

He listened attentively while I debated my upcoming articles about Self-Talk, Reinvention, or Toes. All three topics are very pertinent to me now, in my high creative-Aries period.

While driving the other day (and I do a lot of that), I listened to a great podcast from the Writing Show. (Lots of good writing helps on podcasts now.) A shy writer described how she overcomes her difficulty when promoting her books. Basically, she does what every writer should do, be her own best supporting friend and does Self-Talk, affirmations, etc. But it's nice to have other support, of course.

Which brings me to Claire, the empath featured in the first book of my psychic triplet trilogy, AT THE EDGE. The youngest triplet by 3 minutes absorbs the emotions and physical problems of anyone close to her and of necessity, must be reclusive. This leads to a life of creating designer handbags in rural Montana.

I drove all over Montana and wrote several books from that research. I did not have Wilson then; he missed the experience. (I don’t know why he is a “he.” I guess there’s a pumpkin sex expert somewhere in the realm. If so, please comment.)

Wilson would have also liked my visits to Lake Michigan, the setting for Tempest's story, A STRANGER'S TOUCH, and April release. Tempest's gift, or her curse as she sees it, is in her hands. She’s also a sculptor. I identified closely with her because I am an artist. She must wear gloves to protect herself from psychically absorbing the history of an object, or something of the individual who held it. Marcus would like Tempest's naked hands on him, but he also wants her help in finding a cold-case killer. Lake Michigan ties into the danger any of these triplets face when near large bodies of water, a universal portal for psychic contact. And someone definitely wants to contact and kill her entire family. She's determined to find the agent relic that may protect her family.

Which leads us to Leona in October's FOR HER EYES ONLY, set in Lexington, KY, Bluegrass country. Leona is a precognitive and suspected to be the most fierce and strongest of the triplets. Leona’s story ends the story arc begun with AT THE EDGE.

Story arcs, each with individual romance and suspense, but with continuing, building threads toward the final conclusion, are not easy writing projects. Tension has to build, each story leading to the next.

Which brings me to the subject of Toes. In the photographs, they're all very individual with unique shapes and abilities, just like the contemporary triplets descended from then ancient Celtic seer (I use runes, rather than tarot) and Viking chieftain (love Vikings). But each toe leads to the next and has a function within the framework of the foot, just as chapters relate to the book as a whole.

With all of the books written, I think of how much I've enjoyed the journey for this departure from my usual. This trilogy "stretched" my skills, and every writer needs that. I am also reminded of how much of me and my family went into each book. (My sister and I suspect we are psychically linked, much as the triplets.) I think of how much intrinsic research each writer carries within them, all the makings of stories just ready to be tapped.

Wilson seems to have enjoyed the ride, too.

Kathleen says: My introduction comes at the end because Cait's obviously a woman who enjoys a good road trip, so I wanted her to jump right in and be her go-for-it self! Cait's been a good friend of mine for a very long time, so it's my special pleasure to announce that we're celebrating her first appearance on the New York Times extended bestseller list this month with A STRANGER'S TOUCH.

What do you really think about the paranormal or the supernatural? Have you had any experiences? Even second-hand from someone you trust? Do you believe any of it? Fear it? Wish you could exercise a power or two? In your fiction do you like scary, fairy, woo-woo, scary woo-woo, scary fairy, other world...what else? And what added elements--humor, gore, sex, mythology--what else? What works for you, what doesn't, and how does any of this relate to being human (which, at its heart, is what story-telling is all about)?


Kathleen Eagle said...

You guys, when Cait says she's an artist, she's not just whistling Dixie. Be sure to take a look at her work.

Chris M. said...

First, I have At The Edge in my TBR pile... but being a compulsive book buyer as well as a reviewer, my TBR pile is HUGE. So, I have had a chance to get into it beyond the first few tantalizing chapters. So far, I love it, it's just a matter of priorities, I don't always get to read for pleasure first, so my books wait. LOL

Second, What do I think about the paranormal? I would have to say that there are too many unexplainable things out there to completely discount it. How many times have you taken a different route on your way to somewhere else for no apparent reason, only to find out later that you avoided being in the middle of some horrible accident? I can tell you that my DH and I joke about being inside each other's heads... to the point of thinking the exact same thing that may have no bearing whatsoever on a conversation. Or flashes of Deja-vu that you know you've never been in that specific place, but you know every detail of it... people discount it, but how else to you REALLY explain it. I've personally taught my children that many things are possible.

If I could excercise a power... it would be seeing through walls... then my kids truly would think I was magic instead of resourceful!

I think I like all aspects of paranormal... as long as it's well written. It just depends on my mood... there's a time for scary, or fairy or woo woo, and I don't know if that's what I want until I pick up the book. How does it relate to being human? I don't know, I think maybe so many people want to be MORE... more than human, more than this or that, and we see in the characters oftentimes a longing to be more human that is a bit humbling. Face it we almost always want something beyond what we have.

*Sigh* See, you told me that I could talk, and excused the JabberJaws in me and you've released a bit of a monster... sorry. Just tell me to hush, and I will... maybe. But, those are my thoughts on your questions.

Cait London said...

Hi, Kathleen. Thanks for letting me drop in. Hi, Chris. I hope you like AT THE EDGE.

Re: Paranormal vs. Psychic. I consider them as two separate things, but mixed a little. I'm very clear in the trilogy that the triplets are psychic, minus shapeshifting/vampires/ghosts, and not mediums for the dead which leans more to my own beliefs. Can't quite get into vampires, etc., unless they are in movies. But psychic I understand a little and we think we have some intuitives in our family. Maybe. Just a guess. However, I've sat with real psychics before, when interviewing them, and have had past life readings done (I was a Mayan rain priestess and also a small elite French woman.)

I do think there are certain fields, intuitive, that link. There was too much truth to the psychics I interviewed while researching. Very eerie. I sat between two of them the other day, one reading tarot and one with spirit guides, and they were both focused on me. Both straight on point. Another did a pretty truthful reading for me AND MY FAMILY, guessed the number of women, their comparitive intuitions, etc.

When I wrote the triplets, I stuck to mental connections, but somehow psychic is linked to paranormal.

Fairy lore and mythology are totally separate. If you separate the multiple sex partners in Laurel K. Hamilton's Meredith books, she's a master writer of court intrigue, fairies, mythology, and history, all rolled into one.

As for blood and gore, I'm not into that. I'm not into sheriffs, detectives, forensics, either. I just like unwrapping small town secrets. Having said that, the Aisling Triplets were a departure for me, something to try and desired by my editor. I already had a feel for the women's relationships, because of my own family.

Cait London said...

Speaking of mediums for the dead...
While I am not. Period. I did have one experience with my deceased mother.

I was going thru a particularly bad life-time and a little angry with her for leaving me, when I needed her so much.

I was driving, naturally, when I heard her say, "Oh, Lois, just let me sleep." And I knew it was time to let her go. She'd sounded like that many times while alive, so maybe that was my memories of her tangled as memories do.


Kathleen Eagle said...

Good morning, Lois! Welcome!

I've had quiet moments when I felt like I had some sort of contact with Mama or Daddy, but how do you know whether that's memory at work or the confluence of this moment with eternity?

Cindy Gerard said...

Hi Cait! Welcome to the convertible. You've been on my auto buy list for a very long time and I'm thrilled over your news that you hit the NYT! Good on you!
I love thinking about the possibility of paranormal or supernatural aspects of 'life' or in this case, after life. But I'm all for Casper the friendly ghost types :o) Seriously, I thinking that the spirit lives on. Can't imagine that when my times comes that I won't have unfinished business, so of course, I like the idea that I might have an avenue to revisit the physical world.

Betina Krahn said...

Welcome Cait! And congratulations on the NYT! That is such a feat and so richly deserved!

I haven't read any of your trilogy but now I know I'm going to have to pick it up and get busy on it. I'm a "sister" person. My only sibling is my sister and we definitely have some psychic vibes between us. We look a great deal alike and have often said we're like twins born 6 years apart.

My dad was an identical twin and had a palpable connection with his brother. I'll never forget the time he arrived at my house after visiting his brother and told me with true anguish: "I can't FEEL him anymore. I think he's dying." My uncle did indeed die about six months later, of an undiagnosed heart condition.

I do seem to pick up things from people-- emotions, attitudes, sometimes intentions. But I'm never sure if that's anything paranormal or if it's just heightened empathy-- which my family is known for.

Have a great day here, Cait, and be sure to enjoy and celebrate the BIG LIST!

Playground Monitor said...

My husband has had a few moments of "something." A few years ago #2 son's car had died while he was away at college. So the DH and I drove up for the weekend to help him find a new vehicle. #2 son had said he'd like to have a truck and before we left our house for the five-hour drive, the DH said "I dreamed we'd find a red truck for him. It'll be on the right side of the road after we've come around a curve."

I wasn't sure how seriously to take this but kept looking for red trucks on the right side after a curve and found none UNTIL we got to within seven miles of #2 son's town and there, on the right side of the road, coming out of a curve, was a small used car lot with a red truck sitting in the front row.

We checked out at least six or eight trucks that weekend and bought the red truck at the little car lot on the right side of the road after the curve.

Wish I could exercise a power or two? Sure! I'd like to be able to send thoughts to a couple neighbors and tell them to either buy a bag of Weed-and-Feed or hire a lawn service because I'm tired of their weeds going to seed and messing up my yard.


Christie Ridgway said...

Cait! So glad you're here and congrats on the NYT Extended list. So cool! (Also love Wilson.)

I really buy into the psychic sisters thing. I only have a brother, but my mom has sisters and is very close to one of my aunts. We always thought they had psychic connections that also extended to their two daughters (my cousin and me). My mom and I are also very close and I think we have a connection that traverses the miles between us. I know when she calls on the phone without checking caller ID and she often calls just as I'm thinking of her.

I rarely put anything paranormal-ish in my books (I think I only have one time) but I enjoy reading about things like that.

Kathleen Eagle said...

I have strong intuition /connection with my kids. I think that umbilical cord leaves some sort of vestige forever implanted.

But hubby Clyde has experienced dreams and visions. I've probably told about this one here before, but early in our marriage we were awaken in the middle of the night by the pickup horn blowing. It turned off by itself as soon as he got outside. He came in and said he'd been dreaming about a close friend who was calling for help and he couldn't get to him. The next day he got a call--the guy had drowned.

This is the kind of thing I would have doubted had I not been there. I'll always look for the natural explanation. But I have to be open to the existence of the supernatural, and I find it fascinating. Not scary. Spirits don't scare me. And I really want to have an experience of my own that crosses into the physical world--Clyde's had others--but I just have the kind that flits through my head.

Helen Brenna said...

Hey Cait. Welcome and BIG congrats on the NYT! So exciting!

Seems to me there's so much paranormal, supernatural and psychic stuff out there that I can't even begin to recite things that have happened to me. Would love to get wrapped into some stories like you've done.

Was this a passion for you before you started writing these books, or did you get interested in the paranormal once you got ideas for the books and started research?

PJ said...

Hi Cait! Congrats on hitting the NYT! I have my copy of A STRANGER'S TOUCH and can't wait to start reading. I'm especially looking forward to trying to recognize all the places around Benton Harbor. Do I need to read AT THE EDGE first?

I do believe in psychic connections and the paranormal and have experienced unexplainable things. For example: My husband was my best friend and we shared a very close connection during our 25 years of marriage. I was his caretaker for the last three years of his life and we became even closer. He didn't want a funeral but, instead, asked me to wait until I was ready then have a "celebration of life" for him with our family and friends and lots of good food, drink, memories and laughter. Yellow roses are my favorite flower and I had a beautiful yellow rose bush in my garden that he had given me. It bloomed profusely all summer that year but on the day he died (Sept. 27) it stopped blooming. It stood bare until the day of his "celebration" (Nov. 2). I had been missing him so much, praying that he was finally pain-free and at peace and wishing there was some way he could let me know. When I walked by the rose bush that morning, on my way to get the paper I was startled to see on that bush that had been barren for almost two months a single, perfect yellow rose. I firmly believe to this day that the rose was his way of letting me know he was okay and releasing me to go on with my life, as he had always wanted. I know of no other explanation.

Cait London said...

Hi, everyone. I've just taken a short road trip to visit a passing friend and got a little behind on the posts. First of all, thank all of you for making me so welcome. Hey, Betina. You did a great post at Cigars (?), re: Reinvention. There are tons of us now reinventing ourselves. But your step-by-step was great. Repeat: Lots of writers reinventing or trying to. Very difficult passage.

Speaking of passages: many of you spoke of your deceased. My take is it's all quasi as I am not a true psychic. I think our parents leave vestiges within us that are communication strings not will to release after death, i.e. Kathleen's umbilicord. Long cord, Kathy :)

Cait London said...

Hi, PJ. You might want to read AT THE EDGE first. Since A STRANGER'S TOUCH has hit well, EDGE has gone back to print, so that's a plus. This trilogy does have a story arc, which is dangerous for writers, a big gamble, a departure as I've said, but I'm pleased with the results.

Husbands and wives, definitely connected psychically. As for those who mentioned your sisters, I have a sister who barely murmurs, "I have a feeling..." and all of us stop everything.

BTW, have any of you stood in the historical cemetaries on the Oregon Trail? Or at Custer's Last Stand? Talk about eerie feelings.

But then, with SILENCE THE WHISPERS and FLASHBACK, I did eerie without psychic, and I love eerie. I'll probably do more of those as I'm a Koontz and King reader.

Okay, Kathy, since you've mentioned Clyde, you REALLY, REALLY need to read FOR HER EYES ONLY. REALLY. :)

Cait London said...

Since I'm back in form and spouting off about things I have no idea about, I might as well go for it. I'm a go-for-it sort of girl anyway :)

I think that all writers/artistic types are somewhat intuitive, absorbing life around them, getting into the streams. Intuitive is probably a better word. There's a lot of word parsing in the psychic biz.:)

BTW2, while driving I listened to the with Paula B who interviewed an agent who had left that biz. Very, very interesting. Most of Paula B.'s interviews are super, and there is great writerly stuff on podcasts. There's one on book promotion that is just great.

Cait London said...

My Psychic Triplet trilogy is tagged as Romantic Suspense. Nothing like Cindy's great books, so probably should be romantic suspense pychic? :)

Melissa said...

Excellent blog!! I am totally fascinated by the paranomal. I can't say that I've personally ever experienced it, but I believe there are waaaaaaaaaaaaayyy to many unexplainable things that have and do occur to not realize there's a whole lot more going on around this world than the naked eye can see. So, yeah, I believe.
And what do I like to read??? I love it ALL!! Shapeshifters, witches, ghosts, seers, psychics, vampires, fae...I just love to read about it. And I like all the different worlds...from Feehan's relatively Dark world, to Christine Warrens funny Others, to Lora Leighs smokin' hot Breeds...and everything in between. But I also love me some great, gritty suspense, historicals, comtemps, romantic comedy...I just love to read, and will try just about anyting.

Cait London said...

Hi, Melissa. I love to read, too. Nora's Blood Brothers is on my list next. I have a friend who loves audio books.

Ok, may as well get into this since M opened the door: You have to "open." Or that's what I wrote in my trilogy. None of the triplets want their gifts, and need to "open" by necessity. In we real-life people, I think we need to condition ourselves to be receptive to what is around us and listen to the silence. Sometimes we don't take the time or have the patience, but usually it's there. Have you ever known a really, honestly sympathetic person? Or a person who seems to do well with animals, or whose plants grow better? That person probably is an intuitive to some degree. So as a non-professional who shouts disclaimer at every theory, whatever, M. :) I'd say Listen. Feel.

Now about this psychic at lunch the other day, the one with the spirit guides. She was a little terrifying when she talked about feeling a woman (who wasn't there). This woman had long white hair that almost reached her ankles. Yada yada. Ok, that would have been my maternal grandmother, who wore her hair in braids wrapped around her head. German, you know. I saw her hair down that one time. It was white and reached her ankles. This psychic knew nothing about me, but the reading continued. Pretty scary.

Cait London said...

So many posters have noted the feminine connection. Mm. Good title. I'd better stash that one.

There's a theory somewhere that the female lines carry more of the mystic.

In Celtic designs there is a three pattern. Some say this is the female stages of life: the girl, mother/adult woman, crone.

My gosh. Who wants to be a crone? I'm using plenty of moisturizer to prevent that!

Michele Hauf said...

My opinions on the paranormal and supernatural change all the time. I shouldn't admit to not believing blood-sucking vampires exist (because I write about them). But then, just because I"ve never met one doesn't mean there isn't the possibility one, or many might exist.
I am a firm believer in intuition and simply becoming aware that we are all connected through the greater subconscious. Some people are more able to tap into the intuition than others, which may make them appear 'supernatural' to others, but we've all got it within us. :-)

Kathleen Eagle said...

Cait, do you think the subject of a reading has to be open, too. We've done psychic readings "just for fun" and they always read Clyde better than they do me.

I'm down for FOR HER EYES ONLY. I love the blue and the purple covers. The red one, not so much. We have tons of books around the house, and with little hands and big eyes taking over around here...suffice it to say, the questions have already got me scrambling. "Nana, what are they doing?" (I can say this because I know the red isn't Cait's favorite cover.)

Cait London said...

Hi, Michele. Good for you.

BTW, congratulations all you Riders on your awards. Really great lineup. I was behind this a.m., but am catching up.

So...I've been studying the banner. No one uses finger-toenail polish? And what's on that charm bracelet?

Last night, I watched I am Legend. Really good movie.

Again, congrats on all your awards , group.

Cait London said...

Oops. I've been working so much with agent issues that I used agent in my original post, rather than ancient relic.

We have a top bookseller, gone this week to RT. Kathy Ross of Half-Price Books New and Used in Springfield, MO can really sell books, very neat large store. Anyway, she knows her business and says vampire sales are really strong now. Which is good to know. She noted the changes in storylines, etc. Very knowledgeable bookseller.

Virginia said...

Hi Cait
Nice to see you here! I take that you and Wilson travel everywhere together, must be a good friend. Those baby feet in the photo must be your new grand baby in Lexington.

I know I really enjoy reading paranormal or supernatural books but I am not sure about it all. Sometimes things happen that make you wonder about it. I guess you can say I am in between believing and not believing, but really enjoy reading about it.

Cait London said...

Hi, Virginia.
Most of us are "Between" and I'm glad you like reading about it.

About the covers: AT THE EDGE does have a different look. It would have been nice if all the covers had those head shots. Hey, I tried. I think that all trilogies should have some kind of related "look."

However. The sexy red cover did bring in some new readers, just because they liked the look of the cover. So that was a plus.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Who can tell about covers? Some of the covers I loved most didn't work for marketing. One looked historical but was a contemporary story. The problem was the Indian theme. They figured it out at Silhouette, but it's been hit and miss with the single titles.

Cait London said...

Covers are really important. I've had some good ones and not so good. Before suggesting a cover idea, I usually go stand in front of the stands and just see what pops and what doesn't. When doing that, the overhanging shadows are so important, and can color the books. Also, if face forward, a ppbk's title can get cut off, if too low.

I did suggest the head shots to Avon, which are standard. I'm truly pleased with this departure, this trilogy, which actually took years to come about as I had to do other contracts first.

Debra Dixon said...

Cait !

I'm so sorry I'm just getting here today. I'm so jazzed you came to visit but I had my part-timer here (supervision, supervision, supervision!) plus I make her lunch. And tonight I've been getting the office in shape for the cable guy to come crawl around under the desk.

But back to you...

I love paranormal, urban fantasy, fantasy, etc. And I'm a twin/triplet reader. Don't know why, but I'm always drawn to those stories.

Cait London said...

Thanks for coming. I had the DSL guy here the other day for a bit. All takes time. :)

Deb, go get your past lives read by someone dependable. There may be a psychic reason for being drawn to twins/triplets :)

BTW, I'm still trying to get you down here :)