Sunday, June 29, 2014


Yesterday, from approximately 9 AM to 1PM, I facilitated a writing workshop.  The attendees were writers- some published- and I was intimidated.

Until I saw the ostrich. Then it was on.


At the Vision Gallery, in Chandler, AZ's revitalized downtown, I led a group of women writers through a series of exercises guaranteed to awaken the short story author within.  At least that was my goal.  We were given use of a workroom adjacent to the main gallery and the magic rubbed off:  We wrote stories that will one day soon be part of an anthology.  I was impressed, humbled, thrilled - and cognizant of that ostrich's glare.  I mean really.  Have you ever had to perform in front of an ostrich?

All in all it was a fabulous experience, one that I intend to repeat in the bear future.  I love teaching, I'm enthralled by writing, and I'm intent on sharing the talents of others with the world.

Except with an ostrich.  That, my friend, was above and beyond the call of duty.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Another Man's Voice

Mr. James Whitcomb Riley, a poet from the last century, has long been my fave when it comes to verse.  'Little Orphant Annie' was one of the first poems that I loved hearing; Nana Johns would read this ad nauseum to us grandkids: we looooved being scared!  (If you've never read it for yourself, you need to.)  Another poem I enjoyed was 'Knee-deep in June'.  I could easily picture what Riley was describing: His word choice - his 'voice' - was fabulous!  When you read one of his poems, there was no doubt that he wrote it.

Voice is something that is unique to each writer.  Mine took some time to develop.  I wanted to write like all of my favorite authors, from Maud Hart Lovelace to PD James.  I was convinced that I could not be a good writer unless I patterned myself - copied, really - after an author whose work was a success.  As you might imagine, I wrote some awful pieces until my own voice began to emerge from under the layers of stylistic plagiarism.

Discovering what's uniquely yours is wonderful.  It's also a gift to your readers.  After all, if they wanted to read a Steinbeck-styled book, they'd probably read something actually penned by Steinbeck.  So keep writing...and don't be afraid to be yourself.  Your readers are waiting for you.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Playing Tag...

First off, it's been a buuuuusy few weeks.  "Legend", the first of a suspense trilogy, debuted, and I recently had a good signing with a lovely pair of authors, Donis Casey and Betty Webb.  (Those gals are hilarious!)  I've been tagged in a 'blog hop', so I'll use this posting to play along.  Here goes:

1.  What am I working on now?  I am in the revising stage of the next 'Jo Anderson' book entitled 'Sweet Death' which hopefully will be out in the early fall.  I love writing - and reading - 'cozy mysteries' and this series is definitely cozy...if you like your books with a serving of death on the side. 

2.  How does my work differ from other books in its genre?  My protagonists (I am currently writing two series as well as the suspense trilogy) are drawn from life (chiefly me - LOL) so they tend to exhibit some of my characteristics:  dry humor, curiosity, foot-in-mouth issues, and a habit of jumping headlong into situations without considering the outcomes.  (Reader, pause and chuckle at this point - you're not sure you should believe me or not...)  In the 'Jo Anderson' series, she doesn't have a career established, unless you count running from the confines of her nutty family, so she tends to meander form one job to another.  Of course, each new workplace involves a murder of one sort or another, and voila! Miss Jo in once more in the thick of things, much to the chagrin of her proper Southern Belle mama.

3.  Why do I write what I do?  The answer to this is easy:  I am a life-long Dame Agatha Christie fan and I always wanted to write as she did.  Of course, I will never be in her league, but I keep trying to edge as close as I can!

 There is certainly something to be said for the amateur sleuth - particularly Jo Anderson and her counterpart in my other series, AJ Burnette.  In 'Murder at the Miramar', AJ's first appearance, she is confronted with a string of murders that tie back to a current 'hot button' issue...and I'll leave it at that.  (Read the book to find out!)  I like to include contemporary issues when I can, and these are things that have caught my attention as well.

4.  How does my writing process work?  Hmmm.  I'm not an author who creates in one particular method.  I tend to bring a character to life in my mind and then imagine what she - or he - would do with a certain scenario.  It grows form there, and I'll be honest:  I never know the end of the story when I begin writing!  I might have an idea, but the characters drive the plot.  I usually end up as amazed as my readers are!


Kris Tualla, a dynamic award-winning and internationally published author of historical romance and suspense started in 2006 with nothing but a nugget of a character in mind, and has created a dynasty with The Hansen Series and its spin-off, The Discreet Gentleman Series. Norway is the new Scotland!
Kris is an active PAN member of Romance Writers of America, the Historical Novel Society, and Sisters in Crime, and was invited to be a guest instructor at the Piper Writing Center at Arizona State University. An enthusiastic speaker and teacher, she created Arizona Dreamin' - Arizona's only romance-reader event:


Monday, June 9, 2014

There's Nothing Like a Nap

One of my earliest memories is nap time, lying on my mom and dad's big bed and declaring myself wide awake.  My mom's response went something like this:  whatever you do, don't close your eyes.  I thought that awesome, of course, until suddenly she was shaking my shoulder and telling me that it was almost time for dinner.  Apparently all I needed was to sleep on things (LOL) to realize that yes indeed, I needed a nap.  Reverse psychology had always been a mom's best friend, hasn't it?

Lest you misunderstand me, this is not a plug for NOT encouraging that young artist or athlete or writer in whom talent is apparent.  Quite the opposite, in fact (pun clearly intended here).  In fact, your kindness and belief in them and their product might be the encouragement in their lives while the others around them voice negativity.  So buy that drawing at your local school's art show and applaud like crazy at the next track and field event in your town.  Your support might be the boost needed to get over the wall of disbelief and straight into a life of fulfillment.

And yes, I did what I promised I would do in my last blog.  I thought about it and decided that I write  for me and no one else.  That if my books are read is not the point but the fact that I held into a dream that eventually grew skin and became real.   So don't give up.  Don't let yourself down.

And keep reading.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Random Thoughts...

I am in the middle of an odd time:  Almost finished with one manuscript, beginning the next, and collecting pertinent information for a series of workshops.  Nothing is solid, nothing is defined, and I find myself looking for the perfect ending/beginning/explanation.  I need a clone.  At the very least, I need some inspiration.  And this leads me to my thought for today: What would happen if I decided that today is the grand finale, the ending to my current dream, the stopping point for all things creative?  Would it really be so bad?  Or would I be letting down those who believe in me?

I think I will let this stew for a bit before I make a decision.  And if you find yourself in the midst of a life- changing decision, I recommend taking a step back.  I am.  And I will let you know how it turns out.

In the meantime, keep reading.