Saturday, September 01, 2012


I have been doing both.

It has always been a firm belief of mine that you can't write – or write well, anyway – if you don't read. And I'm not talking about magazines – c'mon, people, we all read magazines, if only while waiting at the checkout counter (although 2 of my regular supermarkets now have TV for the attention-impaired, 5 second snippets of shows and commercials.) I do not discount this type of reading; I publish in magazines and do not bite the hand that at least pats me on the head. But magazines are very thin picture books, meant to give your mind a jumpstart or a tweak, not to give you hours of transportation to a completely other world.

The difference between books and magazines (or newspapers or blogs or the Huffington Post) is not exactly the same as the difference between People Magazine and actual people, but it is nonetheless great.

So when I say I have been reading, I mean books. It sort of goes without saying that I read magazines, online posts, news, cereal boxes, tee shirts, bumper stickers, the mail, and just about anything with printed words.

I have my favorite genre fiction – it runs from James Lee Burke, Dean Koontz, and Louise Penney on one side to Earl Derr Biggers, Arthur Upfield and Ngaio Marsh on another and Sue Ann Jaffarian, Jeff Sharrat and Taffy Cannon on yet another - it's a multi-sided construct. But I love classic fiction as well. I learn from it, the easy way, while being entertained, enthralled, whisked away, and fed on rich things.

I have a dear friend who just discovered the joys of a Kindle and is reading Willa Cather. Now that's reading. This same friend just finished Faulkner (the hard, difficult, rip your eyes out Faulkner of Light in August) in hardcover, so she's no stranger to the type of reading that sometimes takes you to places you would never allow yourself to be taken otherwise. But she enjoys going to the good, kind places, too.

Which brings me to writing. If you don't take the trips to places through reading, I don't see where you can buy your ticket to take others to places through your writing. It is one of only two ways I know to learn how to write, and they are both connected. The other half of it is actually writing, the BIC (Butt In Chair) method.

This week I have been reading both fiction and non-fiction – and writing.

I have completed 145 pages – roughly 45,000 words – of that same novel I started writing in late 2007. I confess I let it sit for several years due to plot holes, but I have since learned how to knit up the raveled sleeve of a couple of good ideas strung together with engaging characters, an endearing puppy dog and a couple of gruesome murders. What's not to love? And working on it this time around is a pleasure, not a chore.

I also discovered – by reading through it and looking ahead to the satisfying conclusion which I have yet to write but now can see – that it is not the mystery I thought it would be, but is an animal I have not before tamed, namely Romantic Suspense.

So I have begun to read in that genre. And it's fun. I am enjoying and learning and reading it all with a delight I before had reserved only for mystery, science fiction and certain favorite classics.

So my question this week is:

Which romantic suspense authors do you like? Recommend a few books to me before I reach the end of my own.


Eggs for breakfast this morning. It was especially nice to know exactly which chicken laid which egg for me. Thank you Spot and Big Red. (Nothing from Whitey right now - she's molting)

Hearing a wonderful story from a friend this week about a Gustav Klimt drawing and then receiving a postcard – from a different friend! – with a Klimt drawing on it!

Ramiro, our gardener, found two small, black statues of birds and gave them to me – I will put them at the edge of the bird feeder.


Saturday, August 25, 2012


It has been a very long time since I posted here – so much has happened, and when stuff starts to snowball, you just get overwhelmed. I loved seeing the book in print, and of course, that took up a lot of time and energy. But also I quit working my part time job, started volunteering one afternoon a week at the dA Center for the Arts and started working again on my cozy novel. I also have been thinking about painting again – well, more like obsessing over it, which, in my experience, is the only way to do it.

But it has been too hot to do more than obsess over things.


We have chickens, and the heat is hard on them. Chickens can be resilient – they can stand in snow and not flinch, but the heat really sets them off into odd behaviors, illnesses and throws them off their laying. This is too bad, as they lay the best eggs ever. (Except for Big Karla, the French Copper Marrans, she hasn't laid a thing since March. Who knows why? Her age? Her temper? Chicken voodoo?)

Big Red, the Rhode Island Red, lays a brown egg nearly every day. Spot, the Barred Plymouth Rock, lays a very smooth brown egg, also nearly every day. Whitey, the White Leghorn, was doing fine there for a while, laying a small, torpedo-shaped snowy white egg almost daily, until the heat hit and she started – inexplicably – to molt out of season. Hens don't lay during a molt, so I'm just waiting for her to finish shedding feathers and get back to work.

And Flora and Dora – the Red Speckled Sussex Games – well, they usually lay great big beautiful cream-colored eggs every day, but Flora has become broody – they don't lay when broody, and I am using all the usual methods to get her to stop it. And Dora is on strike in sympathy, I guess. The usual methods include trying to bring down the temperature of the chicken's underside, which goes up alarmingly during broodiness – by dunking them in cold water and keeping them away from nesting materials. (No, they don't like it, but it helps them in this heat.)

So instead of 6 beautiful eggs every day, I'm getting about 2 per day…still enough to dine on, but not enough to share.

Here are pics of the chickens.


The puppies are so sweet. Can't believe we have three rescues. Only one kitty left now, as Nero died last Christmas.

My brother, Bill. He moved to New Mexico with his wife and pets and lives up a rustic canyon outside of Truth or Consequences near Elephant Butte Lake. It is so beautiful there. I plan to visit him in October. Here he is with a bass he caught.

Reconnecting with old friends. Sometimes the best things about getting older include looking back on how many opportunities we have had to make friends. Finding the ones who have dropped off our radar can be especially sweet, like finding that last peach on the tree which has had all summer to ripen.

Monday, March 14, 2011


I started this blog years ago when my short story of the eponymous title was first published in the Sisters in Crime anthology, LAndmarked For Murder. I meant it to be for writers and writing and later for artists as I was painting also.

But mostly I meant it to be an entertaining romp. However, when I was putting together my book, I had to back-burner the blog. Then, when the book was released, I was inundated with all the stuff that goes with a new book, stuff I guess I didn't realize would be so pleasurably time consuming.

But It Doesn't Take a Genius was, and remains, one of my favorite stories. You all know I like revenge stories, empowered women stories and twist endings that leave you grinning. I love it that all those elements are in this story.

When my collection, INHUMAN CONDITION, came out last year, It Doesn't Take a Genius was meant to be the anchor story. But the publisher did not like the language (it's not for kids) or the subject matter (uh, it's not for kids) and kicked up such a fuss that I pulled the story from the collection.

I regretted it.  The book is a very good and representative collection of my work, but I wanted this story included. Oh, well.

All I needed to do was wait for Technology to catch up to my wishes.

IT DOESN'T TAKE A GENIUS - the short story - is now available through in Kindle format for only 99 cents. (You may also download it in readable form for your computer if you don't have a Kindle.) 

And I really like the cover - that graphic design genius, Jerry Lerma, designed it for me.

As for what now - well, I have gone back to working on The Novel (boy, it that slow going!) and a space opera that's a sort of continuation of my loose series from several years ago. I don't paint any more, because I don't have the time or space. 

I guess in a finite lifetime, we have to make choices about the best uses of our rationed time. Too bad you can't see this little truth when you are young. Sigh.

But it's beautiful here right now. Yesterday I was the reader at Sisters in Crime Los Angeles and even sold a few books. The featured speaker was a writer and story editor from Law & Order: SVU, Ken Storer. He was great! I love being tossed in with the Big Time folks, but that's what a great group like Sisters in Crime can do.

Drop me a line - I haven't heard from some of you in a very long time...
And be careful out there.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Human beings tend to fear the things they don't know, and that is often sensible, given the lurking dangers that confronted our distant ancestors. But sometimes we need to examine carefully the things we think we know: the pet shop owner in town, the teenage girl who lives next door, the people with whom we work, or the nice man who walks his dog each evening in our neighborhood.

The stories in this collection will drive that point home, and perhaps give you reason to re-define the word "inhuman."

"Kate Thornton's imagination is only exceeded by her talent as a storyteller. From the sci-fi fascinations of Mare Tranquillitatus to the darkly provocative Working in the Suburbs, Thornton takes us on an impish joy ride through a mind field of criminal intents. Inhuman Condition is a rare and evocative find among story collections."

-Darrell James, Award Winning Author of Body Count

"In Inhuman Condition, noted short story author Kate Thornton has compiled some of her finest tales into one fun and exciting read. Whether you are a fan of science fiction, crime fiction or just good fiction, you will enjoy this diverse collection that smacks of the same juicy eeriness as found in classic Twilight Zone episodes."

- Sue Ann Jaffarian, best-selling author of the Odelia Grey, Ghost of Granny Apples, and Fang-in-Cheek mysteries

Now available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Digital Bookshop.
The Kindle edition will be available mid-November.

Friday, October 15, 2010



Okay, I am officially thrilled - my new book, INHUMAN CONDITION Tales of Mystery and Imagination, published by Denouement Press, is out! It is available here at and at all the usual local retail outlets (if they don't have it on the shelf yet, you can order it - ISBN 9781603640336)

The KINDLE version will be available mid-November.

In time for Holiday gift-giving, I'll be delighted to sign trade paper copies for you. (There isn't any way to sign the Kindle editions, of course)

Here's a pic of the cover:
I'm hoping to schedule a  book signing or two before I leave for the Mystery on the High Seas cruise, but anyone who is interested in a signed copy, just leave me a comment here and I'll email you to arrange it.

Monday, September 20, 2010

INHUMAN CONDITION: Tales of Mystery and Imagination

NEWS FLASH! The book is going to be released on October 15th, but today I got my proof copy! And except for a few minor corrections (which is why we get proofs) it is exactly what I thought it would be. Let's be honest, it's a thrill to hold it in my hand and see my name on the cover.

Here's what it looks like casually tossed on the corner of my desk:

It's a collection of 21 previously-published short stories - my favorites, of course - including mystery, crime, speculative fiction and the just plain weird. A few of them were even nominated for prizes.  I can't wait to see it in bookstores - it will be in all the usual places, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Borders and independent bookstores will be able to carry it, too. There will also be an electronic edition available for Kindle, Nook and other electronic readers.

Published by Denouement Press, the trade paper retails for $14.00, a good deal for 300+ pages of edge-of-your-seat stories.

The cover art is one of my paintings, Learning the Numbers, 1-10 exhibited a while back in the Childhood Dreams show at the dA Art Center.

A big thank you to all the editors who originally published these stories. I could not have done it without you. And another big thank you to the folks at Denouement Press. I am very pleased and proud to be the first author in this new imprint from the folks at Wolfmont.

Can't wait to sign a copy for you!

Sunday, August 01, 2010


...working on my new book, INHUMAN CONDITION, Tales of Mystery and Imagination. (Here's the artwork that will appear on the cover:)

I just signed a contract with Wolfmont Press, and publication is expected by November of this year, in time for my participation in a Mystery Cruise, MYSTERY ON THE HIGH SEAS. 
With a total of 20 stories, 19 of them previously published, the book is a collection of favorites of mine. I have over 100 short stories in print, in various magazines, anthologies and other ezines, but this will be my first single-author collection.

The book will be a standard trade paperback, available at all the usual places, with e-book format also for all you Kindle, iPad and other digital readers.

A big thankyou to Tony Burton of Wolfmont Press, and to fellow writers Sue Ann Jaffarian and Darrell James, who have so generously offered cover notes for me.

So I'm busy, busy.

I'm still volunteering at the SCA Project Gallery Store and hope to see you there Wednesday afternoons (Brad is there on Wednesdays, too!)

But mostly you'll find me walking on air....

Be careful out there! (click on pic for a larger version)