CHANGES

2016 has been a year of change. (No, this is not a political speech, stay with me). Let me get you up to speed:

  1. I moved from Madison, Wisconsin to Ashland, Wisconsin, a town situated on the beautiful shores of Lake Superior (I live in walking distance to a beach, coffee shop, bakery,  brewery, and bookstore. What’s not to love??) Seriously, have you guys been to Ashland? You need to come up and visit. Email me and we’ll go out.
  2. I changed publishers. YES. I am now signed with ENTANGLED and their imprint CRUSH (targeted for young adults). This house has been a great fit, and I’m excited to work with them throughout the publishing process.
  3. I have a new name! Sort of. I have a new author name. My next book will be published under the pen name KATIE RAY. It occurred to me that Kacvinsky doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Don’t even bother with its phonetic pronunciation–you’ll butcher it. To make things easier on my readers, I’m changing my pen name to Katie Ray. Ray is my husband’s last name, so it’s a sensible choice. I rarely make sensible choices. I might be growing up?
  4. I wear a lot less gray and have opted for more royal blue in my wardrobe. (Some of my fans know that gray is my favorite color and I  wear it every day, so I felt it was important to update you on this gargantuan change)
  5. Lastly…drum roll…I have a new book coming out! Yes. **will pause for a moment so you can celebrate your overwhelming joy with shrieks and jumping kicks. Don’t hold back. Go for it. **  This book is coming out in 2017.

P.S. I have missed you all!! Cyber high fives. A new book is born. Please, dear readers, stay tuned for more.

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Get Unplugged and Connect

The other day I took my kids sledding with a handful of friends. We had an epic snowball fight. It was truly blissful, just to watch these kids run until their cheeks flushed as pink as apples, and listen to their laughter rise up to the clouds. These are the moments we’ll remember:  the moments that combine friends, fellowship, nature, and being completely immersed in the moment.

I am watching more and more kids opt for screens over friends these days, over playing outside, over socializing face-to-face. My son is five years old. He has phones, iPads, video games, a Leapfrog, laptops and televisions at his disposal at almost any given time. It’s scary to think how plugged-in his life could be. And that is not the life I want for him. I don’t want him to be plugged-in.

I think, what a lot of people still don’t comprehend, or deny, is that screen time, no matter how beneficial, social, or educational it is, is highly ADDICTIVE. It stimulates chemicals in ours brains. It can actually change our brain composition. There is a reason why rehab is offered to gaming addicts. Kids play games, watch TV, and message each other and it stimulates the same parts of their brains as pulling a slot machine. They don’t know how to turn it off–they don’t want to turn it off, because they like the sensation. You can’t blame them. It’s entertaining.

It’s up to us to moderate their use (and our own use) of these technologies. Let’s get some dialogue going about this very serious movement in our lifestyle and culture. Let’s moderate our use of technology before it’s too late. Let’s get unplugged so we can connect.

(P.S., yes this is my inner Justin speaking out–he will always be in the back of my mind)

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A HIGH NOTE

I had the really cool opportunity to attend the Austin Film Festival a few weeks ago. Even cooler, my comedy script, A HIGH NOTE, made into the semifinals (top twenty), so I got to sit in on a bunch of writer panels and film discussions. I was able to meet so many amazing script writers, including the writer of TRADING PLACES, one of my favorite comedies of all times. That was euphoric.

As a lot of you know who follow this blog, I’ve been spending the last year studying scripts and script writing. Writing a script is something I’ve always wanted to do, and like my inner Dylan, if there’s something I want to pursue, no matter how random or ridiculous, I go for it. Because life is too short to hold back on anything inspiring.

In case you’re wondering what the heck A HIGH NOTE is about, think HIGH FIDELITY meets SAY ANYTHING and you’re on the right track. It’s a story about music, relationships, and how the two tie together. Here is a brief description (aka, logline):

Frank McCabe, a reclusive musician and lyric connoisseur who owns a guitar shop in Los Angeles, is sought out by Luna, a single mom and struggling performer, for music lessons. What Frank doesn’t expect is getting life lessons in return.

Boom. There you have it.

Since scripts have been on my mind lately, and since mine falls in the vein of romantic comedies (although I would call it more of an anti-romance) I’ve been thinking about some of my own favorite movies that inspired my writing, films like: WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, ANNIE HALL, KISSING JESSICA STEIN, and TWO DAYS IN PARIS. I love these movies because they are smart, raw, honest, emotional, and, of course, FUNNY.

So, why am I going off on movies? Well, this month I’m taking part in a Readathon hosted by Actin’ Up With Books. Throughout the weekend there will be prizes and giveaways hosted by other authors and bloggers. If you want to hear more about the events, check out the site.

My contribution to the readathon is I will be giving away one autographed hardcover copy of FIRST COMES LOVE. To enter, tell me what your favorite romantic comedy movie is. Tweet your answer to @TheWeirdests with #Readathon any time during the readathon to be entered in the giveaway. The event ends Sunday, at midnight.

Thanks for participating. Oh, and amazing Packer win last night. Rogers completed his first Hail Mary. Oh man, it brought me to my knees.

 

 

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GIVEAWAY

Congrats to Mei Chen in Grapevine, Texas. She is the next winner of an autographed hardcover edition of FIRST COMES LOVE. Thanks again to everyone who has reached out! I will be hosting another giveaway soon, so stay tuned.

EVENTS: This SATURDAY I will be speaking at Middleton Public Library, as part of the Read Local Author Series. For more information on the event and the author line-up, you can check out the website. Come down, hear from local writers and get autographed books! Or, just hang out, drink some coffee and chat. I’m always up for talking about writing.

~Katie

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HARDCOVER GIVEAWAY

Thank you to everyone who emailed me over the week. I am mailing out a copy of First Comes Love to Jill Kiepert! Congrats, Jill! I hope you enjoy getting to know Dylan and Gray and this series.

I am giving away ANOTHER autographed, hardcover copy of FCL next week, Wednesday (September 23rd). If you are interested in receiving a copy the same rule applies, just shoot me an email and I’ll choose one winner next week: katiekacvinsky@uwalumni.com

Thanks again for your emails! I love hearing from you guys. Keep them coming.

~K

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HARDCOVER BOOKS COMING YOUR WAY

Wow, it’s been so long since I last blogged that I actually forgot how to add a new blog post to my site.

Yeah, technology-savvy I am not.

Let’s get to the exciting news… I’m going to be giving away autographed HARDCOVER (yes, hardcover!) copies of FIRST COMES LOVE, the first book in the three part series following Gray and Dylan’s emotional (and never boring), romantic (and at times anti-romantic), escapades.

My only request to receive a book in the mail is this: tell people about this series. Spread the word. It can be face to face, over the phone, texting, on Facebook, on Youtube, Tumbler, Insta-Whatever, whichever communication style you prefer.

In order to receive a hardcover autographed book, shoot me a quick email telling me how you are spreading the word: katiekacvinsky@uwalumni.com

That’s it! I will choose ONE winner a week until my supply runs out. US addresses ONLY. Sorry—I can’t do the overseas shipping costs.

If, perchance, you’ve stumbled on this website for the first time and you’ve never read First Comes Love, (gasp!), and you don’t feel credible to spread the word about a book you have never read, I completely understand. I would still send you the book, so you can read it and then spread the word about it’s awesomeness. Just shoot me an email.

This event is also open to any bloggers/reviewers who would like to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

This event begins TODAY, September 16th. Next TUESDAY I will announce the first winner on this website. Yes, that means I will be updating my website twice in one week—a tenacious goal, I know.

This is a way of thanking all of my readers for their support, loyalty, and patience for continuing to follow me despite my sluggish process in releasing a new book. You guys rock.

So, start talking up this series.

And…I will have information coming up soon about my next book release. Yes, there is a new book coming your way!

~Katie

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Showing…Not Telling

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be showing you a few things, leading up to an event that I’m VERY excited for! Check it out:

Studio1

This is a studio shot from Frozen Stage Films, a company I’m working with on an upcoming project. The photo features Ray Ibsen on camera, Kierstyn Torres acting and Vivian Cruickshank in charge of our post production. Also working on the project are Nella Citino producing, Kenneth Pearsall lending us his music talent, Frost White voiceover talent and director Francisco Torres. Pretty cool?

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God Willing

That was one of my mom’s favorite phrases growing up. God willing. She said it all the time. “God willing, we’ll be able to go on a family trip next summer.” “Grandma will get over this health scare, God willing.” “You’ll move back to Wisconsin one day, God willing.”

This phrase used to annoy the crap out of me. You don’t need God’s will to plan a family trip. You order the plane tickets, you book the hotel and you do it yourself. Doctors are going to help heal Grandma, it’s up to them. If I decide I want to move back to Wisconsin it is MY CHOICE.

Or is it?

The older I get, the more experiences I have, the more I’m starting to understand the phrase God willing, and the more I believe it, the more relief it brings me. I don’t like thinking that I have to do everything myself, that all my choices, my concerns, my duties, are up to me alone. It’s stressful to think that life hangs on my shoulders like that. I like to think that my life, my worries, my issues, my dreams, they all hang on a giant clothesline, these tiny pieces of me, waving somewhere and God sees them and understands. He’ll give me answers in due time. Meanwhile, I can pin up all the questions and concerns I have. The clothesline never sags, it never runs out of room.

I’m in a new season of life. I picked up my life and moved it 2,000 miles to a city I’m trying to reconnect with. I’m trying out different styles and formats of writing, and trying to move into unknown territories. I’m attempting to balance being a calm, patient, loving mom and friend with keeping the window of my career open. My family is struggling with finances since being an “artist” isn’t the most economically wise decision.

But, you know what? I’m okay with all of these unknowns, because I’m learning to believe the phrase God willing. The path I’m meant to follow will open itself up and other paths will have road blocks. It makes the day to day issues suddenly appear less heavy, less intense. I’m learning to turn all of my problems into those tiny images hanging on a clothesline, out of my grasp, out of my concern. I don’t have to worry about them, I just have to trust.

I’m not saying we have no control over our decisions or our choices. We do. But we can take so much of the burden off of ourselves if we’re able to leave the decisions up to faith. Faith is a very strong road map, and if we follow it, we won’t get lost. I believe that.

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This week…

Happy December book lovers,

I have a few sales going on this week. SECOND CHANCE and FINALLY, FOREVER will be 99 cents starting WEDNESDAY. Spread the word to your bookish friends. (It’s a Kindle sale only). I’m discounting these books in order to make the FIRST COMES LOVE series available, in its entirety, for under $10. (Ahem, Christmas presents!).

News on STILL POINT Germany release: It will be released in Germany (in PRINT!!) in 2015. It looks like fall 2015. I know, I know, that’s about six months away. Hang in there! Just for your patience, I’m making MADDIE’S TATTOO (the short story that is a prequel to Awaken) FREE on Amazon starting TOMORROW. So download it, yo. It’s a compelling story. It will be free for a limited time.

I do not yet have a release date for MIDDLE GROUND in French. I’ll check in with my publisher and let you know the word on the French translation. Thanks for everyone who’s asking about it!

And thanks again to all of the people who email me, and who send me comments and posts about my books! I read every single one, and they make my day/week/month. I’m so happy my books stick with you and make you think. THANK YOU for reading.

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What if your greatest talent is…Being Weird??

I was on the rowing team my freshman year of college. During a one-on-one meeting, my crew coach asked me what I was going to major in. I stared at her, point blank, and without hesitating said, “Beer and Men.” This boast wasn’t far from the truth, and while my social life escalated, sadly, my academic pursuits dwindled. I dropped out of college after my sophomore year and spent about three years getting my butt kicked in the “real world,” via Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Milwaukee.

My dad, always trying to give me sound parental advice which I usually swept under the rug of my overbearing immaturity, told me, “Katie, figure out what you’re good at. Figure out a way to make money doing it. That is the key.”

I juggled his words around in my head for years. What was I good at? I never excelled at sports (even in high school it appeared I wanted to focus my studies on beer and men). I was a lousy student. I excelled more at the art of skipping class, rather than actually attending it. I never had a teacher pull me aside and say, “Hey, you’re really good at _________.” I was the kid who had teachers pull me aside to tell me they thought I was cheating, to give me in-school suspensions, to give me basketball suspensions because I was caught at a party, or to switch me into remedial courses because I wasn’t making the grades.

I kept thinking, what if I just excel at sucking at everything? What do I do with that?

Then, I decided to do a little internal study. I started to think abut the comments I heard most often from people, that were directed at me. Some people hear, “You’re so smart.” Some people hear, “You’re so artistic,” or, “You’re such a good athlete,” or, “You’re such a great people-person.” The thing that I’ve consistently heard throughout my life is, “Wow, you are really, really weird.”

I started to think about this idea of being weird. In high school, I took it as an insult. It’s painfully awkward to be different. It is so much easier to be in a click, to be in a group, to fall in a label. Being weird is like being a mutant.

In college, I heard these comments on a daily basis. “You’re so weird. You’re so strange. Are you high all the time?” So what if I wanted to tie sweatpants around my head instead of a scarf in the winter? I was resourceful. So what if I’d rather sit in a coffee shop and watch people out the window and write down the dialogue I imagined they were saying instead of doing my homework? I was inventive. So what if I preferred dancing with inanimate objects over people? I was non-discriminatory. So what if I enjoyed wearing my Micheal Jordan face mask to class and quoting Dennis Rodman’s bio, Walk on the Wild Side like it was my bible? I was a Bull’s fan.

I started to realize that what people saw as weird, and strange, was actually a compliment. I was creative. My brain registered things in a different way. I began writing down all of my thoughts. I started to piece them into stories. Turns out, my dad was right. And, to his relief, I went back to college to pursue a degree in writing.

School is strange because logic and creativity are two very different types of intelligence. In school, we focus so much on logic that often creative kids fall through the cracks. Creative people don’t want to think inside the box. We don’t want to memorize other people’s ideas, we want to form our own. We don’t want to learn what WAS. We want to imagine WHAT COULD BE. We don’t want to be TOLD, we want to QUESTION. We don’t want ANSWERS. We prefer to WONDER. This frame of mind doesn’t work well in modern education. Logic is great for some brains, but stifling for others.

You want to know who some of the smartest kids in school are? Check out where the rejects hang out. The pottery rooms, the art rooms, the music rooms. They skulk away in corners and if they do actually show up for class, they’re usually brooding in the back. Sometimes they’re the obnoxious ones, the disciplinary cases, or the class clowns always acting out or giving hell to the teachers. And it’s not because they’re misfits. It’s not because they’re stupid. They’re bored out of their MINDS and their survival mechanism is to either quietly retreat or to boldly stick it to the man.

For any of you struggling to figure out what you’re good at, think back to what people most often say about you. What comments keep resurfacing? Also, I’ve learned that many times our strengths don’t show up until we are tested. Our strengths are what pull us out, they’re the roots of what we can excel at.

What pulls you out when you feel like you’re falling through the cracks? There lies your strength. Own it. Embrace it. And if anyone ever calls you weird, take it as a compliment. It’s better than being normal any day.

~Katie

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