audience salutes performer

Arting Your Heart Out – Introvert Writer Self-Care

Karin Kallmaker Craft of Writing, LIFE + STYLE, Resources 0 Comments

audience salutes performer
We saw two plays this week. One was the tippity-top of Broadway shows, complete with a stellar cast and top notch production values in a 2200-seat theater with state-of-the-art sound, lighting, and set design. The other was a local production with local actors of a classic comedy in a 90-seat theater without state-of-the-art anything.

One is the culmination of the best work that hundreds of people can bring to a blockbuster theater project. The other is an underfunded labor of love. I value both equally.

As a writer, experiencing topnotch storytelling by other people is part of the gig. Movies, art, books. It’s inspiring, and informative. Especially when it’s so good that I can be a member of the audience and only later get out my toolbox and start picking away at how it did what it did.

But I’m just as happy that I saw our town’s summer season theater production too. It was full of energy. They chose a great, well-known comedy: Born Yesterday. The performances were competent, and often quite a bit more than that.

A seat in the fourth (and back) row meant that a mere twenty feet away from me were a half-dozen people arting their hearts out. Sharing their passion and joy in their work. For the love of it.

I’m not saying that everyone responsible for Hamilton every day doesn’t love what they’re doing. It’s that fame and success are a kind of filter, for me, and that filter changes the energy and expectations – ultimately, it’s a different experience.

That filter doesn’t exist with local theater. Or Shakespeare in the Park. Or art installations at the library. Or street music. Earlier today I watched about twenty kids of all ages at the town hall plaza learning Bollywood dance. Arting their hearts out. As an introvert, all of these activities take me out of myself without costing me many social spoons.

Real people, in the place where I live, doing something for the love of it.

Seeing love in action is definitely a balance for these times we’re living through. And a cure for the isolation and energy drain that a solitary writing career creates.

Look around, look around. People all around you are arting their hearts out, showing just how much they love something.

Go out, take joy in it.

Then go back to arting your own heart out onto the page.

Copyrighted Material.
meme can't marry a man you just met

Instalove, Because I Said So, and Frozen

Karin Kallmaker Because I Said So, Book News 0 Comments

Instalove is a romantic story telling trope of long standing. It shows up so often in Shakespeare, for example, a person could think it’s how all relationships happened. The Romans invented Cupid’s Arrow to explain the irrationality of it (and to excuse a lot of rape, but I digress).

In The Little Mermaid, Mermaid falls for Land Guy cause he’s pretty or something. Land Guy is into someone else and it doesn’t go well. At least that’s how it goes in the original version, which is a cautionary tale about Love At First Sight, and, of course, there is no such caution in the Disney version. (See P.S. below.)

Why can you marry a man you just met according to a thousand years of stories? True love. Love explains all. Read More

woman triumphant in field of sunflowers

Surviving that First Reading – Updated

Karin Kallmaker Resources 2 Comments

Oof the biggest challenges I faced, after writing my first book, was reading from it to a live audience. I had never done anything like that before. My very first reading at a bookstore in Vacaville, sadly now closed, is still a vivid memory. I had flop sweats from minute one. I plowed onward. And at the exact right time in the scene the audience laughed.

Once I got that laugh I was hooked on the feedback loop in public readings. I enjoy readings immensely. But it took practice and learning from a lot of mistakes to get there.

So it’s no surprise to me that one of the most common requests for advice from new authors is how to survive that first reading. I’ve attempted here to create a useful checklist of advance work that will take a lot of anxiety out of the process. Plus tips for managing the event itself gleaned over many years in a changing landscape of opportunities for live readings. Read More

GCLS logo 2019 Pittsburgh

So I Had This Idea 2019 – From Idea to Published Work

Karin Kallmaker Events and Appearances, Sisters of the Pen 2 Comments

Every writer I know has doubts – they come with the job. On top of that, once the Googlerithmz realize we’re writers, every third online ad has a new way, a rediscovered old way, a better way, the best way, the only way to be a writer.

Know what I say to that? Hooey. (It’s a technical term.) The only wrong way to write is not to write. After that, whatever works is what works.

Every year I have the good fortune to be reminded of this fact when I moderate a panel of recently published writers Read More

because I said so good romance with great characters review

Because I Said So – Meet Shannon Dealan

Karin Kallmaker Because I Said So, Book News 1 Comment

Cover, Because I Said So by Karin Kallmaker, Bella Books 2019

Because I Said So – if you’ve read Chapter 1 you know how much Kesa Sapiro wants to say those words to her sister Josie. In this teaser from Chapter 2 you’ll find out why Shannon Dealan is in the same situation with Paz.


Because I Said So – Preview
by Karin Kallmaker



Because I Said So will be available July 2019. Did you listen to the reading from Chapter 7 yet?

Copyrighted material, uncorrected proof, 2019

Potatoes, Green Beans, and Ham Hot Dish in the Instant Pot

Karin Kallmaker Chocolate and Inspirations, LIFE + STYLE 3 Comments

I don’t really focus on recipe blogs (here’s one for delectable oatmeal chocolate cherry cookies, though, you’re welcome) but every time I make this dish I take a picture as if that somehow will preserve the sheer deliciousness of it. Then I can’t help but post that picture and then someone asks for the recipe. So here it is. Read More

carol danvers nick fury in captain marvel 2019

Captain Marvel is ‘Just Another Marvel Movie’ – And Why That Matters

Karin Kallmaker Chocolate and Inspirations 0 Comments

Movie still Carol Danvers Captain Marvel 2019 Marvel Studios

Captain Marvel is as good as many and better than some of the other entries into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It lights up all the levels in my feminist heart, and it also pleases as an entry into this massive franchise with 17 films and counting. I’ve watched every movie multiple times, and I’ll rewatch this one too.

It’s not the best movie in the MCU. It’s also not a Susan B. Anthony dollar.

It’s not a token nod toward representation of women that’s executed to guarantee unpopularity, mediocrity, and, ultimately, failure, so that men who control the spigot of money and opportunities can say, “See? Projects that front women don’t succeed.”

Just Another Marvel Movie

Instead, Captain Marvel presents on screen with Read More