Friday, June 12, 2020

The History of Outdoor Living - The Rest of the Story

Following is an excerpt of my article now up on the Heroes, Heroines, and History blog. Click the link to read the the full article.



It’s finally June! In a year that has already felt twelve months long, how many of us are looking forward to backyard barbeques, badminton, and kiddie pools? Did you know that outdoor living as we know it today is a fairly new concept, beginning at the end of World War II?

Prior to the war, the land surrounding homes was used for more practical matters. The garden plot filled the family table with a bounty of fresh vegetables

and fruits, or they were canned for winter while the garden lay dormant. A chicken coop in the corner provided eggs and poultry. Old Bessie the cow freely gave milk. Or maybe it as Gertrude the cantankerous goat.

In short, the backyard was merely an extension of everyday life. A place to hang clothes on the line, or to burn the trash—preferably not on the same day... 


READ MORE  on the Heroes, Heroines, and History blog and learn why the Webber grill is round!

What prompted this article was my excitement over our new deck and patio. After many, many months, our old yucky deck was demolished and a new modern (translate "safe") deck appeared thanks to a company we've used several times, AAARK. The patio is now maintenance free and the deck is rated for a hot tub, should we decide to put one in. Here is a picture of old structure:



When we bought this house, it was a short sale, meaning the bank owned it and sold it as is. Therefore, even though much of the house was in good shape, this homemade eyesore was a a wart on the backside of an otherwise fine home. Well, fine after some spit and polish. In short, we waited to deal with the most expensive fix-up until nearly ten years after we bought the house. For an after picture, go the article. It's worth it, if only to erase the image of the yucky deck from your brain. 

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Heroes, Heroines, and History: Saving Central Park

At the Heroes, Heroines, and History blog, I talk about the history of Central Park in NY. Some unexpected things cropped up in my research when writing "Riders of the Painted Star" in the MissAdventure Brides Romance Collection. Come see!



Heroes, Heroines, and History: Saving Central Park: By Kathy Kovach Last April, my husband and I finally had the opportunity to visit New York City for our son's wedding. Every point … Keep reading

Early photograph of Central Park
Central Park now

Monday, December 24, 2018

Be Ye Kind and Forgiving



RIDERS OF THE PAINTED STAR 

– The Takeaway

Ephesians 4:32
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.” KJV

As a Christian writer, I always anchor my stories with a scripture and a theme that reflects the God-thread of my books. Without that thread, that singular diamond-hard cord, my tale would be meaningless and not reflect the brand I feel the Lord had given me years ago—Spiritual Truth...With A Giggle.

Ephesians 4:32 is a compelling verse as it admonishes those who hold a grudge and promises God’s grace at the same time. In my story, the arrows of unforgiveness come from several hiding places. The most prominent from the heroine’s point of view. She’s excited to stay on an Arizona dude ranch and meet a real cowboy. The “real cowboy” she has sights on is actually an actor from New Jersey.

We always need conflict in our stories to move them along, encourage the reader to turn pages, tap their emotions. The tension in Riders of the Painted Star comes from the question: What will Zadie do when she finds out that Royce has been lying to her?

Forgiveness is a popular theme in Christian literature, and for good reason. It highlights the number one flaw of the human spirit. I recall the platitude when I first came to the Lord. “If you feel far from God, guess who moved.” Holding a grudge against someone places a wedge between us and the perfect love of the Father. When one of my characters can’t bring themselves to forgive, it creates tension and pulls them off the perfect pedestal I may have put them on. The inability to forgive makes them human and relatable. We, as readers, know what they’re going through, and we root for them (dare I say, pray for them?) to close the chasm they’ve created and make it all right by realigning themselves with God. Fortunately, my characters can do that in 25-30 thousand words.

I wish real life were that easy.

Tomorrow is Christmas Day. My prayer for each of you is that you find God's perfect peace in the Christ child who came to save us from our sins.





***GIVEAWAY***

I'm offering a free book at the end of the month. Simply leave a comment and enter through Rafflecopter that is pinned to the top of this blog. It's important
you do both, or your entry will be disqualified. I also invite you to sign up for this blog (located in right column) although that's not a prerequisite for winning. 


Available at:





Coming up: BOOK GIVEAWAY!



Thursday, December 20, 2018

My Dad



RIDERS OF THE PAINTED STAR 

– The Inspiration

Often when I start out writing a book, there is no particular inspiration that sparks my creativity. I’ll get a gleam of an idea, and when I start to research it, other details begin to gel until I have a story resembling a glob of fruit preserves. I mix in a little bit of my history and things that make me happy or frightened or perturbed. Then I fold in the exotic ingredients, facts that I hadn’t even thought of until my crazy writer mind draws them from somewhere. I painstakingly prepare it until it eventually becomes the perfect (hopefully) mold of fruit Jell-O. 

This book was no exception. I was given the writing prompt from the collection’s team leader, Mary Davis, to write about a heroine having misadventures. We narrowed down the state in which my story was to take place and the decade. I settled on Arizona because I had lived there early in my marriage. As for the year, I prefer to write about the early to mid-1900s as I’m fairly new to historical writing. First, I thought about my chosen state, Arizona, and what could be happening there in the 1930s. Dude ranch! From there my imagination took off and I began to mix the recipe using the ingredients that I listed above.

As a self-proclaimed movie aficionado, the first thing that popped into my head once I had the setting and the decade was the Singing Cowboy era. This led to thoughts of my dad watching old westerns every Saturday morning. What followed was a memory of his Zane Grey hardback book collection that I wish I had kept. And, because I’m a writer, my brain mulled over the aspects of book producing. As I created my little world, I put a famous western author ala Zane Grey on my dude ranch, and then realized he owned it. And what does an author need? A cover artist. Great! That can be my heroine. But she must be a fish out of water, so I plucked her from the art-deco glam of Manhattan.

And my story was off and running.

It’s fun to think that my dad contributed to my story as I included things he loved. Western movies, Zane Grey novels, music. As you can see from his picture, he played the guitar. His repertoire included Country and Western, but also music of the ‘40s. When he became a Christian, he added hymns and contemporary praise music. This contemporary singing cowboy rarely rode a horse, but he drove a semitruck. And I always had a special audience with him.

Whenever I dedicate a book, I always acknowledge my husband. However, this time I also included my father:

To my cowboy, Jim, who makes me feel like a star every day.

And to Daddy, your love of Zane Grey novels did not go unnoticed.




***GIVEAWAY***



I'm offering a free book at the end of the month. Simply leave a comment and enter through Rafflecopter that is pinned to the top of this blog. It's important
you do both, or your entry will be disqualified. I also invite you to sign up for this blog (located in right column) although that's not a prerequisite for winning. 


Available at:





Coming up: Be Ye Kind and Forgiving -- The Takeaway



Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The Real Singing Cowboys



RIDERS OF THE PAINTED STAR 
– The History


It was the beginning of the Golden Age of Hollywood. In 1935, Gene Autry joined the ranks as a Singing Cowboy when he starred in a twelve-part serial as himself in The Phantom Empire. Others who galloped across the silver screen singing on their ponies were, Ken Maynard, Bob Steele, and most notably, John Wayne. Yes, that John Wayne. His voice was dubbed, however, which seems comical now that we know his character so well. Later, Roy Rogers and Tex Ritter would make their marks on the genre.

In my story, Royce Rutger has been playing bit parts, but he longs to be the next Singing Cowboy. Problem is, he’s just a fellow from New Jersey with no real experience on a horse other than what he’s already done with the studio. Thanks to a deal with the owner of a dude ranch, Royce gets his chance to learn how to cowboy. But obstacles get in the way, including a beautiful artist with other plans for his future.






***GIVEAWAY***


I'm offering a free book at the end of the month. Simply leave a comment and enter through Rafflecopter that is pinned to the top of this blog. It's important
you do both, or your entry will be disqualified. I also invite you to sign up for this blog (located in right column) although that's not a prerequisite for winning. 


Available at:



Coming up: My Dad -- The Inspiration