chart showing why the writer is crying, chose random page to admire in new release, found typo

Why the Writer is Crying – a Meme

Karin Kallmaker Craft of Writing, LIFE + STYLE 0 Comments

A friend shared the Librarian version of this meme and I immediately thought of all the things writers post about that make them cry.

It’s also true that if you created a similar chart for “How Writers Procrastinate” making a spreadsheet to make a meme to make a blog post would be item number two, after cleaning the house.

P.S. The best depiction of a writer in film is the opening of Romancing the Stone as Kathleen Turner sobs over her keyboard and has used up every possible tissue in the house and finally blows her nose on a post-it note reminding her to buy tissues. 100% accurate. Read More

It’s the Little Things that Bring Comfort and Joy – Giveaway

Karin Kallmaker Book News, Comfort and Joy, Maybe Next Time 70 Comments


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As 2021 comes to an end, having been both and neither better and worse than 2020, I find myself greatly heartened by the little things.

A Short Visit to Paradise

My wife and I are back from spending a week in Hawaii. It didn’t matter that the weather was predicted to be stormy, or that we had to take extra steps to prove our vaccination status, or masks were required in all public indoor spaces. We were going to experience all of that at home, so why not experience it in Hawaii?   Read More

3 white unicorns on a rainbow

Inclusion, Survival, and Rainbow Unicorns

Karin Kallmaker LIFE + STYLE, Readers and Libraries, Sisters of the Pen 16 Comments

I’ve made no secret over the years about my love for the Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS). I count it among my favorite organizations, and the annual conference is – bar none – my favorite event of the year.

A Bit of Background

As the world around all of us changes, and everyone – young and old – finds new ways to exist and express themselves, ideas and the words that express them change too. I’ve written before about the inevitable phenomenon. It’s exciting and painful all at once.

GCLS has been slow to adapt. Slow to the point that some early supporters have wandered away in search of more welcoming places. I’ve tried to support and amplify the voices of those people who have felt excluded and unwelcome and asked the organization to make it unequivocally clear that the organization’s goals, events, and awards were not just open to them but welcomed them.

Recently, GCLS unveiled updated language throughout their mission statement, goals, awards eligibility, and web site to reflect that GCLS welcomes women and nonbinary people and that there is simply no debate that transwomen are women and it supports the literature that tells those peoples’ stories. These changes to terms used were the result of the work of many volunteers, and was debated by the membership-elected board.

I was outright relieved. As one of their trailblazer awardees, it has been increasingly difficult to tell people they were welcome as the language remained not very inclusive. There has been some vocal pushback since the announcement. I’ve had private conversations with a couple of people that boil down to:    Read More

Griffith Observatory at Night view of Los Angeles below public domain Wikimedia

Hidden and Not-So-Hidden Fun in Simply the Best

Karin Kallmaker Book News, Simply the Best 6 Comments


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If I like a movie or show – it makes me laugh or cry or think, or has fabulous music – I watch it again. And again. To the point that my wife doesn’t really get it. However, she appreciates it when I can supply a pithy line at that right moment or a character name during trivia (Leonard Pinth Garnell, y’all, I’m just saying).

Ask me who won the gold medal in fencing at the 2012 London games and I take reasonable umbrage at the very idea I would be carrying that kind of information around in my precious gray cells. I would then pass the question over to Maria. And she will ask, “Which event in fencing, there are this many, here are their names and equipment and assessment of stabbiness, Men’s, Women’s, or Team,” and you may as well say you’re sorry for asking such an imprecise and obviously problematic question.

Hello, My Name is Karin and I’m a Sponge

Instead of facts and figures, I carry around quotes that I paraphrase as appropriate to any given daily situation. Trying to find someone in a crowd? “What’s your vector, Victor?” Ask me how to put an object to use? “I can make a hat or a brooch or a pterodactyl…” (Airplane!)

I’m a sponge.I’ve been sponging for decades. Full confession: my best stuff is compiled out of movies I’ve watched 54 more times than just about anybody.

Toast falls on the floor butter side down? “Now we see the violence inherent in the system.” Do something unexpectedly successfully? “Captain, there be whales here!” Or …

I bypassed the compressor! Star Wars

I can’t help myself. All in all, I think it’s not a bad habit for a writer to have, this sponging up thing.    Read More

5 pink and white marble easter eggs on white background

The Hoo-Ha about Hoo-Hoos

Karin Kallmaker Simply the Best 47 Comments

So I was looking up the history and use of “hoo hoo,” you know, like you do when you’re a writer and you want to be sure that what you think a phrase means is the generally accepted definition.

What’s the Hoo-Ha about Hoo-Hoos?

I confirmed that “hoo-hoo” is a euphemism for lady bits. I was grateful to do so without having to confront the often exceedingly graphic definitions at The Urban Dictionary. As with Mahjong, I found variation in the spelling – to hyphenate or not to hyphenate?

So I asked on various folks on Facebook. There was no consensus about whether the hyphen was required. One person – dead serious I’m sure – thought the hyphen made it more elegant. The Interwebz didn’t have a definitive opinion, and I wasn’t about to click on any site that wanted to show me images. If I’m looking to look, I can always refer to Femalia.

I decided on the hyphen because, sure, it’s more elegant.

Hoo-Hoo Research

Why was I looking up uses of “hoo-hoo”? Simply the Best is set inside a wildly successful women’s lifestyle and wellness company. My deep dive into the women’s wellness industry turned up a product called a yoni egg, which is a rock sold to correct imperfect hoo-hoos. I hadn’t known that any hoo-hoo could be less than perfect! Read More

twitter panel showing hashtag congressman douchebag as a #1 trending topic

Simply the Best – Say Hello to Alice and Pepper

Karin Kallmaker Book News, Simply the Best 3 Comments

When I picked the name for Simply the Best several years ago, I was of course inspired by Tina Turner’s classic 1991 smash hit. Little did I know that while I was writing the book the song would come to life again in acoustic versions, including Patrick’s serenade of David on Schitt’s Creek (incidentally one of my favorite romantic storylines on TV in a very long time).

Just this past week Tina’s original turned up in The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, which wasn’t so much romantic as juxtaposed calm amongst much mayhem and contretemps. Anyhoo, it seems as if everywhere I turn I’m hearing “Simply the Best.” Partly perhaps because The Hound + The Fox version is in a long Spotify playlist I made for the book.

The novel opens with the unfortunate reality that #CongressmanDouchebag is trending, and it’s all Alice Cabot’s fault. If you haven’t seen the trailer, have a look.


Pop open the box below by clicking on the + and read the introductions for two women who were part of my life for a very long time. You’ll find out how #CongressmanDouchebag came to be.

Simply the Best – Snippets from Chapters One and Two

by Karin Kallmaker


Simply the Best, the longest novel of my career (so far), will be available in August. You can pre-order a signed copy right here.

Copyrighted material, uncorrected proof, 2021
woman triumphant in field of sunflowers

Surviving that First Reading – Updated Once Again

Karin Kallmaker Business of Books, Events and Appearances, Resources 2 Comments

One of 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. All in all, 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. In 2020 it got even more complex because we had to manage cameras, lights, and microphones, as well as working with tech or someone running the tech. It was that, or have no opportunities at all to appear for readers.

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.

Hidden bonus: Reading my work aloud has also proven an invaluable editing and feedback tool. I hear clunky phrases, wrong words, repetitive structure, and awkward sentences when my eye thinks they’re fine. Once, before publication thank goodness, I even discovered a paragraph was one long sentence, all 143 words of it. I had also used actually, really, and just multiple times each. My ear heard them; my eye didn’t see them. Read More

artist's palette with abstract vivid colors and paint

Giving Up the Privilege of Disbelief to Find Creativity Again

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

Some people thrive on chaos. Not me. My specialty is world-building happy places where two women become the heroes of their own lives. But the world under my feet is unstable, and too many of the people in it are making it worse – on purpose.

On top of that, as author Lara Hayes wrote recently at the Bella Media Channel, when trying to lift up voices of resistance and protest, it’s hard to get into the head space of creating our stories, let alone promoting them. Read More