Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Blog tour schedule















FOR THOSE WHO ARE INTERESTED, HERE IS THE TOUR SCHEDULE FOR "STILL ME...AFTER ALL THESE YEARS" through MC Book Tours.

March 20 – Alex J. Cavanaugh – Guest Post
Random Thoughts – Excerpt
Valerie Capps, Short Story Author
March 21 – Stephanie Faris, Children’s Author – Guest Post
Author Karen Walker…Following the Whispers
March 22 – Scattergun Scribblings – Guest Post and Feature
LD Masterson
March 23 – What Is That Book About – Excerpt
Patricia Stoltey, Author
March 24 – The Heart and Craft of Life Writing – Interview
I Think: Therefore, I Yam
March 27 – Just Jemi – Excerpt
Celticlady’s Reviews – Excerpt
Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit – Interview
Necessary Madness: A Writer on the Road
March 28 – Thoughts in Progress – Excerpt
March 29 –The Story of a Writer – Feature
Mark David Gerson
March 30 – Mello & June, It’s A Book Thang – FeatureMello & June, It’s A Book Thang – Feature
March 31 – Reviews by Crystal – Interview
Book Reviews by Pat Garcia

PS - THERE'S A GIVEAWAY - PLEASE CLICK ON THIS LINK FOR A CHANCE TO WIN!http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MDE5YjMyZjhkNzkwOWZlOTRlOGNmZTI4YmUwNjg5OjMwNw==/?

The giveaway ends at 12 a.m. (EST) on Tuesday, April 4

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Blog tour schedule















FOR THOSE WHO ARE INTERESTED, HERE IS THE TOUR SCHEDULE FOR "STILL ME...AFTER ALL THESE YEARS" through MC Book Tours.

March 20 – Alex J. Cavanaugh – Guest Post
Random Thoughts – Excerpt
Valerie Capps, Short Story Author
March 21 – Stephanie Faris, Children’s Author – Guest Post
Author Karen Walker…Following the Whispers
March 22 – Scattergun Scribblings – Guest Post and Feature
LD Masterson
March 23 – What Is That Book About – Excerpt
Patricia Stoltey, Author
March 24 – The Heart and Craft of Life Writing – Interview
I Think: Therefore, I Yam
March 27 – Just Jemi – Excerpt
Celticlady’s Reviews – Excerpt
Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit – Interview
Necessary Madness: A Writer on the Road
March 28 – Thoughts in Progress – Excerpt
March 29 –The Story of a Writer – Feature
Mark David Gerson
March 30 – Mello & June, It’s A Book Thang – FeatureMello & June, It’s A Book Thang – Feature
March 31 – Reviews by Crystal – Interview
Book Reviews by Pat Garcia

PS - THERE'S A GIVEAWAY - PLEASE CLICK ON THIS LINK FOR A CHANCE TO WIN!http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MDE5YjMyZjhkNzkwOWZlOTRlOGNmZTI4YmUwNjg5OjMwNw==/?

The giveaway ends at 12 a.m. (EST) on Tuesday, April 4

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A feeling of accomplishment...


Besides my own post today, I'm guest posting on Stephanie's blog: http://stephie5741.blogspot.com/2017/03/introducing-still-me-by-karen-helene.html

Please stop by and visit her.

How do you feel when you've accomplished something major? Exhilarated? Ecstatic? Exhausted? Just plain happy?

Seeing "Still Me...After All These Years" out in the world makes me feel peaceful inside my soul. It is a book my heart called out to me to write some 10 years ago after caring for my aging father and then my mother-in-law, and then two friends who had no family to help them. I saw so much in the aging process that wasn't being talked about. But other projects took precedence. Then, last year, while on retreat with a friend, I thought about making the project an anthology, rather than me spouting on about aging. The rest, as they say, is history.

It wasn't an easy project. But when you are doing something you know in your heart is important, that doesn't matter. You just keep putting one foot in front of the other until you get to the last step. Well, here we are at the last step. This is the result.

Here's my hope for this book. That it will find its way into the hands of those who are struggling with aging in some way. Perhaps you're dealing with an aging parent - there are essays in this book that will help you understand what that parent is experiencing. Perhaps you are dealing with some aspect of aging yourself. Each of the 24 writers wrote about a different issue. That is the beauty of an anthology. You get different perspectives on the same topic. You're sure to find some kernel of wisdom that might help you.

I am so grateful to those in the blogging community who chose to participate in this book. Their wisdom and grace and sense of humor helped make this book special. To my friends and family members who do not write regularly, oh my God - I'm so blown away by the writing - perhaps you should write regularly. You're good at it! To Mark David Gerson and Kathleen Messmer - without you, this never would have happened!

So, yes, I feel peaceful inside. Because I listened to my heart and made something happen that I hope will be helpful to someone who needs a burst of wisdom or inspiration when dealing with a difficult issue - aging.

Here are the links to where you can purchase "Still Me...After All These Years."

Amazon:


Many many blessings to you and yours
Karen

PS - THERE'S A GIVEAWAY - PLEASE CLICK ON THIS LINK FOR A CHANCE TO WIN!http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MDE5YjMyZjhkNzkwOWZlOTRlOGNmZTI4YmUwNjg5OjMwNw==/?

The giveaway ends at 12 a.m. (EST) on Tuesday, April 4

FOR THOSE WHO ARE INTERESTED, HERE IS THE TOUR SCHEDULE FOR "STILL ME...AFTER ALL THESE YEARS" through MC Book Tours.

March 20 – Alex J. Cavanaugh – Guest Post
Random Thoughts – Excerpt
Valerie Capps, Short Story Author
March 21 – Stephanie Faris, Children’s Author – Guest Post
Author Karen Walker…Following the Whispers
March 22 – Scattergun Scribblings – Guest Post and Feature
LD Masterson
March 23 – What Is That Book About – Excerpt
Patricia Stoltey, Author
March 24 – The Heart and Craft of Life Writing – Interview
I Think: Therefore, I Yam
March 27 – Just Jemi – Excerpt
Celticlady’s Reviews – Excerpt
Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit – Interview
Necessary Madness: A Writer on the Road
March 28 – Thoughts in Progress – Excerpt
March 29 –The Story of a Writer – Feature
Mark David Gerson
March 30 – Mello & June, It’s A Book Thang – FeatureMello & June, It’s A Book Thang – Feature
March 31 – Reviews by Crystal – Interview
Book Reviews by Pat Garcia



Monday, March 20, 2017

holy moly...I'm visiting Alex today!

Yes, that's right. I'm guest posting at the Ninja Captain's blog today. Please come by and visithttp://www.alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com.

This is the first stop for STILL ME … AFTER ALL THESE YEARS: 24 Authors Reflect on Aging  through MC Book Tours. If you care to follow along, here is the blog tour schedule:




March 20 – Alex J. Cavanaugh – Guest Post
Random Thoughts – Excerpt
Valerie Capps, Short Story Author
March 21 – Stephanie Faris, Children’s Author – Guest Post
Author Karen Walker…Following the Whispers
March 22 – Scattergun Scribblings – Guest Post and Feature
LD Masterson
March 23 – What Is That Book About – Excerpt
Patricia Stoltey, Author
March 24 – The Heart and Craft of Life Writing – Interview
I Think: Therefore, I Yam
March 27 – Just Jemi – Excerpt
Celticlady’s Reviews – Excerpt
Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit – Interview
Necessary Madness: A Writer on the Road
March 28 – Thoughts in Progress – Excerpt
March 29 –The Story of a Writer – Feature
Mark David Gerson
March 30 – Mello & June, It’s A Book Thang – FeatureMello & June, It’s A Book Thang – Feature
March 31 – Reviews by Crystal – Interview
Book Reviews by Pat Garcia

Blessings,
Karen

PS - THERE'S A GIVEAWAY - PLEASE CLICK ON THIS LINK FOR A CHANCE TO WIN!http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MDE5YjMyZjhkNzkwOWZlOTRlOGNmZTI4YmUwNjg5OjMwNw==/?

The giveaway ends at 12 a.m. (EST) on Tuesday, April 4


Friday, March 17, 2017

A post from my editor extraordinaire

This is from Mark David Gerson's newsletter. I just had to reprint it here. Read what he has to say about writing and about how "Still Me...After All These Years" impacted the story he's working on.
My Muse: A Trickster Extraordinaire!

Bugs Bunny"Your book is a trickster!"
– Book-Birthing Rule #9, 
Birthing Your Book…Even If You Don’t Know What It’s About

 

The “trickster” exists in many cultures. In myth, think leprechauns (Ireland), coyotes (U.S. Southwest), the Greek god Dionysus and the Hawaiian/Polynesian demigod Maui. In literature and popular culture, think A Midsummer Night’s Dream’s Puck, King Lear’s Fool (along with every court jester ever conceived), Q in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Bart Simpson, the Pink Panther and Bugs Bunny.

In short the trickster is an archetypal figure that dupes its victims into doing its bidding. Mischievous by nature, it will lie unashamedly and break any rule to get its own way. 


Coyote Medicine CardTo date, I have written five books on writing and each includes some version of what I say in Birthing Your Book’s Rule #9: “As you craft the book you think you are writing, [your book and your muse] will often trick you into writing something you never expected to write, something you never thought you wanted to write, something, perhaps, that is uncomfortable to write.”

When the idea came to me for The Emmeline Papers, the third book in my award-winning Sara Stories, it was going to focus on one of the minor characters in After Sara’s Year: Mac's quirky, eccentric, single-minded Aunt Emmeline Mandeville. The idea for the story arrived nearly fully formed (or so I thought), along with the title. 


Had I been smart, I would have remembered not only my Book-Birthing Rule #9, I would have recalled how that same tricksterish rule played out in Sara’s Year, the first of my Sara novels. 

When I sat down in a Santa Monica Starbucks to begin Sara’s Year, I also had a concept and a title. The title never changed, but my original idea vanished within minutes of launching into that first day’s writing.

Q in Star Trek: TNGBecause, like lightning, a trickster never strikes twice in precisely the same place or the same manner, my experience with The Emmeline Papers was entirely different, if with the same ultimate effect: The title has not changed but everything else about the book has!

Part of the impetus for that change came from a book that I was asked to not only edit and design but contribute to, an anthology titled Still Me…After All These Years: 24 Writers Reflect on Aging.

I began my first draft of Emmeline the same way I began my very first novel: in a writing workshop I was leading. This time, I was teaching at Unity Santa Fe, not in my long-ago Toronto living room. And this time, I assumed that I knew what I was doing. (Never assume anything!)

Twenty-three years earlier at that Toronto workshop, I had felt guided to participate in a writing exercise that I was facilitating. The result eventually became The MoonQuest, and that evening’s writing would become an integral part of the novel.

Still Me coverWith Emmeline, I set out to begin a novel whose plot I believed I knew. Within a few weeks, however, I had trashed that opening scene and begun again, from an entirely different premise.

(This time I didn’t dare fight the title, which insisted on remaining intact. With Sara’s Year I did fight it, only to discover in the final scene of the first draft why that title was perfect!)

What happened to me that changed the Emmeline story? Author Karen Helene Walker, who had conceived and was compiling the Still Me anthology, sent me the first of its essays to edit.

Those, along with the essays and poems that followed in the ensuing weeks, moved me, inspired me, made me laugh, made me think and, in a few instances, made me cry. As a 62-year-old, I also recognized myself and my experiences, joys and concerns in many of them.

But the Still Me essays did more than that. The more I read, the more I began to think about Emmeline and her “papers” in a whole new way. It didn’t take long before I realized that the book I thought I was writing was to be something else altogether — something more engaging for its readers and, for better or worse, more emotionally and creatively challenging for its author.

The Emmeline Papers coverIronically, The Emmeline Papersis not a book about aging. All tricksters move in strange and mysterious ways, and my trickster-muse is no different. Aging is a component of Emmeline, but the story is more about many of the things that we experience regardless of our age.

It’s about hopes and dreams. It’s about mortality and death. It’s about fear and courage. It’s about loss. It’s about relationship. It’s about life. It’s about many of the themes addressed — both touchingly and humorously — in Still Me…After All These Years. (And for fans of Sara’s Year and After Sara’s Year, it’s about far more than Emmeline: All your favorite characters are back for this third installment of the series.)

It will be a couple of months before you can get your hands on The Emmeline Papers (I’m aiming for a late spring release, but you can preorder your copy now). However, Still Me…After All These Years is available right now and well worth the read, regardless of your age. And I’m not just saying that because I’m a contributor!


The Pink PantherAnd what about my contribution? It also links back to The Sara Stories. It’s called “It’s Never Too Late to Follow Your Dreams” and it tells the story of how I came to write Sara’s Year. A series of age-related health scares forced me to ask myself the question many of us of a certain age find ourselves asking, even without medical prompting: “If I’m to die sooner rather than later, what is it that I want to make sure I do before I go?”

It won’t surprise you (though it did surprise me!) to discover that it’s a question that also pops up in The Emmeline Papers.


As I move forward with Emmeline, I continue to be struck by the creatively tricksterish wiles of my muse and I have to wonder whether the fourth and final book in The Sara Stories (as yet untitled) will bear any resemblance to my current notion of it!

Meanwhile, The Emmeline Papers continues to unfold, thanks in some measure to the gifted and engaging contributors to Still Me…After All These Years!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Woo hoo - a blog tour!

I've hired MC Book Tours to handle promotion for "Still Me...After All These Years." I have to tell you, so far, Mason Canyon is totally awesome to work with. Please check out her site for all the info we have so far on the blog tour.https://mcbooktours.wordpress.com/2017/03/03/sign-up-for-still-me-after-all-these-years-24-authors-reflect-on-aging/

And here's how you sign up to participate in the blog tour. Please consider helping us spread the word about this anthology. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScT7-Lj-_VJyrzptlGvnkWGm8iv-kZ6Ubu4s-0sOTumFmF9Sg/viewform?c=0&w=1

THANK YOU!!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

ISWG - March

Sheesh. I did it again. I almost forgot to post for ISWG (the brainchild of Alex, the Ninja Captain) www.alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com. For more info on the group, please visit Alex's blog.








I've been so caught up in getting the anthology ready for publication - well, there's my blog post right there. I've been caught up in getting the anthology ready for publication. And it is! It's available for pre-order here: https://www.amazon.com/Still-After-All-These-Years-ebook/dp/B06WWRK82K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488375882&sr=8-1&keywords=Still+Me+After+All+these+years

Here's the cover:



I'm so so excited to offer this book to you. 24 writers - all with a different take on aging. In terms of ISWG, I'm less insecure than I've ever been about putting a book out in the world - probably because this isn't "my story." I'm just a small part of it. That makes it so much easier. But oy vey! another memoir is calling to me to be written, so stay tuned for my insecurities around that new project.
Until then,
blessings
Karen