Spanking the Cockroach: a new Kat & Natalie story!

Yes, that’s right! Head over to Kat-Sitting to see Kat and Natalie’s latest adventures. This particular story does not contain spoilers for those of you who have not read Lighting the Way yet.

Lighting-the-Way

Lighting the Way (Kat and Natalie, Volume Two)

College roommates, best friends, and family. Can Kat and Natalie find a way to stay together…without killing each other?

Kat Astra knows one thing: everything is her fault. A dead-end job. A fear of confrontation. An inability to speak up when necessary. Desertion of her best friend in her time of need.

Natalie Mestecom knows one thing too: everything Kat does is Natalie’s fault. The relationship rule is simple; Kat has problems, and Natalie fixes them. But what worked in adolescence becomes more complicated with adulthood, and new developments in their relationship challenge these roles. Kat is no longer sure whether she is willing to be disciplined according to Natalie’s rules, and Natalie is no longer sure whether she is worthy of Kat’s trust.

Can Natalie allow herself to be vulnerable? Can Kat believe in her own strength? Can Natalie believe in Kat’s strength? How will they, each in their own way, learn to move beyond guilt and blame in order to forge a new relationship together? In order to make peace with themselves and each other, Kat and Natalie reconnect with family, re-visit memories of their past, and make plans for taking steps forward in the future. To light their way home.

#8Sunday: The parents’ letter

Yes, it is another loosely interpreted six sentences, but this time it’s a justifiable eight! 🙂 This snippet is from The Way Home, the first volume of Kat and Natalie stories. At the end of the freshman year, resident assistants Jessie and her partner collect their assortment of floormates for a party. Kat is caught off-guard, but as usual Natalie has anticipated her discomfort.

As we gradually quiet down, Jessie begins again. “We just wanted to say that not only we are so proud of you guys for making it through the year, but so are your families! We talked to your parents and asked them to write a letter to you since it’s the end of your first year, and we’re going to hand them out now. You don’t have to share unless you want to.”

Suddenly, the pizza and M&Ms and Doritos in my stomach are making me feel sick. I set down my plate and start to get up. Natalie lays a hand on my arm, but I shake it off. I start to leave, but this time her fingers wrap around my wrist and pull me just close enough to hear her command in a piercing whisper, “Sit.”

Look for The Way Home, to be released March 6th by Lazy Day.

For more excerpts of other authors’ works, please visit Weekend Writing Warriors.

Kat visits Cassie: a brand-new Kat story

UPDATE: The full story is now posted in one part at Kat-Sitting.  Please enjoy.  Thanks!

Two brand-new Kat stories in two days!  Aren’t you excited?  The second story is posted at PK’s blog.  The second part will be posted tomorrow because it was too long for a single read.  Hope you enjoy it!

For those of you who read PK, you’ll know that she writes a fictional blog about a woman named Cassie Duff and hosts a story every week for “Fantasy Friday.”  A few months ago when PK asked for contributions, I offered to write a story of how Kat meets up with Cassie.  Kat is tongue-tied around many people, especially those close to her age, but older women like Natalie’s mother, Mama Jane, and their next-door neighbor, Lily Winterbotham, have a special place in her heart.  Mama Jane loves everyone, but she and Kat made a special connection the moment they met.  Lily, lonely and crabbed, loves Kat with all her heart even if she shows it by demanding that a lightbulb needs to be changed!

When I read Cassie’s blog, I thought how much she and Kat would like each other.  PK will tell you a bit more about this process when she visits for Fika on Monday, but it was a series of delicate negotiations.  Not whether to write the story, but how shy Kat could ever come in contact with Cassie and actually talk to her.  PK insisted that Cassie would only talk to Kat about spanking if the initial contact were online.  So I actually set up an email account for Kat (it’s still open and functional, by the way), and Kat has been busily corresponding with not just Cassie but other readers.  This was Kat’s first email to Cassie:

Dear Mrs. Duff,

You don’t know me, but my name is Kat.  I found
your website, and I read your stories.  Your family
sounds really nice.  I wish I had a big family like
you.

I’ve never told anyone this before, but I get spanked,
too.  It really hurts, but I feel better afterward.

Probably you won’t read this because you get lots of
other letters.

Anyway, I like your stories.  Thank you for sharing
them.

Sincerely,

Kat Astra

You can read the story of what happened over at PK’s blog today and tomorrow.  Go say hi.  Tell PK that Ana sent you.  😀

Redemption, reconciliation, and love

Can a domestic discipline story be about redemption?

I am a bit shy to say this when Kat and Natalie’s relationship is in no way Christian domestic discipline and, although Natalie’s family is Christian (Kat’s is not), religion plays only a very small part in the stories.

But…to me yesterday, thinking things over, the Kat and Natalie stories have become about redemption.  It is a fairly big claim and I am sure there are those who will scoff, call me blasphemous, or ask how a silly fantasy can be about grand things like redemption.

Yesterday I worried whether I was foolish and silly to make up this superhero of a mother who could make everything right.  Wondered how foolish and childish I was to play let’s pretend when I was sure everyone could see through my fantasy.

Then a kind friend told me that fantasies are not foolish.  Especially not about love.  And the more I thought about Kat and Natalie reuniting with the family they thought they’d lost (and Jane and Curtis were reunited with the daughters they thought they’d lost), it made me think of divine love.  Of the ways we hide ourselves thinking we have blown our chances and that we will never be able to face God again.  (I try not to talk too much about religion because I respect others’ views and never want to push them on anyone.  I hope, if you are reading this, that you can read it only as me working through things in my head and not trying to push an interpretation on anyone.  These are not Christian stories.)

I think of Natalie, sure that her family will never forgive or love her or want her.

I think of Kat, sure that they no longer even consider her family.

I think of Jane, crying for her children when they think they are protecting her.

I think of Curtis, furious and hurt and helpless watching his wife cry for their children.

The moment when they come together and sort through all of the choices Kat and Natalie have made to shut each other and their parents out of their lives…and yes there is anger but in this case anger is because there is love.  We experience our greatest anger and hurt and fear because of the people we love most.

When I started this story, I thought it was going to be about Kat.  About her personal demons and how she pushes her best friend away.  In the past few weeks, it’s become about so much more.

And I am left, today, with the image of a father weeping for his daughters and a wife kneeling and giving him her strength.  (I have feminist tendencies; I like strong women.  Part of me rebels at the “Father Knows Best” flavor of the family rushing to serve the head of their household.  But most of me knows that in this particular family, this is how they have learned to come together.)

I write love.

Kat, Natalie, Jane, and Curtis are not a perfect family.  But in another way, they are.  They are there for each other.  They don’t give up on each other.  They accept each other’s flaws.  Spank them for it, maybe.  (At least Natalie does to Kat..)

Just their presence, just the physical presence of Mama Jane and Dad is able to bring healing.  When they have years-delayed conversation, the healing becomes even deeper.

Healing deep wounds almost hurts as much as receiving them in the first place.

Today, I write like a maniac because writing is healing something inside of my heart.

I never write myself into my stories.  My characters have some of my quirks because it’s easier to give them things I know about (cooking, etc.), but ever since I stopped writing fiction almost 15 years ago…I never wrote myself into a story again.

Some day, I will tell the story of why I stopped writing fiction.

For now, I will just delight in releasing years of pent-up glorious story-making.

Come and enjoy my stories.  If they make you smile, I couldn’t be happier.  If they touch your heart and remind you what it is like to be loved, then I will cheer.

But for me, I have already won.

What I write becomes my truth.

And my truth for today is knowing that we are loved.  Whether we can feel it or not.  Whether we are in contact with the people who love us…or not.