Thursday 31 March 2016

lying in the alphabet. unable to speak

I poured some more coffee and filled your cup and you stared at the surface, clasping your fingers around the cup, the heels of your hands touching at the back. You were thinking pretty hard like I wasn't in the room. I kept quiet. I was putting the cream back when the cat miaowed from above. He was on the top of the fridge, lying in the alphabet. Unable to speak.   - KatYa

Here's a reading from my book Maze
Chapter 16:2

Wednesday 30 March 2016

the rhythm of a mistake

Ya, you always said the unpopular thing and that was cool, when someone was about to get hurt and someone had to say something and no one did but you. We didn't have the guts back then to stand up for what was right. I didn't. Things happen so fast it's over before you've made up your mind. Fear gettin the best of courage. What would happen if you went against the rhythm of a mistake? All eyes on you, maybe some cursin and shovin and pushin as you try and stand your ground and stand up for what you know is right. We were all asking ourselves the wrong question. What would happen if you didn't break the rhythm of a mistake? The song would go on and carry out over the trees, into the valleys, echoing, bouncing around the canyons and maybe even out to sea. And everyone and Donald Trump would be singing it, without knowing what it really meant. And the heat of the sun wouldn't enliven you anymore. The heat from the sun would just burn you.  -KatYa

Here's my latest reading from Maze...

Book Two
Chapter 16:1

Tuesday 29 March 2016

Journal # 03.29.16

The day was real fun. I got a couple books for free. A guy down the street moved out and left half his life street side. It was as though he just took a giant dump on our sidewalk and bolted. A whole dresser painted in pastels, a tv, reams of crappy magazines, his whole mattress and box spring setup. Sometimes I wish there was a government agency created to deal with these people. The eggs go rotten after easter. They should be forced to clean up after other people who drop their load on your street. Natural consequence. Community service. Anyway, I got a red random house called Night Time Stories With Alfred Hitchcock out of it. Anything I can do to help clean up the streets, right? The first story I turned to was one written by Ray Bradbury. It was about a reckless 'old maid' (she was 37 years old and you can bet I felt closer to the grave reading that) who decides to walk home alone one night after the movies in a small town with her friends who plead with her to stay overnight with them cause there's a killer on the loose. Her one friend says she thinks her subconscious wants her to die, before saying goodbye. I liked that line a lot. Our old maid just walks on home alone, after midnight, when everyone and their dog is safe behind closed doors. She makes it home safe, though she got scared and regretted her decision when she thought someone was following her. She tries to catch her breath by the window when she finally locks her door behind her, looking out to see there was nobody at all. But oh boy, the killer is insider her house, standing aways behind her. The end! Back in the day I guess you didn't have to show everyone all the slicing and dicing and bloodspatter. Thank you Ray Bradbury. Except for that old maid comment. And thanks to the jerkoff who took a dump on our street.   - K


Here is a reading from my book Maze 2:15:4 if you're interested...

Friday 25 March 2016

Indy Author Vitamin K reads from her book Maze

In the last episode 2:15:2 Ame and Bless are circling round the anarchy of the cemetery grounds where they once made out years ago. Sunset bleeds the sky. Back at the Imperial, all that's left of Kell is her boosted makeup and Nylon magazines. Bless is watching and waiting for Ame to show her some love.

Book Two
Daughter of Darkness
Chapter 15:3

life i love you. good friday

"Quiet life on softened streets, all the bad news backed away. You lucky kid. I washed my hair with 100,000 molecules. Each one like the full moon tonight, lighting up life in all the right ways. I made it to the site. I could peacefully fold my legs up under me on the couch facing the east, the house where nobody's home, facing, pinching my slip as I picked it up and let it go hang around freely, pinching myself. You lucky kid you. All the pages were viewed, in a free sweep of eyes (not mine). To be sure they really existed, outside of myself. Not so easily destroyed by water, heat, air, time. Thumbs rubbing the ink to a fade I can no longer describe. Each curve of every letter like the full moon tonight, lighting up life in all the spectacular finishes. Flourishes. You lucky kid. Thinking of a friend, one I haven't even heard of in years, a keystroke away, a daydream, attacking a search engine with a heart on a saturday in America, one truffle at a time, pulling lightly on the ends of twisted plastic until the whole thing rolls over and out, examining the condition of my condition, remembering the ionic bond even if it hurts. Life I love you."   - KatYa, 2016. excerpt from Ame and the Tangy Energetic
k by k on a sunny day 2016

Thursday 24 March 2016

Journal # 03.24.16

Life was gonna be painful for a morning dove whose call was so random and throaty and pure only hours before my tigers took him out. what was left of life was gonna be painful then surreal then blurry, then over. i imagine euphoria takes over in the end, when defenceless one's life force rushes to heal. life is bloody and open wide and clawed at. attacked from all sides. in the midst of a glorious spring morning. the dew has burned off and the day becomes sharp and direct and furious when you're caught by those who were born to hunt you down. actually they meant you no harm. they just do what they do. it's the same the world over. impersonal. intimate. euphoric. terribly violent and sad. ever changing. renewed. life.    - © KatYa, 2016

Wednesday 23 March 2016

Tuesday 22 March 2016

Maze 2:15:2

I got some good news! On the advice of a friend, I submitted my book to the Sacramento Library a few months ago. A Panel of librarians selected Maze and will be giving me -- one of only 40 local authors chosen -- a table at the Galleria for the second annual Local Author Festival, on April 10th... here is the link! -- Author Festival -- I will be signing and selling books and hope to see you there.

In the last episode 2:15:1 Ame and Bless ride their bikes to the Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, to get some peace and quiet. Kell is nowhere to be found. They need each other more than ever now.

Book Two
Daughter of Darkness Series
Chapter 15:2

Monday 21 March 2016

Review: I Heard That Song Before

I Heard That Song Before I Heard That Song Before by Mary Higgins Clark
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I need to start by saying I have been reading MH Clark's books since I was a teenager way back in the eighties, when computers were the size of small houses, Ronald Reagan was president, electric typewriters were fashionable, and photographs had to be developed to be seen (unless you had a slide projecter or viewfinder...uhh... S.O.S... what the hell is she talking about)? Anyway, libraries were still libraries and books were still books, then, and I read a lot of them in my alligator tee shirts drinking grape koolaid with a Canadian penny zippered inside the pocket on my sneakers. And all of her books I read were gripping, suspenseful, amazing!

Then I found this one a quarter century later, part of a Reader's Digest collection of four, while watching my clothes spin in the dryer at the laundromat down the street. They have books lined up on a ledge which runs along the washers, and it's give-a-book, take-a-book. So I took it and devoured it in a few days. Sadly the plot and characters and everything felt very rushed, almost like it was an outline for a much larger and longer work she didn't have time to write.

The setup was interesting, all the players moving in and around an old mansion which had been taken apart stone by stone and transported to New Jersey from Wales and re-assembled on 50 acres just a few miles from Manhattan. And the haunting memory of someone who disappeared there. Someone who died there. And someone else who disappeared. Intriguing! Old money, New York City. Ambassadors, landscape artists, drunks, addicts, art thieves, and shady personal attendants fill the pages.

Sadly the book did not live up to its potential.
Ironic it was a stone's throw from my spin cycle.

I know MH Clark has so much talent and I cannot end there, on a sour note, after having picked her up again. I decided I am gonna go back to her first bestseller she wrote in 1975 and read that one. I probably read it already, back when a trash compactor was your foot inside the bag, when Coleco and Atari were the gamer's games, but I want that old feeling back, when I was gripped by suspense and she had me, amazed.

View all my reviews

Maze 2:15:1

In the last episode 2:14:7 Ame is waxing poetic on love and the orphans have come back from the seven eleven and are literally forcing her to play with them. If she refuses they might push her into traffic. Damn kids!

Book Two
Daughter of Darkness Series
Chapter 15:1

Review: An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kay Jamison has spent most of her adult life studying mood disorders and living with bipolar illness. In this memoir, she faithfully shares her experience. She takes us inside a manic episode as she remembers it, and then the subsequent deep depression. Even breathing becomes a chore. She details the times she spun out and how the beauty of the world through fresh mania soon becomes lost in a whirlwind of racing thoughts and confusion. Anyone who has needed medication may relate to the resistance to taking it Kay describes so well, and the consequences of refusing meds when you need them. For years she started and stopped Lithium, and even when she knew she needed it, she would stop when either she fell dreamy in love with the memory of her mania, or the side effects became too much to bear. Turns out she was on a much higher dose than she needed. But the side effects of Lithium were nothing compared with the devastation which came of allowing her mania to resurface. Her marriage and friendships were poisoned. She maxed out her credit cards. Her professional life suffered. She wanted to end her life.

Miraculously, with the help of family and friends and therapy and meds, she was able to run a mood disorder clinic at UCLA, gain tenure, and today stands as a highly regarded clinician at Johns Hopkins. But most importantly she survived it all. Bipolar illness, aka manic-depression (although the latter usage has fallen out of fashion in diagnostic circles, she believes it sums up the experience), takes lives. People get attached to their mania, they dream of their mania, and some never come around to accepting they need meds. This book is a must read for anyone with bipolar illness.

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Saturday 19 March 2016

Maze 2:14:7

In the last episode 2:14:6 Ame waxes poetic on love, with observations on fear. Some sadness, some regret.

Book Two
Chapter 14:7

Friday 18 March 2016

Maze 2:14:6

In the last episode 2:14:5 Ame gets the feeling she's just stepped into Oliver Twist, hanging around these orphans and the adulation party. She's concerned they're gonna make trading cards out of her, push her up against a stick of bubblegum... no need to worry, though, cause kids can see through you to the real you - to your heart.

Book Two
Chapter 14:6

Thursday 17 March 2016

Maze 2:14:5

In the last episode 2:14:4 Ame confronts Kell's known drug dealer, kicking his door in. The kids there watching her, have her figured for the one who took care of the thief who disappeared not long before.

Book Two
Chapter 14:5

Wednesday 16 March 2016

Maze 2:14:4

In the last episode 2:14:3 Ame is realizing she's not been as nonviolent as she imagines herself to be, and she worries that Kell does not want to be found because she's rejected Ame and her lifestyle. Ame goes to see the orphans to validate herself through them, that she can still love and be loved. It's a diluted way around the truth.

Book Two
Chapter 14:4

Tuesday 15 March 2016

Maze 2:14:3

The papers bemoan "the death of a skater."  In the last episode 2:14:2 Ame is cooped up indoors -- meditating.  

Monday 14 March 2016

Maze 2:14:2

In the last episode 2:14:1 -- "Oh, what would I do? My little sister was hooked on pills and could not be found. My best friend was crushing on me. The Pakis were on my case. Hendrix was slipping in and out my consciousness and wanted to help but was unable to come down to earth. Freddy was being Freddy. Black was hollowing out humans. Humans were being human. And my thirst was relentless. Oh! I really had to get away from it all..."

Book Two
Chapter 14:2

Review: Oliver Twist

Oliver Twist Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dickens creates such an terrifying circumstance for the little tyke at the very start, one cannot help but wish to uplift young Oliver Twist (and his little friends). I wanted to take him home and give him some hot chocolate and a pat on the head, hell, I would keep him for sure! He has kindness and compassion in his heart which will not be easily corroded. Almost everyone is out to manipulate the kid, even the ones - like the young girl Nance - I hoped would be helpful to him. He is abducted to dark and narrow streets of London, where the dirt and mud and impoverishment reflect the broken spirits living there. He is taught how to be a thief. The Artful Dodger and Charley Bates are lively little crooks, underlings of Fagin, and Sikes (with his mean dog in tow) is a frightful and towering king of this underworld.

This book establishes a nice rhythm and is narrated very well (strong and consistent voice). Many of Dickens' books were first published as serials in the London papers. I had to find out how Oliver would make out in the end, if he was to survive at all. Plenty of others like him died of starvation, fever, neglect, and broken hearts. Others turned to crime and saw the gallows. These were mean streets of old London, and Dickens does not spare us the details. In fact, he holds a candle to it all. He brings you into the darkest corners, then gets your adrenaline up as Oliver's situation becomes inadvertently hopeful, before being lost again to the murky, insensate underworld. It takes one who initially betrayed him and others who gave up looking for him, to unite and try to save him from a terrible fate on the streets. In the process, the mystery of his birth is unraveled. Aside from his rich/poor politics and narrow portrayal of Jews, I love the way Dickens tells a story. This story.

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Sunday 13 March 2016

the blue corner

i trick myself into believing my special brand of suffering should be cast out for all to nibble on, and then i pull the hook into your lip so you bleed into the ocean like i do. not that misery loves company any more or less than joyfulness. all our feelings love companions. when walking into a coffeehouse sad after some dreadful news, you must be miles away when you greet me with smiles. unlikely i will stop and talk to you, for the convincing would be hard.  i would rather sit at that table in the corner beside the recently widowed. we can emanate blue from there.

Friday 11 March 2016

Maze 2:14:1 Storytelling

Book Two
Daughter of Darkness Series
Chapter 14:1

In the last episode 2:13:4 Ame and Bless are lying on top of one another, lifeless after a fight. Ame is underneath and goes to get up, when her friend suddenly takes the friendship to another level. 


From Ame and the Tangy Energetic (Darkness, #3)  --  "We sought our pleasure in the world, thinking this would bring a measure of happiness. Maybe did for a moment; up all night laughing, walking the streets at 3am, ghost trains passing by. We readied ourselves and jumped. The world went from absolute stillness to perpetual motion, we outlined the Pacific Ocean, the sea salt filled our lungs, we sought our shadows on a train and now comes the rain, I see you pacing the room up there with your paranoia and bad thoughts about me, your negative energy sticks to the walls and peels the paint and no mirror can survive your self-loathing, not even me, and it hurts when you break me down like you think you can, when all I am is over here loving you, your ferocity, your anti, your sweetness protected but starved inside you, the most delicate beauty I have ever held and why do you think I would hurt you, how come you don’t invite me to see and cherish you, desperate you, and all your hard life you’ve been through? Fighting shadows and running away from yourself, your mom and your past, all those demons locked inside, criss-crossing, and what of it? For you were with me."  --   KatYa

The Five Year Project: Interview with Katya Mills

The Five Year Project: Interview with Katya Mills: Hi everyone! Great news. Internet is turned back on at last, which means I'll hopefully be starting blog rounds early next week. Playing...

Wednesday 9 March 2016

Maze 2:13:4 Storytelling

Book Two
Daughter of Darkness Series
Chapter 13:4

In the last episode 2:13:3 Bless and Ame finally throw down! Ame uses her Girl Army skills to evade and attack. Girl on girl crime! 

Tuesday 8 March 2016

Maze 2:13:3 Storytelling

Book Two
Daughter of Darkness Series
Chapter 13:3

In the last episode 2:13:2  Kell is nowhere to be found. Ame is trying to help Freddy get some tools and Bless is standing around smokin menthols and playing her entitlement card and making jabs at her. The streets are gettin on her nerves. 

Sunday 6 March 2016

Maze 2:13:2 Storytelling

Book Two
Daughter of Darkness Series
Chapter 13:2

In the last episode 2:13:1 everybody in DogTown bordering Ghost Town is zombified out, trying to trade CDs, iphones, loaves of bread, duracells, and their own bodies out for some spare change. While Freddy's workin on cars, Ame and Bless decide to push the humans into his van and take drags off of the tangy energetic to recharge, in between drags off of menthols. 

people kill beautiful things pretty well


beat up by life? K by K
Let life just beat you up the way it does. When a flower stretches up out of the soil, it's growth lends itself to danger. When you were just a seed and just a bud germinating underground, in your mommas belly, you were pretty safe. Once you grow up you're liable to get stepped on, mowed down, picked, torn asunder. People kill beautiful things pretty well. We put them in vases, we crush them behind glass.

This culture this world is suffering an overabundance and equally lacking. I cannot tell you why because it's too much to hold! Are you like me and one cheerio shy of an oh my god what the fukk is going on? The asphalt just imprisoned my garden. Our secrets will never be safe.

Lemme go deeper. Into those places where you feel you make sense. Spend more time with friends,  more time creating, add a little family and kittens to the mix. The strongest connection oughta be the one you have with yourself, your spirit, and whatever releases you from your ego, humbles you, makes you small enough to relax into the systemic. Some call it god and i don't mind either. We all need somewhere to extend our child.

Stay your beautiful self
Don't let them kill you

Then let them...

Die another day. The sensation of coffee down your gullet. Wear yourself out with your kids, your work, your monotonous chores. Go off to social sunsets and live to see another day.

The sunrise will feel better if your aching into it, arthritis summons compassion for self. Asthma summons compassion for yourself. Panic Attacks leave you hugging yourself. Fevers bring your attention to your self. Heart attacks make you focus on caring for your heart. Strokes make you remember how to learn. Cancer makes you grateful. HIV gets you pushing for your dreams to come true. Depression makes you stronger. Anxiety gets you to relax.

I will hold your spirit over here. Carefully.
Will you hold mine? You don't have to. I can just hold yours.

Expect nothing outta anyone
except yourself

Expect greatness out of everyone
and yourself. You star

Accept yourself. Love yourself. Grow up and
Show people your colors. They will grab you.
They will not believe you. They will argue and you will suffer them, too.
They will suffer you.

Open up to whatever you're out there doing.
And let them take you

Saturday 5 March 2016

Maze 2:13:1 Storytelling

Book Two
Daughter of Darkness Series
Chapter 13:1

In the last episode 2:12:6 Hendrix looks in on Ame watching over her while she sleeps with Maze and fights for the blanket. In the morning she's inchworming down rain gutters to avoid the Hollows.

Friday 4 March 2016

Maze 2:12:6 Storytelling

Book Two
Daughter of Darkness Series
Chapter 12:6

In the last episode 2:12:5 Maze and Ame part ways with Kell and go off on their own to celebrate a kill from up on high, overlooking Oakland at night, and tapping into the source light. Ame has no regrets by the killing, but she may be on the edge of self-doubt. 

the indie in me. the intimacy. self-publish yourself to death. for life

Cadence in my head, coffee mug in my hand and a laptop fired up. Hair falling about my face, tickling my nose, where oh where did my eyeglasses go? Trying to let my imagination find me, she can have me, oh grand channeler,  saucy bitch, take me, take my arms, wrists up, fists into palms. Here I go again to the graveyard for the pay. The work is good, I like it, keeps me honest, keeps me humble. Not really spending much money, not making much money. If I could I would buy some time, though, forty plus years old and some street life to show for it. Lots of hard lessons I think I finally learned, lots of colorful visions and deep seated incisions. A good dose of radical acceptance in my heart. I will only be a mom to all the motherless children in the world. I am American and all the good and bad that comes with it; I may not be able to find Cameroon on the map, but I can tell you where several authors homes lie and Siberia. I will do my own dishes and raise kittens until the day that I die. Self-promotion is a bitch. Sometimes I gotta open the flat of my hand and slap her aside, get back to the tabula rasa, open my veins to another page, anchor here, deus ex machina there. Inhumed into Book #3: Ame and all her tangy energetics. All that toxic boiling blood has to settle somewhere. I can laugh about what I've made of my life, I keep faith, I can love myself now. Out of the fear and into this great struggle where I found myself belonging all the time, to write, never missing a day, and try and keep up with what may come by the sharing, believers in me, when I have trouble having faith in myself, I like to let them know I'm alive and they touch me. Don't know about you but my indie spirit gets my ass outta bed. That's just the way it is. I am on pace to publish a couple novellas a year, a comparatively slow pace in the self-publishing arena, sometimes I think I oughta write more and faster; but the people who read my stuff tend to calm me down in my temporary crisis of confidence, and tell me its okay, they can wait. Just make sure I keep delivering the goods. Radical acceptance. I can breathe. I'm okay with my pace, coming back from that silly sidetracked sometimes comparison-shopped myself with someone else's success. It's very important that I stop there - it could be envy - and translate that fukker into inspiration. You indie spirits out there, you are my best friends! Always sharing how it feels, how it aches, and the catharsis behind the blood sweat and tears over these years and on your own. And here we are. Never alone. Your goddam life hiding behind a cover for all to know and some chosen few to cherish. Chosen because they chose you. How does it feel? The intimate moment (so far away) at once shared with the one who reads you, the one who gets you, who gets what you're trying to do? Wow! I'm a rooster just before dawn! I'm stretchin into the biggest smile, the exhaust of a yawn when I'm done with the edits and the story's been born. On to createspace, the tweets, goodreads and reddits. Thank you god for showing me the way. So many of us out there, having a blast and working hard. The possibility! Each one of us a star. And nobody needs to know in the end cause it's not an adulation game, it's simply a lifestyle. Hit a hundred thousand keys or more. Suited up on everyone's doorstep. Unraveling it. What you have to say. Your fresh vision. Your bloody mess. The writing life, painful as it can be, is the only life for me.

Wednesday 2 March 2016

Maze 2:12:5 Storytelling

Book Two
Daughter of Darkness Series
Chapter 12:5

In the last episode 2:12:4 Kell's history is caught up, as she frees a Cadillac Escalade from the showroom floor in Texas with a head full of Oxycontin and some voices setting her on a course for Oakland and her people.

Review: The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket

The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket by Edgar Allan Poe
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Poe published this book a good decade or more before Melville published MD, the famous whale of a story (of a whale). This tale was an abbreviated version -snapshot- of life at sea on a whaling vessel from Nantucket, in the 19th century. I mention Melville only because in this Penguin version of the text, the (rather dull) appendices point out several persuasive arguments that Melville both read and borrowed from Poe's Narrative. I wouldn't be surprised (but I didn't need an appendix to convince me).

Poe, like Melville, tackles the life on the sea with incredible precision and an less fanciful vocabulary. The story follows a young stowaway with his dog Tiger and several colorful characters, in a harrowing and jagged course toward the South Pole. Poe has a wonderful way of describing the intense and frightful place on the edge of sanity, where Pym and the others frequently find themselves. Physical and mental breakdowns, which somehow the spirit survives (or not). Poe demonstrates his mastery of language, taking words back to their Latin roots like 'condescension' (coming down / with) and 'inhume' (the opposite of exhume: being buried alive). Writers can learn a lot by his writing style. I did.

Poe's story drew me in -- slowly. The setup was a recounting of Pym's journal which had been mysteriously placed in the author's hands. Pym was an endearing character, entrusted with many redeeming qualities. Friendship and loyalty. I liked him right away. He dreams of adventure, and his friend Augustus figures a way to stash him in the berth of his father's ship -- and away to sea we go!

The race to the South Pole was a magical and exciting time in the 19th century, what with Captain Cook and others journaling about their efforts and naming islands and sharing them with the world. Nobody knew what they might find! Ships would have to turn back when they reached latitudes full of ice and impassable, or ran out of time (seasons changing) or fuel. Worldwide folks began to realize that at certain latitudes closer to the pole, the ice actually let up and the weather placated. Ultimately pioneers would discover a continent full of burgeoning life.

This book is an adventure worth reading. I began to feel the adrenaline rush of the pioneers; Poe puts the pulse on discovery. The characters were likable, I wanted them to survive. I felt intimately involved in their circumstances, it was all very realistic. I also love how the story ends. There is a moodiness. An impression. The story made a remarkable impression on me.

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