About Katy Walters

Katy lives on the South coast with her husband and a loving hyper friendly dog who likes to greet and lick everyone on sight. She has a BA Hons (Psych) BA Eng.Lit. MA in Religion and Mysticism and a Hon Dr. Science for research into pain control. She was a psychologist and hypnotherapist before changing direction for full time creative writing, Her main genres are historical romance, crime and science fiction.

My Beloved Valley

Poetry is beloved by authors throughout the ages. Way back in the mists of time, the poem began in the form of a story told by a traveling poet or shaman. Of an evening, the villagers would gather on the village green and warmed by an open fire enjoyed the magic of ancient verse. Throughout the centuries, the simple verses developed into lengthy historical accounts, fables, sagas, and the fairy tale.
I cherish the memory of my great uncle, a man of the welsh valleys. He was both a coal miner and a scholar, as called in those days. Uncle Will spent many years down ‘the pit’ primarily at the coal face, as did my other great uncles and aunts. Often the men worked in waist-high water. In his spare hours, Uncle Will was a schoolmaster to the village children.
In his later years, suffering from silicosis and wearing the blue scars of the coal miner, my uncle worked solely as the village tutor. I can still picture his small study where, in a hand-carved wooden bookcase, he stored fine literature ranging from Shakespeare to Charles Dickens and to the poets whose work survived the centuries.
It was as you can imagine a hard life for the mining families of the ‘valleys,’ but for me, as a small child, it was a time of joy and wonder, Even the name of the family’s humble cottage, Fairy Glen held enchantment. In the twilight of the evenings, I would await the sounds of the miners, covered in coal dust blackening their faces, singing in full voice as they marched home from the mine, their way lit by small candles in tin helmets. I was one of the children who would rush out to be hefted upon coal dust shoulders to join in the songs.
I would wait while the men bathed in the two tin baths by an open coal fire. After the family evening meal, Uncle Will would lift me on his knee and read from the treasured book.
I often think on those evenings, where beautiful baritone or tenor voices filled the living room accompanied by the robust mezzo or soprano voices of my aunts singing beloved hymns or operatic arias. Sometimes they would include popular songs or carols. But my most cherished memory was of Uncle Will reciting the works of the great poets. Some of the poetry dwelt on the beauty of nature and some to the poverty of the day, the pathos of children dying from starvation or women begging for a crust of bread. For a child, it was a mixture of infectious joy, magic, and heartrending sadness revealed in the golden leafed pages of the family book of poetry.
So my love of poetry and writing was born.
When uncle Will passed away, he left me his beloved book. With yellowed pages and battered cover, it was a family heirloom which I treasure. The title is ‘The Thousand Best Poems in the World.’ The Dedication reads, This series of books is hopefully and lovingly dedicated to the Unity of Man.
The Preface is beautiful and echoes the voice of the day given hereunder.
‘This little book of poetry contains fully half of the poetic gems of the world collected together for the first time. Campbell defines poetry as ‘The Eloquence of Truth.’ Shelley defines it as ‘Man’s best Thoughts expressed in their best language. In their happiest moments.’ And indeed, poetry contains the noblest of human thought expressed in the most telling, the most pleasant and the most easily remembered form……’
The Preface ends with the words, portraying the effects of poetry on the reader.
‘….poetry has been appreciated by millions in the past, and I believe that hundreds of millions in the future will more frequently take up their favourite book of poetry to read themselves, or say to some dear friend in the spirit, if not in the words of the best poets of humanity:-’
‘Come, read to me some poem,
Some simple and heartfelt lay,
That shall soothe this restless feeling and banish the thoughts of the day.
Come, read from the treasured volume
The poem of thy choice,
And lend to the rhyme of the poet
The beauty of thy voice.
And the night shall be filled with music,
And the cares that infest the day,
…. Shall silently steal away.

I would so love to include a couple of incredible poems from this treasured book, but I have only so much space for this article. So I hope you will enjoy those I will put in the post for next month.
There is no date on this editIon. I have searched the Internet and can only find one with the same cover with a ‘circa 1900.’

First page entitled: ‘THE LIBRARY OF THE FUTURE.
LONDON: HUTCHINSON & CO. (PublisherPs) LTD.

Please take a peek inside my book Love Letters From a Snowman. Available to read for free on Amazon with your Kindle Unlimited Subscription.

Regards from England,

Katy Walters

A Hidden Treasure.

Last time I wrote for the blog, it was about the origin of languages spoken and written. I still intend to do more on that subject, but for the time being, I am happy to share some thoughts with my fellow authors on the promotion of books old and new. 

In the very beginning, I had a publisher, but that was quite short-lived – too many restrictions. I switched to Indie and have thoroughly enjoyed the freedom of choosing when and what I would like to write. I also have this urge to write across the genres often within the same book, so it doesn’t help my being discovered by some publisher who is going to offer me a six-figure income, fame and the number I in Kindle Amazon.  No, I don’t think that’s going to happen. So I shall stick to saying tongue in cheek, I am so happy to be writing for myself.

 So onwards and upwards. I see Amazon now have a genre named Mashup which really suits me. At present, I am writing an erotic comedy and also a semi-serious medical book, following that is a historic trilogy weaving away in the back of my mind. They are all so different in genres, though. I didn’t mean to write erotica, and maybe it isn’t. Rather it could be sweet erotica!!  Nothing (cough – cough) ever happens if you know what I mean. But there are some humorous, side-splitting expressions.

This leads me into my thoughts on the visibility of an author’s works. For a few years, I relied on Facebook, Twitter, and the occasional Google Ad, but now I find them to be quite ineffective. Especially as Facebook has insisted on Author pages; therefore keeping the main news thoroughfare free of authors promoting their books or readers searching for them. The author pages are a good idea, as authors can freely interact, concentrating solely on our books, but where does that leave our pool of would-be readers? I notice there is one author page that concentrates on readers and writers, and that is great, but so far it seems to be the only one! But, still I feel especially with FB, we authors are not allowed to engage with the general public for would-be readers and buyers.

I have found that putting my novels on the Authors Billboard website really does engage with the public. Through ill-health, I have been off the scene really for some time but before this period and now on recovering, I find that each time I put a book cover on Authors Bill Board, I truly sell some half a dozen books, new and old. I also find that boxsets have the same effect. I’ve just had a couple of readers  from India asking for two of my books that formed part of a trilogy. I had unpublished them whilst I renewed the covers. I feel sure the people read the first book of the trilogy in a box-set.

Now, to come to the subject of visibility; there are  some brilliant authors out there who are most probably feeling disheartened  as the usual outlets of FB, Google and Twitter fail to bring a response from would-be buyers of their new books.  I was too, as I put on a new comedy, having never written in that genre before only to find it was to put it politely a ‘bummer’ I’d tried FB and Twitter to no avail and then I got caught by those ‘TWEET ‘sites where they happily promise to get the book viewed by thousands upon thousands of readers, only to see my happy comedy die and sink like a brick to the ocean’s bottom.

Feeling a little low and vowing never to write comedy again, a friend, a fellow author kindly showed me the way – promotion sites – yes I know they’ve been around forever, but these are different, they are what they say they are, they truly do promote.   I am stunned at the response from using just two of these sites. My book ‘Listen to the Chicken’ shot up into the stratosphere in the Amazon Satire genre. So a big thank you to my friend. I realize now promotion means visibility through authentic promotion sites to the general reading public – no promises of thousands of tweets, no assurances of honest reviews, just pure promotion.  So I shall stick like glue to them.

I hope this helps some authors out there. Don’t feel disheartened; you know you can write. You have created something precious; something never read before an original work – a creation. It’s like a new species of the tree never seen before, yes it might have a trunk, branches, and leaves but it is an individual. So are you, you’re good, even maybe a genius, I am generally speaking here as you don’t have to be a genius to write, that can actually get in the way. I think it’s more to do with passion, emotions, the ability to arouse  feelings and connecting with your reader.

 So, your book can be the next high flyer; the next no. 1. It’s not the book that is failing; it’s the visibility that is lacking. It’s rather like the old fairy-tale, the princess imprisoned in the tower or another hidden away sleeping for a hundred years – they are saved by visibility – the prince. So nurture your creation, nurture it with authentic promotion sites – google them. I wish you every success.

So, as usual, I have been nattering away, but I shall cut it short. Intermittent visibility on the promotion sites with sensible fees is the way.

Just a little addendum, my ‘Chicken’ book soared twice, but now it needs a cannon to keep it up in the dizzy heights of the paid lists. I realize you just have to keep it up.  One promotion is not enough; so as I have already written, you have to promote intermittently. So good luck dear authors, I am so happy to be with you all again and wish you every success. 

The Source of Language – written and spoken.

The Source of Language?

Writing is actually a fascinating concept. I often ponder on how and why it evolved. Why did we start writing? Was it to facilitate trading? Did authorship develop from that same source? Or, was it an entirely different avenue? How did the two separate avenues of vocalization and symbolic language evolve? Did people listen to the trickles of a stream or the raging of a volcano and try to mimic them and in so doing build up a language. Did signs, the separate consonants, and vowels evolve from the vocal sound of a whistling wind or a raging storm?
When I was writing my latest novel it began as a historic suspense romance but changed to comedy which I’ve never aspired to write but did when faced with illness. The point is, in my story; an Immortal appears in the later chapters. As authors know full well, characters have a habit of just springing into a novel without any prior warning and the writer if being true to his or her muse, does not delete it. So I came to the point of this character’s language. Yes, he did have one, but how would it sound?
How would immortals or even our earliest ancestors exchange goods or ideas? Would they vocalize the sound of the raging wind, the crackle of thunder, the howl of a wolf? Further, how would they put it down in writing? Would they use signs that literally describe the wind? If one looks at the letter ‘W’ it does actually give the initial sound of the wailing of the wind. Now it’s the same interpretation in German – interesting. So in portraying the language of an immortal, I imagined how he or she would vocalize the sound of space, nature, the elements, and animals. It was thought-provoking and made for interesting writing but then I realized my reader would be nonplussed with the variation of description and use of vowels. I know I was. So I deleted hours of the painstaking adaption of our language to the renderings of the Immortal.
I do appreciate the system of writing form varies; the Egyptian symbology is different to the Chinese, and so on.
So I thought maybe if I did a little research on each writing system I might glimpse the source of writing if not vocalization. Maybe with a fleeting thought might come some enlightenment? So for starters. The letter ‘O’ simulates the howling of a wolf, the ‘o’ has facets of the howl as does the ‘w’ as it carries on the wind. How did these vowels come about?
At university, amongst other subjects, I did study the etymology and formation of our modern language from two main roots of our Western language, the soft poetic lilt, of Latin languages and the harsh pragmatism of the Teutonic; of course there are the softer tones in the Germanic language, but that is another area of debate. We were instructed to write one short story using the Teutonic roots and then another from the Latin. I had to work through dictionaries for nearly every word. It was not tiring at all, it was fascinating. It appears a crime novel benefits from the use of the Teutonic – Germanic languages whilst a romance needs the Latin. I see I’ve written enough for now but will return next time with more ideas and hopefully, you will have some as well, I would welcome your input and comments

On my Blindness – can they save me?

 Firstly, my consultant asked me to try and warn as many people as possible about a rare eye condition, Acute Angle Glaucoma. It is so important that people have their eyes checked regularly. So I thought that it might be of help to some dear readers who read this article.

I love good health – banal statement but true.   Never had a really bad day for years. Okay the normals – flu yep – kidney stones yep – Raynauds yep, all very common.  But I own to a  gritty determination and some brain cells to help me on my way.

When three lethal illnesses knocked on my door, I battled through. I’m not very brave, but I made it.  Then one day, I went to the optician. I couldn’t see the subtitles very well on the TV. I thought nothing of it and just looked forward to an eye test and some ‘glam’ new frames.

The first optician said I had tiny cataracts, but nothing to worry about, only I did need stronger glasses.  I was pleased to choose some ’glam’ frames. But, I wasn’t happy, even with these new glasses; the sub-titles were still fuzzy.  I went to another optician, who said I had medium cataracts; I just needed my new glasses adjusting. So I thought I’d have more ‘glam’ frames with tiny crystals on the rims.  After two weeks of wearing them, I could hardly see the TV sub-titles I was also seeing halos. So my gritty determination raised its head; I went to another optician; this guy’s office was in an old house tucked away in a side street.  But he’d treated pilots in the Royal Air Force – he was brilliant.   After an hour long examination he said quietly ‘I’d like to send you to the hospital – see a consultant.’ 

 I still didn’t think too much, nothing could be as bad as my torn oesophagus, which still isn’t good but it’s okay.

Could it? Could it be as bad as a torn oesophagus? Oh yes it could. I went along to see the consultant at the hospital eye clinic.  Nice guy, about sixty years old, brilliant and brutal.  So after an hour long examination, two nurses suddenly entered the room and stood either side of me.  The Consultant drew up his chair into the middle of room and sat facing me.  It looked like an interview with a     Godfather. He said. ‘Look I’m going to give it to you straight. I want you to understand this is serious.

I nodded. He said, ‘you have Chronic Acute Angle Glaucoma.’ I raised my eyebrows – never heard of it, but I waited.  

He said, ‘you need treatment immediately. I’m not going to beat about the bush; you have a serious condition – very serious. I want you to know – you need treatment now.’

I nodded, still not worried really. Why was he talking to me like this? Did he think I was a moron?  Of course I understood what he was saying, yes, I needed treatment. Then he took a breath – this is true – absolutely step by step. 

He said, ‘it’s like this, if you don’t get this treated, you will go blind. It happens in seconds. One moment you’ll be talking to me and in the next thirty seconds you’ll be blind. If you don’t have treatment you will go blind – everything will go black.  We won’t be able to get it back.’

I just sat still – couldn’t react, couldn’t think – just listened. I felt the nurse’s hand on my shoulder.  I knew then why the nurses were in the room. But I didn’t have fit of hysterics; I went still – silent.

I looked at him. Silence.

Then he spread his arms wide. ‘I mean this, you must have treatment, you can’t not have treatment. I’m going to give you a list and I want to you study it. If you have any of these symptoms before I see you again, you must come immediately to the hospital. You’re now an ‘Emergency’. Until we start treatment, if you have any of these conditions – nausea – headache – blurry eyes – see halos you get to a hospital fast, we’ll only have six hours to operate to save you going blind.

I nodded – numbly and left. Hubby was downstairs in the waiting area when I appeared. He walked over to me and I whispered. I don’t know why I whispered, ‘got some news – tell you outside.’

I didn’t. Riding back in the car with Brian I was mainly silent, – very unusual for me. I just said, ‘tell you when we get back.’ He could tell I didn’t want to talk. How could I? We were on busy main roads; I just didn’t want a car crash. I’m, sure he’d have been okay, but that was the way I was thinking then.

 Two minutes away from home I saw the daffodils on the central island of the roundabout. Beautiful – yellow – bright yellow daffodils. I drank it all in. I wanted to remember them. I wondered if I would be able to see them in my mind if I went blind. Anyway, once back indoors, I actually made some coffee, then sat down and said, ‘‘Brian, I’m, going blind. ‘

There’s no good way to say it.

That night, I googled – wish I hadn’t. It was bad. What if I couldn’t get to the hospital in time. What if it was the middle of the night and there were no taxis? Why were they waiting? No one could say if the treatment would be a success – permanent.

The next morning I sat in front of my PC and thanked God I was a touch typist. At least if I did go blind, I could type. I could still write. But my typing wasn’t that good. I wouldn’t see the mistakes. Could I afford an editor? But my passion wouldn’t die just because I was going blind – would it? I’d find a way, maybe dictate it? Would I be able to tell a story instead of writing it?  I now have tears in my eyes writing this. I haven’t cried, up until right now – four months after the verdict.

So anyway, I realized as I waited for treatment, I could laugh or cry. If I got all morbid, my family would cry, my friends would cry, my cockapoo would cry. And she wouldn’t know what she’s crying about. No – I had to laugh.  Yes – laugh. Not hysterical laughter, just laughter – I desperately needed that in my life right then. That very morning I scoured the TV for comedy films.  I was half-way through writing a chilling novel on haunting, I decided to rewrite it as a comedy – laugh at the blackness to come.  I would write comedy.  I’d also watch comedy films, and read comedy books.

Short history: as a child, I wrote comedy spats at school – even the headmistress came to see them; they were ridiculous and childishly funny. Then I wrote jokey little stories to my sister ill with TB in a sanatorium. But then things happened; my life changed.  I was ten and I grew up fast. I turned to poetry –  more and  more. Later, I turned to psychology. I came from an abused childhood, with a social phobia – crippling, but in a way it gave me direction. Now I’m just so glad I studied to be a psychologist.  To keep it short, I had twenty years of love, sadness, tears, laughter and incredible clients whom I loved and who loved me back – we still do.

I decided to ‘change direction’, as I call it – I turned to writing; back to my first love.

So that brings me back to that first morning, when I decided to face the threat of blindness with laughter in my life.

I turned to Amazon and picked up a book by Nick Spalding, ‘Checking Out’, seemed appropriate, a comedy.  I was laughing in minutes but before that, I didn’t like comedy books, wouldn’t touch them with a barge pole and here I was alone in my study, laughing  and in stitches –true!!!, This guy was my saviour, brilliant. I didn’t think anyone or anything would pick me up so fast. Thank you Nick. You don’t know me, but I’m thanking you. I thought the comedy might just break the morbidity of the dark world of blindness. It did more, Nick’s book, picked me up, swung me around in whirl of laughter, and saved me. I love him – always will.   I love Ricky Gervais too, I watched his films – all that were on TV and his stand-up comedy shows.

So just to finish the tale, back at the hospital a few days later after the diagnosis, they realized I had raging blood pressure – who wouldn’t after that? They couldn’t do the operations – boring a hole in my irises and other things. So the race was on to get the blood pressure down; I was on the verge of a stroke now and spent two days in hospital. Thank God the meds kicked in.

I had moments of terror, why – why were they waiting to do the op’ when it was such a lethal condition?  But, I had to leave it to them.  

We won through; it took twelve weeks of A & E treatment, drops and waiting and laser operations – twenty minutes long. I had to stay still, I did I was terrified. 

Now the good news – four months later.  The good doctors and nurses, saved forty per cent of my sight. They can’t restore it, but Lord, I can see.  That’s all I want, I don’t care if I wear pebble glasses, I don’t  care if I still can’t see the subtitles on the TV.   I don’t care if I can’t see that car on the road racing towards me and Lucy – my cockapoo. There’s always someone there to see me across the road.  You know, I never realized just how kind and helpful strangers can be. So many good hearts holding out a hand.

Writing this four months later, after treatment,  I’ve finished my first comedy book, ‘Listen to the Chicken.’ By the way, I can still see those daffodils in my mind. Of course my eyes are deteriorating but the doctors tell me they can control it now. But – oh yes, but, they can’t promise. Maybe the condition will outlive me, I don’t know, I don’t care – I think. Right now and for some time I can see. I can get on with writing – comedy.

So dear friends, I’m sitting here today and for the very first time I’m writing about it – I just couldn’t before. But now, I’m listening to music – the golden beat of Magic Slim and the Blues Jeans Blues Band – bliss and writing another comedy.

I feel good and I want to say to all of you dear readers out there, that have this bloody condition, there  is hope – experts who can save or prolong your sight, you just have to do all they say, have the lasers, the operations, take the drops and laugh – yes laugh – read a comedy book!!! Of course there are fears, I’m not a robot, but just read the bookJ 

So now I realize the reason why the doctor was so darn blunt. He was trying to save my sight. There must be some sufferers who haven’t listened to him or other doctors, some who haven’t turned up for the treatments and then one morning woken up blind.  So please, don’t waste any time – have your eyes tested regularly. Two opticians didn’t pick up my condition, the third one did – thank you God.  So don’t accept blurry sight.  Just keep searching for the optician that agrees – there’s a reason why you have blurry eyes.

 Acute Angle Glaucoma is very rare, only 2 percent of the population have it. One more thing, if you have the gene, make sure your family are tested too, the consultant told me I had to warn each member of my family to have regular eye tests.

So back to ’Listen to the Chicken.’ It saved me during those months. I loved doing the cover too.  I also love to paint, the paintings sold all over the world. But I’m just sticking to the writing and digital art right now!!

Love you all.

P.S. As I said, just writing the second comedy book. Haven’t got a title yet. I think it might be ‘Follow the Cockapoo!!