Cherry Blossoms, The National Mall, and Books

Hello, my friends! What a wonderful Spring we’re having. A thin, yellow sheet of pollen dusts my car at the budding births of plants, but I, and my looming headaches, refuse to cave to the abyss of sinus misery that comes with the brilliant waves of green grass and colorful spread of flowers covering flowerbeds near and far. No, I will exude enthusiasm for the abounding beauty, and thank my lucky stars, too.

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Why is that, you ask? Well, to be perfectly blunt, I try a bit of optimism sprinkled with the daily drudgery of paying bills, chronic illness, and the pitter patter of children’s feet that turn into a thundering herd the second an ill-conceived slight has been batted from one to the other. Mount Vesuvius erupts, and I try to stay calm in spite of the earsplitting castigations spewed forth from once angelic offspring.

Yes, a vacation was needed, and a vacation, of sorts, I got. My first trip with the family in over five years began with a car ride to the Carolinas. Never having visited where some of my ancestors perched a blue moon ago, I walked in their footsteps, and placed flowers on a relative’s grave that I wished I could have known. Poignant, uplifting, and soul cleansing, the walk through history did these middle-aged bones good. All in all, the Carolinas were a breath of fresh air in the otherwise shrinking world that I currently reside. It was a chance to step outside and take off the many hats that we all juggle and remember, think, and observe with a quiet gratitude for those who treaded through harrowing paths before mine.

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As if that wasn’t enough, off we headed with our brood to a surprise destination. Planned on the sly, my children were sleuths in the dead of night, planning and betting where we’d end up. Sadly, the surprise turned out to be all in my head as they adeptly figured out that Washington D.C. was our destination.

Oh Washington, how sweet the cherry blossoms sway. Throngs of people and motorists swarm your streets to immerse in your secrets, history, and high-priced lodgings. Pink tipped extremities burned and tingled in your gale force winds that not even a thick, fur lined coat (not real fur, folks!) could shut out. We grace your city streets full of honking motorists, braved our way through endless bag checks, metal detectors, and x-ray machines to enter the belly of the beast known as The National Mall.

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Now, for anyone NOT familiar with The National Mall, it is not a mall at all. Instead of filled with storefronts and eateries, it is jam-packed with ancient relics, noble attire, and precious stones that would make an historian apoplectic. Museums, my friends, that go on for miles, and you can’t visit them all. No-ho-ho! We would have needed to stay a couple of weeks or more to purview the multitude of historical papers, inventions, and history that abounds behind those hallowed walls. Free to the public, one could bask in the glory of dinosaurs, mineral ores and precious gemstones, ancient Egyptian mummies, and stuffed animals galore.

Of course, my family had a predestined path of visiting the Museum of Natural History, the Museum of American History, and the American Air and Space Museum. Pounding foot to pavement, we must have walked several miles each day to take in the sights, including the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument. I have to say, though, that The National Archives took my breath away.

Of all the places we visited, The National Archives was the quietest. The U.S. Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the granddaddy of them all, The U.S. Constitution were kept in a dim room, stationed under thick, bulletproof glass, and surrounded by guards. The faded ink could not hide the significance of those beautiful documents. Nothing could break the reverie that I felt in those few moments as we all patiently waited in line to see what those Founding Fathers signed all those years ago.

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One by one, man, woman, and child filed in orderly fashion. Some pointed, some asked questions to the armed guards, but all were respectful. Of course, I’m brimming with pride as the wide-eyed wonder of my children peered at those documents that have been burned into their memory banks from multiple school lessons. I stood a little bit taller explaining the significance of each document to my children. When at last we viewed The U.S. Constitution, I admit that I held back a tear. Not wanting to draw attention, I pointed out the signatures to my children and hesitated for a second before walking off in awe.

So, as my family is making our way down the marbled staircase to exit the building, I glance down at my youngest son, who is in the second grade, and I enthusiastically stated how happy I was to have seen those documents with my own eyes to which he replied, “They only displayed a part of The U.S. Constitution.” In my astonishment, I stared down at him, stopped on the stairwell. “What?” I asked. He said, “They only showed through Article Four. That’s not right.”

In my chagrin and in an attempt to not snicker, I proceeded down the stairwell and out the door. Now, I’m exceptionally proud of my son for knowing that there are more than four articles to The U.S. Constitution. I’d be willing to bet that lots of adults probably don’t remember that. However, as little as he is, I can assure you that the whole document was there. Drat those little legs!

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Anyway, we walked, watched, and walked some more, trying to see as much as our sore feet would allow. At the end of two days, we were exhausted. Happy, but exhausted. So, ready to throw in the towel, we awoke the next morning wondering what was next. And that’s when my other dream came true.

Packed back into the cramped car, we all passed the time listening to the radio while stuck in bumper to bumper traffic. I, like my children, took in the countryside of Maryland as we headed North to … Gettysburg. As a huge history nerd, I’ve always wanted to visit, but time, money, and circumstances never allowed me the honor. So, when my spouse sprung it on us the night before, I was thrilled to say the least. The 70 mile journey took an hour and a half, but it was well worth it. Snuggled into the countryside and just across the Pennsylvania border, we arrived.

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Since I’d learned a lot over the years from my father and brother about Gettysburg, I anticipated a few things. However, I was taken aback at the scope of the battlefield. I have walked a few Civil War sites in my time, but there was no walking Gettysburg. The Visitor’s Center was a treasure trove of relics, an outstanding movie narrated by Morgan Freeman, and a cafeteria that met my youngest’s approval.

After spending a couple of hours at the Visitor’s Center, the kids and I got our picture taken by the metal statue of Abraham Lincoln and off we went to buckle up for a three hour audio ride around the park. Although I do have to mention that I picked up a few books in the store about Lincoln, the Civil War, and Civil War Pharmacy. All of which will be used for the third installment of The Protectorate series!

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In a nutshell, we had a great time. Even my kids didn’t complain. All in all, I’d say it was a win. Of course, I wouldn’t take toddlers or babies as you wouldn’t get your money’s worth, but it’s a must for any history lover out there.

After returning home, I took the time to reminisce about our quick break to the Carolinas, D.C., and Gettysburg, and my spouse and I decided we’d take on The Freedom Trail next, but for now I’ll cherish the memories and am grateful for a much needed respite.

As for book news, I’ll give you this little tidbit to nibble upon. The Guardians is being edited as I write, and I’m happy to say that publication is right around the corner. Book cover is done, and rewrites have been worked. So, stay tuned!

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© photo by IM²

What about you?! What trips have you taken recently? Do you have a favorite vacation spot? Are you a history lover? Comment below!

Until then, happy reading!

K.D.

Cover Reveal and New Year Tidings!

Hello! I hope everyone had a pleasant New Year’s celebration, and I hope most are avoiding the nasty flu virus that’s spreading throughout most of the USA. Last year was productive, and I’m excited for 2018. I’m off to the races with the next in The Protectorate series with The Guardians set to debut either at the end of January or February.

Anna’s harrowing journey continues into her prophetic past as we rejoice in her triumphs and cry right along with her in her trials. On a worldwide rat race to uncover the mysteries surrounding her birth and the inherited role she must assume, Anna struggles for answers where friends become enemies and family are not who they seem.

I invite you to take this adventure with Anna in the second book of the series: The Guardians! Write a review and/or contact me on Twitter, FB, or here when you do.

Additionally, it wouldn’t be a new year without a new reading list. I’m up to my eyeballs in work and pleasure books, and I’m determined to read them all. Overachiever? Perhaps. Bibliophile? Absolutely!

At present, I’m reading Magnus Chase and The Gods of Asgard, Scarlet: The Lunar Chronicles, Archie Greene and the Alchemists’ Curse, Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America, My Dirty Fairytale, Paranoia: The Story of Jenni, and Origin to name a few. Yes, I read multiple books at once as it helps tremendously with my writing, meaning more wonderful books to churn out for my fantastic readers! Romance, YA, Suspense, Thriller, Mystery: I love them ALL. So, if you’ve got any you’re reading, please comment below and tell me which ones I should add to my TBR list of 2018.

So now, without further ado, I’m excited to present the cover for The Guardians.

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© protected image by IM²/Innovations Publications

Happy reading,

K.D.

 

New Adventures of K.D. Upton

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Photo by Anita Martinz

Good day to all! Spring has sprung, especially the allergies, and I’m on a new course of writing like never before. Daily challenges aside, I’ve put pencil/pen to paper almost everyday this year, and I’m thrilled at all the progress. Of course, writing is like fine wine. It takes time, but I’ve got lots of fun and challenging adventures on the horizon that I can’t wait to share.

What’s on the list for this year? Glad you asked! The Protectorate series continues with Anna on a whirlwind trip across the globe, hounded by traitors and enemies alike. Ancient artifacts, archaic rites of passage, ill-inclined organizations, and personal struggles threaten to topple Anna’s fragile world in her quest of self, vengeance, and salvation. Teeth will gnash, guts will churn, and lives will be lost! Stay tuned;-)

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In addition to my labor of love, I’m gearing up for a new writing adventure. EDITOR. Yes! I’ve always had a passion for the written word, and I’m now embracing editing into my tasks of writing, blogging, medication consulting, and sleeping somewhere in between. With years of experience, professional publications, and nagging from other writing professionals, I’ll add a page on the blog in the near future for my anticipated launch as an editor. Looking forward to a great launch!

However, not only am I anticipating my book launch and editing, I’m knee-deep in craft books to hone dialogue, character arcs, plot, etc… I’m also on a steep learning curve when it comes to Photoshop, book trailers, merchandise, etc… It’s enough to make my brain explode. No matter the age, though, one can always learn! As I continue to rewrite/edit my current WIP, I enjoy learning/trying new techniques to take my writing to a higher level. With that in mind, I’d love to hear what sources you use for improvement in writing, and if you’ve got some easy pointers on how to navigate Photoshop, I’m all ears! Please comment below or send me a DM.

And if the above wasn’t enough, I’m learning a new language: Norwegian!!! Why? Well, I want to! My filled days make life worth living, and I encourage you to pick up a book, any book, and dream. That’s what life is for, isn’t it? Dream and then go after the dream. You’ll be glad you did;-)

Until next time, happy reading, happy writing, happy dreaming!

KD

Life Update!

Exciting times ahead, and I want to keep you updated. First, I’m all into Tai Chi for health! My health, like many out there, needs attention, and I’ve discovered the benefits of this ancient form of marital arts. As a writer, I’ve got to be centered, focused and as stress free as possible;-) Of course, stress is a common companion for any writer, but it doesn’t have to rule you. Plus, stress wrecks havoc on our immune systems, skin, hair, organs, you name it. So, if you haven’t tried Tai Chi, give it a go!

Next, I’m avidly writing the second installment of The Protectorate series. While it’s slow going, it’s coming along nicely. Like fine wine, my books get better with the wait;-) So, stay tuned as I get closer to finishing it and sending it off to my trusted and brilliant Beta Readers!

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In addition to life’s events and writing, I’m thrilled to read any second I get. My current reading list includes: The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki, Defiant Brides by Nancy Rubin Stuart along with lots of books/articles on George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Who says you can’t have fun researching? My love for all things historical runs deep, and I’m up to my shoulders in research for my series.

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Cover via Amazon.com

 

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Cover via Amazon.com

Lastly, I’m gearing up for a new path in writing, and I can’t wait to share it. However, I’ll release information on it in due time. Just know that lots of time, energy and effort have gone into this new project, and I’m thrilled for the opportunity!

So, what books are you reading? I’d love to know! Comment below and read on:-)

Happy writing/reading,

KD

And the Winner Is…

On Friday, I posted a poll and asked if you would be on Team Charlie or Team Noah, and I want to thank everyone who voted!

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised about the results. The winner with 67% of the votes was…

Charlie

Team Charlie!!!!

Charlie’s fair-haired persona and good looks do more than wreck havoc on poor Anna’s life. A top governmental agent, Charlie is Anna’s/Alex’s partner on assignments (yep, she’s two in one;0) always with a smart quip or innuendo. His high intellect, one of the reasons he was recruited, works beautifully with Anna’s tenacity and workaholic attitude. He is the Yin to her Yang, and they go on death defying missions, stealing artifacts of ill repute, rescuing governmental figures, and tasked to capture threats to the United States, all without the knowledge of governmental oversight; not even the President knows of their existence.

Flying under the radar, Charlie and Anna traipse across the globe earning the respect of their organization and each other until it all turns topsy turvy. When a failed mission destroys Anna’s recent memories and places her out of the view of the Department, Charlie’s task of not only finding her but restoring her memories turns from bad to worse.

Check out The Protectorate for a titillating ride of adventure, espionage and a two thousand year old rite of passage which threatens Anna’s very existence and pushes Charlie past the brink of despair and leads him questioning his feelings for her as well as the Department.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on The Protectorate! Feel free to message me your questions or thoughts, and reviews are always appreciated;-)

Thanks again for voting, and Happy reading,

KD