Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Kaki Warner: From Almost Nearly Semi-Famous to Nearly Semi-Famous

One of Five Scribes favorite guests is the phenomenal Kaki Warner. She's as fun and (dare I say it) nice as she is talented. I wondered if a RITA win for best first book for PIECES OF SKY would change her. What's more, she's got her new Runaway Brides trilogy going, I'll let readers decide for themselves. Please welcome Kaki Warner.

Since winning a RITA thirty-three days ago—you didn’t hear about that? Maybe you should get out more—things have changed. For one, I’ve built a lovely shrine for her in the garden nestled between the cosmos and butterfly plant. OK. I didn’t actually build a shrine. That would be tacky. I mostly set her on a rock, took a pic, then rushed her back inside before she got smudged, or tarnished or a bird left a digestive indiscretion on her. She’s currently on my mantle, which suits her…although I still think she looks lonely. I asked for suggestions on facebook, and she received some fine offers of companionship from (among others) Ken, Buzz Lightyear, a rather bedraggled Six Million Dollar Man, an entire battalion of GI Joe’s (do they think she’s a slut?), Anthony Weiner, the governor of California, and Tiger Woods. I believe she’s leaning toward Woody. Something about the name, I think. So she’s happy. The rest of the family is…well, you can read about my husband’s reaction here:


As for the loon hound, she hasn’t quit howling. But then, she never does. Bless her heart.

But there are other changes, too. In addition to sky-rocketing from almost nearly semi-famous to the lofty ranks of the nearly semi-famous—you have heard of me, right? And winning a RITA? Oh. Well I won’t bore you with that old story again, HA, HA. Another big change is that I can’t leave the house without sunglasses. Admittedly, they’re prescription, but still, it’s a bother. Luckily it doesn’t turn dark here until after 9PM, and I’m rarely invited out—probably because my new famousness intimidates people.

But here’s the odd thing. One would think winning a RITA (see above) would be a huge emotional boost. And it was—right up there behind shock, disbelief, incredulity, astonishment, and maybe shock. And gratitude—lots and lots of that. But once that first rush faded and my heart quit palpitating and I had stopped gasping long enough to change my unmentionables, that rude, hateful voice that echoes inside every writer’s head began to snicker. “One shot wonder”—“It’s just a first book. What about the rest?”—“It was a pity award. They knew how long it took you to write it and felt sorry for you”, and my personal favorite—“Are you shitting me? YOU?”

We’ve all heard about the RITA winner who left the RWA Conference with her coveted statuette and was never heard from again (Maybe not, but I’m sure she’s out there). And now I know the cause: Fear. Doubt. Plummeting self-confidence. Because when you finally meet a cherished goal (or like me, actually surpass it), suddenly EXPECTATIONS soar.

Can I live up to RITA? What if I can never, EVER, write another book worth reading! Kill me now!

Pathetic, huh?

But Donnell asked, so there it is—how fame and a very heavy, gold (fake, but nice, nonetheless) statuette has both lifted up a newbie writer and cast her into the depths of despair. I know what you’re thinking: “That poor dear. What can I do to make her feel better?” Well, here’s how! Just go get my latest book, HEARTBREAK CREEK! As sales numbers climb past double digits, my confidence will be restored! All because of YOU!

And anyway, it’s a pretty good book. I doubt it’ll win a Pulitzer, HA,HA…well, maybe. But still, it’s a fun read and there’s a couple of nasty parts where I say “breasts”. There’s a summary and excerpt on my website: http://www.kakiwarner.com (catchy name, huh?). Check it out for yourself.

But if you’re feeling extra lucky and want to win a free copy, autographed by a real RITA winner, just leave a comment about how you’ll behave when YOU win (which you will—if I can, you can) your RITA, or EDGAR, or NEWBERRY, or DAPHNE, or whatever. (And when you do, I hope you’ll get more out of it from your “loved one” than pastrami on rye. Although, it was pretty ding-dang tasty, and I didn’t have to fix it, so there’s that.)

Fame. What will you do when it comes knocking on your door?

Kaki Warner is an award-winning author and long time resident of the Pacific Northwest. Although she now lives on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains in Washington State, Kaki actually grew up in the Southwest and is a proud graduate of the University of Texas. Her years spent riding horses and enjoying the expansive views of Texas became the inspiration for the backdrop of her novels - the wide-open spaces of historic New Mexico Territory.

Several years ago after their two children had left for college, Kaki and her husband, Joe, moved from the city to their hilltop cabin overlooking the scenic Methow Valley. Kaki now spends her time gardening, hiking, reading, writing, and soaking in the view from the deck with her husband and floppy-eared hound dog.

Kaki drew two winners to received one of her books! Congratulations to Susan Boyer and Lisa Potacar!!!


Susan Schreyer said...

Congratulations on your win, Kaki! It's a very BIG deal and you deserve to celebrate. Took a lot to get there -- no matter who you are.

Don't know how I'd handle a win -- probably the same way you describe :)Best of luck with your future books. I'll definitely go look this one up. After all, we're practically neighbors! (lucky you, living in the Methow Valley!)

bookworm54 said...

Congrats on your win! You deserve it for your books are very good-and it took you awhile for you to get there.I'm really not sure how I'd handle it if I won,just by winning a book I do alittle happy dance around my little living room floor-keep writing for they are take me back to days that I think about alot!

Edie Ramer said...

What a fun post. Congrats on your win! I'm definitely checking out your book.

Since I'm self-published, I won't be eligible for RWA's RITA, unless they change the rules. (I think a lot of us won't be.) But I have won RWA chapter contests in the past, which always made me feel as if my feet weren't quite touching the ground as I walked. I'm sure winning the RITA must feel as if you're walking five feet in the air.

Jennifer Lowery (Kamptner) said...

Very fun blog! You are very down-to-earth and a joy to read. Congrats on the RITA-what an honor. I'm sure your fame will only get bigger and better :) Now I'm going to read your book.
Have a great day.

Donnell said...

Kaki, you nut. Noooo, I'd never heard about the RITA winner leaving the RWA conference with her statuette never to be heard from again. Maybe since the loon hound seems to be attached to RITA, we could set him outdoors in search of her .

Susan, yes, Kaki is in your neck of the woods, and her property sounds amazing. She has bears and deers and heaven knows what else clamoring about her land.

bookworm, I agree. I read this woman's books. All kidding aside, she's a brilliant storyteller.

Edie, you've opened a new frontier for writers and for RWA. It will be interesting to see the changes in the next few years, heck, the way the industry changes, years.

Jennifer, Kaki is down-to-earth, which makes it a pleasure to read her as well.

Susan M. Boyer said...

Congratulations, Kaki! A Rita win is a VERY big deal. Enjoy basking in the glow. :)

I so enjoyed this post. (I confess I was unfamiliar with loon hounds.) But I will definitely check out Pieces of Sky.

Donnell, you are so right--it will be interesting to watch the industry changes over the next year.

Wow, you chicks get up early! :)

kakiwarner said...

Good morning, ladies, and thanks for the warm welcome.

Susan, I'm so excited to hear from a "practically neighbor" and fellow horse person. And that's a GORGEOUS animal in your pic. Do you show? I hope you'll try out my books, but if you pick up Pieces of Sky, you might skip the opening scene--it's a hard one for horse lovers (me, too).

Bookworm, thank you for the kind words. Winning anything is fun (that's why we have BINGO, I think). And yeah, 25 years is a long time--apparently, it took a quarter century for me to get smart enough to write it right.

Edie, congratulations on your contest wins--nothing quite beats recognition from your peers, does it? And I applaud your determination to get your stuff out there. That takes courage and perserverence. Good for you.

Jennifer, LOL. Yeah, I am pretty down to earth--since I've known myself for years (foolishness and all), it's hard to take me seriously. But I promise if my fame soars I won't go all Charlie Sheen on you. HA!

Donnell, the loon hound can barely find her own ass. (Which we don't encourage, by the way). I just don't want her to think RITA is another chew toy. (But then, she's not much of a thinker, either).

E. B. Davis said...

LOL! Kaki, great way to get book sales. I'm biting, anything to help a writer over her anxiety. Your feelings are quite understandable, though. Like most of life, winning must have its plusses and minues, sweet and sours, a double-edged sword--darn can't think of any more cliches, but I get it. That doesn't mean I don't want it too! Good for you, and have fun with it.

Donnell said...

Susan, I believe (Kaki will correct me, she always does :)the loon hound is just a crazy hound dog. Yep, don't blink. You'll miss something about publishing. Who would have thunk we'd be signing our Kindles. Next step Nook will come out with it. I'm changing Kenny Rogers & the Fifth Editions song... Just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in... to just dropped in to see my new application

E.B. Kaki commands the stage when she's in a room, and yet I see her sweating bullets (talk about cliches). How funny that she can write like a dream and yet have fears like the rest of us humans. She's a joy to read and hang around.

Thanks for stopping by, everyone!

Vince said...

Hi Kaki:

You wrote:

“One shot wonder”—“It’s just a first book. What about the rest?”—“It was a pity award. They knew how long it took you to write it and felt sorry for you”…

To which I quote:

“The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”
Hamlet Act 3, scene 2

Your comments would have more bite if you hadn’t already written three more stellar books!

A writer with a RITA is much more likely to win another RITA than a writer without one!

Here’s from my review of last year:

“Open Country” is compelling reading. There is a surprise at every turn. Characters are real and not stereotypes. The historical details are so convincing, the book reads like a contemporary author actually wrote it in 1871. The descriptions are like looking at photographs. In short, “Open Country” is a unique 5-Star book that you won’t soon forget.”

I don’t think there is any chance your RITA is going to be an only child!


P.S. I’m now reading “Heartbreak Creek” and loving the cast of characters.

Donnell said...

Ah, Vince, you do have a wonderful way with words.

kakiwarner said...

Vince, I think I love you. We missed you at the conference. And now with these lovely comments I owe you another hug. Wait. That's not why you didn't come to CB this year, is it?

Susan, loon hounds look a lot like coon hounds, but without the brains...which is why they bark at daylight...which is why I get up so early.

E.B., I'll pimp myself any way I can. Ask Vince. Just kidding. Maybe. I'm glad my whining is working. Thanks for trying my books. And keep writing. Your day will come.

Theresa said...

Kaki, you are nuts as usual. They gave you the Rita for a great book--however, Open Country remains my favorite! And the new series is pretty dang great too. Though you know I'm a fan, you are no one book wonder.
Just have fun writing stories --for ME. Seriously. Don't let your publisher push you into speed writing. Have fun writing and that will translate into a great story for us to read!
Afterall, a Rita should buy you some bargaining power with the powers that be!!!

Donnell said...

What T. said, Kaki!

kakiwarner said...

And thanks to both of you, T. and Donnell. I've never known more generous and supportive ladies. I love ya'll.

Theresa said...

Aw Kaki,
Don't make us out to be nicer than we are. Expectations and all. Donnell and I have just got great taste and little patience for mediocrity.

Donnell said...

Well, I tried mediocrity once, but T nailed me on it, so I quit ;)

jennymilch said...

Wow, are you sure you don't write humor? This was a terrific post. And big congrats. Seems like it was well deserved. I bet your sophomore follow up wins two :)

Vince said...

Hi Kaki:

I’d love a hug,
but at a mile high,
I might gasp for breath;
perhaps not survive!

Too much excitement
-- too little 02:
it’s just something my body
can no longer do.

I can fly planes
even wrestle the devil
but a writer’s conference:
now requires sea level.

(: - ))

Vince said...

Hi Theresa:

I agree with you. I think “Open Country” is the most powerful! This is even a greater achievement when you consider that the middle book in a trilogy is often the weakest.

The first book opens with a bang and the most story options. The last book closes with a full blast of energy. There is no reason to hold anything back. The middle book must bridge the gap between two sets of restrictions without raining on the finale’s parade.

I think the more you are into writing, the more you will enjoy Kaki’s books.


kakiwarner said...

Love the poem, Vince. A man of many talents. We'll definitely miss you at CB's future conferences. Maybe we'll cross paths elsewhere. And I didn't know the middle book of a trilogy was the weakest. I never thought about it--but Open Country might be my favorite, too, because Hank and Molly are smart and capable and don't stand for Brady's BS.

Jenny--no, I don't write humor, but I have a pretty odd sense of humor. In fact, it's sort of a failing. I'm a real bast as funerals.

Donnell said...

Kaki, this message if from Lisa Potocar, who had trouble posting :)

When it rains it pours. If I were to win an award for my first novel, I’d run out and buy a lottery ticket—the likelihood of a win in either pool is great. So keep on celebrating your most excellent achievement in the RITA, Kaki. And I hope for lots more of your captivating writing to come!