Annie Kenney&Christabe Pankhurst, England early 20th century

It’s downright painful to think about the women who fought for their vote and their freedom in the nineteenth-century. Women were kept in the kitchen, away from the real world, but they were cunning, seeking education, politics, and forming organizations to fight collectively. Among those who worked for our future are twentieth-century, Billie Jean King, Gloria Steinem, and nineteenth-century, Florence Nightingale, it’s a long list of women.

What do you think of when you think about the Civil War, the bloodiest war of all? What about the strong women left behind to work, to survive, to raise the kids? Acknowledged finally, women veterans are recognized.

North and South


Here’s an unreal statistic according to Google: Nearly as many men died in captivity during the Civil War as were killed in the whole of the Vietnam War. Hundreds of thousands died of disease. Roughly 2% of the population, an estimated 620,000 men and boys lost their lives in the line of duty.

So what happened? Has slavery disappeared? No, slavery still comes in many forms, caused by greed and passion for excess. Women are working hard to break the mold. Are we there yet? Are you part of the Me-Too fight? We still have work to do, do you agree?

My powerhouse Mom worked hard. The wholesale business she created within the family retail store was more than fulltime. She was a woman of great endurance, smart in business, keeper of the books, and well-respected. Mom broke the mold of domesticity. Hats off to all the Moms, strong women. I’m dazzled by those who have made a difference. Finding amazing women who changed the world is eye-opening. Who do you know that has made a difference? Will you share?





Greetings! I am Katy Lee and I am delighted to share a little bit about myself with you today.katy_lee_rita_photocrop

I think the most common question I get is, “Have I always written?” Nope! I am a reader, first and forever. Well, of course I tried my hand at writing . . .  alot . . . when I was younger, but writing was work, so I read instead. If you were to ask, I suppose I would tell you that although writing is tough, it’s not as hard as my worst job.

Gail: Alright Katy, then what was the worst job you’ve ever had?

Katy: I didn’t have to think too hard on this one. My worst job was when I was in my senior year of high school, and I answered an ad for an “educator” in the paper. I thought it would be great experience since I would be starting college to be a teacher soon. Before the day was through, I had a leather bound case over my shoulder and a street of doors to knock on…and have them slammed in my face. I was selling encyclopedias. Ugh!

So Gail,  can we move onto a more pleasant question: You’d like to know if I prefer oceans or mountains? Can I say both? One of my favorite states is Washington because it offers both at the same time. It is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been. The power of the Pacific Ocean with the majesty of Mt. Rainier in the backdrop. Stunning. And the sunsets on the horizon are breathtaking and serene.

Gail: Speaking of horizons, what’s next on yours?

Katy: I have a new series beginning December 1, 2015 for Love Inspired Suspense. The first of three books to take place in the White Mountains of New Hampshire will include an army captain and his faithful service dog, Promise, a golden Labrador retriever. I spent some time with the service dogs being trained for their masters returning home from war with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). The series will include a racing theme that follows more like the Fast & Furious movies rather than Nascar racing, but the series name explains it all. It’s called “Roads to Danger” and the first book is Silent Night Pursuit.

katy lee silentYou can preorder it now.

Gail: What is your writing process? Honestly, I’m still testing what works, especially since what used to work for me suddenly stopped. I used to write at night after 7PM. My children had me all day, and the evening became my time. I enjoyed my late nights, but I noticed my writing slowing down, my brain shutting off when I needed it to perform. I started to get nervous that I wouldn’t make my deadlines. But I had no other time in my day to write. Then I read an article about productivity, and the question the author of the article asked was: When is your brain most functional and who do you give that time of the day to?

I thought about it, but I already knew the answer. My mornings have always been my best time, my afternoons the worst. In college, I knew never to take a class in the afternoon. It was snoozeville all the way. So, okay, I had the answer to the first part, but what about the second? Who’s getting my best time?

I realized I spent one to two hours every morning answering and responding to emails and requests made by other people looking for me to help them be productive. They were requesting things from me, and I was responding, believing I was getting things off my plate so I could go about my day. I’m not saying ignore people, especially if it’s your boss, but now I choose to begin my mornings each day with 500-1,000 words in my manuscript before I even open my email. It takes me about one hour to reach that number, so I know if I start at 6AM, I can get my writing out of the way when my brain is most efficient. Then, bring on the emails, and the kids looking for breakfast, and my employer sending requests. Writing is my career, and I want my stories to be the best they can be. But that requires me giving it my best time of the day.

Since starting this regimen, I have been extremely productive, even making my deadlines early. I am seriously thinking I might be able to write another book a year at this rate, increasing my productivity to three books a year. The process has been golden to me, so we shall see.

Gail: What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?

Grave DangerHarlequin asked me this same question when my book, Grave Danger, was nominated for the RITA® from Romance Writers of America.

Here is what I said, “Create characters a reader would follow anywhere–across a cafe, across a desert, across a lifetime.”katy lee more





Thank you for having me today. I enjoyed sharing.


Katy Lee

Gail: Katy it’s a pleasure, thank you for visiting us today.

Katy’s Bio:

RITA® nominee Katy Lee is the author of six published novels. She writes suspenseful romances that thrill and inspire and believes all of her stories should stir and satisfy the reader—from the edge of her seat. A native New Englander, Katy loves to knit warm wooly things. She enjoys traveling the side-roads and exploring the locals’ hideaways. A homeschooling mom of three competitive swimmers, Katy often writes from the stands while cheering them on.

Katy is an active member of CTRWA, (Connecticut Chapter of Romance Writer’s of America). Visit Katy at  www.KatyLeeBooks.com

Readers, do you have any questions for Katy, please ask away.




Michael Graves

Michael Grave

  • Michael Graves, FAIA,* honored by Contract Magazine, with the Legend Award at their 2013 Interiors Awards, said in the article, Reflecting on the Legacy of a Legend of Design,** the April 2015 issue, “I’m very anxious in my own work to build up a life of experiences that are positive and get rid of the negative ones. And so, that idea of the practice of architecture for me is the fine-tuning of one’s aesthetic.” Graves died at his Princeton, New Jersey home on March 12, at age 80, after spending more than a decade in a wheelchair. Although he was paralyzed from the chest down and wheelchair-bound following a spinal cord infection in 2003, he continued leading his design firm and lecturing in a long career fine-tuning his approach to design. I remember as a student of architecture at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, attending his lectures and panel discussions about his work. To me, Graves, a brilliant architect, was infallible. Reading about his passing was shocking.
Michael with one of his teapots

Michael with one of his teapots (I gifted this one to my cousin Yael, for her wedding)

Based on my client poll, almost all agree that the kitchen is the core of the home, a gathering place. Architect and designer Michael Grave’s philosophy rated the kitchen a workplace that is symbolic of the family. Graves changed how we see artifacts designed for domestic use, as his tea kettles and fabrics for Target and artifacts for JC Penny depict. He said in a 2003 article for the Miele Resource Group Design Forum, “In my residential projects, I emphasize the quality of “domesticity,” which for me combines my interest in culture with the design of physical artifacts. Nowhere is this more important than in the kitchen. The kitchen is a source of sustenance, warmth and camaraderie. We, and the artifacts we use, should be equally comfortable in the home.

Graves other teapot for Target (same as in the photo with MG)

Graves other teapot for Target. Same as in the photo with MG above.


For example, in our own designs for kitchen tools, we keep both the hand and the machine in mind.” In plain language that means use tools that work well and look great.

MG teapot (he designed both here) I gave the other one a wedding gift to my cousin Yael.

MG teapot, this one is on my stove, looking elegant. When it whistles, it comes out that little brown bird in the spout  on the right. Do you see me at the bottom?

Graves said in the 2003 article that he sees increasing value being placed on the ability to customize residences around lifestyle choices. He expects the future to bring new and exciting selections of well-designed systems and individual designs for houses in their entirety as well as for rooms, furnishings and artifacts based on how one wants to live.” Since the kitchen is the functional and symbolic heart of the house, it has become the forefront of this movement.

Kitchens connect the pieces of the home, as well as the people using the home. Le Corbusier said, “A home is a machine to live in.” Can you see the similarity between the kitchen, as a machine to run the home, to Le Corbusier’s, a home is a machine to live in? Have you kept up with technology? Is your home designed well and does it function for your comfort? Have you brought the outside in, and have you brought the inside out? Do you use LED lamping (bulbs), have you installed solar roof panels? In 2003, some of this power saving technology was only a dream.

Michael Graves, you were here long enough to see those things happen. For one of my architectural genius’s, he has accomplished much, influenced many, changed lives for all. Long ago, I stayed at the then brand new Swan Hotel and did a report about it for my criticism program at Parsons. I am thinking about reporting on the Swan next week. No promises though.


*Fellow of the American Institute of Architects

**By John Czarnecki, Assoc. AIA, Hon. IIDA
Editor in Chief

To read more about the article and Michael Graves, click here: Contract Magazine




For Immediate Release

Connecticut Writers Welcome Bestselling Suspense Author to Teach Multi-Day Workshop

Cherry Adair to teach master class workshop to writers of all genres this fall

Meriden, CT–July 28, 2014–Connecticut Romance Writers of America (CTRWA) is pleased to announce they will be welcoming author Cherry Adair

Cherry Adair, Author

Cherry Adair, Author

to teach a master level workshop, “Everything and the Kitchen Sink.” The workshop will take place at the Four-Points Sheraton in Meriden, CT, on September 13-14, 2014. Writers of all genres are welcome and can benefit from this workshop.

Adair will be teaching writers how to build 3-D characters who leap off the page, how to create luminous dialogue, and how to layer and texture your novel so that every word does at least two jobs. Students will learn the elements of plotting in order to write faster and smarter. Adair will even discuss how to construct a viable career plan so writers can have the career they want. Many CTRWA members have attended Adair’s workshops in the past and can attest to her passion for both writing and teaching.

New York Times/USA Today bestselling author Cherry Adair has carved a niche for herself with her sexy, sassy, fast-paced, action adventure novels which have appeared on numerous bestsellers lists, won dozens of awards and garnered praise from reviewers and fans alike. She hates first drafts, has a passion for mentoring unpublished writers, and is hard at work on three series – T-FLAC, CUTTER CAY and LODESTONE.

For more details on how to register for the workshop, as well as information about the hotel, please visit www.ctrwa.org and go to the heading “Cherry Adair Master Class.”

Cherry Adair is Imaginative, inventive, innovative and, oh yes. . .fun. She is patient, yet stirs things up. I speak from personal experience, Cherry was one of my teachers. She is lovable and as personable as it gets.  And to add to the pot brewing great stuff, the writers you will meet at this workshop are some of the nicest, kindest, best people you will ever shake hands with, hmm, bump hands. (To avoid 90% of the germs you get with our traditional handshake.)

It’s easy to register, see the link above, or here it is again: www.ctrwa.org and go to the heading “Cherry Adair Master Class.”

What do you think? Want to have a wonderful day learning about writing? Now’s your chance. Go for it!


Are You A Steampunker?

Are You A Steampunker?

Mighty news is in the works – Victoriana is back. I never thought I would see the day. From all I remember as a youngster, to my concentrated academia and career in the arts and disciplines teaching about beauty, I believed Victoriana had produced some of the ugliest products ever made in history. Like living in “Dark Shadows.” My years of work and study in art, design, and architecture have produced in me a clear idea of how space, color, and unity can be utilized to produce a well-designed and functional environment. Environments like schools, sports stadiums, spas, places of worship, galleries, museums, our homes and more. The list is long.

According to Wikipedia: Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction, fantasy, alternate history, and speculative fiction that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s. Steampunk involves a setting where steam power was widely used—usually the Victorian era Britain—that incorporates elements of either science fiction or fantasy. Works of Steampunk often feature anachronistic technology or futuristic innovations as Victorians may have envisioned them; based on a Victorian perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, art, etc. This technology may include such fictional machines as those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne.

Image below on the left is a handsome 21st Century clock by Roger Wood made in the aesthetics of Steampunk style. Metal and layers. See more on his website. http://www.klockwerks.com

Steampunk garnered its name from the idea of steam power and the inventions of the industrial revolution. It is based on history. Robert Fulton and his steam engine were instrumental in changing manufacturing. Eli Whitney and his cotton gin made extracting cotton from the plant easier. The spinning jenny run by steam made weaving easier. The Industrial Revolution marked a major turning point in human history.

Image on right is the only surviving example of a Spinning mule built by the inventor Samuel Crompton.

Almost every aspect of daily life was influenced in some way. Machine-based manufacturing became protocol. Victoriana produced thinkers of future possibilities and science fiction, hence Steampunk; layering, metal, designing with objects of technology.

Image on right, Victoriana style, is a Herter sofa made for the Lockwood’s, circa 1867. Two of the sofas can be seen in Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum in Norwalk CT. The mansion is still looking for the other pair. Lockwood is open to the public. www.lockwoodmathewsmansion.com 

Remember a couple of years ago in fashion when layering became popular? Now it’s more popular than ever. We discovered layering works, both indoors and outdoors, and it is fashionable. For fashion, so many designs are being shown in layered form.

Free People fashions for Bloomingdale's

2011 Free People on the left in particular.


Image above on right: 1905 Duster keeps the road dust from the new automobiles off her layers of underclothing.

Mrs. Lockwood layered in corset, petticoats, slips, blouse and can you see more?

Image on left: Let’s look at Mrs. Lockwood in the 19th Century in the Rotunda of her home,  Lockwood Mathews Mansion Museum. Layers once again.  Can you figure out how many layers she is wearing?

Come back next week for another look at Steampunk and Victoriana. How are those layers being translated? Are we heading for another Victoriana or will we stop before it goes overboard? It may be too late!

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