Monday, February 1, 2010

Guest Blogger, Kate Collins

I'd like to welcome author Kate Collins as the guest blogger here today at Thoughts in Progress.

Kate's latest book, "Sleeping With Anemones" is scheduled for release tomorrow - Tuesday, Feb. 2. She will be dropping back by today to answer questions and respond to your comments. In addition, she will be giving away a copy of her book, "Evil in Carnations," to one lucky person who comments on her post between today and 8 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 7.

I've asked Kate if she would share a little background with us today about who she is and what she writes.

As a brief introduction, I’m Kate Collins, author of the Flower Shop Mysteries, staring that bad girl of the bouquet business, that fearsome, feisty florist, Abby Knight. In my latest book, “Sleeping With Anemones” - Ooops. Hold on I have to take this call.

Sorry. My cell phone has been ringing all morning. It happens whenever I have a new book coming out. Even standing in line to buy coffee I got two calls. Luckily, the clerk didn’t mind. She was on her cell phone too.

Anyway, I can’t remember where I was so I’ll skip to the part where I tell you what my hot topic of the day is, which you might have guessed is --

Unbelievable. Another call. You don’t mind, do you? You do? Seriously? Why didn’t you say so before?

Isn’t that a dumb question? If you’re like me, you were raised to be polite, even if it meant gritting your teeth and pretending nothing was wrong (while imagining yourself doing seriously bodily harm to the person being rude). Maybe I’m hypersensitive, but when I’m in my doctor’s office, giving her what I think is important information about my current health, and she stops to answer her cell phone, and it’s ANOTHER patient describing her health situation, I get a tab bit annoyed. After all, I’m paying for the visit.

However, I forgive her because she is, after all, my doctor. But then a second patient calls, and I am once again cut off, and now I’m seriously considering telling her that I will come back when she can give me her undivided attention. But is that likely to happen or is this what I can expect in the future? Maybe I should phone her instead.

I don’t know about you, but when I see a woman driving a van load of kids, holding a cell phone to her ear, at a traffic light, while making a turn, I give her lots of room. Yesterday, at a four-way stop, it was me and three women on cell phones in kid-loaded vans making turns. I almost put my car into reverse and backed away.

Last time I was in Chicago, strolling down Michigan Blvd., I counted every other person having a conversation with an unseen person, either through a cell phone, a blue tooth device, or because he had an imaginary friend. But we’ll let him be. A couple, walking hand in hand, were each having phone conversations with someone else.

I’m not saying that being able to stay in contact via a mobile phone is a bad thing. I depend on it all time to make sure my kids can reach me, and I surely wouldn’t drive anywhere alone without one. (And what would my sleuth, Abby Knight, do without her cell phone when she’s got a murder suspect cornered?).

What I’m saying is that it seems many of us can’t go anywhere without having a phone conversation - whether we’re buying groceries, enjoying a meal in a restaurant, trying on clothes, filling up the
gas tank, taking an invigorating walk around the block, and even -- I’m not making this up -- while appearing for a court hearing.

How did this happen? When did people lose the desire to be alone with their thoughts? To use that time between home and office to reflect? Ruminate? Daydream!

As a writer, I need time to daydream, a quiet time with no conversations happening except the one among the characters in my head. It’s my time to image what comes next in my story. So I don’t have a problem taking a walk without uttering a word aloud or buying groceries without telling someone all about my day. But I do watch and listen to others doing it, soaking up ideas for characters and conversations for future work. Still, I can’t image filling every moment of silence with chatter. But then, we writers live in our heads more than most folks do.

What are your thoughts about cell phone use or texting? Are you a constant conversationist/texter, or are you the one in the restaurant who can cook her own veggies because of the steam coming out of her ears from the loud person on the phone at the next table? Do you speak up at such rudeness or grit your teeth and bear it? Has your doctor ever talked to someone while with you? I’m curious. I’m a writer.  ....  Kate

Thanks so much for sharing this story with us, Kate. I think we can all relate to how cell phone usage has become a major player in our daily lives whether we want it to or not. Don't forget to leave a comment or question for Kate and have a chance to win a copy of her book.


  1. Congratulations on your new release, Kate! I'm looking forward to reading it.

    I have a love-hate relationship with the cell phone. I hate the rudeness and the poor driving that comes along with cell phones. I do love that texting is able to get me out of *having* phone conversations! I'm not so great on the phone, but I write well. :)

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  2. I agree with Elizabeth about texting. I know some people consider it rude, but it beats getting into a long conversation about nothing.
    However, I am NOT someone who feels I HAVE to answer my phone. I will gladly let it go to voicemail, unless it is my husband. I know I can say, "Gotta go!" and he'll get it, not be offended and still take my call the next time.

    Great post, but I'd still like to know a little more about the book. Could you tell us some of that, Kate? Congratulations on your new release.


  3. I sometimes long for the days when we weren't connected 24/7. It does seem like people forget everything they were ever taught about being polite in public when it comes to cell phone "behavior." People who would never cut me off in mid-conversation seem to think that answering their cell phone (or at the very least, glancing at the screen) while they're talking to me is okay? Um. No. And don't even get me started on people being on their phones while driving. Our state now has a law that makes texting while driving illegal. Seriously? They needed to pass a law for that? What happened to common sense?

    No, I don't really want to go back to the days before cell phones. But I would like to see people be a lot more polite about using them in public.

  4. The whole cell phone thing made me chuckle! I should've counted the number of people leaving our subdivision yesterday (which was covered with almost three inches of ice) with a cell phone stuck to their ear.
    I must be so out of it - I almost never use my cell phone on the road.

  5. Congrats on your new release. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

    Recently a friend invited me to lunch and can you believe she spent the next 30 minutes on her cell phone. She invited me to lunch to talk not watch her talk. And yes, I did get up and leave and told her to call me when she wants to talk.

  6. I'm not a big cell phone user. I have one, but don't use it often. Hmm, maybe I need more friends...Anyway, my husband used to be one of those who would take calls in restaurants, and his voice carries even when he's trying to talk quietly. I kept nagging him until he stopped.

    Straight From Hel

  7. I've counted passing cars, too, and over half are on their cells. One of my friends talks on her cell several times while we have lunch. I'm close to saying something (I'm a wimp). A bank teller thanked me last week when she was waiting on me and I didn't answer my ringing phone. We need an etiquette book! Great post, Kate!

  8. We were waited upon by a cashier at a hardware store who was chatting with a friend on the phone while ringing us up. My husband got so annoyed, he said, "Never mind. We'll come back when someone who wants to wait on us is available." And we walked out.

    About my series: The Flower Shop mysteries revolve around Abby Knight, a young woman who couldn't cut it in law school, was kicked out, and was then dumped by her fiance for embarrassing his family. Down on her luck, she bought Bloomers, the little flower shop where she worked during summers, (she took out a very big mortgage with some help from a grandpa)hired on two very funny women, met the guy who owns the bar down the street, Marco Salvare, an ex-Army Ranger,and manages to get herself into strange and dangerous, but always funny, situations. The development of the relationship between Marco and Abby is a fan favorite (as well as mine.) Hope that snapshot is enough to tempt you to buy a book. You can pick up the series anywhere. I always introduce the characters in each book, but most people enjoy watching the characters develop and grow.

  9. Enjoyed the feature post, and best wishes for many sales on your new release! Oh and yes, cell phone ettiquete (or should I say the lack therof)is just horrible in marketplace, hmm?

  10. Thanks, Kate! Appreciate the snapshot! Always like to hear it from the author. :)


  11. Kate, thanks so much for guest blogging here today. I think cell phone use has gotten out of control. I don't want to do away with them, but common sense using them would help. Wishing you great success on the release of your new book tomorrow.

  12. I love the titles of your books--so, so clever. I'm with you on the overboard use of cell phones. When did it become acceptable to treat the one who is on the phone as more important than everyone else--passengers in your car, other motorists, the person in front of you, etc. It's just rude.

  13. I'm astonished that someone would invite a friend to lunch, then have phone conversations with others during that lunch. That has to be the height of rudeness.

  14. I love the title. And the story sounds good, too. We've had cell phones only for a long time. Even so, there are times when it's inappropriate to talk.

  15. My husband sometimes seems to have his work cell phone surgically attached to the side of his head. I, on the other hand, hardly ever use mine. I definitely love my along time and can't understand people who are constantly chattering. At least my husband does it mostly for work.

  16. I use my cell phone for long distance because it's "free". There are probably 4 people on the planet who know the number. If I'm going out and need to be in touch, I'll forward my house phone to my cell.

    I think I miss more calls than I get. I'm just not tuned into that immediacy thing. But then, I'm from the days of rotary phones, no call waiting or answering machines. We survived.

  17. Terry, you made a great point. We did survive without cell phones. If you missed someone's call, they had to call back. Having said that, I would now be lost without my cell phone. And my computer. But let's not even get started on that one.

  18. I can't stand talking on the phone, and I don't really enjoy hearing everyone else's conversation while I stand in line. Texts don't bother I like that it wasn't predictable.

    Best of luck with your books!


    from the desk of a writer

  19. My keyboard sticks!!

    The above should say -

    Texts don't bother me.

    Great post. I like that it wasn't predictable.


  20. Hi Kate,

    Congrats on your new release and I've added your books to my TRB pile!

    I don't like hearing other people's conversations (some things should be kept in private)and sometimes I will say something but depends on the situation!

  21. Love the Flower Shop series and Abby is a great character. Looking forward to reading the latest installment.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.