I really can’t see well in the dark, but that’s not what this post is about. I’m also afraid of the dark sometimes, but it’s not about that either.

This is about the popularity of dark stories.Which is fine after a fashion. They are not my cup of tea, but there are stories out there for everyone. If I know a story is dark I am far less likely to pick it up. In fact, it’s highly unlikely that I’ll even crack the spine.

And that’s fine, really it is. I don’t mind that there are dark stories.

You know what I mean, right? The Game of Thrones is one. All my favorite characters either have died or will. I knew the minute Ned Stark had his head chopped off that this was not going to be a story for me and I distance myself from the characters. I watch, rather than read because it’s a family activity, but I’ve removed myself from the story. It’s about brutal murder and rape and betrayal and I know that the characters who I think deserve a happy ending will likely end up dead. I do the same with books, only I don’t just distance myself from the story, I also put the book down and stop reading.

I’m about funny, light-hearted stories with happy endings. Good will out and all that. I don’t mind if they are dark in the middle so much as long as everything ends alright. Except there are things I avoid: Rape, torture, betrayal and brutal violence. I do not want to read about rape or someone’s skin being flayed from their body. Sorry, but there it is.

And all that is  perfectly all right. To each his own.

What upsets me is what I think of as false advertising. When a series starts out fairly light. Yes, there is some danger, bad things happen. There may be violence and death. But no one is raped. Our protagonist may be battered, but not beaten within an inch of his or her life. Light and humorous is what I like. So when a series starts going black in the fourth or fifth book I take exception. And I stop reading.

If you are  going to be dark, fine be dark. But if you promise me light and funny and maybe a little irreverent, please don’t start raping, mutilating and otherwise horrifying me by stabbing your protagonist a hundred times after I’m already hooked on your series. It upsets me. And I don’t get to finish the series, and that upsets me too.

Truthfully, I think this happens because dark sells better these days. The publishers and agents I have met recently all want dark, dark, dark. So I imagine that if they can get an author to skew their story toward the dark side they will. Or maybe there’s a plan by the author for things to get darker and darker. I don’t know. What I do know is I don’t trust an author who promises me one thing and gives me another.

I did that too, you know. I was advised to go dark, to make readers cry. I did it and I regretted it and I rewrote it. Because my readers told me they were unhappy with me. And I was unhappy with me too. It may have set my writing career back years. Not because my readers stopped trusting me, but because I did. I lost who I was as a writer.

I write to entertain, not to make people cry. To take readers away from the pain in their lives, not to increase it. I may never be a best seller because of that, but I fill a need. Even if it’s only for myself.



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In contrast to Canadian Thanksgiving which was in October. I have no idea if any other countries celebrate anything like Thanksgiving. I feel bad that I don’t know. I could google it I guess.

I made a bunch of food and ate a little bit of it. It’s far too hot in the house and it ruined my appetite. Then we watched The Imitation Game. It was incredibly sad. Allen Turing deserved better than what he got. I’m assuming the movie was at least a little historically accurate. How can something be a little bit accurate? It can’t can it?

Oh well.

Happy Thanksgiving. Or Happy Day. Whatever works for you.


I was beginning to think that we weren’t going to have a good fall. You know the kind with all the brilliant colors?

I was wrong:





I am out of sorts. So out of sorts that I’m thinking of immigrating. Again.

What? You didn’t know I was an immigrant?

When I was eight my mom and brothers and I moved to Canada. I lived there seven years. Our neighbors didn’t like Americans and threw firecrackers at me. When I was fifteen I moved back to California where I thought I belonged. Now I live in Vermont. Which goes to show what I know. Pretty much nothing.

I hate to admit it, but now I’m embarrassed to be American. To live in a country that allows a special interest lobby to keep us from affecting change that could save lives. Hell, to live in a country where a special interest lobby thinks it’s okay to sacrifice lives for its own monetary interests. They should be ashamed.

I am. I am ashamed of us as a country.

So much of what I believed about us has turned out to be lies. We allowed the wealth and power in this country to settle with the very few. And those few don’t seem to be at all interested in making our country great. No. They want to play with their toys and to hell with the rest of us.

Okay, I’m off topic.

The shootings in Oregon set me off. I despair of there ever being any commonsense legislation regarding firearms and that feeling morphs into despair over the state of government in this country.  I am stunned at the lack of response to massacre after massacre. How we can’t even rally and bring about change when children are killed.

How wrong we are. How selfish. Shortsighted. Immature.

I look at our federal government’s inability to work as a team. To find a common goal. We can’t even agree that killing children is unacceptable and do something about it. Who is standing up to say this is enough, no more killing? And why isn’t the entire federal government standing with them?

I am embarrassed. For myself and for us.

We are so wrong. And in the wrong. I’m sure my mother is tossing in her grave. And I’m wondering if things are any better in Wales. Or maybe Scandinavia.


So here’s the deal. I’m going on a research trip for a book I have in my head. It’s about a murder on a tour of Scotland. For that, I need to go on a tour of Scotland.

I could just book myself on a standard tour and off we go. But wouldn’t it be more fun to do a custom tour with people who like my work, or like me, or people who just want to stay in a castle in Scotland and drink whiskey?

I’m looking for between 15 and 30 people who want to hang with me for ten days, have our own private tour bus and our own private tour guide and have a ton of fun. We fly out March 17, 2016 and return March 26.  If you want to go leave me a message in the comments and I’ll send you the cost etc OR Just look at the flyer at the end of this post…   It’s bound to be a ton of fun.

And I’ll be hosting a welcome party and a last night party. AND for you Outlander fans there will be a couple of opportunities to see where it’s filmed. And yesterday I discovered the Scottish Owl Centre and I think I’m going to try to jam that in the itinerary too.

Want to come? Contact Sandy Phillips:

800 581 9741

Or me: Kate@kategeorge.com


Here are details:
Mystery and ScotlandMystery and Scotland pg 2