Talk about great fun! Yesterday’s post was a walk down memory lane as I introduced Mary Davis, who wrote the first novella in A Bouquet of Brides. Today’s post proves just as nostalgic. I’m excited to present to you Kathleen E. Kovach, author of the Periwinkle in the Park, the second novella in the collection, A Bouquet of Brides. (My story, At Home with Daffodils is the third!)
She’s my Kathy K, and I treasure her.
Believe it or not, I was a bit afraid of Kathy Kovach when we first met. I’d joined a critique group because I met a special friend, Neva, pictured to the left, who made me feel safe. Neva felt like a sweet grandma, and I thought I might be brave enough to share my work with her critique group. The only problem was that when I showed up that first day she handed the reigns over to Kathy Kovach, who was serious about writing to publish. Kathy and I will always treasure precious Neva who passed away this year at ninety-two, and who wrote until the end. A faithful servant, she and her husband were Wycliffe Bible translators. I’ll not soon forget her most recent Christmas letter, or her quick humor. She said, “Since I moved away from Colorado, it’s gone to pot.” Neva attended several writer’s conferences with Kathy and me. In her twilight years she published her first books and learned to play the dulcimer. One year Kathy and I roomed with Neva at a conference. I think it was an ACFW conference in Nashville. We had trouble winding down, so Neva quoted all of John 14 to us, word for word. I’ve since tried to memorize the passage and only made it about half-way through. Yesterday we talked about mentors. Kathy and I received writing mentoring from Neva, but I value the life mentoring she gave me even more.
Of course Kathy and I became fast friends despite my early trepidation. For almost ten years Kathy led the critique group Neva had started! Kathy was the first in our group to traditionally publish, and we’re celebrating the release of her book in this picture. (This was the critique group at that time. Left to right, back row: Lynnette Horner, Marjorie Vawter, Donna Robinson, Marla Benroth, Holly Armstrong. Kneeling are yours truly and Bonnie Doran.)
When the critique group disbanded years later, this was the team. We still contact each other here and there to brainstorm or celebrate. In front is author Donna Robinson. Holly Armstrong and Kathy are in the next row. Deborah Besaw of Fire Cloud Arts is next to me and authors Jill Hups and Margie Vawter are in the back. What a wonderful group of ladies! If you’re considering a crit group, find a gentle leader with good boundaries who is growing as a writer herself and wants to learn the style of the type of publication you seek. Pick one who continues to educate herself through books, conferences, and writing workshops or who is publishing consistently. Our Kathy did a wonderful job of bring us forward as she grew herself.
Kathy and I roomed together at writer’s conferences (where I may or may not have awakened her in the mornings to show tunes), and when God called Kathy to act as the ACFW Colorado Coordinator, she asked me to be on the first board of the first chapter she established in our state. She eventually became the zone director, and I eventually followed in her footsteps, becoming state coordinator. This is a picture of the first board for the first ACFW chapter in Colorado. Left to right are Margie Vawter, yours truly, Kathy, author Bonnie Doran, and Jill Hups. Margie, Jill, and I all served as president of the group at some point and the three of us still meet with Kathy and our friend Deb Besaw for prayer time.
Since yesterday I talked about how Mary Davis, who dreamed up A Bouquet of Brides, spent a lot of time with Kathy and me working together, rooming together at conferences, and serving together in ACFW, I decided to share this shot of Mary Davis, Kathy and me at Barnes and Noble, working away. I believe Kathy considers Mary a mentor. I consider Kathy a mentor, so there you have it right there. Christian writing mentoring, three generations deep. No doubt Kathy passed on to me much of what she learned from Mary!
Kathy says she’s a dip your toe in the water and get in slowly person while I’m the type to jump in with both feet. I suppose there were times I pulled her along with one of my schemes, but I gotta tell you. Kathy was often going before me, opening doors, sharing her wisdom, and inviting me to serve writers with her. We’ve done a lot of teaching together. We’ve done a lot of working and learning together. We’ve played hard too. We took this selfie at a Chinese food restaurant the day we celebrated the book we co-authored, Titanic: Legacy of Betrayal. (We dreamed the story up on the way back from a writer’s retreat and couldn’t resist writing it. And yes to everyone who asked, there is a sequel in our heads. Hopefully we’ll soon find the creative space to get it on the computer screen.)
Here’s a shot of Kathy and me teaching at an editor’s conference where we asked to share our workshop on story structure and character development to help editors grow in their ability to recognize innate structure or character issues in the books they edit. We love teaching this one!
I have many beloved pictures with Kathy and me sharing our writing journey, but I chose the one you see here to close this post because I’m holding my first book contract, and guess who was right there by my side when I got it back in 2011?
What a run we’ve had together!
I’m honored to be in the collection A Bouquet of Brides with this beautiful woman. But mostly I’m honored to be her friend and prayer partner. We’ve been in the same prayer group for close to ten years now! Thank you for teaching me, loving me, leading me, supporting me, and praying for me. I will love you forever Kathy K!
Until next time when we introduce the next author in our collection,