Wednesday, June 8, 2022

The Texture of Glass Excerpt : Hiding

 “You can’t hide here forever, honey.”

Isabel sighed. Of course Papa Niall was right. He was always right. She took the hand he set on her shoulder and focused on the softness of the back of the thin hand compared to the rough hardness of the palm and long fingers. Working hands. Even now, although technically retired, her grandpa was a hard worker. He often went to help neighbors with maintenance of their houses or their yard equipment. Refusing pay, he was constantly bringing home fresh-baked pies or garden vegetables. He grew his own cucumbers and squash and lettuce but could never get the hang of tomatoes and was happiest when a neighbor had extra to share.


His soft, understanding voice brought her back to the issue at hand. She’d been there two weeks already, since the day after Libs left. She hated being at the apartment alone at night. One night had been enough. She hadn’t slept. But she was going to have to figure something out. “I know, Grandpa, but I don’t really know where to go from here.”

“Are you still writing?” He sipped overly sweet coffee with his free hand. No matter how much Grandma Meladee fussed at him about his caffeine and sugar habit, he wouldn’t let it go. He figured all of the fresh fruits and vegetables he grabbed from the local markets to supplement his own made up for it.

She sipped the vanilla milkshake he made for her, using real vanilla beans and cream from a local dairy. He’d made it for her every time he knew she was down about something she didn’t want to talk about. “No. I keep trying to start, but the words won’t come.”

“Force them. Write gibberish if you have to. Just write something. That’s what your grandmother does when she’s stuck. You should see some of the gibberish scribbled on scraps I’ve kept during the years. They amuse me all over again when I pull them out.”

“Thanks for the warning. If I write gibberish, I’m burning it so no one ends up laughing at me for however many years.”

“Oh, Baby Girl.” He cupped the side of her head. “You need to learn to laugh more, at yourself, especially. You take things too seriously. We’re here and then we’re gone and the next line takes over and then they’re gone and the next line takes over etcetera, etcetera. Why obsess so much about the right now? Just shrug your shoulders, take a deep breath, and leap to the next whatever’s going to happen.”

“I wish I could do that like you do. I’ve always wished I could.”

“Honey, if you truly wished you could, you would.”

“It’s not that easy.”

“Nothing is easy. So what? You’re tough. You’re smart. You’re resourceful. You don’t need easy. You only need to pick up your feet and keep walking.”

Keep walking. It had been a month since she’d been to Presque Isle, because of that creepy guy. He’d told her not to quit singing because of the cretins and then she quit walking on the beach at her favorite place in the world because he’d been there. Once. Coincidence.

Except it was too creepy to be coincidence.

Still, since she’d given up her two favorite things in the world, she felt stuck, blocked, ready to explode at the tiniest thing. She’d even fought with her mother, which she generally didn’t bother to do since it never came out well. 

She should have been smart enough to find another job before quitting the one she had. When her mother said as much when she’d dropped by to check on her parents and found Isabel there, she should have just said, “I know, but I didn’t because I can’t even think right now because I don’t know who I am anymore,” but she didn’t because she could never stand up to her mother, and she could never admit weakness in front of her.

Her mother did not understand weakness you had to hide any more than she understood Isabel still mourning her ex. She couldn’t. Jocelyn Dillon-Sanderson – who went by Josie as a kid because she hated the name Jocelyn and yet now only went by Jocelyn so she would be taken seriously – so often talked about a boy who “broke her heart” before Isabel’s father, but only for two days, and that was enough grieving time. If she hadn’t let go and moved along, she wouldn’t have given Isabel’s father the time of day when they met and then Isabel wouldn’t be there. Think about what you might be missing, Isabel May. It’s not worth it.

What she might be missing? Like the way her mother these days only put up with her father because they were married and for no other reason? Why would she want that? Just because her mother was strong enough to live that way didn’t mean she wanted to, or could. She wanted no part of that kind of life.

(from Chapter Eleven)

The Texture of Glass is the first book in the Songwriters & Cities series. (All EMK books are stand-alone stories that can be read in any order.)

~ ~ ~
After years of open mics, Isabel Dillon takes the plunge at the mythical venue in Greenville, PA that her grandmother, songwriting legend Meladee Dillon, insists her career needs. After she's heckled there and then frightened by an incident following her next show, Isabel walks away from performing. Hiding in Pittsburgh with her grandparents, she debates whether she can deal with the loss of her music on top of the loss that's still killing her soul.

James Gilbert swears off music when an accident ended his ability to play. Captivated by a songwriter at the infamous run-down bar that used to be his regular hang-out, he spends weeks searching for her while battling an addiction that crept up on him years before. Running into her accidentally on Presque Isle feels like a sign, and he convinces her to keep going, offering help that could threaten his shaky recovery.

Despite family and friends warning them against it, James and Isabel cling to their fragile and fluid connection, until it builds to a fiery test.

Presque Isle, Greenville, & Pittsburgh PA are featured in the first of the Songwriters & Cities series.

ISBN Ebook: 
ISBN Print:  

Available at most book retailers. For individual buy links, go to 

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Ways To Show Someone You Love Them


Long and Short Reviews (click image)

Since I'm releasing my 7th novel this week (finally, after five years from the last one), I'm making lists of the ways Isabel and James, from The Texture of Glass, show each other love. Neither consider themselves easy to love. Neither is particularly looking for love, or even to date again yet. The odds are against it working. At all. Still, they hang in, because of these things.


1) She doesn't have him arrested for stalking, although he might have that coming.

2) She forgives him for occasionally talking before he finishes chewing.

3) When he gets revved up so much his chatter is exhausting her, she simply tells him he's exhausting her and doesn't make it a big deal.

4) She gives him space to decide when he's ready to open up more, without pushing.

5) When she gets offended at something he says, she holds her tongue and walks away to cool off, then listens when he apologizes and understands he is actually sorry.

6) She encourages him to not give up on himself or his music.

7) She buys a small coffeepot for her apartment for him, even though she can't stand coffee.

8) She refuses to give up on him through everyone saying maybe she should.


1) He sees past her defensive charade and makes it a mission to get her to see herself the way he does.

2) He decides to spend his time helping her only because she deserves the help.

3) He constantly encourages her.

4) He's honest when he doesn't like some of her work but says so respectfully.

5) He listens to what she says rather than inferring what she means through his own thoughts.

6) When she gets mad and walk away, he considers what he did wrong and understands why she walked away.

7) When she stays over at his place with no supplies since it was unplanned, he runs out first thing to get her a toothbrush and a few other things he knows she likes because he paid attention.

8) He would rather have her leave him than to hurt her, no matter how much he doesn't want her to go.

The Texture of Glass (book info)

Ella M. Kaye

Isabel, a struggling songwriter, is ready to quit doing shows, especially when a creepy guy steps in front of her and stares while she sings. James is a recovering alcoholic ready to give up again, until he is drawn into a a shy little songbird singing deep lyrics, and can't resist her pull. Presque Isle, Greenville, & Pittsburgh PA are featured in the first of the Songwriters & Cities series.

February 2022 from Elucidate Publishing

All Ella M. Kaye books are stand-alone that can be read separately or in any order. The are grouped into series by art form and setting, with some minor character intermingling among the different series.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Books I Keep Meaning To Read

 Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge

Books I Keep Meaning to Read (and haven't yet)

This post could get incredibly long if I start listing titles. I'm an avid reader, but I'm not a fast reader. I'm often reading three books at a time: one at my bedside, one on the little table by my easy chair, and one on my tablet. Although I do intend to read every night before bed, I'll have to admit I too often end up working until I'm too tired to see straight and then just crash. So, my list just keeps growing, especially since I can't help myself when I take a grandchild or two or three into the local bookstore and find something that catches my eye. Those reasons combined are why my main bookshelf currently looks like this:


Well, I have had a lot of help with little hands to make them look like this, since they've all been taught how wonderful books are and they absolutely must look at Grandma's shelves, too. Never mind, that bottom right shelf was cleared of mine to make way for theirs. One day, I'll get around to organizing it again.

In the meantime, I'm working, sloth-like, at reading those pictured that I haven't yet. Currently, those I've read and those I haven't are all mixed together. I have read all of the John Jakes Kent Family Chronicles and a few of his others, several of the Irving Stone books, Winter's Tale, and a few Lisa Genova books. I intend to read the rest of hers, and Stone's, plus the Jakes North & South series.

Other main intend to read and haven't yet books:

~~ The rest of Shakespeare's plays. I have read quite a few.

~~ The rest of Mark Twain's books.

~~ I read The Iliad last year and meant to read The Odyssey this year. By now, that will be on next year's list.

~~ More of John Irving's.

~~ More of Edward Rutherford (in the middle of New York right now)

~~ More Joyce Carol Oates.

~~ More classic lit in general.

~~ Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand is sitting behind some of those books, also.

In between my beloved classics and lit fic, I pick up current authors when they catch my eye, often beach/scenic reads for a little brain vacation. :-)

What's on the top of your list of Books you Mean to Read and haven't yet? (If you click on the top image, you can add your own blog post to the list.)


In Memory. Photo ©LK Hunsaker 2001.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Tough Topics in Fiction

 Weekly Blog Prompt

Today's Prompt: Books That Deal Well With Tough Topics

I've been meaning to jump into this challenge for some time, and keep ending up using whatever writing time I can find to ... well, write/edit/publish. This one, though, dragged me right in because it's up my alley.

I'll admit it. I read big books with tough topics. Regularly. I also read fun things in between and I have a particular penchant for cozy mysteries. I suppose reading literary fiction is my way of trying to figure out the world. I like to see things from so many other viewpoints in order to get that balance that makes things make sense. Things do make sense when you read widely enough.

Some of those books that stand out in my reading memory include:

~~ The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

I read this way back when and it's an eye-opening novel about a young girl raised in Barbados who must move to Puritan New England, and the cultural differences that mark her as an outcast.

~~ The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
I assume almost everyone read this one in school, but it stuck with me because the unfairness of the situation was infuriating.

~~ The Cider House Rules by John Irving
Also a well-read novel, at least many years ago, it was well-read. I like that it showed both sides of the abortion issue, the disgust the main character had of the practice and the desperation of unwed young girls.

More recently:
~~ A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
A short YA book (which I almost never read) that tells the story of a young girl who must make a 2 hour walk to find water for her family and a young boy who becomes a refugee and travels on foot to avoid being recruited as a soldier. An important read to aid in understanding of other cultures.

~~ East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Just read it. Seriously.

~~ A Prologue to Love by Taylor Caldwell
This one, too. (It's often marked as a romance, but it's lit fic.)

~~ America, America by Ethan Canin
Highlights the powerful connection between the government and the media, based loosely on the Kennedys.

I could go on and on, but I'll leave it at this. Of course, since I read books with tough subjects, I also write them. A brief list so far:

Pier Lights: Professional loss, personal loss, physical and mental scars, mental illness

Shadowed Lights: Social anxiety disorder, weather devastation

Pieces of Light: Autism, failed marriage, family expectations

Shadows of Greens & Memories: Outcast stigma, family issues, dementia

Shadows of Blues & Echoes: Depression, long-term illness

Shadows of Rust & Reels: Bipolar disorder, job loss, family loss

My purpose in writing about these topics is the same reason I read tough subjects: to try to spread understanding and alternate points of view. I also believe in leaving stories on an upbeat note, and not everything I read does this, but I do. They are lit fic, but they're also happy/upbeat ending romances shedding light on dark subjects.

Do you read tough fiction? Share books in the comments that you think deserve attention for adding light to the dark.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Re-Start (again) AKA Artists Books Officially in Print

There's an incredible amount of work involved with putting books out in print and e-format. Especially when you're doing three at a time. More especially when you're doing it all yourself.

They've been a long time coming, in print, that is. But here they are, the first three Artists & Cottages books now available through Ingram, meaning you can find them at any book retailer you use, including your local indie store. No, they are not likely to be stocked on shelves, since, understandably, most stores won't order non-returnable books, and making them returnable could lead to a hefty cost on my end since all costs and risks are on me, but they can order them for you if you prefer bookstore pickup.

Now, beyond the technical details:

~~ ~~ ~~
Shadows of Greens & Memories

Francis Barrett returns to her hometown of Storm Lake, Iowa to take care of the family holdings after her father passes. While turning his garden shed into a small but livable cottage, she runs into an old flame she admired from afar but never dared speak with during their high school days. Using her secret passion of oil painting to unwind from long days of clearing out the mess, Francis finds her father also had a secret passion and left behind a tale of a man she didn't truly know.

George Frederick McKenry never left the Midwest town where he was born other than brief travels with his four children, who he now has custody of since his ex moved into a condo with her new boyfriend. Running into the one girl from school who rebuffed him when he asked her out, G.F. can't help checking on her and making sure she's getting along alright. False assumptions and past resentments fade as Fran and G.F. let down their guards in order to create new memories.

Print ISBN 978-1-948370-03-5  264 pages  $9.95  eBook $4.95

~~ ~~ ~~
Shadows of Blues & Echoes

Gillian Hart is an ambitious reporter for a small circulation paper in Denver, Colorado. When her editor and friend assigns a story about some rich businessman who chucks it all to live in the woods alone outside Durango, she does her best to fight it but gives in for the chance to rise higher and have more choice in future stories.

Hank Dennison wants nothing but solitude while he recovers from a life-changing devastation he has managed to hide from the public. The last thing he wants is another nosy journalist badgering him, especially one who knows nothing about survival in the wilderness who taxes his waning strength. He soon notices the darkness of depression weighing her down, despite her attempt to hide it, and determines to keep her off the path that led him to his own illness.

Print ISBN 978-1-948370-04-2  264 pages  $10.95  eBook $4.95

~~ ~~ ~~
Shadows of Rust & Reels

By day, Holli Jacoby is a jewelry artist in her hometown of Williamstown, West Virginia. Abandoned by her family, Holli mainly stays to herself, preferring her potter's wheel to the risk of letting others see, and take advantage of, the uncontrollable effects of her bipolar disorder.

Isaac Bradshaw is a welder who spends much of his off time assisting his parents due to his father's declining health. While playing pool, he notices a fiery brunette eye him as though she knows him. He soon learns "fiery" is an understatement, and his buddy warns him against the girl, but something keeps him drawn to her.

Despite their earlier crossed paths and a shared love of adventure, Holli's roller coaster life might be more than Isaac is willing to handle. When the bottom falls out beneath her, their relationship hits a critical test.

Print ISBN 978-1-948370-05-9  384 pages  $12.95  eBook $4.95

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Future blog posts will feature topics focused on the arts and mental health issues from the books. Time to get this thing jump started.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Goodreads Giveaway for Shadows of Rust & Reels

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Shadows of Rust & Reels by Ella M. Kaye

Shadows of Rust & Reels

by Ella M. Kaye

Giveaway ends June 28, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Release Day! Holli's Clay

Holli picked up her newest vase. It was still leather-hard, still able to be carved, due to the cool dampness of the cellar. She didn't plan to carve it, only to paint it, and she hadn't planned to play with her clay tonight. She'd meant to crash on her couch and do nothing but watch whatever she found on Netflix, maybe the new female Avenger show. She forgot the name and then she laughed at herself for sounding like Brenna who forgot the name of everything. Bren always remembered every detail of every piece of clothing and accessories someone wore two weeks before, but never their name.
Holli would have to call her back since she finally listened to her messages and had missed several. First, she had a calling to work on a vase, something different, something ... maybe something to represent Isaac's name as a return gift. But what represented Isaac?

She had to do some research. Trudging back up the stairs, Holli turned her laptop on and went to pour herself a drink while it booted, but she changed her mind and made coffee instead. She was tired enough already. She needed more up, not more down.

Letting the coffee maker do its thing, Holli went back to her laptop which she kept on the edge of her kitchen counter for easy access to the outlet, and typed Isaac meaning in the search bar. 

Laughter. It meant laughter? How did you symbolize laughter other than with a big open-mouthed smiley face, which she was absolutely not going to put on a vase? Shouldn't there be an actual symbol for laughter?

Isaac was the son Abraham was told to sacrifice and an angel stopped him. Maybe she could do something with that. While searching, she found an illustration of Isaac having wells built to replace those his father had built that were destroyed.

Wells of stone. She could do that.

Pouring a cup of coffee before it was done brewing, Holli took a swig and enjoyed the strong rich black taste. She didn't mind the heat. Her mother used to bitch that she didn't let things cool first, usually pizza straight from the oven, but it didn't bother her, so Holli didn't know why it should bother anyone else.

She set the mug on her table and picked up her small wood knife. The clay was dry enough to make rough edges along where she carved out alternating lines to simulate rectangular stones. Except she wanted the wall to jut out, so she set the straight-edge pot aside and pulled out new clay to roll in a thick slab. Instead of creating a pot on the wheel and then carving bricks into it, Holli decided to hand cut the slab into individual bricks and build it the way a wall is actually built, placing one by one, using slip instead of mortar to hold it together. It would take more time, but she didn't at all care how much time it took.

Planning in her head while cutting out bricks, she could see ivy crawling up through the outer crevices and from the smooth inside to meet along the top. It maybe didn't make sense, since water came from wells, not ivy, but that's what she saw, so that's what it would be, whether or not it made sense. Art didn't always, and it didn't have to. That was one thing she loved about art. She could do as she pleased and it would only be called creative, not crazy.
(from Ch.8)

Holli Jacoby is a bipolar artist who paints intricate jewelry for a living and works with clay in her off-time. The physicality of working with clay (pounding, rolling, slapping, and scraping) gives Holli a needed emotional release and reflects the aggression aspect of her disorder. The patience and calm needed for the more intricate work of shaping wet clay on the wheel and carving and/or painting the hardened clay reflects the depressive, quiet aspects typical of the downs of bipolar disorder. 

There are many ways Holli uses her art as personal therapy and she both includes it as part of who she is and separates it from herself as just clay, depending on her need at the time.

In Shadows of Rust & Reels, art itself is a metaphor. Holli has an ongoing fight within as to whether she's crazy as has been inferred by others or if she's perfectly fine and it's just others who don't understand. I doubt there's an artist on earth who doesn't understand this inner fight.

Holli and Isaac's story is now available in E-format at most major bookstores and by request from your library. Here are a few buy links to get started:

Smashwords  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Amazon (coming soon)

Find it at Goodreads (I love reviews!)