Friday, July 3, 2020

240 Women Started It, In July

Suffragettes : News PhotoMJ: This November it will be 100 years, the centennial celebration of women's right to vote in the United States. It was a long time coming. The Suffragette movement in the US started in July, 1848 with 240 women in Seneca Falls, New York. Included in the group were Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott.

Katherine: It's a super example of the power of everyday women's unity, and courage. Many suffered terribly and were jailed in tragic conditions, some gave their lives. They were kept away from their families, their children. In our Purse Museum of Women's History, and in our mystery novel Kat Out of the Bag, we highlight amazing times of women's history, like this. The incredible courage of everyday women.

MJ: Women's fight for the vote has happened worldwide at different times in history. The most recent where women have won the right to vote is Saudi Arabia, in 2015. Now is a great time to talk about this meaningful victory in the US that all began more than a century ago in another July. The actions of the original 240 women were delayed by the sorrows of the Civil War and Reconstruction. But, in 1869 the National Woman Suffrage Association led by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton was established and then there was no looking back. Their efforts were also joined by men who agreed with their cause.

Katherine: It's so important to vote. Not only as a citizen's responsibility, but also because so many gave so much before us, so we can vote.

Edwin P. Morrow Signs The Anthony Amendment : News PhotoMJ: In 1890 Wyoming became the first state where women gained the right to vote. 

In 1919, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution - "the rights of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex," passed both houses of Congress and was sent to the states for ratification. Eight days later, the 19th Amendment took effect.

Katherine: Cally Blackman is a lecturer at Central Saint Martins (University of the Arts, London). A Portrait of Fashion, is a National Portrait Gallery book by Cally Blackman and Aileen Ribeiro. Cally writes about the British Suffragettes and says "Fashion, feminism and politics has always been heated territory, and the suffragettes knew this. Instead of deploying a strategy of resistance by refusal, they chose resistance through reversal. They sought to effect change not by challenging contemporary fashion and ideals of femininity, but by conforming to them. Haunted by the stereotypical image of the “strong-minded woman” in masculine clothes, pebble-thick glasses and galoshes created by cartoonists, they chose instead to present a fashionable, feminine image."

MJ: In England The suffragettes’ came up with a color scheme, a sort of code through fashion branding. Suffragettes wore purple for loyalty and dignity, white for purity, and green for hope. Members were encouraged to wear the colors including tricolor-striped ribbon for hats, belts, rosettes and badges, as well as colored garments, shoes, and yes handbags. 

Katherine: Handbags, of course! 

Friday, June 19, 2020

An Author's Dad

I hit the jackpot when I won John Kendall as my dad. 

Such a compassionate man. He taught me so much and inspired the constant drive to follow my dreams, and to dream big and with passion. He started my lifelong joy in stories, reading and writing them. He was an adventurer and a dreamer himself. He lived big and loved big. He loved his family and was surrounded by love of family and friends. He was a hero. I miss him every day, and I'm so grateful that although he's gone, he'll always be my dad.

Happy Father's Day!

My dad was one of the Greatest Generation. Here he is with his dad when he joined up with the British Army. In World War II he fought the Japanese forces in what was then known as Burma. Before he went overseas he double dated with a buddy where they were both on blind dates. My dad liked the other girl, and deftly switched so that he ended up driving the other girl home. He asked her out and they dated until he went overseas. When the War was over they married. John and Pam Kendall were happily married 49 years.

My dad was born in England. There's actually a town in the Lake District named Kendal, although he wasn't born there. His grandparents managed a pub named The Swan. His father was an entrepreneur, which meant that he tried his hand at many different livelihoods. Sometimes my dad lived in England, sometimes in Canada, and sometimes in the U.S. When he was very young he lived on a farm. He used to tell me that when he was as young as 4 years old he was told it was his chore to get up early in the morning, before sunrise, and get the cows out to the field. It was so scary for him at such a young age, the cows so big and it was all so dark. My father was very courageous from an early age. This picture of me at 4 years old on his parents farm so many years later just outside Toronto makes me realize how tough his responsibility had been.

Another favorite childhood story he told was when his mother finally took him to an optometrist because he was having such trouble in his classes at school. He said he'd never forget the amazing moment when he walked out of the optometrist office with his new glasses. He could see all the way across the street! He could see details of everything. He was so excited, the world looked beautiful. All his life he retained that delight and wonder in the world around him. He ended up in many scuffles at school over being called four eyes and kids trying to break his glasses and sometimes succeeding, but it was all worth it to him for the miracle of sight.

 My dad was my hero. I wish I could have handed to him my book, but he did not live to see me published. We spent so many hours together reading and talking about books and favorite authors. Before I could read he would read to me. My absolute favorite was The Jungle Book and also the Just So Stories. I could not get enough. Read it again! Read it again! He loved Rudyard Kipling too. Dad always supported my dream to be an author, a dream that started when I was 8 years old. I won two school awards for writing composition contests. My dad celebrated by giving me this tray with an old fashioned globe and pen holders to commemorate my middle school win. It now sits in my writing studio right behind my desk and next to a copy of Kat Out of the Bag. He was right, literacy opens worlds for your imagination. 

For my high school win, this gorgeous pen set was my surprise gift, and it sits proudly on my desk in my writing studio.
A character much like my dad is in my book, and the sequel that's coming along.

After the War my parents left England for Toronto. My dad started in the mail room and saw the beginning of the merger of Toronto Bank and Dominion Bank. Yes, today we all know them as TD Ameritrade. From the mail room, through sales, and on to a transfer to California and my dad continued his work to become President of TD California. They loved their very active life in California and were surrounded by so many wonderful friends and enjoyed their life very much, first in Los Angeles, and later in San Francisco and Northern California. He loved sports, his favorite was rugby that he enthusiastically played when he was young. He loved watching American football. He played tennis and later golf and is one of those golfers who hit a hole-in-one. Odds of that are 1 in 12,500.
Family was so important to Dad. Here we are on a visit to beloved relatives in England.


They were blessed with 8 grandchildren. Here they are enjoying a couple of the visits with my older son when he was at very young ages.

So grateful for you, Dad. Gone far too soon!
Missing you on Father's Day and every day!

Best wishes to all you Father's out there, and all you who are being Father to someone. It's a most important endeavor, and we love you for it!

A life well lived

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Dad - When A Wallet Is Not Enough

Katherine: What's great about handbags is the mix of fashion and functionality. Handbags give us a way to carry what we need with us in style.

MJ: It's men who started carrying handbags. The oldest known purse found is 5,000 years old and worn by a man, Otzi  the iceman mummy he was nicknamed. He was found in 1991 in the Otztal Alps.

Katherine: Purse-cicle 

MJ: The name handbag first came from the hand luggage men carried when train traveling in the 1800's. Later women started carrying more intricate bags too and the name stuck with those.

Katherine: How about contemporary men, and Dads - Our guest today is Maeson's proud father, Andrew Van Ness. How do you like fatherhood?

Andrew: Fatherhood is great! It's kind of a weird mix of always being tired with frequent punctuations of absolute joy. Maeson recently had his first birthday and he's crawling, walking with assistance, and loves gabbing in the adorable way that babies do.

MJ: Maeson is the cutest! Happy Birthday wishes! Tell us about some of his favorites - games, stuffed animal, toys, food, picture book . . . 

Andrew: Maeson has so many favorites. He is a big fan of playing peek-a-boo. He loves to throw a blanket over his head then ripping it off again. He also really likes playing with pots and pans and we give him a wooden spoon the he uses to hit the pots with. He's like a little Ringo Starr. Maeson can be a bit of a picky eater but he always loves to eat his yogurt. He laps it up as fast as he can. Every night we read a few books as part of Maeson's bedtime routine and his favorite book seems to be Good Night Sleepy Moon.

Good Night, Sleepy Moon by Danielle McLean

MJ: Ringo, what a drummer! He's one of my four favorite Beatles. Maeson is off to a great start with his music. And after the Beatles, Ringo wrote a super children's book Octopus's Garden. Maeson might enjoy that one too. Like Ringo said, "I like kids. I used to be one."

Katherine: Such an active baby means you have lots of stuff to carry for him. What baby bag are you and your wife rocking? What do you like most about it?

Andrew: We use a PiPi Bear diaper bag. It has a good amount of space within the bag, and lots of pockets inside to help keep everything stored and organized, which when you need to find a new diaper ASAP, is a real life saver! It also has an insulated pocket for putting bottles or any snacks that you want to keep cool while going out and about.

Katherine: Love the sleek lines. How does Maeson take after his dad? Like father like son?

Andrew: Maeson and I have quite a few similarities. Some simple things are we both like scalp massages, we're both pretty laid back individuals, and we also both enjoy a good cuddle. So we're both pretty good cuddle buddies. My wife would also point out that we're both pretty stubborn. We both like to do things in our own time and in our own way and you'd be hard pressed to get around it.

Katherine: Sounds like the apple falls close to the tree. You're not just a busy father, you also have a challenging job. Tell us about your interesting work.

Andrew: I'm a Business Analyst at Symetra Financial. It can definitely be a challenging job juggling all the tasks that we handle every day. We're updating contracts, helping launch new products, and doing various other forms of research every day. But I genuinely couldn't ask for a better team to work with. I feel like everyone is really close and equally interested in hearing about what's going on outside of work as helping each other during the day.

Katherine: Symetra's reputation for financial and insurance products is excellent. They're dedicated to diversity, equity and inclusion. They're committed to giving back to communities too. Andrew, you have a lot of responsibility. I understand you are also able to work from home, but when you do go into the office what do you replace the baby bag with? I mean men have a lot to carry - maybe a laptop, ipad, phone, and that's just for starters. What bag do you like to carry? A messenger bag? Backpack? Something else? Or are you strictly a wallet and pockets man?

Well on a normal day where I'm not going to work, I typically just rely on my pockets. But when I go to work, I actually use a briefcase. I have tried messenger bags but the load you get on one shoulder really starts to take a toll as your bag slowly gets more and more items added to it. Then I switched to using a backpack and that was a lot better. You have more equal support and backpacks are typically larger so you can fit more into them. But one big issue with backpacks is when you ride the bus, like I do it is easy to bump into folks. I also have sensitive skin so I noticed that after months of using a backpack every day, I was getting dry patches right where the straps would go. That's why I moved to a briefcase. It's smaller but it's nice because you can switch hands easily, it doesn't get in people's way on the bus, and it doesn't irritate my skin.

Katherine: Ytonet is known for an Italian design style. Very nice. I always like to hear a good debate between a messenger bag and a backpack. In our mystery book Kat Out of the Bag I gave my sons messenger bags as gifts. Jason, one of our Bayside cops is strictly a wallet and pockets man. Other men characters make other choices. Actually, when looking at suspects, what people carry often indicates aspects about their personalities that can provide clues. People carrying a briefcase like yours value style and organization over spectacle.  These are people with a subtle, but great sense of humor too. Yet they have a practical side and are focused and determined. Does your wallet have RFID protection? RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification Device and it can prevent unauthorized readers from stealing data off wallet contents like ID cards, and credit cards.

Andrew: My wallet does not have RFID protection. I use the same wallet that I have used since high school and just can't convince myself I need a new one.

Katherine: Stop by our Purse Museum gift shop in Bayside anytime and maybe Amber's inventory can tempt you. And so many men's bag designers have great products and give back to the community too. One example is DamnDog that gives back to the SPCA for the prevention of cruelty to animals. What are you and Maeson looking forward to on Father's Day this year?

Andrew: Well we are still only in phase 2 of the quarantine where I live so it will more than likely be my wife and I staying home and trying to find a moment to relax while still chasing Maeson around the house.

Katherine: That sounds just as it should be, filled with love and laughter. Here's wishing you and all the fathers a very happy day with their families. You are so important in future generations' lives.

MJ: And a very happy play time for Maeson too!

Friday, June 5, 2020

An American In Rome

Katherine: Beauty surrounds my trips to Rome, including on the runways of the fabulous shows of Italian fashions. Kat Out of the Bag book readers know I'm an international purse designer. We all go to great lengths to keep our new designs secret until the sparkling runway reveals. This year Fashion Week in Rome has been delayed to September.  I'm in great anticipation of Fashion Week. It's so much work, yet so fun and satisfying. I do reminisce about my sweet times in Italy. I think my friend Judith Works would share my sentiment.

MJ: Rome is a city steeped in history and with an aura of mystery. At the Purse Museum we know history and fashion blend, and each reveal things about the other.

Katherine: My friend Judith Works appreciates history and also a great purse. She's an author and a lawyer and knows a lot about Rome after working there with the United Nations for a decade. She's also an author, and a lawyer. Benvenuto Judith! I savored your wonderful memoir Coins in the Fountain about your time in Rome. Can you tell us about your first impressions of Rome when you and your husband arrived from Oregon?

JudithI’d been in Rome several times before, once with a previous husband (that didn’t work well at all) and for two interviews for the job I eventually took. I found it beautiful and frightening at the same time. The antiquities and art and architecture, the colors of the buildings, the palm trees, and, best of all the wonderful food pulled me forward. The noise, the chaotic traffic, overwhelming bureaucracy, and strikes pulled me back. It’s clear which side won as we stayed for ten years and I still miss it every day! 

MJ: How inspiring is it to be surrounded by precious historical sites in your daily life? What were a couple of your favorites?

JudithEvery day I was immersed in history. It was exhausting just to contemplate the long history of Rome while sipping cappuccino! My office was in the building Mussolini built to rule his (short-lived) African empire around 1930. From the terrace where I had coffee every day, I could see the Palatine Hill where the Roman emperors lived, the triumphal Arch of Constantine, the Circus Maximus used for chariot races, and the Baths of Caracalla where we used to attend opera in the ruins during the summer season. 

Katherine: What did you discover were your favorite parts of Roman culture? Was there anything you maybe never got fully accustomed to?

Judith: As I mentioned before, the constant strikes were wearing. One day, the bank clerks went on strike just as I was trying to cash a check. The teller went off with it! Fortunately, their union contract only allowed for a certain number of hours to be off work and the bank opened up later in the day. Favorites: The ability to travel to the countryside on weekends to have lunch on a vine-covered terrace or stay in an old inn in some small hilltown.

Katherine: When you had time to explore, did you have any favorite Italian foods?

JudithMamma mia!! How to decide? For winter time I favor Pasta Carbonara, a super-rich combination of spaghetti with a sauce of eggs, bacon, and Parmesan. For summer, something lighter like Linguine with tuna, arugula and capers. And I’ll take Pasta Puttanesca any time with its sauce of Kalamata olives, anchovy, plum tomatoes, capers, red pepper flakes, and herbs served with penne pasta.

Katherine: Did you have favorite places to shop, especially for purses and other accessories? Did you see or buy any particular, favorite purses there?

JudithSo much choice! We loved to roam the countryside on weekends and often came across small artisan producers who made beautiful shoes and handbags. Not being able to afford Gucci, etc., I often shopped in local markets that had the previous year’s models. One thing I never did was to buy fakes sold on the streets and beaches.

Katherine: You're right. That's very important not to support the counterfeit market.

MJ: Would you tell us a little about what it was like to work for the United Nations in Rome?

JudithI actually worked for two different but related food organizations. The first dealt mostly in setting food standards, demonstration projects, statistics, and legal agreements. The second was World Food Programme, now often in the news for delivering food to places like Syria). Its mission is food aid to countries stricken by famine due to war and climate events. In both cases, I worked in Human Resources dealing with staff problems ranging from air crashes, murder, illness, or the occasional wrongdoing. Every day brought something new.

MJ: What incredible, meaningful work.helping others. Your work is part of history.

Katherine: We were challenged to solve a mystery in our new novel Kat Out of the Bag, and it's so exciting analyzing clues and suspects, and I can tell you from our experience - it's dangerous too. You've authored your own mystery that takes place in romantic Italy, in your book City of Illusions. Will you tell us a little about your story, and your inspiration for it?

Judith:I did write a mystery about antiquity theft. Unfortunately, the publisher went out of business so the book is currently not available. I have the rights so have been toying with reissuing. We’ll see.

Katherine: Do you have a favorite mystery about Italy that you've read?

Judith: My favorite mystery author is Donna Leon. Even though she sets her mysteries in Venice she captures all Italian's love of food and family.

MJ: You've returned to Italy many times. What are your favorite activities when you return?

JudithFirst to see my friends and then to take in exhibitions at the marvelous museums. All this activity is interspersed with meals at small trattorias.

MJ: You've visited so many places around the world. I enjoy your blog on your website. Can you pick another favorite spot you travel to and tell us of a historical site you visited?

JudithIt’s truly hard to make a choice but one location always comes to mind: Zanzibar off the coast of Tanzania where we sat on our hotel balcony to watch the dhows sailing by. In the evenings the air was filled with the sound of Christian bells for evensong, Hindu gongs and cymbals, and the muezzin calls for their faithful. The air was filled with the scent of cloves. One day we visited the church where David Livingston is buried. (His heart is buried in Westminster Abbey in London). The church is built over the former slave market making it both horrible and sacred at the same time. 

Katherine: You have some wonderful purses. In fact our author featured a few of your vintage pieces on this blog three years ago. Here's a picture of one of them.

From Judith Works collection, the bloom hasn't faded from this compact dated in the 1920s.  Its original interior organization was removed at some time so it could be used later by the owner as a cigarette case.  Thank you so much Judith for a glimpse into your beautiful collection!

Judith: You have that picture of the cigarette case from my mother! I picture her in the Roaring Twenties using it at a speakeasy. I've purchased many handbags in Italy over the years but one time when we attended the opening of a new craftsman market, I bought this funny one, made out of old Italian women's magazines. I smile every time I see it!

Katherine: What style of purse is your favorite for traveling, and why? And what purse is your favorite to carry when you're home?

JudithFor traveling, I favor a cross-body bag with just enough room for passport and other small essentials like phone, and a larger carryon for books, laptop or ipad and maybe a snack and pillow. At home, either a bag for credit card and phone if going to summer outdoor market, or otherwise one big enough for wallet, phone, cosmetics.

MJ: I understand that you're very involved in the Seattle Writing Community for example your work on the EPIC Writers Group, and with the Write on the Sound Writing Conference Committee. You give back so much to other writers, I'm hoping you have time for writing another book? What can we look forward to?

JudithI do have a book with an editor right now. It’s the story of a woman who has to start again after all her plans go awry. It’s set in Rome and Vashon Island in Puget Sound near Seattle. 

Katherine: Now I'm looking forward to reading that one, sounds really good. I know you join us in sending a message of love and compassion and hope for the people of Italy especially now as they've suffered from this terrible virus. Thank you for joining us today in our celebration of Rome, and her people. Everyone can find out more about you and reach you on your website - Let's all toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain and wish for a visit. Arrivederci Roma!

MJ: Our hearts are with you!

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Graduating With Class

Why does my hair feel hard and stiff after having it relaxed ...
Katherine: Just like the SpaceX launch of NASA astronauts into a whole new, exciting era of space discovery, students are graduating into their own new and bright phase of life. From elementary school graduates to each graduating class through college and beyond - 
Congratulations! Well Done!

Amber: My friend Mira is graduating from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. I can't wait to congratulate her in person. She's going to stop by the Purse-onality gift shop when she's back in town and when I get off work I'm going to take her out to celebrate.

MJ: Welcome Mira! And best wishes to you on your life adventure. What is your degree in?

Mira: Hello! I will be graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Psychology.

Katherine: That's very impressive. You've certainly worked hard to achieve all that.

Amber: How are you doing classes there during this virus?

Mira: My classes have all been transferred to an online format. I definitely prefer having in person classes.

Amber: Is there anything you like about online classes?

Mira: I do like online classes because I can do my homework and my assignments at my own pace as long as I turn the assignments in at the right time.

Amber: Staying off campus is a drag. What do you miss most?

Mira: I definitely miss the happy vibe that is present on campus. It was so great walking through campus on the way to class and seeing my friends left and right.

Amber: Who are you living with now on the stay at home? I bet you guys never thought you'd be spending all this time together. Do you all get along? What do you do to make the best of it? Maybe whatever you do could be a good suggestion for other people too.

Mira: I am living with my 5 roommates in our home here in San Luis Obispo (SLO). We do get along! To make the best of it, we have tried to do as many activities as we can outside. One example of something that we did was organizing a spirit week. Every day was a different theme. For example, we had a sports day when we played games like spikeball and cornhole.

Amber: If you could pick anyone to be stranded together with, who would it be? Of course for me it would be Michael, or maybe my friend Julie because she's pretty chill and we study together and we like to listen to music..She plays guitar.

Mira: I would pick my 5 roommates now. It has been great to spend time together at the end of our senior year. We are just trying to take in everything that we can in SLO before we have to move out. 

Amber: Friends are the best! What does all this virus do to your graduation plans? Will you get to celebrate with your family?

Mira: The in-person Cal Poly graduation was cancelled but they are finding a way to recognize students virtually. We are also having a small graduation ceremony in our backyard the weekend that our official graduation ceremony was supposed to be. Unfortunately, my family won’t be able to make it to our makeshift ceremony but we will be able to celebrate when I get back to Seattle.

MJ: Your family will be celebrating with you in spirit, for sure. And you'll be able to feel that. A backyard ceremony is a smart idea and it will be beautiful in San Luis Obispo, I've lived there for a time years ago and loved it.

Amber: As a 2020 college graduate, so exciting, What is your advice for the world?

Mira: My advice for the world would consist of not taking anything for granted and never saying no. There are many things and events that I wish I participated in although did not at the time, that is my biggest regret of my college experience.

Amber: And do you have any advice for people like me who are through with high school and trying to figure out what they want to do with their life?

Mira: My advice for those people are to not feel pressure to know exactly what you want to do with your life going into college. My idea of what I was going to do following college was very different than what I am doing now but I am extremely happy for that. 

Amber: I'm still deciding on my major. I was thinking maybe Business. I've learned a lot managing the gift shop. I thought about Library Sciences, or maybe Astronomy I like that too. Now with this virus I'm thinking maybe something in medicine so I can really help the world.

MJ: Don't forget, history is a good major.

Amber: Anyway, what was your favorite class Mira, and why? 

Mira: My favorite class was Muscles and Locomotion. This was an upper division Biology class that was about the anatomy and physiology of the musculoskeletal systems, including energetics and biomechanics of locomotion. I am extremely interested in the human body and this class was absolutely amazing.

Amber: What are you doing after you graduate? Will you come back here to Bayside?

Mira: Following graduation, I will be moving home to Seattle for the summer and applying to Doctor of Physical Therapy graduate programs. After the summer, I will be moving back to San Luis Obispo in the fall and hopefully work at the physical therapy clinic I have worked at for the past year.

Amber: What's the first thing you're gonna do when the stay at home is over?

Mira: The first thing I am going to do following the lifting of the stay at home order will definitely be go to a restaurant to enjoy a drink and a nice meal!

Amber: Oh yeah! I'm with you on that! Well, I have to finish this display and clean up the shop. These macrame purses, I can't believe people carried them. I like to travel light. I just carry a wristlet with only my essentials. My favorite one is barely big enough for my phone. What's your favorite purse to carry?

Mira: My favorite one is a black Michael Kors purse. It matches with all outfits and is just big enough so that I can carry everything that I need wherever I go!

Katherine: Great choice Mira. What a wonderful designer. I still regret that I wasn't fast enough to get in on that IPO in 2011. Terrific purse in the picture.

Amber: Big congratulations to you on your graduation! Wow! I really admire you! I hope your graduation day is super!

MJ: Congratulations from me too Mira. All the best to you now, and for your bright future. My wish for you is that wherever you go, it will be with all of your heart.

Katherine:  Congratulations to all the graduates of 2020 - may all your dreams come true, and have lots of fun in the purse-suit!

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Katherine with a K & Kimberlee with 2 E's

MJ: Katherine (with a K), help me welcome Kimberlee (with 2 E's) Mendoza, our talented book cover artist.

Katherine: Yes, welcome Kimberlee Mendoza. We just love our exciting cover. It certainly paints the picture for the suspenseful mystery inside, from designer bags to body bags. You're an award winning cover artist for The Wild Rose Press publishers. People can see a sample of your enticing work in addition to our Kat Out of the Bag on Covers By Kim. Our author was completely enchanted with your work. What got you started as a book cover artist?

Kimberlee: I was a graphic artist in the US Military and I'm an author. I had just got my book published at The Wild Rose press and saw an add for a cover artist. Since I had experience, I applied and got the job. I love it. It mixed my two worlds.

MJ: Kimberlee you lead an energetic life. You inspired my meditation today - Life is based on the capacity of energy in you, not outside of you. You're artist, author, playwright, teacher, speaker, comedienne, U.S. Army Veteran and that's barely the tip of your intrigue. As an author, do you feel like you have an extra intuition for your art work about what readers are looking for as a visual threshold to a good story?

Kimberlee: I think it helps to be an author and a reader. The more exposure I get to the industry from all sides, I think it helps me know what sells.

Katherine: Kimberlee, thank you for your service in the U.S. Army. I think you're an example of variety as the spice of life with all you do. Do you have a sentimental favorite of your cover works? Have you done any of the covers for your own books?

Kimberlee: Yes and yesOne of my favorite covers of all time was a book called Searching for Sophie. I don't know why, but I just really liked it. I have also been able to do a lot of my covers at The Wild Rose Press. It is great to be able to create art when you are so close to the characters.

MJ: What a cover. It's an invitation to explore an intriguing story. And how wonderful to create your own covers. People can find out more about you and your books on your website kimmendoza.comAs an author, do you feel like you have an extra intuition in your art work for what readers are looking for as a visual threshold to a good story?

Kimberlee: I think it helps to be an author and a reader. The more exposure I get to the industry from all sides, I think it helps me know what sells.

MJ: How is your sense of accomplishment different when you finish writing a book from when you finish creating a cover?

Kimberlee: They are a completely different feeling. I put my entire soul into a book. Covers is a job and someone else's vision, so I do not feel like I am losing a piece of me. I might be proud of the cover, but I try not to be connected to them. For one, an author always has the right to come back and say they "hate it" (and they do), so I try not to get too personal with the creation. When I first started out, it was devastating. So now, I just produce them and cross my fingers.

Katherine: Between the covers of our book Kat Out of the Bag, in the cast of characters we have an exciting, romantic pair. College student Amber who works at the Purse Museum gift shop, and her boyfriend Michael is new to Bayside. They actually end up in dire circumstances when they're entangled in a mystery of their own. They would be part of Generation Z, that you know quite a lot about. Can you tell us a little about your work with Generation Z?

Kimberlee: For my dissertation, I studied Generation Z for three years. They are an amazing group of people. Science shows that when people use technology, it alters the brain. Now imagine using technology while your brain was being developed? That is what has happened to Gen Z. Their brains are rewarded for doing the next thing. It is why they are what we call the "Now" Generation. They aren't waiting until they are 30 to start companies. They are starting them now. They were raised mostly by the driven X Generation, and it shows. Can you tell I love this topic? I could go on forever, but I won't.

MJ: What interesting insights. Do you have any thoughts you'd like to pass along to our readers who are interested in art, or in writing, or both?

Kimberlee: I think if you have an interest in both, you should pursue it. It is like any skill. It takes time and energy, but if you work at it, you can get good. I'm a big component for "just do it" when it comes to talent. I hate seeing talent wasted. Maybe that's why I'm a writing professor.

Katherine: What great advice. Like me, you've lived a life of two states. I've lived in Southern California, and also in Washington state, and both have had an influence on my fashions. You've lived in Southern California also, and in Texas. How have the cultures of your two states influenced your art work and your writing?
Kimberlee: I've actually lived in four (believe it or not; Arizona, New Jersey also while in the Army). I think what we see influences us to some degree. I am still 99% a Southern CA girl, and it shows in my writing and art, but over time, that could change.

Katherine: I'm a high percentage Southern CA girl too! With the artistic eye that you have, I was just wondering if you have a favorite purse, maybe because you love the design, or a visual picture on it, or sentimental reasons?

Kimberlee: Would you believe I don't carry a purse? If I have to, it's usually a backpack.  I am a wallet kind of girl and it usually has some kind of picture on it that represents me (writing, Wonder Woman, the Army, etc.).

Katherine: Oh that's matching wallet and purse-onality! MJ and I were both thrilled when our author said you'd be creating the cover for our prequel novella. Thank You! Can you share any hints of what you're thinking for the cover of this beach read?

Kimberlee: I haven't received the spec sheet yet. I'll have to get back to you on that.

Katherine: And so the suspense, and the fun, builds!

MJ: "Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time." That's a quote from  Thomas Merton - a monk, writer, theologian, mystic poet, social activist and scholar. Seems so fitting because art, whether visual, or a story, launches the imagination of the creator, and also the viewer or reader. Kimberlee, you certainly have a talent for launching creative imaginations.

Katherine: Thank you so much for joining us Kimberlee Mendoza. We encourage our readers to visit your website, and we're looking forward to our next cover.

Kimberlee: Thank you. I appreciate your time. Congrats on your publication and happy sales!