Friday, October 25, 2013


Len, my best friend and partner for 35 years, has "gone fishing" on the other side of life. While my family and I deeply mourn his passing, we know he's in a better place and free of pain. He took his last breath while holding my hand.

He left this world exactly the way he wanted. His "celebration of life" included a canoe, fishing gear, and his "Old Farts Club" coffee mug. Polka music was played instead of traditional hymns. He wanted us to celebrate his life.

When a loved one crosses over to the side of life, I think we all want to know that he or she has arrived safely. We all hope for signs from beyond this limited earthly existence. For reassurance that life does continue beyond death.

Len has not disappointed us! As military taps were played at his gravesite, three eagles swooped over his grave. Three eagles have always been symbolic in our family, representing three deceased family members who sometimes choose to manifest themselves in this way. They were there for Len.

Arriving back home after the funeral, my family and I were stunned to see the most incredible double rainbow we've ever seen arching over the lake. It was brilliant in color, reflected perfectly in the still waters. Thanks, Len!

This was only the beginning! Since then, he manages to nudge our minds, reminding us of things we need to do, where certain things are located. And yes, his sense of humor even lives on as he plays little jokes on us all.

I'd like to leave you all with a poem I wrote and read at his celebration of life:


I am not gone
for I live on
in another time
and place.

When you think of me,
I will be there...
as seagulls soar o'er
waters of the dancing sky,
when a gentle breeze caresses your face,
in the magic of moonlight
shimmering softly
on the lakes I loved.

I will be there...

Look up at the moon
and tell me good night.
Tell me about your day,
For this I know...

I am not gone,
I'm just away
until we meet

Stay tuned and please stay in touch.

Janet Kay

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Life has been difficult, to say the least, during the past year of my life. This has been my time to face love and loss - to cherish the tender and unforgettable moments while struggling with the fact that my dearest friend on this earth may not be here with me much longer. Cancer has a way of destroying dreams and crippling the creative process.

I've managed to occasionally visit my St. Croix Writers Group in Solon Springs, Wisconsin. Here I find inspiration and support that helps to keep me going.

Let me tell you about our group's leader, a character whom you writers out there may very well want to write into your next novel!

Jo Stewart is 85 years young, a talented writer with a heart of gold, and...a crazy sense of humor!In 2006, she decided to start a "laughing group" on the Main Street of the little village of Solon Springs, Wisconsin.

She had been inspired by visitors who told her of laughing groups sprouting up across the world, dedicated to enhancing wellness through laughing.

Actually, it all began in Mumbia, India in the early 1990s when Dr. Madan Kataria became interested in the growing body of scientific evidence showing that laughter is beneficial for physical and mental health. He soon began prescribing "laughter" to his patients. In March of 1995, he launched his first Laughter Club in a public park in his neighborhood. The initial five charter members soon grew to fifty or more.

Since March of 2006, Jo can be found every Thursday morning at precisely 10 o'clock on the Main Street of Solon Springs across from the National Bank of Commerce. Here, with or without other participants, shadowed by the growing pines and beneath the "Laughing Group" sign, she begins to laugh, sometimes to roar. She laughs whether it rains, shines, or snows. It doesn't matter.

She may laugh alone or be joined by up to twenty participants. They all wave to people passing by, who sometimes cannot resist joining them. Once the local Red Hat Society came out to laugh with them. Another time, a couple from Hawaii heard about Jo's laughing group on national television and made a point to visit and laugh with them.

"We're a destination point," Jo boasts with a gleam in her aging eyes as she begins to roar once more, waving at cars passing by.

"It's a good thing," she tells me, "a good thing for the public to relate to." It fascinates her that artificial laughter soon progresses to real laughter, to actually feeling better.

Yes, Jo, laughter truly may be the best medicine! After laughing with Jo and her group today, I feel recharged and ready to face whatever I may need to face.

Thank you, Jo, for sharing your wisdom with us all!

Stay tuned and please stay in touch.

Janet Kay

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Lake Kakagi, Nestor Falls, Ontario, Canada

"Let us be silent that we may hear the whispers of the gods." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Have you ever wondered where inspiration comes from? I'm sure it's different for each of for me, my sources are water and solitude.

As a writer, I sometimes struggle to tap into my creative process. For example, my readers have long requested a sequel to my debut novel, WATERS OF THE DANCING SKY. While some of them even offered excellent suggestions to integrate into this sequel, I was still stumped. It simply was not coming together in my head. Pieces were missing.

Until last week. I was on a Canadian fishing trip with my good friend, Len. As we trolled the waters of this scenic wilderness lake, I couldn't resist snapping photo after photo of the islands, the sunlight dancing across the waves, the clouds lazily drifting overhead.

Lulled by the lapping of the waves and the warmth of the sun, I became still. Totally still. I was one with the lake. It wasn't long before I began to tap into that universal creative process that is out there somewhere. Bits and pieces of my long-awaited story began to float into my mind. The plot and its many twists were finally coming together - sometimes in surprising ways that I had not anticipated.

Who would have thought that the notorious Chicago gangster, Bugs Moran, would insert himself into the middle of this novel? Yes, he was once there at Kettle Falls where this series is set. I can't tell you what his role will be...that will evolve as I write, but he will be there.

Sometimes we need to calm our busy minds and escape into the heart of nature, I think, to find inspiration in life. It doesn't matter if you're a writer, artist, truck driver, waitress, or CEO.

How do you find inspiration in your life?

Stay tuned and please stay in touch.

Janet Kay

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


"To accomplish great things, we must not only act but also dream, not only plant but also believe." Anatole France, Nobel Prize winner

This is the season of endings - the end of carefree high school days, of old friendships perhaps. As I watched my oldest grandson march down the aisle and accept his high school diploma, a voice from the past whispered in my ear. "The end of an era..." the familiar words of my deceased stepfather crept into my mind. I smiled through my tears.

I can't help remembering the first time I held each of my grandbabies in my arms, wondering what they would be when they grew up someday. Where has the time gone? I now have two grandchildren who have crossed that threshold between childhood and early adulthood. I'm proud to say that Derek has won a 5-year full-tuition scholarship in his chosen field of Computer Engineering. Madelaine has been awarded a full scholarship to study ballet at the prestiegious Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, Russia.

They may be leaving parts of their childhood behind, but they will cherish the memories and remain close to their families and friends. They are embarking upon exciting new beginnings - following their dreams and confidently moving out into the world that waits for them. The sky is the limit as long as they confidently pursue their dreams and work hard to turn them into reality.

Congratulations to Madelaine, Derek, and graduates throughout the world. May your journeys through life be filled with success, happiness and good health. And to the parents of these young people (including my children)- congratulations on all you have done to instill the values and confidence that will help these young people succeed in life.

Hats off to the graduates of 2013!

Stay tuned and please stay in touch.

Janet Kay

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Split Rock Lighthouse, Lake Superior

"I am haunted by waters..." Norman MacLean

I am also haunted by waters... Like Norman, I feel compelled to spend time sitting by the lake or ocean gazing into its mysterious depths. Water soothes my soul and refreshes me. It helps me to connect with something far greater than myself. It unleashes my creativity. I suspect that many other writers feel the same way.

Lake Superior is one of my favorite places to hike or sit by the lake as waves crash around me. In doing so, I discovered one of our great Lake Superior poets - Bill DeRoche. I'd like to share one of his poems with you today:

LAKE SUPERIOR (My Lake of Life) by Bill DeRoche

My lake of life
That gives the blue
To the heaven's eye

The emerald green
That spreads ever outward
To give life its dreams

Its white caps that move
Ever onward
And tell me I cannot
Stand still

The icy blue stare
That beckons me to look
Even deeper in life

Its thunderous roar that
Lends itself
To the applause for life

My lake of life
Ever giving and
Never asking

The place of refuge
In the time of
My turmoil

Its shimmering sun's
To help us dance
For joy

The day of calm
That gives life its rest
To renew one's quest
For life

May lake of life
Ever giving and
Never asking

The shroud covered days
That renew the
Mysteries of life

Its gloomy mournful days
That gives time to remember
Those who have gone

Storm tossed anger days
To teach us to clear
The anger from our souls

Moonbeams upon the water
That calms the spirit
And brings forth love

Ever giving and
Never asking
My lake of life

I think Bill has captured the many moods of the great Lake Superior. For more information about his work and his book, check out his website at

Please stay tuned and stay in touch.

Janet Kay

Friday, March 22, 2013


Kettle Falls Hotel, Voyageur National Park

Place and settings are very important to me in my novels. Before I even begin to write, I simply must find a unique place that fits my story, characters and plot. Before I began WATERS OF THE DANCING SKY, I did an extensive Internet search to find a wilderness setting with a huge lake, lots of islands, and a colorful local history that included an American Indian component.

I stumbled upon the Kettle Falls Hotel nestled in the woods on Rainy Lake in Voyageur's National Park along the Minnesota/Ontario international border. I fell in love with the place before I even made my first visit! This historic hotel was constructed in 1913 by timber cruiser Ed Rose and allegedly financed by Madame Nellie Bly.

In 1918, Robert Williams bought the hotel for $1,000 and four barrels of whiskey! It was operated by the Williams family for a number of generations until it was purchased and renovated by the National Park Service in 1987. I was fortunate enough to locate an historical boat tour guide by the name of Mike Williams who happened to be Robert's grandson! Mike told me many fascinating stories about Kettle Falls and Rainy Lake as we boated around the area. He made local history come alive for me and became a valuable resource as well as a good friend. Thank you, Mike!!

Arriving at Kettle Falls is like stepping into another world, back into the days when voyageurs paddled and portaged through the region with their canoes loaded with furs; when local natives speared huge sturgeon at the foot of the roaring falls that separates the United States from Canada; when lumberjacks,gold prospectors, commercial fishermen and ladies of the night frequented the old hotel.

Today, Kettle Falls is a tourist destination for families and fishermen. It's a hidden jewel in the midst of the forest surrounded by the lake. A place to enjoy the serenity, peace and beauty. To restore one's soul. It is a place that I simply must return to at least once every summer. The hospitality and food is also excellent!

Stay tuned for more information on places and faces embedded in the novels I write...and as always, please stay in touch and let me know what you think.

Janet Kay

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Photo by Anna Martineau Merrit, Misty Pine Photography

She's 94 years young and lives on a rustic farm in the northwoods of Wisconsin. Still driving her trusty car to and from her many club meetings - including the St. Croix Writers of Solon Springs - Kay Karras usually sports a pink baseball cap over her short gray hair. While she walks a little slower these days, time has not been able to diminish the twinkle in her eyes, her mischievious chuckle, or her ability to recite by heart the humurous lyrics she's written over the years. She has a way of keeping us all in stitches.

The product of a one-room country school, this amazing woman somehow developed an extraordinary gift for writing poetry that stirs the heart and soul. She is the official Poet Laureate of Solon Springs, Wisconsin and was recently honored at a reading sposored by Rural Arts Voice North.

Some of Kay's poems have been assembled in a book entitled " BITS OF BIRCH." I'd like to share one with you today in her honor:


Across the river flowage
on the rippling waves they came;
Reflections in the blue sky -
I do not know their names.

The lapping waters brought them
to my feet upon the shore
in sands of time their message wrote
of years gone by and more.

They signed their names in eddies -
in tracks upon the sand,
I followed in their foot prints
along the moonlit strand.

I read the stories written
in Sanskrit by the snails
of prehistoric ventures
besides the deep worn trails.

The hieroglyphics chiseled
in walls of weathered stone
spoke softly of the long ago
in ancient undertone.

I came upon a river
running backward into time
To my memory it brought
an old familiar rhyme.

The voices sounded, oh so clear,
I cannot tell you why.
They hovered all around me -
ghost writers in the sky.

Here's to Kay, an inspiration to our St. Croix Writers, writers and readers everywhere!

Please stay tuned and stay in touch.

Janet Kay

Monday, March 4, 2013



"Let us be silent that we may hear the whispers of the gods." Ralph Waldo Emerson

I consider myself to be a place writer of destination novels. Place is very important to fact, if often becomes a character in itself. Before I write a novel, I must find a special place to set that novel...a place that speaks to my heart, a perfect place for my characters to live.

Once I find that place, I spend time there absorbing its essence. Visiting with and learning from the locals. Researching the history and culture of the area. Exploring and taking pictures. I need to experience and to feel what my characters' lives are like in this location.

It's very rewarding to me when my readers also fall in love with these places, when they decide to take a trip to see the places where my novels are set.

So...I've decided to do a series of posts about some of the intriguing places I write about.

Today I'm thinking of Rainy Lake along the Minnesota/Ontario international border. This is where my novel, WATERS OF THE DANCING SKY, is set. It's a huge wilderness lake filled with islands. One of these special islands is Mallard Island, owned and operated by the Ernest Oberholtzer Foundation.

I've had the opportunity to spend many hours on The Mallard - sitting on the rock in this picture. Taking sunrise photos. Thinking and plotting my next novel. This is a place to reflect, to dream, to renew oneself. To connect with the spirit of the lake and of the Native Americans who once paddled their birchbark canoes through these waters. To hike along the path picking blueberries and marveling at the wild flowers and lichens sprouting through crevices in this rocky island.

At night the loons call out as moonlight dances across rippling waters. Sometimes the storms roll in across the narrows. The wind howls and rattles the old windowpanes as the rustic old houses seem to sway in the night. Spirits of the past slip into my dreams - infusing ideas that will surface in my future novels.

I spend time rocking in Ober's favorite chair on the wrap-around deck overlooking the great lake. Thinking about his life on this island so many years ago. Immersing myself in his old books,photographs, and documentation of his canoe trips into the heart of the wilderness. If it hadn't been for Ernest Oberholtzer and his environmentalist friends, there would be no Mallard Island, no Voyageurs National Park.

For more information about this man and his island, check out

And stay tuned for more highlights on Rainy Lake and other exciting places in my novels.

Best Always,

Janet Kay

Thursday, February 7, 2013


February is a good month to celebrate with our loved ones, to let them know how much they mean to us. It can also be a time to reach out to others - an acquaintance or a perfect stranger - with a random act of kindness. Sometimes a smile can do wonders for someone who may be hurting inside. Delivering a hot meal to a struggling family, shoveling snow or running errands for an elderly neighbor are examples of acts of kindness that others appreciate. I'm sure you can all come up with ideas that I'm hoping you will share with us all on this blog.

Perhaps this is also a good time to do something nice for ourselves, to take a break from the busyness of our lives. How about curling up with a good book on a cold winter's night? Or, if you happen to live in a warmer and gentler climate, you may want to do your reading on the beach as you bask in the sunshine and listen to waves crashing around you... oh well, we can always dream, right?

How about treating yourself by buying a new book - or anything else you desire - IF you are the lucky winner of the $50 gift certificate that I'm giving away this month in honor of Valentine's Day? This is my way of celebrating the excellent reviews my new novel, AMELIA 1868, is generating. My way of thanking my readers for their wonderful support.

To enter my contest, follow these easy steps by February 28, 2013:

1. Share this on your own Facebook page.

2. Go to my website, Click on the Contest tab, complete and submit your entry to win this $50 certificate and a number of other exciting prizes.

While you're there, please click on my blog, Janet Kay's Journey, and sign up to follow me. Good luck and Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours.

Stay tuned and please stay in touch.

Janet Kay

Friday, January 4, 2013

A Winter's Night

As I gaze out my window upon this scene of snow-laden solitude, I cannot help but reflect upon the New Year and the endless possibilities it offers us all. To tap into those possibilities, it sometimes helps to retreat into the solitude that this season offers. It's a time to hibernate, perhaps. To reflect upon the meaning of life. To create your own "bucket list" of dreams you hope to fulfill yet in this lifetime.

In the spirit of this season of solitude, I'd like to share with you all a poem I've written:

A Winter's Night

Be still, my soul,
and sleep deep...
beneath shivering sheets of ice
silencing the synergy of the sea.

Be still...
snuggled softly in
snowy blankets of white
swirling slowly into obscurity.

Be still and sleep deep...
cradled gently in the shimmering light
of a silver moon
casting shadows
upon a long winter's night.

Be still...
until reflections
of love, of hope, of eternity
give birth once more
to springtimes of new beginnings,
new hopes, new dreams.

Be still... till then we meet.

Happy New Year to you all!

Stay tuned and please stay in touch.

Janet Kay