I’m back!

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I know it’s been a bit of a long hiatus. Life has been busy — all in good ways. John and I are building a new home in PA, we’ve been on many adventures including bringing our darling, now 5 year old, Lillian to AZ for two weeks this summer, on and on. I continue to pinch myself over this miraculous life I’ve landed in.

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our new house in process

Speaking of pinching myself, I head back to Edmonds tomorrow but with a twist! My hosts for the studio I’ve stayed in all these times, have invited me to house-sit for them while they are traveling. So this time, I’ll be up in the Big House with the view you see above but two and three stories higher. I can hardly believe it!

I long so much for this view and the peaceful sunsets, ferry rides, and green humidity. This town is truly my happy place.

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I only have two weeks so have set a goal for myself to finish my book proposal which I’ve done basically nothing on since I left the last visit. I tend to be either on or off with this project which is exactly how I like it.

I’ll be posting daily again about how things are going and since I have a couple of good leads on agents right now, I hope to be in a new level with this project by the time I return.

Thanks, as always, for coming along for the ride!

xxoo, Kathy

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winding down

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twinkle lights are my Prozac

It’s interesting, being on an immersive experience like I have been, then crawling out of it. I’d made a decision to stop writing yesterday but woke up, as usual, with my head filled with ideas I had to get down.

The first thing I did though when I woke up, was fold the sofabed back into it’s nested position, returning it to a sofa vs the huge writing surface I used for three weeks. Last time I was at my desk and a reading chair. This time, the sofabed. I packed up all the large, black binders filled with the trial and placed them back in the laundry basket. My husband won’t be here to pack my car in the perfect way he did coming here so I’ll have to figure that out this afternoon.

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I went and filled up about 10 water bottles I’d been saving from the natural spring here, so we will have that to hydrate us the drive home. John comes tomorrow, will fly in late, take a taxi then ferry to Bainbridge Island where I’ll spend the day waiting for him. We’ll have one full day there, resting and lollygagging, before we hit the road trip again back to Phoenix.

I’m sad and happy. I could have used two months. But, I still got a whole lot done and feel accomplished and proud.

I took myself out for a celebratory French dinner last night, at the place I remember always as the best steak I ever had. It’s true french cooking. I watched the sunset from their closed-in porch and saw three trains pass by. I felt like my husband was with me, the train nut that he is.

I both dove inside and reached out, making great connections while I was here this time. I always leave this place thinking about the next time I can come back. This is my happy place.

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yes, The Bachelor 😉

Off to the Korean Spa this morning for a vigorous scrub. I think that’s just fitting.

Then back to pack, and clean my special slice of Heaven.

Thanks for being along for the ride and a special thank you to those who reached out with blurbs. Aside from getting your useful words, it’s nice to know who’s out there reading me! That’s the whole point, ya know, to not feel alone.

Cheers for now.

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another favor request :)

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Happy Sunday!

I woke up this morning so happy. I had a wonderful evening out last night with my host here. She invited me up for a little Proseco and happy hour with her husband, then the two of us went out for a long dinner/girls night out.

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my landlady popped down this evening with these homemade anise crackers and a little Proseco for me…she’s so sweet!

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I loved our conversation. We both expressed feeling like our paths crossed for a reason, there is a natural camaraderie there. I’m really kind of sad about leaving in three days but it’s time. Knowing today was my last Sunday on this visit, I embraced it fully. I even went out and got myself a little burger and fries action. We were supposed to get this HUGE storm today with major winds, but it didn’t turn into much. I took this cool video though.

I decided today would be my last major writing day so got up and got at it. I wrote a chapter that was hard so decided I’d just go ahead and do it. It included Cindy’s autopsy and some other themes. I’ll grab a snippet.

The final wound Cathy addressed with the Dr. was the bruising on her forehead, in a series of recurring, defined, shapes.
Q: Doctor, referring to the pattern injury on the forehead of the deceased, did you form an opinion concerning what may have caused that injury?
A: I did.
Q: And what was your opinion?
A: My opinion is that that injury as consistent with having been produced with something like the sole of a shoe, for example.
Q: And how would that sort of injury have been inflicted?
A: By obviously that foot, that shoe, coming into prolonged contact, forcible contact with the side of the head. Either that or perhaps by being kicked in the head. But either one would be consistent.
Q: Which in your mind is the more likely?
A: Probably prolonged pressure with prolonged contact.

my favorite writing sweater, yes it’s shredded in a million places

Ok, so to my favor. It’s been suggested that I add to my book proposal, some blurbs from my readers, who are interested in buying the book when it comes out–specifically why they feel personally interested in reading it. If sending me something like that interests you–just 3 lines or so–please send to me at katiecoolady@yahoo.com. I’d really appreciate it! It won’t be published publicly, just to go for the proposal that I’m sending to the agent interested in me (and wherever it goes from there).

I’ll leave you with this lovely sunset I got tonight. I sure do love this slice of paradise.

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4 more days

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Greetings from the wild and windy Pacific Northwest! The wind is so fierce that the Puget Sound looks almost white from the white caps. I love it!

Well, I have some news. I’m currently seeking representation for the book with a literary agent and I have one “very interested” in me. They’ve asked me twice for more of my writing.  Now I’m doing my best to put together a stellar book proposal, which is far more involved than I ever imagined, to razzle-dazzle them.

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It’s actually fun playing in this field where I know basically nothing. It’s good to find things in mid-life where you have to start from scratch, I think. At least for me. I feel dumb and smart at the same time. I guess they call that learning.

I’m bouncing between writing new chapters, cleaning up ones I’ve already written, combining some and working on the proposal. Whew! It rained all day yesterday, the hardest it’s rained since I got here.

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finished binge watching House of Cards last night…whew!

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I had to…the stress of Frank Underwood, ya know

While digging around through files, I ran into this: an application of some kind that Cindy had filled out. I was listed as her Emergency Contact Person, of course. I remember feeling flattened for a very long time that I had no one to list for that anymore–at least nearby. So many things you lose.

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I had a bright surprise at my door in the morning though on that dreary day (don’t get me wrong, I love a dreary day). My husband is so thoughtful.

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Yesterday I dug into Anke Dorn, the woman who was the accomplice to the brothers who killed Cindy, the one granted immunity for testifying against them. Here’s a snippet. I found out she’s still living in Dusseldorf, still working in the hair industry. I wonder if or how this haunts her.

She talked about them driving “a long way” as Michael’s rental car followed theirs. That Rudi drove into a couple of different spots, running into other cars, before finding the secluded area off Kings Ranch Road. She said she never saw Cindy in Michael’s car.

She described how Rudi got out of their car, and told her to lay down on the floor. She said he left the car, and returned ten minutes later, and that she believed because of his silence on the drive back, that they had killed Cindy. She claimed she never saw any blood on his clothing.

The detectives painstakingly pulled the story out of her that sanitized her involvement, for the most part, claiming she neither saw nor heard anything from Cindy.

Mark Jones was working off a theory that Cindy had been killed elsewhere, and her body dumped there and on that point, Anke was definite.

MJ: Okay, where did the murder actually happen?

AD: Uh, in desert, east Main Street, we drive and I don’t know where we go yet in desert.

MJ: Okay, is it the same place the body was left?

AD: Yes.

MJ: After the murder she wasn’t put into the trunk and driven someplace else and then pulled out and dumped?

AD: No.

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 Speaking of haunting, I took this photo last night from my bed. I laid there, captivated by the silhouette of the tree outside my window and the little scratchy noises it was making on the glass. I just have 4 more full writing days so it’s crunch time. I’m proud of all I’ve done so far, but I want to accomplish absolutely as much as I possibly can before I head back.

Happy Thursday, y’all.

dark and light

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Cathy Hughes, our prosecutor

Yesterday, I spent most of my day on two chapters while crafting how to tie this story together in the most legible yet intriguing way.

I also ran in to a website to help me with my grammar and punctuation. 😉

In fact, it’s doing it right now! lol

Today I head out to lunch with a friend I know up here then I’m basically holed up in the Studio for the remainder of the week, digging in and getting as much done as I can.

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My task today is to focus on Anke Dorn. I have so many interviews with her, testimony and strange letters she was writing to various people. I have mixed feelings about her–had she not sung like a canary, the brothers could have gotten away with murder. Yet, she was living in my sister’s house, pawning her jewelry and she was present when they murdered her. I don’t think she’s evil on her own and has likely never committed a crime on her own since then. Yet I do hope she’s haunted by this event and has learned something from it.

I bought myself a beautiful flower bouquet from Trader Joe’s yesterday along with rations for the week so I don’t have to leave. It’s crunch time!

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A snippet from yesterday:

She delivered her opening statement in true Cathy Hughes style with a soft demeanor and clear, organized, detailed information. The jurors hung on her every word.
She began using Michael’s own words from the bizarre message they’d crafted in poorly translated English on Cindy’s answering machine, although the Jury didn’t know this yet.
“Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, hear what I have to talk. I’m going to tell you about the death of Cynthia Estelle Monkman Apelt. She died on December 23rd, 1988, just two days before Christmas.
She was murdered. She was murdered just one day after a $300,000 life insurance policy insuring her life became effective and just one day after another separate, additional $100,000 life insurance police was delivered to her home.
She was murdered just one day before she was doing to fly to Illinois to spend Christmas with her family. It was also her intent during that trip to discuss the insurance policies with her father.
She was murdered by this man who is sitting right here with earphones on. His name is Michael Apelt.”

I could have copied and pasted Cathy’s opening statement and called it a Chapter, it’s that good. But this is a memoir so I pulled the best segments I could find, which was not easy.

Cynthia—I’m going to call her Cindy, because that’s what her friends and her family called her. I think that’s what everybody called her, and probably more often than not, I’m going to call her Cindy Monkman, because, you see, at the time of her death, she had only been married for 56 days.

She was a sight to behold. I’ve never seen or heard a prosecutor like her and we were so lucky to get her. You will learn much more about Cathy Hughes in the book.

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I had to

in the thick of things

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the storm clouds rolled in yesterday

I haven’t left the studio for three days I don’t think. I thought today was Saturday when I got up. I’m in the thick of things now. I wrote for about 10 straight hours yesterday–writing or researching materials. Figuring out how to condense thousands of pages of documentation in to a cohesive story consumes a lot of my thinking. It’s coming together but it’s definitely an exercise in choreography.

It’s like putting together a puzzle. I’m still writing the pieces then see how they are fitting together and modifying some as I go along to make a more readable flow. It’s exhilarating and exhausting. It’s exactly why I came to do this.

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And , always, the hardest part is reading Cindy’s journal. How she was feeling, the vulnerability she was struggling with that set her up for this trap. Her sweet tender heart expressing itself.

I wrote about the day she was killed this weekend. And how/when she was discovered. And the day she was ensnared in the trap to marry her killer, and the events around that impulsive decision, guided by the hand of a sociopath.

The heaviest part of the book for sure. It’s not easy. I’m exhausted. Yet I’m diving back in today. This is what I signed up for, not just to have a book but to be taken on the journey I need to go on writing it. No one can do that for you. It’s a hero’s journey for sure, and requires focus and solitude. I’m so glad I gave myself those gifts.

Here is a snippet from yesterday:

I sat on the edge of my bed, with my silent yellow trimline phone glowing at me from the nightstand. I was begging it to ring. I called another friend and woke her up, desperate to hear another voice on the line, desperate to not be alone. I had call-waiting, so felt comfortable knowing if Cindy called, I could click over.
My friend asked me to repeat exactly what Michael had said to me, and I told her everything.
“Do you believe him?” she asked. I could hear in her question, that she did not.
I felt like a knife had pierced my stomach, and I fell back on to my bed. “Oh my God, the life insurance,” I said, out loud, then proceeded to dismiss that thought as quickly as I could from my mind. I went back to the safer Mark story.
While I was staying up, panicking and pacing, Annette was over at Cindy’s apartment, investigating.

I’ll head out today to get food and a zip drive. Other than that, I’m digging deeper until there’s no more soil to dig in..at least for now.