Thursday, July 1, 2021

Those Extra Seconds



HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: If there actually IS someone who manages to do it all--look at her bio!--it’s the amazing Kate White. Incredibly glam on the outside, incredibly hardworking and authentically talented on the inside, Kate’s a real role model for all of us.

Her new thriller The Fiancee is out this week--and whoa, it is a page turner. It’s hip and knowing and full of relationships and gaslighting and secrets. And a murder. Or maybe two.


And Kate is also one of the most mindful people I know...though her life is whirlwind, she always has her priorities straight and her focus clear. I always wondered how she did that so beautifully.

Today dear Reds and Readers, she reveals one of her secrets. Hmm. Would this work for you?



Those Extra Seconds


By Kate White



What a crazy time, right? The pandemic was so hard, but coming out of it seems hard, too--though in a whole different way. At moments I’m joyful, relieved, raring to go, and thrilled I can celebrate the release of my new suspense novel, The Fiancée, in person with friends, and even head in August to the Bouchercon Mystery Conference in New Orleans.

And yet then, only a short time later, I’ll feel oddly unsettled, worried that I jumped into something too fast and not sure at all what I should be doing.

Have you been riding a similar roller coaster these days?

As odd as it sounds, I’ve been aided during this time by a great piece of wisdom I learned over a decade ago from a West Coast police officer I interviewed for my work—and perhaps you’ll find her wisdom helpful, too.

This woman specialized in crisis intervention, and her job involved handling many harrowing situations, such as dealing with people standing on ledges and threatening to jump to their deaths. I asked her back then to share some of the strategies she found most effective in her job.

What she told me was fascinating, and one tactic in particular has always stayed with me.

In any kind of crisis situation, she said, we often have a bit more time than we realize to decide on the right course of action--not a lot of time, but at least a few more seconds. In the stress of the moment, however, our urge to act quickly sometimes discourages us from taking those extra seconds and as a result we end making a poor choice.

Over time, this police officer trained herself to always take those extra seconds and use them to her advantage. She’d step back and ask herself if her first instinct was the right one or whether there might be a smarter way to handle the situation.

I don’t generally incorporate a lot from my crime writing into my personal life (I swear I’ve never done anything with all the info I’ve gathered about how to poison someone and not get caught!), but this particular lesson is really helping me as I venture out into the world again. I’m hardly in crisis, but it’s a tricky and uncertain time, so it’s been beneficial to step back, wait a bit, and ask some questions before jumping into anything. Questions such as, “Is this really going to be worthwhile?” “Is there a better choice for me right now? “Will following this course of action be a way of expressing some of the good things I learned during the many months in hibernation?”

Taking those extra seconds has helped me be clearer about what I want to say yes to in the next part of my life--and what I finally want to let go of (kind of a Covid Cleanse!)

What do you think? Could the strategy be beneficial for you, too?


HANK: Great question! What do you think, you all? Even...those three seconds before you hit “send” on an email? Or say something you might regret? Have you had a moment where you were happy you waited?




THE FIANCEE

A riveting standalone thriller, set on a bucolic estate, about a captivating young woman who joins a family and threatens to upend their picture-perfect lives.

Summer’s looking forward to a break from hustling for acting work in Manhattan when she, her husband Gabe, and Gabe’s nine-year-old son come to rural Pennsylvania for the annual family get-together at her in-laws’ sprawling estate. The reunion sounds like the perfect escape, until Gabe’s younger brother Nick shows up with his new flame Hannah, who’s an actress as well.

Summer immediately recognizes Hannah from a showcase they once did together, but, strangely, Hannah claims not to know her—and that’s not the only thing that seems off. As Hannah charms the other family members, and Nick announces that he’s proposed to her, Summer doesn’t have much choice but to grit her teeth and bear it.

Not long after guests arrive, the reunion is rocked by tragedy–a family member is found dead.

Doctors attribute the loss to natural causes, but a grieving Summer soon becomes convinced there’s been foul play and that the too-good-to-be-true Hannah is involved. Though Summer tries to make Gabe and the others see the light, they keep ignoring her suspicions.

How far will Summer go to expose the truth? As she investigates just what Nick’s fiancée might have done to keep her perfect image intact, she begins to fear that the first death may only be the beginning…


Kate White
is the New York Times bestselling author of fifteen novels of suspense: seven standalone psychological thrillers, including Have You Seen Me? (an Amazon Editors’ mystery and thriller pick for 2020), as well as eight Bailey Weggins mysteries.

Her next suspense novel, The Fiancée, was published on June 29, 2021.

For fourteen years Kate served as the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, and though she loved the job (and all the freebies to be found in the Cosmo beauty closet), she decided to leave eight years ago to concentrate full-time on being a suspense author.

Her first mystery, Even If It Kills Her, was a Kelly Ripa Book Club pick and #1 bestseller on Amazon. She has been published in countries around the world. Her most recent Bailey Weggins mystery, Such a Perfect Wife, was nominated for an International Thriller Writers Award.

Kate is a frequent speaker at libraries and conferences and loves to share her journey from magazine editor to suspense novelist in a talk called “On Becoming an Author: Forging a New Creative Path and Finding Winning Ideas All Around You.”

She is also the editor of the Mystery Writers of America Cookbook, a collection of recipes from the field’s top-selling authors. In addition to writing mysteries and thrillers, Kate is the author of several bestselling career books, including The Gutsy Girl Handbook: Your Manifesto for Success, as well as I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This: How to Ask for the Money, Snag the Promotion, and Create the Career You Deserve, and Why Good Girls Don’t Get Ahead but Gutsy Girls Do.

She divides her time now between New York City and Las Flores, Uruguay.

69 comments:

  1. Your new book sounds quite intriguing, Kate . . . I’m definitely looking forward to reading it and finding out what’s making Hannah behave so mysteriously.

    I feel as if I get myself in a fix [or come to regret] if I don’t think before I act or speak or write or . . . . Taking a few seconds to consider is definitely a smart idea.

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    1. So agree, Joan! It's so easy to write an email ,and hit send. And then..regret...

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    2. thanks Joan!! One day I will tell you about the email I sent without consideration. oy!

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  2. Take a deep breath and then think. Good advice I need to remember in my life.

    And your new book sounds fantastic. Congrats!

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  3. What great advice from that officer. I have a Quaker characters who frequently takes those few seconds. Do I? Possibly not, but it's a good idea.

    The new book sounds fascinating!

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    1. Thanks Edith, I hope you will give it a try

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  4. I need to have this advice written on sticky notes all over my house and car and...well...LIFE. Is that possible? So many times I wish I had waited those few seconds. And when I have, I've never regretted it.

    And the new book sounds fabulous!

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    1. ha, yes, I'm going to put it on a post-it too.!!

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  5. Welcome Kate--the new book sounds like perfect summer reading! And I love the advice and use it, asking myself 'do you need to do that right now?' I'm wondering whether you miss writing a series??

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    1. thank you, Lucy. And yes, I do miss writing a series. But publishers seem to want stand alones now. Would love your thoughts on this

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  7. Oh yes, I have definitely had moments where I am glad that I waited on sending an email out. Nothing I care to go into or anything but definitely glad I didn't send out the message.

    Those kinds of moments are usually few and far between as I don't tend to send out anything I don't mean to and I don't usually write messages in the moments of rage that might inspire one.

    Given that I tend to have a volcanic temper when I truly get angry, I've made it a practice to try and stay as even keeled as possible for more than a few years now. Not that I don't get stressed but I try not to let as much stuff get through to damage my calm. It is one of the reasons I tend not to get involved in many things anymore. Joining with others invariably leads to schisms if I don't agree with every single point of whatever a group is currently complaining about.

    I'd rather just go on about my day, staying out of others way and trying not to to screw over others along the way.

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    1. Wasn’t it Frank Zappa who said: nothing matters, and what if it does? I truly think about this every day.

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    2. I've also found that meditating, which I started nine years ago, helps a Hell, I mean a heck, of a lot.

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  8. Literally just wrote "Is this worthwhile? Is there a better choice? Is this me?" on a Post-It and stuck it up above my laptop. Thanks for the great advice (I wish we could thank that police officer, too) -- now I just have to live it ;)

    Looking forward to your new book!

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  9. One of the things I've learned, especially when sending an email is to let is sit a day or two. You won't regret it.

    Also walking away and then coming back to it, saves as well.

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    1. It’s so funny what a difference that can make. What we do in the heat of annoyance or frustration or disagreement – – it’s quite incredible how the urgency diminishes so quickly.

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  10. What fabulous advice! Yes, those few seconds can often make the difference between regret and contentment. The Fiancée sounds fabulous. Looking forward to curling up with it on a summer day.

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    1. Yes, right? So true. The action takes one instant, but the regret can be so long lasting.

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    2. thank you Kait. Love how you spell your name

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  11. Congratulations on your new release! On my summer TBR pile.

    I had a moment when I hit pause: an April snow storm weighted down a massive red bud tree limb in full bloom, the limb partially split from the main trunk. But it's still alive. After intense discussion, I agreed to keep the limb if it could be lifted off the fence. My husband achieved temporary success propping it on a large flower pot. A friend had a similar situation and suggested a large chain. I anticipate a tree chaining event this weekend. Achievable or a failed MacGyver?

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    1. One of our trees has a chain made of plastic holding a limb up. Maybe that would work?

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    2. Tree chains are a thing! Thanks for the tip. I had wondered about using heavy gauge metal chain. What you have sounds like a super zip tie, which makes perfect sense. Can't wait to use it in a future plot.

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    3. Neighbors have used kite string on their smaller trees. Lindenwood College has put wooden props under their Crooked Tree . . . looking for a photo, I see they've replace the wood with metal, and the tree still lives.
      https://lindenlink.com/158892/news/lindenwood-then-and-now-rooted-in-history/

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  12. Congratulations on your new release!

    Definitely wait three seconds before hitting SEND, and do not put the name in the TO field until you ARE ready to send. That tip has helped me avoid disastrous consequences a few times. Phew!

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    1. Oh! I do that too… How interesting! Isn’t that funny what a difference it makes ? It forces you to think, doesn’t it!

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  13. Kate, welcome to JRW and congratulations on the release of your new book. I heard the first chapter of The Fiancee on FCF and was immediately hooked. For anyone who wants to hear it, I'm sure Hank can post the link.

    It's funny how one piece of sound advice can be life changing. The advice that changed my life also came in a short, sweet statement 41 years ago. I like yours and surely I was ready for a second life changing pearl.

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    1. Oh, brilliant! Yes, I will do that right away! and hooray, wasn’t that fun?

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    2. So exciting to be here, thank you!!!

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  14. Congratulations for The Fiancée, Kate ! I’m looking forward to read it.
    After wounding someone with words in my teens, I learned to take those few seconds before saying too much. I also take them before accepting something or buying something. A very useful advice.

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    1. Oh my gosh, that is so sad. I am so sorry you had to go through that… and yes, the pause before buying something! I can never remember my PayPal password, and that has saved me a lot of money :-)

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  15. YES! Most definitely. “Is this really going to be worthwhile?” “Is there a better choice for me right now? " I should tattoo something on my forehead as a reminder to TAKE A BEAT. I make snap decisions and often need to pause a few beats. Or more. LOVELY to see yu, Kate - wishing you huge mega-success with THE FIANCEE - going to download it this very second.

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    1. Hallie, using a couple seconds to think about a tattoo on your forehead seems a good idea, maybe.

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    2. Ha ha ha!!!! No kidding, Karen.

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    3. Hallie, I would sooooo love to be riding on a train next to you right now and gabbing up a storm. I didn't wait ten seconds before saying that!

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  16. When things go haywire - computer things usually - I tend to freak out. When what I should do is take a deep breath and THINK. Not all that easy for me. Recently it was my refrigerator and this time I kept saying to myself "I will not panic." I considered the worst case scenario and the several options I had - all fairly doable. Rather than running around like a chicken with its head cut off - have you ever seen that? - it really does help to back up a bit and take a little time to consider things (before going out and buying a brand new refrigerator.)

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    1. Yes, the panic element is truly destructive. I try to think--what is the very hideous worst that could happen? Well, okay, I could deal with that. And then step by step.

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    2. I have to share one little story. Once years ago, my daughter, age 5, was bitten by accident by our dog. What followed: ER, plastic surgeon, stitches, so much turmoil. Later that night I sat on her bed and told her how proud I was of her and asked if I could have done anything to make it easier. She sweetly said, "No, mommy, you were great, but maybe next time just don't yell, "SHE'S GONNA NEED STITCHES."

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  17. What great advice, and I can see a few times in my life where a single second mattered greatly, for good or bad.

    Kate, The Fiancee sounds like a great read. Looking forward to it.

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    1. thank you Karen. I'm going to try to take my own advice this summer!

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  18. Kate, what a pleasure to see you here on Jungle Reds. I'm almost embarrassed to admit this, but this is huge for me because I had been a big fan of the Bailey Weggins series and had somehow had it in my mind that it ended back in 2012. What a delight it was for me this morning to realize there are two new-to-me books in this series! And of course, The Fiancee sounds thrilling, too.

    I may lean a bit into overthinker territory, so I rarely fire off the email or jump to the first action that comes to mind. But I have been trying to help my hotheaded young adult son learn this skill!

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    1. That would be a good gift to him, Susan!

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    2. Oh, Susan, thank you my dear, but the new book is not a Bailey Weggins. So sorry. but two caveats. There have been several Bailey books since 2012, including Such a Pretty Wife and Even If It Kills Her, and though The Fiancée is a stand alone, I think the main character, Summer, has some of that Bailey spunk. I think you would like.

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    3. Sorry I wasn't clear, Kate -- I knew The Fiancee was a standalone. But when you mentioned the Bailey series in relatively present terms I went out to your website, and that's where I found that there were two new ones I hadn't read. So much to look forward to!

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    4. thanks for clarifying Susan. I would soooo love to do another Bailey. Hard to get her out of my head

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  19. I was recently discussing with my niece those moments of self-correction mid-sentence, changing course to be more positive, an important teacher skill, as we want to build up and encourage, even in less wonderful situations. Now I'm thinking of instances of shocked silence as a gift of sorts, silence can speak in the interval of deciding if there's anything constructive to say . . . and sometimes there isn't.

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    1. Yes, silence is sometimes so rewarding to all involved...

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    2. that is such a good point. We get awkward with silence, but it can be so effective

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  20. Taking small steps back into the world. Lunch with a friend at a very uncrowded restaurant yesterday was a delight.

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  21. Congrats on your latest, Kate! I can't wait to read The Fiancee! It's funny you should post this blog because as my sons are navigating the big life choices (college majors), the Hub and I have been advising them to "take a beat" and consider things before going all in on the idea of the day :)

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    1. Oh Jenn, that's another great way to put it. Take that beat. Hard to convince college kids to do that!!

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  22. Congratulations on the book, Kate! It sounds like the perfect summer read. And I love the advice. Making sticky note now!

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  23. I've managed to learn over the years to take my time before deciding whether to take the plunge. This applies mainly to shopping. And when I had the opportunity to commit to buying a house after the owner reduced the price I was able to walk away without regrets. I still think about the changes I would have made, but some things cannot be fixed. Fond daydreaming but no regrets. I'm afraid that some of this stepping back to think turns into making no decision at all. Inaction is not always a decision but a delaying tactic. Your book sounds fabulous, Kate! My husband and I were just talking about gaslighting the other day. I wish I could remember what show we were watching that brought it on!

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    1. Have you read The Midnight Library? It's magical realism, about regrets. I really loved it. Oh, I wish I knew what show!

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    2. I'll have to check out that book. I wish I remembered what show too! A mind is a terrible thing to lose!

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    3. Hope you give it a try, Pat. Have a great summer

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  24. Kate, welcome to Jungle Reds and congratulations on your new standalone novel! I remember meeting you at Malice Domestic in 2016.

    Yes, I have reviewed what I write before sending the email. I learned a valuable lesson from my summer internship years ago when we got a group email. Unfortunately, I thought I was responding to the sender from another office down the hall and ALL OF THE OFFICES got my email. Everyone said "I got your email". Luckily, I did not say anything incriminating. Now I can laugh about it.

    Diana

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    1. OH--the DREADED DREADED DEADLY "reply all!" Worse thing EVER. SO glad you escaped. Ahh.

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    2. one of my worst mistakes ever, on a professional level, was responding to an email thinking it was going to someone else. The worst.

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  25. I love the suggestion to take a few seconds, and I HAVE done that and it HAS saved me. I learned it when traveling in the pre-cellphone days, when you had to collect information, departure times, maps, etc. and couldn't look things up on your handy pocket computer. There were several times when taking a beat, checking, and then double checking kept me from getting on the wrong train or from continuing in the wrong direction. (Which make a corollary: trust your instincts. If this doesn't feel like the way to the Uffizi, it may not be.)

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    1. MY NEW MOTTO. "If this doesn't feel like the way to the Uffizi, it may not be."

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    2. ha, love that. Wonder when we will get back to the Uffizis of the world

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