Smoke and Mirrors

“Gorge smoke crept in through our bedroom windows last night. The stealthy intruder stole our breath and brought acid tears to our eyes.”

That’s how I began a Facebook post on Saturday.  People complimented me on the great description, though I can’t claim the credit.  I give that to my sleep-deprived, coughing subconscious.  Smoke and its accompanying ash filled the Labor Day weekend skies, and returned to Portland on the east wind this past weekend.  The smoke in the title was real, though now, thanks to Mother Nature shedding her healing tears, we might be turning the corner on a hellish summer.

The mirror part is simpler to explain.  We’ve been remodeling bathrooms for what feels like a year but is only three months (so far).  Doing most of the work ourselves along with working our desk jobs means things go slowly, when we have time and energy to tackle the next phase.  It also means I’ve been without a mirror larger than hand-sized for that time.  I stared in the mirror for the first time in forever, wondering if changes inside would show on the outside.

(They didn’t, in case you’re wondering.)

The phrase ‘smoke and mirrors’ is an Americanism meaning something fraudulent or deceptive, and it’s thrown around quite a bit these days – for good reason.  Applied to this example, though, it has less to do with clouding the truth and more to do with a muddied brain.

Over the past few months, I’ve been trying to decide on a future direction.  Keep writing fiction?  With one more novel and one more novella awaiting final edits in the Flynn’s Crossing series, completion looms on that horizon.  Two new storylines set in Portland, different from FC but continuing in the romantic suspense genre, scream to be let loose.  One is yelling louder than the other now, and I’ll begin to release some short stories from that series in a few months.

The other idea teasing at the outer edges of my creative psyche again is teaching, but different from my past university work.  I’ve been part of a terrific creative Mastermind group these past few months.  In that collaborative forum, I’ve often shared what I’ve learned about self-publishing with a goal of helping others avoid the mistakes I’ve made.  The feedback I received from my fellow MMers convinced me I have a message to share about being an indie.

You see, when I look around, I see dozens of people with bigger names than mine selling online courses and virtual webinars and face-to-face presentations and self-help books on the benefits and pitfalls of indie-pubbing.  I thought the market must be saturated, plus, self-doubt reared its head and told me what I had to say was all being said by someone else.

To some extent that’s true, but, I realized, not completely.  Over the next few months, you’ll see more from me about being an indie, along with practical tips and tricks to make the preparation of your creative work easier.  I’m rolling Goose Your Muse, my tips for creatives site, under the Yvonne Kohano umbrella.  This website will continue to evolve too, so please keep in touch by signing up for updates.

Don’t be alarmed if you’re someone who is here because you like the travel, gardening or cooking things I post!  I’ll be writing about those too.  Who knows?  When you read about something in the creative realm, maybe it will inspire you to explore a part of yourself you thought was out of reach.

The creative side!

What opportunities to make a major professional life change have come your way, and how did you handle them?  I’d love to hear from you!

About The Author

Yvonne Kohano

Award winner and storycatcher Yvonne Kohano writes contemporary romantic suspense in her Flynn's Crossing series. She is also working on a psychological thriller trilogy, and producing nonfiction books with tips for creative types. In addition to running an indie press, Yvonne loves to cook (dedicated foodie), garden (plantaholic), travel (anywhere), and read and learn (anything). She, her husband and their dogs love their home in the Pacific Northwest. Follow her at and on Facebook and Twitter to learn what tickles her about being a writer.

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