Bad Reviews- In My View They Ain’t So Bad! #MFRW

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So it’s Monday and like clockwork I woke up at 7.00a.m after snoozing the alarm a few times, with a list as long as my arm, with things I want to complete today, in order to have a productive writing day. For one we’re one week into National Novel Writing Month, I’m participating this year, while I have 20,000 words down I’m still not quite happy with all of it, I have emails to respond to, one half of a story for The Suspenseful Collection #2 to write…. before tomorrow!  And let’s not forget the ‘day job writing’ also… I’m a translator by day!

Waking up to this list,  I knew today would be busy, right on cue my five year old son moseys into my room, jumps under the covers…”mama, I’m sick.” I sigh, roll my eyes, peel his warm five year old body off me and look him in the eye, then ask what’s wrong? He  holds his legs in the air like a tent under the covers. When he was born he had complications with his legs, now it’s fine but  I take his complaints seriously. I roll over thinking ” no school looks like today’s a sick day then, some much for productivity.”

It’s lunch time, what is he doing as I write this writing response?  Dancing and singing (rather loudly) to the Lion King movie, before that it was Frozen the movie. What else has he done today, given me firm instructions to leave my desk, to play kick the ball in the garden , attacked the washing line then ran around the house with my bra on his head, pretending he’s a “pirate of the Caribbean.” Clearly, there is nothing wrong with the little shit, boy… whoops sorry. He just fancies a day off to watch Disney all day, and disrupt his mama!

So I may as well do a writing prompt as it’s clear I won’t get to focus on any manuscripts until this evening after bed time…. sighs #shoutoutallparents.

 Bad Reviews, How They Can Help?

So bad reviews? The question  and writing prompt this week is how to overcome them. In all honesty, I don’t think bad reviews are really that bad as you grow as a writer. You soon learn that you can’t, should not try to, and DO NOT EVER want to try to write to please everyone, it’s impossible. If you do that, you’ll lose who you are as a writer,why YOU WRITE and you’ll have no idea of who you actually please- your target market and actually create sales, and a readership.

I also say this as I personally feel as a writer you get to a point where a bad review, you realise does so much more than make you feel bad if you have done the best you can on your work. 1. a review is a review whether good or bad, and sometimes the odd 1 star or someone not feelin’ your work shows a genuine picture or balanced picture. 2. a bad review can cause other people to pick up your book, out of curiosity anyway. How many times have you read reviews on somethings you wish to purchase, or a new product you wish to try and noticed the odd bad one or less positive review but decided ‘I think I want to give this a try, and see for myself.’ 3. it can also allow you to see what someone did not enjoy, genuinely as  long as they are not just on a bitchfest for no good reason.

So… how could you overcome a bad review?

I feel there  is the difference between a ‘moaning’ review and a genuine less positive review that’s more like ‘ this is critique that’s useful.’ I also feel it’s our job as a writer to weed out the two. If you can do this, that’s half the job of ‘overcoming’ a bad review. If the person is just going on, and on, and on, and on about why they hated your work with no real depth to it just…. just “hatin”’ on your work, disregard it and see that they are ‘moaning’. Instead pay attention to those who seem to be more realistic in their less positive review, and see what’s of use for you to know. Even then, take what’s helpful and leave the rest and focus on writing the next book.

Lastly, try  recognise if you have just sadly attracted the ‘wrong reader’ I hate to say this, sometimes it happens. It has happened to me, and I have also been the wrong type of reader for other books. This is when the book calls you,  the cover, blurb, genre whatever…you dive in and the connection is not there. If you can recognise within less positive reviews if this is ‘the wrong kind of reader, not someone you’d hope to attract or genuinely  a target reader’ for your work, this helps you to overcome bad reviews also. It is also helpful to define for  yourself as a writer who is, potentially could be, and definitely is not a target reader for you. Within the less positive reviews.

This is my honest approach to this subject that so many of us writers lose sleep over… a bad review pifff… I don’t allow it to bug me out so much these days. I take what I need and leave the rest, and know that it’s impossible to please all, and I would not ever want to, how the hell do I stand out if I do that?

Take what’s helpful, leave the rest. Just like when your work is rejected by a publisher, or an agent or an editor requests your work …but asks you to make what you would call major changes….that you’re not really feeling. Leave it if it does not help or changes your work too much in your view in a way you’d not really want it to. There will be someone out there that will say ‘yes, gimmie that’ as it is, you just have to find them.

Lastly, don’t ever lose your confidence over a bad review, once you develop that thick skin, this is impossible to happen anyway. But on the way to getting to this place of thick skinned and unflappable, don’t beat yourself up if someone did not connect, as remember you write for those that do connect.

 

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Poem: Is She You?

 Reblogging this poem I wrote and blogged for all mothers a long, long time ago. Today in the UK it is Mother’s Day.  This Sunday, I’m celebrating and saluting all mothers, no matter where you are in the world. I feel blessed, I have a British and European day to celebrate motherhood! If you were celebrating with me today, I hope you have had a wonderful day.

Maze
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She, who is she? Is she me or you? If not you then she is who? All I know is she always says whatever it is I need to do …. trust me I’ll do. No matter the weather, no matter the stress her attitude is always “can do.”

Times get tough, troubled and unsettled waters maybe ahead, but does that make her see red?  Let me ask you a question, if you could do it all again in life would you? What would you seek to go back and re-do? You have a long list! Wow, my point, you have missed. Each experience is either a lesson, or blessing in disguise. Wrapped up in drama,  or feeling like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.  But  If you never travelled that road of drama, would you be able to hold your head this high?

Read between the lines you’re much better, you’re like titanium, and much more refined after all that drama you left behind. You’re now one of a kind, so leave those bitter memories behind.

Each day, look in the mirror and figure out what it is you must do, or what you want to do? What’s your next move?

Never be bitter or never be so unkind to yourself, so that you can’t read between the lines.

Gather your strength, keep your goals in mind, never look behind. I promise you with this wind under your wings you’ll fly. Now you must reach for the sky. Some days will be hard, you have the kids, work, school,  dinner to make, cleaning, the list never ends and the worst bit – everyone has their demands of you! You’ll want to scream hold up! What more do you want me to fucking do? Huh?  But remember it’s your strength,

That will see you through. So let me ask you again who is she? Is she me? Is she you? Oh she is you! Then get out there and do what you need to do. Remember Proverbs 31:25 now who is she?? Is she you?… Yeah, that’s what I thought, I knew you had it in you.

High five, keep going and do what you need to do.

 I just felt like writing. Salute to all the mothers, carers, breadwinners, goal makers and hard workers out there!

Kim.

Prologues: Love Or Hate?…It’s A Game Changer! #MFRW

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Interesting writing prompt for this week’s blog challenge, a really relevant one for me. Just when I thought I couldn’t possibly become a better writer than I already am,  (just kiddin’ 🙂 ),  I discovered the beauty of a prologue (not kiddin’ about that), and highly recommend using them to writers who have not tried it. (Not kiddin’ about that either).

Seriously, though… prologues?… no. Up until recently, I never used one in any of  my works, not in the true sense of one. Then I did in my last novel I finished this month, from the experience I realised  it’s a game changer for the story, reader and me as a writer…. yes, it improved all three elements of the latter.

When I  published the first book I ever completed, the  publisher at the time really encouraged prologues in books, but what I have learned since then is that how they encouraged their use, was not really a prologue in its true form. It was more like a copy and paste of an existing part of the book, to ‘grab the reader’ , I was told at the time. So I went with it, it really made no difference to me,  the story I don’t think or even the reader. As they re-read the same thing  later in the book. From research, from what I understand and correct me if I’m wrong, a prologue is an introduction or scene setting and not something that appears again later down the line.

In my most recent works Sacrifices a romantic suspense, with a hint of history to it, once it went through a round of editing, my editor pointed out ‘Kim, this really needs something here.’ I walked away like ‘hmm, okay so I need to add a new scene to ‘introduce’ the story.’ This is largely as, if you have seen the film Pulp Fiction, I have ‘stolen’   ‘been inspired’ the talented movie director Quentin Tarantino’s, excellent story telling technique. I  start my story twenty-five years ago, but not twenty-five years ago from the present day…from the 1960s! Which makes the opening scene the mid- late 1980s…then tell the story ‘back to front’ if you like, to end up in the present day, while moving through different points and key events from 1960s- 1980s in different countries,  and then the present day!

 

women writer funny

I know I’m nuts, right!? Imagine how much fact checking and challenge it was, to give birth to a story like that. Thankfully, and very proudly it works, it came together finally. So anyway, once I got that feedback I reflected, then decided  I do need a prologue in the present day, before we head back and move forward. I really researched into what the general feel is on prologues, and the use of them as I never worked with one, or used one before properly. I’ve simply never needed to.  A lot of what I read, stated that ‘you should be able to tell the story without a prologue or a epilogue.’ I reflected, I saw this point of view and understood it, as that’s how felt before, I wrote Sacrifices.  

I also read a lot of articles that advised romance writers to ‘stay away from them’! One very popular romance author wrote a very interesting article advocating using one, also stating that in her experience ‘readers loved them’, especially epilogues. Yes…I used an epilogue also, but this was already there due to the nature of the story, and ending.

So in all honesty, I believe that as a writer, experimenting with a prologue has actually made me a bit of a stronger writer. It feel it has also added an extra layer of ‘wow, that’s a cool story, and not a rehash of current romance themes’ to my current work. I also feel that readers will be able to keep up with the pace, and connect with the story, due to the technique I used to write it with the addition of the prologue.

Now, I’m a strong supporter from this experience, and I’ve learned what a true prologue is, not a copy and past to ‘grab someone’. It’s a whole new scene, setting, part of the story or peel of the onion to unwrap, to draw a reader in. It’s also very very helpful when writing from a historical perspective, where you are not always in the present day.

Yeah…I think I’ve convinced myself that I am a prologue lover, as well as a epilogue lover and I would do it all over again, if the story called for it with no hesitation. I’m always one to happily break rules to…so as a romance writer, I won’t ‘stay away’ from them as generally in the genre it’s not something that is used often or supported, so they say. I’ll do what the story is calling me to, and allow myself to become better and write stronger stories by not being bound to rules! So in response to this week’s writing prompt for romance writers ‘ prologues helpful, or hurtful?‘…. Helpful 100%.  I recommend you all do too, look at your last or current works, regardless of what you write or your genre. Do you need a prologue, what about an epilogue? It might just help, and change the game.

NaNoWriMo: Is It Motivational or Pressure? And What Are You Writing?? #amwriting

CRIME SCENE

 

So, I’ve received the email today, like every other writer around the world  inviting them to Camp NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month is here people! What’s funny is two seconds before it landed in my inbox, I opened a manuscript for a crime fiction I started to re-craft 2018.  I opened up the email from NaNoWriMo and thought ‘it’s a sign’ jump in this month!’

I have signed up to NaNoWriMo before and did complete my writing projects, but not in the time frame of the month of NaNoWriMo. My questions to those of you who take part in this are, have  you successfully completed a novel or piece of work in this challenge? Do you find it motivational or more pressure to be part of this? And do you join the camps?

Personally, I am in a position now were I am waiting to hear news on the last work I completed this year, so now I am ‘idle,’ and technically should get my shit together and complete a project in the challenge time. (So she says!)

I have in the past found it a bit of a ‘pressure’, but not in a bad way,  it was just that I beat myself up after the event as I never completed what I planned to. Partly, it could have been because I had so much on my plate. Now I’m a lot more ‘idle’ I want to test run this challenge, and see if it’s really enjoyable and motivational, when I take part and life is not so crazy.

I’m about to sign up, have you? …Will you?… If not why not?… And who wants to be my NaNoWriMo buddy? We could check in on each other, and make sure we are hitting that word count?

This year, I am going back to that same manuscript I have been wanting to finish, that I have ripped apart about three times ready LOL. I’ve focused on so much romantic suspense,  I’m the mood to craft the perfect  London based crime.  The last time I opened it was 9th January 2018…yikes!

I hope to see you in camp, drop me a message if you are taking part.

 

Rambles and Randoms #MFRWauthor #amwriting

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A few years ago I joined in on the fifty two week blogging challenge for romance authors, using the prompts from this great organisation. I’m jumping in for 2019 at week eleven, and go back and answer a few of  what missed…. in other words take a break from proof reading.

Question: Do you hold, share or hide an odd hidden talent?

I love astrology, I just can’t get enough of  how the study of the planet movement can impact on life. I studied it, got a diploma in astrology and yep every month I do look at the what the plants are doing.  Sometimes  I plan things I want to do based on what star sign the new or full Moon is in, or where my ruling planet for my star sign is in the universe.  Yep, I know my birth chart off the top of my head, and do compare it to the day that certain astrological major events are happening, like a planet moving signs or whatever event is taking place like an eclipse for example. Just to see how it may impact me, or what ‘house of life’ the planet transit is happening in. Is that weird? Probably.

Question: The difference between collecting and hording?

I found this such an interesting prompt, as I really had to think and question myself.  My paranoia set in big time!

Kim’s brain ticking, and eyes narrow: To collect, means you collect things that are valuable, rare or something useful.  Hording is when you’re afraid to let go of something you’ve collected, no matter how broken or unusable it is. Hmmm yeah,  when my shoes are old and battered…. I chuck them out, and buy a new pair to add to the ‘collection’. Same with all the beauty products.  Hmm yeah yeah.  If kept hold of the old shoes, finished glosses or lippies…. then I’d be hording right?… right.  *Nods head slowly while pouting* …. yeah, that sounds about right you’re collector girl, don’t panic.

Question: stress eating, whys and wherefores?

You know, I don’t and never have done this. I  get that some do, but when I am feeling stressed I turn the other way from food. I tend to not eat, if there’s very stressful things happening, not like everyday stresses or challenges but real life stress. I can’t answer this one from the why or wherefores.

 Question: Point of view choices and preferences?

Now, this is going to sound very strange from a romance author, but I proudly break every rule in the ‘romance writing’ cookbook of ‘how it should be done.’ In fact, I recommend to any new writer to stay away from those books, as they mass produce the same old. I stray whenever I feel like it, if the story calls me to.  I write first person, present tense and I don’t give a hoot who thinks what. And that is probably why I stand out, I’m not the only romance writer that does it I know, but those of us that do we’re the rebels and the bad asses to go against what’s considered the norm and ‘way to write romance’. And we are the ones probably turned away from agents and publishers  the most, because we are rebels.  But I’ll be honest… I chucked that cookbook right out, along with the cookbook that says every male lead is ‘tall, dark and handsome’ and every female lead is ‘ waiting to be saved’. * Smirks* nooo, no no, I like my women like I like my coffee strong! For the most part anyway, same with the men.

The romance genre is very full of third person past tense, which is nice and okay, and yes I can write like that if I feel like it or feel the story needs it, but that’s not what got me my first publishing deal, that’s not what made me an award winning author, and it’s not what landed an agent’s interest in my the novel I wrote to submit this year.  So I keep it real, and I keep it how I like it and where my true gift shines.

I’ll let you into a secret too those very same chapters I submitted to two agents, one came back and said to me ‘ I need to follow the rules’ and asked me if I’d consider doing a rewrite she did want my work, I kid you not, I actually laughed told her ‘no thanks.’ The other one she requested the full manuscript, in order to know where I stood with them I checked if the tense is okay , they said ‘yeah it works keep there.’ From this I feel be creative don’t feel bound to rules.

Personally I feel that POV’s should be written from the angle the story calls for it to be written from, if it’s an intense thrilling story there is nothing like bringing the reader up close.  My honest POV, on writing POV in the romance genre and generally is, be brave because there are readers of this genre (which includes me), who are sick and tired of the same old same old, same plots done over, same feel of the story the same predictability.

On the other hand I could feel like this and write how I write, as I write things like general thriller and crime, so I guess that’s where I get the rebel streak in me from. But, in a nutshell there are ‘rules’ and then there’s talent and creativity which will allow you to tell the story,  and find your own style and not have to follow ‘rules.’ Don’t be afraid to use it and stand out, there is nothing wrong with that.  This is by no means a knock to any writer who sticks to the rules either, it’s just an honest response to this prompt.

Question: reading, writing or living?

All three, damn I can’t do one without the other two. I can’t write without the urge to read, reading is what brought me to writing, not the other way around. I ran a book club for years ,and read two books or more a month before I even even wrote ‘Chapter One’ and wrote a story. But I always had a love of writing, I needed a push I got it and never stopped.  I need to live to read and write, and and live for reading and writing, so I need all three in my life!

Right! Okay, back to the proof reading before bed, I am going  over the stories from The Suspenseful Collection Volume Two. I can’t believe how going back over work I did with Didi from 2017, has made me smile so much, mainly as the challenge was and still will be to write the story over a weekend LOL. It’s such a great challenge every week, I need to thank you again if you voted in the writing prompts we used for the stories we have so far for this volume.

Right now, we’re writing the bonus stories ( that will only appear in the actual published book only), and extending the ones you all voted for to be extended  in the actual volume. This trip down memory lane is pretty cool. Thank you guys!

I hope once I speak with Didi again next week, we’ll have a plan on how we go about the challenge in 2019, and voting. I have never been more challenged by this kind of writing prompt challenge I LOVE IT. Thing is I  have no say on how the story ends ( unless I’m author two), but the challenge of being author two is I need to just roll with what Didi puts on my plate, and lap it up I can’t change it as  we don’t talk about the story it’s against the rules!

On the other hand being author one, is also just as challenging as you need to  break the ice and give the reader something interesting quick as it’s a short story, and the other writer something good enough to work with, and hope they don’t hate it! I could go on, but seriously it’s brought a much needed smile back  to my face, after personal withdrawal to deal with life it’s great to be back doing what I love.

Catch y’all soon.

 

Comfort Zone: What Are You More Comfortable With? #amwriting #writingprompts

 

 

img_20190314_104032.jpgI’ve got some time to kill before I leave the house, perfect to fit in a quick writing prompt right?  I opened up my 365 days of writing prompt book on today’s date. This seems like a very fitting topic right now!

“What are you more comfortable with, routine and planning or laissez-faire?”

Well, to be honest as a person, mother, and human being I do like planning and routine. If there was no routine in my life then the house would not be tidy, there would be no dinner made, and the bills would all be left unpaid it would be chaos. There would also be no fun times for me and my family…which is planned for. I think in life we all need some kind of routine and planning, if not it is very easy to lose your way, or destiny. How do you know what direction you are meant to head in, if you don’t have some kind of plan?  Also if I work on projects and do things with others the same applies, where are we going? In that respect I do prefer and think we all need it. Even those of us who like to fly by the seat of our pants, you can’t always take that approach you’ll probably achieve very little. Even down to minor things like how you’ll spend the day, what you will eat, what you will wear today, etc. There is no avoiding it, planning is needed.

Aside from that,  my personality generally is that  I do like to go with the flow, once I have a plan or loose idea about something which could be about anything.  My personality is more carefree, I don’t tend to be a stress head, as long as I have an idea of what’s going on I’ll go with the flow and know that, because I have some kind of loose idea ‘it will work out’.

I guess on reflection as I write this, my ‘comfort zone’ is to have a plan and routine of some kind. That’s what I think stops me from being a stress head. If I don’t have a plan no matter who loose it is, I would become very stressed, and my personality is to flow with things providing I have a direction.

You’re probably thinking, well what about as a writer do you like to plan or go with the flow. It depends on what I’m writing as a fiction writer  I do very much go with the flow while writing. Yes I plan characters, yes I plan my surprises and twists in a story,  yes I plan endings but no when I actually write I hardly, if ever look back at that plan. To be honest, I don’t think I have actually written anything that ended how I planned it to on paper. That’s because as a  fiction writer I tend to jump into the story and behind the character, which means I come out of myself if that makes sense. I am no longer ‘Kim writing a story line.’ I am the serial killer, the female lead, the drop dead sexy male whoever I am writing, and I’m at the location of the crime, the sex scene whatever I’m there not behind my laptop. It’s very strange my imagination removes itself from me, so half the time I go with ‘what the character would do’  or the situation that’s fitting for them, not me.

As a non-fiction writer, as in writing an article or ghost writing something for someone else, who has an idea of what they want. As much as it might a pain in my ass, as I may have other creative ideas I do 100% stick to what’s been asked of me to write about, or the style I have been asked to use. That’s the only time I will be ridged  with plans when I do non-fiction writing . It’s a lot more fact based and aimed at making a particular point more time, so I am kind of forced to plan to make that point by the end of the article, or whatever it is I’ve been asked to write that’s non-fiction.

So… I guess no as a writer my comfort zone is that I don’t like tooo much of a plan, just a tiny bit so I know where to run wild and flow. But in my own life as a person I need and do better with solid planning.

What about you to plan or not to plan that is the question? Where do you plan the most in life? Love to see what you all do! Also, does anyone know where we find the old WordPress daily prompts these days? Do they even still do them ?

 

 

 

 

Random Thoughts: What Astrology Taught Me About Writing… The Time Is Now

Love of writing

Before I started to write this post I had to step out into my garden and take a deep breath.  It’s late 11pm but I’m in a random reflective mood, I’ve not blogged in months so here goes some random thoughts…I can’t believe the journey I have been on this last year, personally and as a writer.  For a year in August I’ve been editing a magazine and writing non-fiction. During this time I’ve had the pleasure of going back to Astrology, as I have written to horoscopes for Concision Talk Magazine. I fell into Astrology, Tarot and all that good stuff when I was about sixteen, that’s another blog post. Anyway, as you read this now in June 2018 Mars the planet of action, determination, goals, motivation war and conflict has gone retrograde. This basically means moving backwards from an Earth’s perspective, during this time it’s when we are forced to revisit old ground, anger can come out for some depending on circumstances, it’s not a time to start new ventures things come to completion normally.  Also, it’s a time of focusing directed energy as Mars’ forceful motivation, determination and ass-kicking energy is in full force!

The interesting thing about a planet’s retrograde is that is happens in a ‘house of life’ for us all, depending on your birth chart where exactly. For me when I pulled up my chart on the 26th June the day the planet went into retrograde until the end of August, the retrograde is happening in my 5th house, the house that’s linked to creativity, romance, children, life’s pleasures and enjoyment.  This told me, this is the house I need to go back to creativity, what I love and look at old projects.

What is even more interesting about a Mars retrograde is that it happens every twenty-six months roughly, if you look back at the dates and times for yourself personally, you’ll have an idea of lessons you need to learn in your own life, or themes in your life etc. For me the retrograde from 2010 were largely based around my marriage, the home and family and creativity. You’re not going to believe this, I looked at my Astrological birth charts during the retrograde periods as far back as 2010, in 2016’s retrograde I realised I wrote my first novel, got my first publishing deal and that novel turned out to be an award winning novel, the retrograde took place in my 4th house of life which is connected to the family, home, recent past and your foundations.  ( Back then I was not following Astrology as I once did all my life, and had no idea this transit was happening in these areas). However, I was going through some shit! Massive changes which lead to me being free to write and so I did…  just before the current retrograde Mars almost two years later I started to write another romantic suspense, sent over three chapters to an agent who requested the full book from me, this was in late 2017 early 2018. I moved country  just as she come back to me, and had the magazine going so writing fiction slowed. If I’m honest, I never really could get into writing the fiction again I was loving the non-fiction of the magazine. Now, under this Mars retrograde in my 5th house of creativity, romance and life’s pleasures  clearly I’m being pointed to go back and prompted not miss the chance with the agent who is interested in my work…  write that damn book. I also, really miss my ‘home’ of fiction writing, you can take the editor out of the writer but you can’t take the writer out of an editor is how I feel. I found it so enlightening and awaking this week to study Astrology and notice  that during the last Mars retrograde, I wrote my first full 90k word novel during the exact three months it took place! Every day I wrote, like a crazy woman forget editing… and it showed LOL. I just wrote and later down the line polished the book.

Astrology teaches you so much in life! ‘As above so below’…. my break from fiction writing is clearly over as of this month. I’ve set the challenge, Mars’ retrograde will unleash the fiction writer in me again, and yes you better believe that agent is going to snap up my book like it’s the best thing she’s read this year!  I am I’m going back to that manuscript I feel a stronger writer… even if I was badass before *wink.

People check your birth charts see what this Mars retrograde can mean for you, if you believe in all that ‘mombo jumbo’ it really can move you to where you are meant to be! If you have no clue how to do it, I’ll do it!  It will take me like two seconds to pull up a chart using your birthday, location of birth and time of birth just email me! Don’t miss out on any opportunity or where you are meant to be when these cosmic changes transit, remember as above so below! The time is now!