I Think I’ve Cracked it!… Well Sort Of

Bonjour from the south of France! My family and I are on a mini trip. I recently wrote this writing prompt response on the word “successful” you can read it here if you missed it, I expressed my desire to move from what I feel is a real basic level of  French, and feel more confident in talking. I can read and write much better I feel. Well, I kid you not today I got us from the airport to the hotel via taxi, changed some money,  checked us in, asked for directions and got us to the city centre by walking , and even understood when someone in Mcdonalds told us ” there is extra seating on the floors above, please move up there”  all in French !  I understood the native speakers well, and thankfully they understood me. In addition to this standing in the line at the supermarket I had a conversation with a lovely French lady, who thought maybe we were American …. oddly.

I am over the moon I had to updated this blog post with my “success”

New Direction: Hybrid Author and Self Publishing?? #amwriting #writerslife

My gosh

It feels like an age since I sat down to update my author site, I’ve been a busy bee heading in a new direction. Yep! Looks like I’m now what they call a Hybrid author, after I gladly took back ownership of my first two novels I had traditionally published.  That’s it they are  mine! I have my rights back! And I have republished them. This week…. Why did I walk away from a traditional publisher, well I felt that sadly my work was not what I would have expected in terms of quality I work so so hard. I did a blog on this last year when I pulled one down from sale. I’d  be up at night thinking about it. And so I felt that I was happy to have my rights back over my independent work only, and do my own thing. Whether that be submit to another publisher or self publish, I decided nothing wrong with a bit of DIY so I went for the latter.

That does not mean I will never traditionally publish again, hell no! My  full manuscript for my third romance book has been requested by another publisher from last year, I’m working  on completing it.  I am happy to try other publishers. BUT it does mean I’ve learned a hell of a lot also, about me as a writer and if I feel better going it alone as an indie author, hybrid author  by the time I’ve finished the book  I’ll keep going. I have no regrets walking away, I feel better. Here’s what I’ve learned..

  1. Don’t  accept compromise on quality or your overall vision for your work . You will never truly be proud of your work.
  2. Chose carefully! Ask questions about processes and procedures, and see if you feel happy with the process your work will undergo. Then make sure that the procedures actually happen.
  3. Have balls, always if your gut tells you it’s not right, chances are it isn’t and you should listen.Don’t be nervous just be respectful and say how you are feeling.
  4. It does not matter how you are published! Once you have finished your novel, novella, short story whatever and it is out there in the world, you’re an author baby and a writer and that’s all that matters!
  5. Self publishing seems to have many benefits, if you understand the process well.I would urge any aspiring author to consider it and not hold out for that book deal, if you have passion go for it! Don’t look back. Put out some of your work and keep chasing the ideal publishing deal.

 

So that’s it! We’ll see what direction I go in now as a writer but one thing is for sure I’m not going to stop writing! This experience has unleashed something great that I truly don’t think I will ever live to regret. I tread these waters much more wiser! I’ll keep going down this road and see where I end up. It’s about the love of writing.

Ah! The Ups & Downs of Writing- Has This Happened To You Writers? #amwriting #learning

Today has been a very productive day for me writing wise, it’s just 3:00 p.m London time and already I have one complete chapter done! But let me tell you, it did not start out like this. First, last night I left off writing thinking okay tomorrow, I’ll come back and w,x ,y,z is  the focus. Previously, I had wrote  about four chapters  of my current thriller, then I ripped it to shreds (a year later late 2016).  But I kept my vision and story line,  I was not a fan of how I wrote “the vision.” So anyway, I started out again. Last night I was  so so so sure I kept the old version … somewhere, I just had to have it, right? Of course somewhere.

Today I thought I’d  go back to it, as I’m  writing a scene that now fits with what I wrote before  a lot better. I went back to my external hard drive the most logical place to look- it wasn’t there, I searched my whole lap top- it wasn’t there. I started to panic, no panic is not the word I started to curse loudly, in a very un lady like way LOL (thank God my son’s at nursery he’s now at the tender age of three, and he repeats EVERYTHING he hears this is how he picks up his vocabulary).

For about five mins, I just sat behind the lap top staring out the window at the rain, then back at my lap top, then at the hard drive in a foul mood. I wanted to pick everything up off the table and chuck it out the window onto the main road and curse  and let a car run over everything! But that would not have helped… so I didn’t  🙂 I  questioned myself, where did I save my old work? Did I really delete it off my external hard drive, once I rewrote the story ? What  have I done with it, I’ve lost at least four  fucking chapters!!  Was all that went through my head.

Then I turned the house upside down, looking for my old USBs  from a few years ago, hoping to God I found them. There it was … all 20,000 words of my old manuscript ahhh sighs of relief, break out the violins please.  I swear I could literally feel the happy hormones taking over my body again 🙂 all I had to do now was hope to God, what I was looking for was  saved on this particular USB I found.

THANK THE HEAVENS! There it was, OMG one chapter down, go Kim *high five.* *Shake it around the living room like Beyonce would* I got my happy dance on y’all 🙂

What I learned today, is NEVER ever move your work (no matter how old) from the main place you save it to another, never ever delete anything as you never know you may want to go back to it, as I did today, rewrite it, change it, add it to another story whatever. The point is save,save,save no matter how rubbish you think it is. Which is how I felt when I started to rewrite the chapters and clearly moved it off my external hard drive. I thought it was a pile of shit to be honest what I had wrote. But obviously not crap enough to delete completely, just crap enough to move from my current work and published work. Why the hell I did it, I honestly don’t know.

Writers has this ever happened to you? Have you ever lost work? Or re found it and got your happy dance on?  Have you deleted something and then tried your hardest to recover it? Tell me your story! Drop me a comment.

 

 

Writing Prompt Challenge week 7: Music to Write By #amwriting #MFRWauthor #writerslife

It’s week seven of the romance authors fifty two week writing prompt  challenge, this week it’s music we write to. Oh boy! Where oh where do I even start with this. My musical taste is so diverse ( just how I like my characters in my stories). I listen to pretty much anything but heavy metal, mainly as I can’t dance to that- who can? Show me how?!

I Like

  • 50s-70s soul and motown.
  • Modern music from today.
  • Hip hop ( old stuff)
  • French soul and hip hop
  • 90’s stuff
  • Pop
  • Soft rock ( like P!ink)
  • Classical
  • Jazz
  • Everything!

When I write it depends on the mood I’m in and what scene I’m writing, I’ll be honest and say as a romance writer I don’t actually listen to love songs when I write ( weirdly). When I wrote A Stranger in France I listened to a lot of French soul singers, motown, soul and classical piano music. Music really features in the book. When I wrote Not Just for Christmas it was actually summer! No where near Christmas and I remember listening to a lot of upbeat summer music from the modern times, mainly the radio. For Code Redhead- A Serial Novel, my contribution story I wrote  mainly while I listened to the sound track from Fifty Shades of Grey * wink, I had fun with that story!

When I’m behind schedule, like maybe I’m in a panic that I won’t meet a deadline agreed with a publisher, or I just have not focused myself well for whatever reason. I don’t suffer writer’s block I’ve found a way to beat it, you can find out how I have done that by clicking here, but sometimes I sit down to write and I “faaf” around reading other blogs, watching Youtube or just browsing the internet,  looking at God knows what, and before I know it, it’s time for bed. When that happens and I fall behind my target, I need to listen to classical music as it will focus me, mainly piano classical does the job really well. I found a sound track on Spotify Player that really focuses me.

When I’m on track and feeling good, I go with the flow I just load up Spotify and let it do it’s thing, but I always write with music, I find it hard not to.

 

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Writing Prompt Challenge Week 6: Is it Possible For A Writer To Have Other Hobbies??- Passion for #fashion #amwriting #MFRWauthor

I’ve  just discovered a really cool new blog for romance writers, they are doing a fifty two week writing prompt challenge for romance authors. Each week a different prompt for the whole of 2017. So of course I’m on board, you know I LOVE a writing prompt so here goes… I’ve joined at week six- hobbies.

I have a lot of interests, and a few hobbies. At times I wish I could turn all my interests into hobbies and  have time for everything! But my one true passion that will never die, outside writing has to be fashion and beauty. Reading about it, practising it, watching it on You Tube it does not matter to me. When I comes to fashion I like to customise clothes, I can sew clothes (well) and read dressmaking patterns ( well), and I like to draw pictures of clothing designs (I wish I could draw better!). Below are some pictures of dresses that I have made. I made these while pregnant with my son three years ago, I stopped sewing when I was too pregnant to fit behind my sewing machine LOL. I have spent my free time mainly writing  since, so I have not made anything for what feels like forever. My last project was an abandoned blazer.

 

 

To be fair I look back at these dresses and know I could have done a bit better, but I’m proud of them still. I was pregnant and my patience was not that great!

So how did this hobby start? Well, I learned to sew mainly from school I took textiles in high school ( secondary school) as my creative /art subject as an option. I loved learning how to use a machine,  and all about fabrics, making projects along with English it was my favourite subject. I was fourteen at the time when I picked the option. After two years of study, at sixteen I finished high school with a GCSE in Textiles. By the time I was sixteen I was dead set on pursing a creative career either in fashion or as a make-up artist. I still enjoyed writing, but funny back then I never saw myself as an actual published author. My eye was on the fashion and beauty world.

My nana, when she was alive also sewed A LOT she never used patterns she would just create, I remember spending time with my nana and I’d  just watch her and how she used the machine. I must have been about ten or maybe younger as she passed away when I was fourteen by the time I picked this as a qualification at school.My dressmaker’s stand, above in the picture is actually called Lucinda after my nana in her memory.

Over the years I have collected so many patterns for dresses, tops, trousers, blazers. My favourites are the vintage Vogue patterns my mum bought me. I like to use patterns from other designers ( eg shop bought ones) and adapt them to my liking.

I did a make-up course when I left school at sixteen, and a few years ago I did another one just for fun like a “hobby”. I am yet to complete it, but for all the practical assignments I did on a model I passed with 100%, for recreating the look specified by the teacher. I will carve out some time to complete it.

So yes, authors do have other interests but writing, and they do do other things but write … but it does not mean we have time for all of them, as writing always comes first. 🙂

 

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Writer’s Block: One Author’s Experience & How to Overcome it #amwriting #writerslife

Craft

This writing prompt is inspired by some questions posed for Goodreads authors to answer. I thought about my response, and thought it be great to share with you all aspiring authors out there! And anyone interested in how I went about writing A Stranger in France, Not Just for Christmas and Code Redhead- A Serial Novel.

So when I think of writer’s block in the traditional sense, I think of a writer sitting behind their lap top with a blank page, with a blank mind- they don’t know what to write or how to start. I don’t personally experience this type of writer’s block. I don’t mean this in a cocky way either, it’s because I’ve personally found a way to avoid it. But I’ll be honest I do experience lack of discipline/ sticking to my own writing schedule I set, this is mainly due to life and being  a busy mama. But when I do sit down to write, in between being a mama and work I’m never blank. Generally speaking, the former experience is what I’ve read and heard most writers experience. How do I avoid this common type of writer’s block, that is so damaging to a writer’s productivity  and even decreases their chances of finishing  their novel or short story? Simple…

 I have some form of detailed plan, I know what you’re thinking we all plan our storytelling ideas, hmm yes but the key is detailed.  Before I even write “Chapter One” at the top of my blank page  when I have a novel or short story idea I do the following:

  1. A detailed mini synopsis of EVERY chapter.
  2. A detailed character profile for EVERY character, especially those who take centre stage.
  3. Drum up two possible endings for the story.
  4. Drum up a few shockers/surprises/ OMG I never saw that coming twists. (this step depends on the genre I’m writing. I do this for romantic suspense and thriller a lot).

Every writer finds their own way and their own voice, but for me in order to avoid that “shit what do I write now?” Feeling, or find myself at a dead end with my story, I have a full idea of how the story will play out in the start, middle and end,  and an idea of what will happen in EVERY chapter for EVERY character. It’s quite a detailed plan. This is step #1 this way when I sit down to write I know what direction I’m going in, just from glancing at my synopsis of where I am with writing. Now don’t get me wrong my detailed chapter synopsis is not set in stone, when I wrote A Stranger in France  for one of my characters a scene I wrote  just came to me that very night I was writing. It was a creative  thought on the spot and it tied in with the story (lucky), so I went off the track I set out on. Another thing I find about this approach is it helps me to  think about possible word count, as I know what will take place in each chapter before I even write it and how long  certain scenes may play out for.

#2 is just a personal thing, many writers have an idea in their head of who their characters are, but I’m a little OCD. Mainly as I enjoy writing from first person, and try to make my characters pop on the page. (Which can be  a challenge as you need to become that character and react to situations as they would, not yourself). Due to my personal writing style, I like to sometimes use I NEED  to know my character’s view points, attitudes, likes and dislikes to a T,so I can be consistent when I am writing their POV. But generally I’d say this is good practice.

#3 this is my plan B, in case I decide to move off my detailed chapter plan, just back up! But it also helps me to move in the right direction when writing, to know what to write and when so I don’t experience writer’s block.

#4 I love this part! And it fits with genre I write in and my personal enjoyment of writing. You can’t have a romantic suspense, without the suspense or even a little surprise. You can’t have a thriller without some kind of thrill 🙂 in my humble personal opinion. If I am honest, this is the most enjoyable part as a writer for me, I love building up a little roller coaster to keep the pages turning. 

With  two out of the three of my published works and my current novel I’m writing now I followed my natural “blue print”, of how I  personally avoid writer’s block. I managed to finish a 90,000 odd word novel and 20,000 odd  word novella. And hopefully I’ll finish what I’m working on now as a guess this maybe about 60,000-70,000 words. The only time I went off track was when I wrote the short story for Code Redhead – A Serial Novel with twelve other authors … what do you think happened? Yep I got writer’s block LOL. I had my idea based on the writing prompt we were given but no real direction or plan, I was less organised and it took me a lot longer to get into my flow. Why did I not stick to what works? I think, looking back it was because the authors featured in Code Redhead- A Serial Novel only had 14,000 words as a limit for their story- teeny tiny ! So I thought to myself, this will be a breeze. But I was wrong,  it was a learning curve for me as a writer. Shorter word count (when it comes to writing for a novel not a blog) means  nothing. I learned in some ways it can be more of a challenge, to write an engaging story with a tiny word count  you need to  focus on the story developing plus balance character development etc.  Also when I saw the cover for the book, I went back to the drawing board, originally my story was a nice sweet feel good romance I called it “From London with Love” originally, but the cover of the book did not scream sensible shoes and a nice cardigan when I saw it LOL. No, to me the writing prompt my publisher gave us all, and the cover said to me “Kim, pull out something a little more stilettos and  a little black dress for your main character.” So that’s what I did, but not as quick as I would have liked, I did get writer’s block in the traditional sense for the first time! But I over came it and the story changed direction and the characters took on a new direction … eventually.

What did I learn from this? Stick to my natural blue print that helps to avoid writer’s block. Even if you change the story line last moment, at least you have a detailed idea of where you were originally going before hand and can adapt it,  rather than  just doing what you love …  writing, a little blindly and ending up blocked, pressed for time and like argh! Second no matter the word limit 14,000 or 140,000 you need a plan.

So the moral is, ( for me on my journey to published author) that I want to share with you is plan your direction, plan your character’s direction, and then plan some more! Then write… like no one is looking and enjoy feeling stress free and writer’s block free.

 

 

Daily Writing Prompt: Let’s Keep Love Simple #amwriting

via Daily Prompt: Simple

Simple

In response to a WordPress writing word prompt posted a few days ago… the word simple.

Is anything ever simple? Life, money, work, sex… love? Nope it never is. But somethings should be more simple than others in life… love should be one of them.

I’ve used this song above  as part of my response to this writing prompt, as the song by Alicia Keys is called ” Simple” and it is one of my favourite songs from the album  ” The Diary of Alicia Keys.” The lyrical content is clever.  If you have read my blog for some time you know I’m a massive music fan. It inspires me when I write, I use it in my writing and I listen to it when I’m writing. In fact, I can’t actually think of a time apart from when I’m asleep, that I don’t have some form of music on.This album might be maybe about nine or ten years old, but I still love it and still listen to it.

 The song (the lyrical content) is about a complex relationship that is never simple, but needs to be simplified in order to work. Which is my point.  People in general may think that relationships and love are complex things, and never simple or  shy away from them. Or if they are in a hard relationship walk away as it’s too much hard work. One thing I have learned over the years, is that relationships and love are actually not complex things, they  could be one of the most simplest things in life that bring you as a person the most joy in your day to day life. What makes them complex are PEOPLE and their  wants, needs , desires and sometimes there can be mismatch  in expectation which creates a feeling of a complex /hard work relationship, that is never simple. Have you ever had a non -simple relationship?

  I have and it took me in all honestly about almost seven years to come to this conclusion on relationships/love and that really they should be quite simple. It it’s hard work, it’s toxic.  I learned by looking back at the relationship, and realising love should never be this hard/complex. Loving someone and being in love, should be a simple, easy feeling. 

As a romance writer, I like to write about complex relationships and show how two characters over come their complex difficulties, with a happy ever after. That’s what romance  and love is about, a happy ever after feeling, not complexity and hard work.  Romance and love should be simple. And most importantly, I have learned it can be. If you just keep it simple.

How?

  1. Listen   2. make an effort 90% give 10% take 3.compromise  = simple.