Throwback Thursday> 1988! Who Remembers This One?

Who can do the running man?  Last Sunday this song came on the radio, I had  some friends over, one said ‘ bet you can’t do the running man!’ I was like whhhhhhhhhhhhhat phhhhhh please! Of course I can  :). It ended up in a fit of giggles, with everyone in the house  doing the running man and cheesy 80s and 90s dance moves to this song.

It’s 1988, this beat is crazy, let’s step back in time with Bobby Brown. What were you doing in 1988, how old were you? Me, I was just 5 years old.

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When Was The Last Time You Got Excited?? #amwriting

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Prompt> When was the last time you got excited?

Today actually!

First thing I want to say is thank you to everyone who has recently followed this blog, I will get around to visiting all your pages. Anyway, so excitement is the topic for a writing prompt in my book for later  this week, but I will do it now as it applies. It was about 15 mins ago, my son who is about to turn six just started what us British call ‘Primary School’, or First Grade if you’re in the USA. It’s his second week, it’s 9.15am and I just dropped him to school.  I teared up (again)  like I did on the first day.

It’s exciting as a parent to see the little person you felt kicking inside you be so tall ( he is half the size of me already I am 5’5), so handsome,  have such personality, and progressing so well after a rough start to life, and undergoing surgery. He also is starting to lose his baby teeth, the bottom one is shaking and over night a new tooth popped up behind it, ( we need to go to the dentist). Last week as I was going over his own teeth brushing I noticed it…it was not there the night before. Also, shout out to all the parents who survived the summer holidays… we made it *high five*.

Second Excitement

As I walked through the door organising my day in my head I got excited and very thankful for all blessings, I took the morning off my ‘day job’ to finish reading over the last 40 pages of my work, to send back to one particular publisher who requested it which is exciting me. I am very excited as back in April I submitted to a few and got two full requests. One medium sized, predominantly romance and fiction publisher with an excellent reputation, some of their authors have made the New York Times best sellers’ list got back to me. I have submitted there about three times different ideas,  over the years I have always had feedback of  ‘adjust this part, or this could not fit this line because…’ with good reasons such as it being a novella, but they always said come back to us again in the future. *Sighs* so I never bothered to rewrite back then I moved on,  and thought, maybe next time I’ll get lucky, This time I submitted a full manuscript of 72k words to a call the actual CEO put out for certain stories, for a line they are trying to add new writers to,  from what I read on the call she actually reads all submissions as well as the senior editors.  I saw it last moment and very happy I did, the closing date was a few days away.

The feed back this time was it was very enjoyable as always Kim, and to resubmit  this full manuscript again making some minor adjustments to one character’s POV, like deepening it – that’s all they said in the email.  I was like…. *did I read that right, that’s all you want?*. I was also offered a chance to have a ‘master class’ from the CEO’s publisher on writing for them, a live webinar. I am excited as the class is this week ( at 3am my time but hey I will stay up rather than watch the recording).  I have never had a master class on writing, so I am excited to see what I hear and learn… that could be useful.

I am also excited that after submitting to this publisher at least three different times since about 2017 ideas, finally I get  not just ‘we like it but…’ I actually get ‘ send this one back please Kim’… even if they reject it again, I am happy and excited to be one step closer and understand what they are looking for, and to have this class, it could really be helpful. They have a really good reputation and  I would love to be added to their line of writers. Personally, I think if they let me loose to write for them, I’d do a really good job… *toot toot* yeah, I’m blowing the horn as no one else does it for us writers.

This week is a big week, as I will be sending this story back to the other one who requested  also,  if I decide to go with the second one I need to research more, after my experience with traditional publishing before I am very selective I won’t jump at just anything. I am entering it into a competition this week also now it’s done, f*ck it why not aye?? I may as well I have worked really hard on it from 72k now to 78 k words, wrote in different eras and developed what I would call some good twists on  romance relevant to the characters. Then I will wait for responses from the other submissions I made also, I hate this part as it can be such a long wait to hear news if at all. But I will keep going with them, while I crack the thriller I am almost done with too!

Third Excitement

National Novel Writing Month is approaching…. yeah baby! I  have a few ideas I want out of my head and on paper. I love this time of year as we head into the autumn, I always find I get more productive, and I like to write Christmas theme stories as it’s my fav time of year. This year, it may not be a romance one though I am thinking of some kind of crime or thriller around Christmas a short story that I can manage of probably about 25k words or so.

I am also excited  for NaNoWiMo, I will have just one focus for the month to write this time and no editing or corrections on other works, and then look at the Christmas short story. I think this year I may just actually complete the story during the full month as I have over 20k words of my focus ( that I have been trying to get done, but this romance I am submitting this week has taken up my time). I am excited I might just have a successful NaNoWiMo if I really apply myself. I actually don’t have any personal life stress now… for once!

Fourth Excitement

Now this is big people…I went on Facebook briefly this morning, after an alert and my co-author Didi Oviatt– you know her right, the suspense author from Utah in the USA? She is on Audiable her books are there!! I can’t believe it, that is amazing I can’t wait to speak to her hopefully this week. What an achievement.

Fifth Excitement

I am alive and healthy!

What is exciting you this week, or right now? Tell me? I’ve got two hours to read through this work. I better crack on!

6 of One, Half a Dozen of The Other #amwriting

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Prompt> Write  six words about what you think the future holds for you then expand… okay I’ll put this out to the universe to hear my wishes.  Six words>  Healed, Happy, in Love, Successful, Writing.

Healed> by this I mean I am finally healed and now in a very good place, for me personally from about the age of 30-ish ( I’m 36 at the time of writing) I have been on a journey. Life was turned upside down and back around again. I went through a lot  I feel I really did not need to.  Now I look back, I can understand exactly why it all happened and how it help me to move forward. Sometimes the ‘Universe’ disrupts your path, to grab your attention and put you on another one that’s better for you. That’s fine looking back, at the time it can be a living hell. For me I had to completely revamp myself from the inside, and also life to get to where I am  now. And trust me no one, and I mean no one will come along and ‘disturb the peace’ I’ve found now!

So, for the future I hope to remain fully healed and never have to experience the drama I did before.

Happy> Who does not want to be happy? While I am happy, I hope to continue to be happy. Mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  I cracked the mentally and emotionally and spiritually, so I started to work on the physical. Personally I have been doing a hell of  working out at home to my DVDs, as I stopped and really like to start my day this way. I used to a lot before I was going through ‘living hell’. This summer, I have been killing it with Pilates and dance based exercise ( I love to dance). I also  discovered PopSugar fitness on You Tube. I lost an inch off my waist very fast in just a few weeks! I’ve always been a UK size 12-14  US 10-12 dress size, but now I look better  I think with just  an  inch gone from my waist. It’s amazing what 20 mins a day each morning can do. I also hope that my family remains happy too, and we are at peace.

In Love> Hey, I write steamy romance stories (sometimes), of course love is a big thing for me, I read about it I love all the romance genre, and hope maybe I’ve found the right person and it blossoms into a very meaningful relationship. When you start a new relationship you never know which way it will swing but you remain hopeful, even if there’s a rocky start or there are some challenges. I’ll be honest and say I am an old romantic ( no surprise there hey), so to me even if a person suffers a broken heart in the worst way I believe we should still believe in love, regardless. Build yourself back up, and move forward hopeful. I  also think that it is very important to love yourself before you can love anyone else, have a clear idea of what you want and don’t waste your time if you find someone who does not show you what you want or worse deserve. Don’t hope they will change, if they don’t fit the bill f*ck them… you like me? Treat me right it’s that simple.

The older I’ve got the more I have taken this attitude towards how I allow men to treat me, and how I treat others if I like you trust me you’ll know. If you’ve pissed me  off… yeah, trust you’ll know also. I’ve learned to be straight forward when it comes to love. Also writing all these complex love stories has also allowed me to reflect and think, ‘damn what drama I’ve caused for these characters, love should be so simple’. So Don’t waste your time, find someone who is on the same page and be patient for them to come along.

I remember when I suffered my first major break up I was probably about 21-22ish, at the time do you know I actually went celibate and refrained from sex and men all together until I found a decent guy, worth my time and my goodies 🙂 My girlfriends thought I was crazy, at that age your hormones are raging but to me I had such a broken heart, the thought of a man close to me was just off putting… So I partied hard with my girls, and really threw myself into my work and it paid off I had a wonderful time in my earlier 20s. Fast forward it happened again, this time I did not do the celibate thing but I changed my attitude to  who I give my time to big time, and in a funny way that heart ache set me free and really helped me learn something very important, today at 36 I am thankful for both of them.

So in a nutshell, here’s hoping that this relationship that does not end, and if it does let it end before we get too wrapped up in each other…. please, I’m too old for this messing around LOL.

Successful> Success can mean a lot of different things to different people, just getting through the day can be success in someone’s eyes, while someone else wants millions in the bank. For me, I just want to see my son grow up to be the King I am raising him to be, and do well for himself, write some good stories, live a happy and fulfilled life. As I write this, this is all I could hope for. I feel that I am now in a space where success is not about money so much for me it’s more about achieving the goals I set for myself in life, one at a time.

Writing> Well, I write all day, every day it’s a day job for me now. But I want to focus more on my actual own stuff I want to write, rather than what I am being asked to write. *rolls eyes* that said, nine times out of ten I do enjoy what I am asked to write or translate into English so I should not complain.

And that’s my six word story future…

What’s your six word story?? I’d love to read it.

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.

 

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.

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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!

 

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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

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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.