Writing Prompt- Places…

Welcome to March! Today’s writing prompt in book is simply answer… ‘beach, mountain, forest or somewhere else?’   This writing prompt called me so much! For me it’s all about here….

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I’m beach lover for so many reasons, not only is it beautiful to  be right  at the edge of a country or island, it’s just a stunning place visually, mentally, emotionally and spiritually for me. Here’s why I’d choose the beach over the mountains, forest or some other place.

I’m a water baby!

Through and through I just love the water. Be it the beach, pool, bath or shower lolz I can’t get enough  of it. I soak in the bath for ages, and  a five minute shower is unheard of for me. I find water actually really calming. Once, when I worked in the depths of south London the building was right across the road from one of south London’s popular parks. I would spend my lunch break right by the lake or make-shift pound you could call it. Even when it was a little chilly, I’d just wrap up and have my lunch there. It was at that point that I realised that the water calms me, and centres me.  The work environment at the particular place was very stressful. I also worked their while pregnant and I needed to get out and away.

Of course I love to swim too, one of my favourite forms of exercise and really wish I had more time for it. Overall, my ideal home would be right by the water. I am lucky that where I live now, I am by water. That said,  if I had a beach front house, or even lived within walking distance or a short drive from a beach I’d be on cloud nine. It’s just beautiful. I like to sit by the water and just …well…watch it. Listen to music, read, write whatever just being near.

When I’m on holiday I’m the kinda person to spend all day, and I mean all day at the beach, and then explore during the evening or later in the day. It’s pretty hard to tear me away I’ll just chill and people watch.

Ideally, if I could live anywhere in the world, it would also be somewhere with great beaches.

I like exotic and warm places!

Well…. I’m the author of  the ‘Romance Set in Paradise Series’ so that’s hardly surprising I like the exotic! But personally, I’m a warm blooded human, I love the sun and everything about it. Apart from difficulty with keeping my make-up on lolz. I really enjoy the warmer weather as I feel everyone is in a much better mood, and I am too.

Summer  and the beach to me is ‘fun’, ‘carefree’ and time to enjoy yourself and get out and about. Rather than be stuck in doors. I also find that there’s a hella-lot of great books released in the summer time.

Many of the places that I would to visit are parts of south America, the Caribbean, Thailand and I’d love to do a safari…from the safety of a very enclosed car though.

Spiritual, Mental and Emotional Well-Being

This can all be experienced from the beach. You can do Yoga, Pilates ( things I do do), and even peaceful meditations to the sounds of waves. Like I said I find the water and its motion very alluring to me. The water is also a great force of nature, it can be calm and welcoming but at the same time cause chaos! And even sadly, take lives. It must be respected.

Writing Inspiration…

If I ever become fortunate enough to live near a beach, a real beautiful one I think that inspiration to write would flow ‘like water’ LOL. Okay, that was a bit cliche but it’s the truth. And I don’t think I’d write stories set in just exotic or warm places. I genuinely feel being near water could motivate and inspire me.

Overall, I find the mountains too high for me I’m not great with heights,  and probably a bit chilly, I’m not great with that either. Hmm the  forest there could be creepy crawlies I’m not great with them either. I could never camp! So the beach suits me, my personality and how I can find inner peace and calm to a T.

What would you go with beach, mountains, forest or some place else? And why let me know?

Writing Prompt- Buffalo Nickel

Prompt- ‘search through your wallet, pockets, or down the back of the couch find the first penny you can. What year was it printed/made and what were you doing??

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The first penny I found in my purse was made in 2011… let’s step back

2011

Well that’s  nine years ago and back then I was twenty-eight years old, and life was so different, but how! In every way.

Appearance- I wish I had a picture, but in this age of technology the photos on my phone really don’t go back that far. I have also changed phones a number of times since then. But, what I can say is I had a short, straight bob just under my chin. I used to chemically straighten my curly hair too! My weight and height really has not changed. Still 5’5 and still a UK dress size 12-14.

Living- I was living in south London, in a beautiful one bedroom apartment with my then  partner. I was not a mother yet, and I guess at the time I thought I was happy. But I soon realised, nope I was not! Fast forward a few years I moved away from south London and became a mother.

Job- I was working at a local college, like a high school I guess you could call it. I loved my job, and most of the people I worked with. It was around this time that I would say, I was at my ‘peak’ in my nine- five working career. Before I started to take writing seriously.

What do I miss about the year 2011?-  in all honesty, nothing really when I think about the rat-race job I was doing, some of the unmotivated people I worked with, and how different I was as a woman, as in I was not in touch really with all the things I naturally love. Mainly due to the person I was with at the time, and trying to be everything to everyone else, but not true to myself. I can  honestly say over the last nine years I have  grown so much. I’m much more authentically me, happy and in a way glad that  I’m no longer stuck in south London, in the job I was in, or chemically straightening my hair as the damage it left, was unreal!

What’s been the biggest lessons since 2011- that when it really comes down to it, you really have to be true to yourself. If this means letting people, places and situations go for 1. your own sanity , peace, mental emotional and spiritual well-being then DO IT! And don’t feel bad. Secondly,  the universe works in very mysterious ways, it a-lines in ways to put you in a-linement. This means, removing people, places, situations and things that are not for your highest good. Then not only replacing them, but upgrading them too!

Lastly, people come into you life for a reason, some stay, some go, some teach you lessons about yourself and life. Pay attention. And always listen to your gut, no matter who thinks you’re crazy. If you feel called to do something or make some kind of change, it’s your intuition guiding you, never doubt it no matter how scary the change or new thing may be.

Would I change anything that has happened over the last nine years?– err good question. Some things I would BUT, when I think about it, if I changed these particular things I would not be on my path now. I honestly feel I’m now on the right path, so when I look at it like that I should be grateful for the last nine years. Even all the experiences that I would say ‘ yeah I’d change that’. It’s a big catch twenty two question.  I’d change maybe how giving I was to some folk, only for them to turn around and take that for granted. But everything else I’d keep it, as it honestly set me up nicely for my late thirties!

Pick a random penny, what’s the year and what were you doing? Drop a comment, or blog it and link it down below I’d love to know.

 

 

Writing Prompt- Plot of Earth…?

Prompt-  ‘You’re given a plot of land and have the financial resources to do what you please, what’s the plan?’

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what a wonderful idea! This really got me thinking, what would I do with unlimited resources and land? Many may say ‘build a house’ or do something for themselves, personally if I were ever luck enough to be in this situation, in all honesty I think I would…

Build a food kitchen, in the most poorest areas in third world countries.

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It breaks my heart to think that there are people out there with not enough to eat! Especially children. I think I would have to start in Africa and set up a place in different areas, where nutritious food is prepared and served daily. If there are  people in remote villages near by, who are unable to get to it, part of the service would be to bring the food the the village.

Build a few schools and invest in education….

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Education is so important to me, as an ex-high school teacher of ten years service I love to see people achieve! I think, I’d select some states across the USA with really low records of student achievement. Here, I would provide the resources needed to help increase students achievement.  Or even just build better and newer schools. In particular I would focus on marginalised students, who have learning difficulties.

In the UK we are pretty good with educational achievement, but one thing I do think the system lacks, sometimes, is enough classroom assistants to help support learners with learning needs. I’d invest in this, in the UK. Increasing the number of schools for those with special learning needs, that are very extreme it holds them back from mainstream school. In mainstream schools, I’d increase the money put into employing special needs assistants in mainstream schools. 1. to support the students in class 2. to help reduce some classroom stress and worry for teachers. Who often worry if their teaching is effective when there are learners with learning needs.

In other third world countries, I’d just build brand new schools! And focus on  increasing the level of students who are able to learn and have access to education.

If I had unlimited money, and land that’s what I’d do focus on feeding people, and increasing education.

 

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.