The Road To Publishing Update, Turned One Down, But One In The Bag…

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Afternoon people!

I  hope you are well,  and enjoyed  a wonderful Halloween and All Saint’s Day, if you celebrate it.  A little update on new releases from me…

For me the end of the year writing wise has  picked up I have been productive while not blogging, one novel completed so far.  I sadly turned down one publisher for Sacrifices ( A romantic story with a historical element, but as always lots of suspense!) as they aren’t for me. So I sent out a few more queries, and pending their responses…which let’s face it takes forever right! I will be patient with this one, I am so tempted to self-publish it but I am being cheered on by family and friends to keep submitting my work. So here goes.

One Publishing Deal In The Bag Thou!…Yassss!

Something so unexpected happened around October’s full Moon (yes, I  am a qualified astrologer too for those that are new! I love it, and it was a ‘lucky Moon’ when I looked at the planet’s positions). Anyway, a publisher across the water who publishes mainly urban fiction approached me,  they asked if I would like to join their new team for 2020. They are establishing themselves  fully and expanding. Now, I am NOT an urban fiction writer in any shape or form…I told them that too and mentioned I may not be the best fit, their response was, “we know you’re not, we want something fresh and for you to be yourself.” I could not believe it. I never thought I’d work with a publisher of this type, let alone someone ask me to join. Purely as I thought I’d never fit in. We negotiated a contract of one book to start with, I signed with them and 2020 I will release one romance title, or possibly a thriller under their label.  I am very excited to write something “Kim’s way” for them.

You only live once right?, something told me “go for it girl, just one book.” So it was a very “lucky full Moon” energy for me indeed. I’ll keep you updated on this release due for the first quarter of 2020,  a story idea actually came to me while I was in the bath LOL.
I remain optimistic about 2020 and what’s ahead, I’l keep pushing with Sacrifices and remain patient for the right agent or publisher.  In the mean time, work on the two works in progress I have, and this idea for the contract I have signed!

Catch up with y’all soon.

New Season, New Wardrobe, I love Fall Do You?

And by that I don’t mean just clothing! I found a fantastic cover designer on FB, she own’s the group Cover Girl,  she set me up nicely as we enter fall. I thought why not, let’s revamp all my covers so far,  here’s the job done. Very excited as they look so different and I just love A Stranger in France…he looks yummy, just like the main character himself. I love them all and really thrilled with her work.

As we enter fall what changes are you making for the new season? Let me know.

And what do you love about fall?

Me personally I love the way fashion changes and it’s time to wrap up boots, jackets, make-up ranges change it’s fun. As well as taking long walks in the park. I really enjoy it on a crisp autumn day, the leaves crunch under your feet, it’s a little chilly, but the sun is so bright you still need your sunglasses! London can be a great place to walk around in this weather, with the many parks and places to visit. I remember when I ran a book club, the highlight of my month would be jumping on the number twelve bus to central London, to meet all the girls at Waterstones Book Store ( I love that place too like five floors of books, my kind of heaven). On the bus  looking at all the iconic locations I’d pass in the pretty autumn sunshine was a nice experience. I miss that! And of course, this time of year all the best books are released in time for us book worms to snuggle up with, as it’s too cold to be outside. Happy fall Equinox people!

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.

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!

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.

 

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 ?