Kaye Bellingan Update 1

Two weeks ago, I told you that I’d signed a publishing deal for a series of sweet romances. Last week’s post was nothing to do with writing, so you may have been wondering how I’m doing with my projects. Or maybe not, in which case I’m not sure what you’ll get out of this post. Sorry about that.

I am currently 3.5k into the first of the Kaye Bellingan books. In the interest of keeping me on track, my publisher and I decided that I would send in what I had when I thought I had reached the end of each act. I did that for Act I last night.

The feedback has been positive (I think). Of course, this is only the first draft, and really more of a zero draft at that, so there were many places where I didn’t flesh it out as much as I should have. So I am not actually done with Act I, yet. I’m not worried though – writing is re-writing.

I am hoping that the finished product will come in somewhere around the 15k mark, and right now I seem to be on target for that. I have another 2 weeks to work on this draft, but I’m hoping to be done a little earlier than that, because family and other projects, and stuff.


In other news, I am strongly considering submitting a short story for the Mogford Prize. I don’t really think I have any hope of winning, but just the idea of my work potentially being read by Stephen Fry… That’s the stuff of dreams!

I have given up on trying to get a local printer for the paperback of SFG (because none of them seem to want to get back to me), and am going ahead with the Amazon and IngramSpark print-on-demand options so that at least international sales will be taken care of. Look out for an announcement on this soon!

We are experiencing load shedding at the moment, which is unfortunate. But at least it’s not the dead of winter. Writing by the light of a parafin lamp holds a certain romance, I suppose.

With the holidays coming up, I want to remind you that it’s okay if your productivity drops off – whether that’s because you’re busy with holiday things, or busy taking care of yourself because seasonal depression sucks. Remember that your value as a person is not determined by your level of output. Be kind to yourself.

Have I Got News For You!

In my last post, I said that I hoped to be able to reveal some of my reasons for dropping NaNo early next year. Well, friend, the stars have aligned and I can reveal one of them to you now. Right here, in this very post!

This past Monday, after weeks of planning and negotiation, I signed a contract with Belwood Publishing (a small, independent publisher run by my good friend Robyn Sarty) for a series of sweet (a.k.a. clean and wholesome) romance books – the first of which I’ve just finished outlining.

The books will be published under the name Kaye Bellingan, because I write (or am planning to write) some stuff under my real name that might not necessarily appeal to the clean romance crowd. But it’s not going to be a big secret that I’m Kaye and Kaye is me, it’s just a reader list segmentation thing.

This whole exercise is something of an experiment, so Robyn and I have agreed to blog about it as we go. You can expect another post about this very soon!

The Mid-NaNo Report

We’re halfway through the month, and so I should be halfway through the 50k.

Friend, I am not.

I currently have 11,349 words, which means I am 15,323 words behind where I should be. The NaNo website informs me that I would need to write 2577 words per day to finish on time. That’s not impossible. After all, I wrote 17k words in the last 2 days of NaNo last year. But it’s definitely going to be difficult.

I’m not going to get into why I’m so far behind. I have my reasons, some of which I hope to reveal early next year, but really the reasons are irrelevant. I still have words I didn’t have at the beginning of the month.

If you’re doing NaNo I hope you’re doing better than I am, but I also want to tell you that it’s okay if you’re not. Feel free to add me (inkandsage) as a buddy.


I submitted the blurb for All the Little Choices (formerly known as Number 19) to The Bestseller Experiment for feedback, and it got picked! It was read out and critiqued during one of the Deep Dive episodes for Patreon members (so I can only link the highlights) but it was a great experience and full of useful information.

If you’re interested in writing at all, subscribe to the Bestseller Experiment podcast (available on your podcatcher of choice – I recommend Podcast Addict for Android users). It’s the very definition of entertaining, but also a wealth of knowledge. If you want to get the full benefit of it, become a Patreon supporter. It’s worth it. My writing has come on in leaps and bounds since I joined the BXP Team, and they are genuinely the nicest people on the planet.

Oh! And you should definitely sign up for the BXP2020 Challenge! All you need to do is write 200 words a day for the whole year – much easier than NaNo, right?


Whatever you’re doing today, remember to be kind to yourself.

Clever Title Goes Here

Hello! Hi! Welcome! How are you doing? Make yourself comfortable. Cuppa tea? Lovely. I’m running on very little brain power right now so forgive the lack of brilliance in this post, and I’ll just dive straight into the messy ramble.

Birthday Stuff

Thanks to everyone who wished me happy birthday yesterday. I must admit I was not feeling all that lively when the day started, but you all brightened it significantly for me. So thank you. I love you all.

I had a very quiet day at the office, followed by a very quiet evening at home with some pineapple chicken. We’re really only celebrating on Sunday though. Seeing as there’s three of us in the family who have birthdays in mid-to-late October and early November, and none of us are children, it’s easiest for everyone to just celebrate it all on one day.

NaNoWriMo Stuff

Next, yes, it’s NaNo time again, and yes, I am taking part for the 11th year. I am frantically trying to get this draft done so I can get on with some other exciting projects. So much to do, so little time. Aaahh! If you are likewise engaged in the mad dash for words, feel free to add me as a buddy – I’m inkandsage on the NaNo site (and pretty much everywhere else too, in some variation or other). I have some thoughts and feelings about the new site, but that’s another story for another post.

I’ll do a proper weekly report for NaNo, I think, but for now I’m currently 1702 behind where I should be – but it is only lunch time, so there’s hope.

Silk Flower Goodbye Stuff

SFG has been out for a month now, so I thought I’d do a little update on it. Keeping in mind that I have spent literally zero monies on marketing and I’m also trying very hard to not be one of those annoying people who just stands on the street corner of the internet yelling “buy my book”, let’s take a look at sales.

So from 1 October to 31 October: I sold 15 units through Amazon/KDP (8 UK, 5 US, 1 Aus, 1 Ca) and 2 units through Draft2Digital (1 Apple, 1 Kobo) – 17 units in total. The estimated royalties on this are USD 7.90 (KDP) and USD 2.42 (D2D) which comes to a whopping USD 10.32. Not bad, I think. (I won’t get paid out until I hit USD 100 on KDP though, and I’m not sure what the threshold is on D2D.)

I also gave away 20 copies ahead of launch via a Twitter giveaway, and 5 comps as thank yous to people who inspired me. So that’s 40 copies out there, hopefully having eyes on them.

I do only have 3 reviews on Amazon though – 2 on UK, 1 on Ca. If you bought and have read SFG, I want to ask you now to please, please consider reviewing it on Amazon (or wherever you bought it), Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, your own blog, or anywhere else you could possibly do such a thing. Even if you absolutely hated it. It would really mean a lot to me.

Now, time for me to eat something and get my NaNo on… I hope you have had, will have, or are having, a wonderful day, and remember to do something nice for yourself.

 

Taking the Pressure Off

I feel like, recently, all my posts basically say the same thing. Either “I wrote a book, please buy it”, or “I’m struggling, I’m tired, I’m depressed”. I’m not going to be doing very much more of the first, and in an effort to combat the second I’ve made some decisions.

My calendar is full of commitments. Aside from work and family things, there are all these challenges I take part in. I think when I took them on I thought ‘any practice is good practice’, but now there’s just too many things happening and I’m missing deadlines, stressed out, and miserable. Not to mention that keeping up with these things is keeping me out of finishing 19.

Obviously, I can’t drop work and work commitments from my schedule. They’re what keeps the lights on and my dogs in kibble. Likewise family. When the wheels come off, they’re the ones who’ll be there to help.

So. October’s Furious Fiction has just passed. Yes, I entered, and I’m happy I did because it will be my last one for the foreseeable future.

Wishful Inkers… I love this project. I believe so strongly in the reasons behind it. But every new issue fills me with dread. I need new content for it, and the blank page just lies there, refusing to be filled. The new issue will be out soon, and it will contain some work from me. But it will also be my last one for the foreseeable future.

And then there’s Deadlines for Writers. I haven’t submitted a short story for it in I don’t even know how long, but every month when deadline approaches (this month’s happens to be today) I find myself panicking. It’s not motivating me anymore. The poetry side is still working quite well for me, but I think even there I need a break.

I haven’t really been very good about keeping up with my Facebook and Instagram lately, and I think I’m going to drop them from the rotation too. Obviously I’m keeping the actually pages/accounts, I just won’t be actively trying to generate content there. As always, if you want to get in touch with me email or Twitter are the best bets.

And the YouTube channel is on indefinite hold. I have some ideas for what I want to do with it and I can’t wait to get started but, unfortunately, there are some roadblocks which are pretty insurmountable right now.

I’m hoping that this will be temporary. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get most of the other big items off my plate by the end of the year and I can come back to the smaller things – because they did make me happy once. But I’m not promising that I will.

Sometimes, things are useful to us only for a short time and then we need to move on.

SNEAK PEEK: Tuesday

tuesday

it’s not the big days that get me
that stop me where i stand
choking on memories
and streaming tears
it’s not the birthdays
anniversaries
holidays
it’s the random
ten past three
on a tuesday afternoon
when someone says something
does something
makes something
so unbelievable
that i feel i have to share it with you
and i remember
i can’t
the punch in the gut of
not being able to call and ask
how much milk goes in this sauce
and the sudden realisations
of how long its been
since i last heard your voice


There’s only 20 days left until Silk Flower Goodbye goes live, so I thought I’d share one of  the poems here as a little taster. I hope you enjoyed it!

If you’d like to get your hands on a free copy, I’m running a bit of a competition over on my Twitter page (@inkandsage) where I’m giving away 1 digital copy of Silk Flower Goodbye every day between now and 2 Oct! All you need to do to enter is look out for the post tagged #20DayGiveaway and answer the day’s question. Couldn’t be easier! Today’s (Day 1) question just went live a few minutes ago!

And if you’d prefer not to leave things to chance, you can always pre-order a copy by following this lovely link here!

Let’s Talk about Rest, Baby

There’s a rather prevalent idea in the writer community that you need to write every day – and that if you don’t write every day you’re not a “real writer”. I used to believe that. I don’t anymore.

I understand it, in principle. Making writing a habit means that you don’t waste time waiting for the muse to show up. Writing every day means you have more words (even if they’re bad ones) to work with. And let’s throw in a bit of the 10,000 hour rule, too – the more time you spend writing, the closer you come to expert status (if such a thing exists).

I don’t disagree with the idea on a fundamental level, but I think it is a bit unrealistic. It bases itself on the idea of the solitary writer, in a bubble, separate from the world. It disregards the absolutely irrefutable fact that life happens. And believe me, life does happen. Illness, bereavements, moving, job stress, other commitments… it happens.

So here’s my suggestion. Rather than write every day, let’s say write every day you can. Because when your mother has just passed away, your husband is lying in the high care ward, or you’re just plain exhausted because life, telling yourself you’re not a real writer because you haven’t written today is the opposite of helpful. You make it harder for yourself to deal with what you’re dealing with, and harder to come back to writing with an open heart.

There’s not one writer in the world who hasn’t experienced some sort of upheaval in their writing life, and often that means non-writing days. Maybe one or two, maybe several. Maybe even a couple of weeks or a couple of months. But during that time you are still a writer.

So I’ve been resting this week because last week I was really full-on. I had my usual 8-5 but I was also assisting with the local dance school’s big production. It was a week (and a bit) of early mornings and late nights, buckets of stress, and very little sleep. When the exhaustion finally hit me on Monday night I decided that it was okay to take this break.

And when I start writing again (tomorrow) I, and my writing, will be all the stronger for it.

But Sage! I hear you cry. What about Silk Flower Goodbye?

Fear not, gentle reader. I received some wonderful feedback from my CP, and I’ve been chipping away at the edits just a few minutes at a time. I plan to finalise those, and my front matter, this weekend and have the final file uploaded sometime next week, so I can start looking at *GASP* paperback options.

Pre-orders are still open for the ebook and I’m strongly considering putting the price up after release, so now’s your chance to get it for a mere 1.99 USD (or equivalent in your territory). Current count is 9 and I would really love to get to 15 pre-orders.

Thanks to the lovely Robyn Sarty for mentioning Silk Flower Goodbye in her August newsletter. If you like historical fiction, you can find her at robynsarty.com

Here’s what she said:

Silk Flower Goodbye is a poignant, beautiful, honest, and at times, whimsical look at life, loss, and love.

Friend, I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Do something good for yourself today – whether that’s taking a nap, going for a long walk, or indulging in the hot beverage of your choice. Take care of yourself.