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.

In Defence of Black Friday

Hear me out, friend. I promise I’m not turning into a capitalist vampire.

I don’t know about you, but for the last week or so I haven’t been able to do anything online without coming across someone ranting about Black Friday, about how consumerism and capitalism are the marks of the beast, and we should all be focusing on conservation and conversation. One particular post caught my eye, and I felt I just had to respond. money-1144553

The post in question asked whether it was okay for this person, a well-respected proponent of conservation and opposer of consumerism, to buy a particular item on the  Black Friday sales. The item was something that they had been intending to buy for some time, possibly not an essential item, but certainly not a frivolous, luxury item either. It was something that they would get significant use out of. And I couldn’t think of a single reason, other than sheer stubborn “that’s the line and I’m not crossing it”, for the answer to be no.

So here’s my thinking:

I don’t believe that we should be bludgeoning each other in the aisles for a saving of 40c on a bulk pack of toilet paper. I don’t believe that we should be buying things we don’t need just because they’re 35% off. And I definitely don’t believe that anyone should be going into debt over Black Friday (or any other sale, or the holidays in general).

A saving is not a saving unless it’s something you actually need.

BUT if you were going to buy the thing anyway then why not get it at a reduced price? Why not take advantage?

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I did. I bought Affinity Publisher at 30% off. It’s the software I used for the paperback formatting of Silk Flower Goodbye, as well as the print cover design. I intend to use it for all my of my book formatting and a lot of design projects in the future, and I was already saving up to buy it. I would have gotten it anyway so the 30% saving actually WAS a saving.

ProWritingAid, another tool I’ve had my eye on for some time, was also significantly reduced. I didn’t buy it though. I hadn’t planned to buy it this year. I hadn’t saved for it, or worked it into my budget. And even though I could afford it, it wouldn’t have been a saving because I’d still be spending more money than I had planned.

And just because I bought an item or two on the Black Friday sales doesn’t mean that I can’t ALSO donate my money and my time to “more worthy causes”. In fact, because I saved on things I would have bought anyway, I’ll be able to give a little more to my favourite charities these holidays, and I think that can be considered a win for everyone.

So, that’s my ramble about Black Friday. Where do you stand on it? Let me know in the comments, or find me on the socials, and whatever you’re doing today, remember to be kind to yourself and those around you.

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.

 

Oh, For Five Cents

I had hoped to be further along in my NaNo prep by now, but…

October has, yet again, not been a kind month to me. Although I am pleased to say I am now a certified trainer. (Not that kind of trainer.)

Sadly, in the space of a week (well, 8 or 9 days), my house was burgled twice. Between that and travelling for work, my life has been in a state of near constant upheaval. My desk at home, which I was so happy to have finally gotten clear of stuff is, once again, covered in stuff. I’m choosing to look at this as the perfect opportunity to re-arrange the office, and maybe get some filming space set up so I can finally get my YouTube channel going. Maybe.

There have been some interesting and exciting developments in my writing life, but nothing that I can really talk about yet. Watch this space.

But if were being totally honest… Right now, I don’t feel much like doing anything, least of all NaNo. But I’ve committed to having the completed draft of 19 in my alpha reader’s inbox by 23:59 GMT+2 on 30 November, so I don’t have much of a choice. I have no idea how I’m going to motivate myself, but there it is.

If you’re doing NaNo, I want to wish you the very best of luck. May your plot be plentiful and your pen never run dry!

 

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.