Kaye Bellingan Update 3

I’ve been putting off writing this post because, Friend, I’m ashamed. Not only did I not make the deadline for submission of draft 2 of Love in Bloom, I’ve blown past the deadline for draft 3, and I still haven’t submitted draft 2.

I was struggling with the second draft because (as discussed in my last post) I hated my female protag. The rewrites I managed did go a long way to making her less pathetic and I do feel less eye-gougy when I read back over her scenes, but I was nowhere near done when I hit two snags in quick succession.

First, I had a major depressive episode. I’ve had mental health issues for most of my life – at least three decades, anyway. I live with a certain background level of suicidal ideation and magical thinking. Sometimes that becomes more foreground than background, but I’ve learned to be mostly okay. I mostly cope, and work around things.

This time that wasn’t possible. It was as if someone had turned all the volume knobs in my head up to max and I couldn’t hear myself anymore. Thankfully, Mr Sage is really good at knowing exactly what I need at any given time, and I made it through without doing anything regretable.

Then things went haywire at the day job and work has had to take up a good chunk more of my time than usual. It’s a temporary situation that should be getting back to normal very soon but in the meantime I’m struggling to get my writing in before work and I’m completely fried by the time I get home. I am still doing other productivity/creativity things, but not so much on the writing/rewriting.

I probably have another week or ten days’ worth of work on this draft if I can work at my normal pace, so hopefully I’ll be done soon. I’ve discussed this all with my publisher, who is entirely lovely and is not putting any additional pressure on me. The good thing is that this little “forced” break has given me room to subconciously mull over the story, and I think it’s going to be so much the better for it. I think the universe is trying to tell me that the “take a break before you edit” is not a suggestion.

That’s about all for Kaye Bellingan at the moment. More news soon (I hope)!

The Exclusivity Experiment

Hello, Friend!

I am back from my month-long blog-break and, strangely, I don’t actually have much to say. At least, not in this blog – there will be a Kaye Bellingan update soon.

I wasn’t planning to be away from the blog for a whole month, I just have had very low communication energy recently, for reasons I can’t really get into on the blog. (Everything’s fine. We’re all good here. Energy levels just suck.)

I have been going on with writing – the BXP2020 challenge has kept me on track mostly. I did have 8 non-writing days in January, for various reasons, but I still wrote more days (and more words) than I probably would have otherwise.

Sales of Silk Flower Goodbye have completely bottomed out, which is to be expected. I haven’t given any energy, time, or money to marketing it, and I don’t want to be putting my focus there at the moment anyway. So, I thought I’d make an experiment of it.

I will be pulling SFG from wide ebook distribution at the end of February, and going Kindle exclusive. It’s worth a shot, right? I’ll probably leave it in KU for at least 6 months. I doubt it will make any significant difference, but it’ll be interesting to see what happens anyway.

So, if you want a copy and your ebook store of choice is not the world’s largest river, you’ve got 29 days to get your hands on it. (Hint hint, nudge nudge, please buy my book.)

The print version will still be available in various places via Amazon and IngramSpark, and I am waiting for my order from the local printers so I should have some copies in hand in the next month. When that happens, there will be a launch-type event at the Bibliophile in Clarens. More details when I have them.

I don’t really have anything else to say at the moment, so I’ll end here.

Be kind. Be good. And happy writing.

Kaye Bellingan Update 2

Here we are at the end of the year and the end of the decade. This is the last post for 2019 (yes, I know I said the last post would be the last one, but I was wrong). Friend, I hope that you are resting and recharging from the crazy year that’s wrapping up. Or that you’re working hard at achieving your dreams for 2020. Or both!

I sent the first draft of the first Kaye Bellingan book (working title: Love in Bloom) to my editor at around 3pm yesterday. Yes, it was supposed to be in on the 22nd, but due to things outside of my writing life going a bit squiffy, I didn’t make that deadline. My lovely publisher did agree to a week’s extension though, and I made that by the skin of my teeth.

As first drafts go, it’s… alright. Not the worst thing I’ve ever written, but for sure not the best either. I think the bones of the story are there. But I am definitely not going to escape the red pen. Not even a little bit. There will be a mahoosive rewrite.

Because of the tight timeline we’re trying to work to (because this is The Itty Bitty Indie Experiment[not actually trademarked]) I’m not going to be able to let the story rest as long as I would like. I’m going to have to jump on the feedback pretty much as soon as I get it, which should be in the next day or two. So to give my brain a break I have a couple of smaller projects that I can dip in and out of while I wait.

Because there’s a lot that I KNOW is wrong with it, I’ve already spoken with my editor  about some possible solutions. So those things are already sort of percolating in the old grey matter.

The biggest problem is this: I hate my female protag. She’s supposed to be sassy and creative. She’s supposed to be capable despite her circumstances. Instead, she’s whiny, mopey, and 5 other small, bearded miners. I have some ideas on how to fix this, and (if it actually works) you can look forward to a post about it early next year. Well, sometime in the first quarter. Probably.

In the meantime, I’m going to be working on my entry for the Mogford Prize, another short story, another crazy brain dump because I apparently can’t stop coming  up with weird and wacky ideas when I’m too busy to take on more projects, and some cover mock-ups because I like doing cover mock-ups.

The BXP2020 Challenge starts in just under 2 days – and if you’re just hearing about it now, it’s not too late to sign up (click this lovely link here). It’s only 200 words a day. That’s about 15 minutes of concentrated writing time (i.e. not faffing time – that could push it up to an hour or maybe even 8, depending on how faffy you are). There’s nothing to lose, and at the end of the year you’ll have at least one novel’s worth of words!

And, speaking of both The Bestseller Experiment and Kaye Bellingan… Robyn Sarty (a.k.a. Belwood Publishing a.k.a. Kaye’s publisher) and I have been invited to do a Deep Dive for the BXP podcast. Nothing’s been finalised yet but I’ll be shouting from the rooftops as soon as I have more info so you can all sign up and listen to me making a complete idiot of myself (as I’m bound to do).

That’s all I’ve got to say for now, so I’ll sign off by saying thank you for supporting me through this year, and I hope that next year will be the year of all our dreams.

Be good, be kind, and I’ll catch you in the ’20s!

Something About Life and Lemons

Sometimes life hands you lemons, and you can gripe about it or you can make the lemon-based product of your choosing. Sometimes life hands you flu instead, and there’s not much you can make out of flu (except more flu).

Friend, I have been sick for the better part of a week now. My body has ached from my scalp to my soles. I have had chills. I have had hot flushes. I have been nauseated, and I have been ravenous. And I have spent the last two days tucked up in bed with a hot water bottle and a steady supply of Flusin S and ACC200.

My creative output has stalled, and my outlook has not been much improved by the results of the UK elections. Although I’m not a UK citizen or UK based, I have family who are, and I am also devastated because of the impact that UK politics has on the world – that tiny island has enormous influence.

This morning finds me not cured, but at least a bit better. A bit less sore, and a bit less likely to infect others. Which is excellent because not only is my lovely sister-in-law in the area with husband and wee bab in tow, for the last time in probably many years, but I’m also scheduled to interview another author at her book launch this afternoon. And there’s the local writing group’s NaNo TGIO party tomorrow afternoon.

In writing news, I managed 1,128 early in the week, before the illness overtook me on Thusday. I did manage 268 quite late last night though, so my total for the week is a trifling 1,396. At this point I’m going to have to pull several dozen rabbits out of several dozen hats to meet my deadline. (The publisher has offered to extend the deadline but I want to try and meet it if I can.) I have also not worked on 19/Choices AT ALL, so that will definitely not be ready for 31 Dec. I think I may have to put it on the shelf until the Kaye Bellingan stuff is out of the way.

I will probably not be posting much more through the holidays, but I want to thank you for all your support through 2019, and wish you all the best for 2020. Be good, be kind, and take care of yourself. And however you celebrate, whatever you celebrate, happy holidays.

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!