Finding The Bright Side

My husband must be a sage old man beneath his ruggedly charming exterior. We’re opposites in personality and talent. Where I can write and organize, he can problem solve and fix broken things.

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Most days I feel like I’m the broken thing that needs fixing. It probably stems from my pessimistic nature. I admit it. I’m a pessimist. While I really want to see the bright side, most days I just want to curl up into a ball and sleep. I hate conflict and everything feels like an uphill battle.

My sweet husband thinks it’s all in my head. He tries to motivate and support me in everything I do. But I feel like a lost cause most days. Those few days where I get a burst of inspired energy, it fizzles out by dark.

Again, he’s a problem solver, so his mission, in his mind, is to help me get back on track. I love him for that. But it also irritates me to no end. Why can’t I just stew for a bit?

He’s not an optimist. No, my hubby is 100% realist. That alone should make me feel better about his support. He wouldn’t support me if he didn’t believe that I could do it. A lot of days, life, let alone writing, just feels overwhelming.

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While I’m sitting over here bitching about the wind, which is completely apt because Wyoming is notoriously windy, my husband is adjusting the sails. Every damn time.

Problem solver extraordinaire. Even if he doesn’t know HOW to fix it, he offers sound solutions. He has a handful of sayings he keeps on the cuff when he sees me falling deeper into my pessimistic little dungeon.

“Life is good, babe. Life is good.”

“Don’t complain about something unless you’re willing to offer a solution.”

“Now, tell me three positive things that happened to you today.”

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“Give me three positives for every negative.”

I’m a fortunate woman. I have a husband who not only supports my writing, but he tries his best to help me out of these awkward funks I find myself in.

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I wish I could understand why my brain works the way it does and work through these hurdles. But until I work through it, he will sit with me helping me find my way back to the bright side. Sometimes that’s all I need. Someone sitting by my side in the dark as we wait for the sun to rise on a new day.

One thing I can say for certain, spending time with my family is more important to me than anything else in my life. Writing is a part of who I am, but lately, I’ve lost the passion for it. Perhaps I need to recharge with my family before taking on another project.

We will be moving this summer to a new base in a new country. I’m terrified and excited in equal measures for this new adventure. But right now, my heart isn’t in my work. So, I hope you’ll forgive me. I had huge plans this year to up my writing game, but this new direction our lives are taking will dominate all my time and energy. Once we’re situated at our new location, I’m hoping the muse will return with a vengeance.

I know my husband will be there with his glass of bourbon ready to offer any encouragement and support he can. My family is my bright side. I wouldn’t be who I am without them.

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Perhaps some time in the sun with my family is just what I need. And a big thank you to my husband who puts up with my doom and gloom and always brightens my day.

Do you find yourself sitting in the dark like I do? Are you a pessimist too? How do you cope with all the negativity swirling in your head? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to leave a comment or two. *hugs*

Until we meet again, may your bookshelves be full and your hearts even more so.

All my love,

Kirsten

 

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How Film Inspires My Craft

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Hello, darlings.

I’m taking a slight detour this week. After posting my affinity for contemporary romance last week, I wanted to share another creative aspect that influences my writing.

TV and Film.

As a kid, I watched a lot of movies. It was a weekly ritual to go with my Dad to the video store and rent movies on Friday and Saturday nights. He introduced me to films I never would have chosen for myself. Die Hard, The Saint (with Val Kilmer), Gone with the Wind, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly…the list goes on and on. We also watched Home Improvement and Star Trek: The Next Generation religiously. I loved the action and adventure, the romance and the drama. It thrilled me to experience a new adventure every week. Not to mention, it became a way of bonding with my father.

I carried the passion for film into adulthood. But it wasn’t until I took a film class in college that I was able to dissect and analyze the structure of the shows and movies I loved. At first, I thought it ruined my film viewing experience because I was pulling it apart thread by thread to see how the story was woven together. Then I realized how it could help me in my own storytelling experience.

No matter how much I longed to be in a film, either acting, directing, costuming, whatever the case may be, I knew it would always be a pipe dream. My gifting lays solely in the written word. I could visualize the story in my head, but words were the only way I could bring these adventures to life.

My husband and I enjoy watching movies and TV shows, even though we have very different tastes sometimes. He enjoys cheesy B-rated movies or corny 70s films. My tastes are a bit more varied. I watch Korean dramas and foreign films, but I also live for a good destruction movie complete with natural disasters or gigantic mutated creatures encroaching on major cities.

I will be the first to admit that reviews and recommendations are subjective. I’ve had people recommend movies and shows that I did not enjoy or abandoned with disinterest. There are ones I enjoyed, but they didn’t have what I desired most…

To be blindsided.

I’m not talking cliffhanger. No. I mean I want a twist so ingrained in the story that it caught me completely by surprise, but when I think back on the story, the answers were staring me in the face the whole time.

Now that I’ve discovered the patterns in storytelling, it’s hard not to see what’s coming. So when I find a show or a movie that does this, I’m addicted.

It seems HBO has this on lockdown for me right now. They started with Game of Thrones, but it’s Westworld that has me riveted right now.

During my husband’s deployment last year, I watched Westworld while waiting for Game of Thrones episodes to air.

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Holy crap, did they hook me good. I binged the show. The first few episodes left me confused. Were we in the wild west, the present…oh, wait, we’re in the present in a theme park filled with robots. Okay. Then they started throwing character after character at me. Halfway through the show, I finally got a grip on the basics. Who the players were, where they were, and what was going down.

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But I never expected it to play out the way it did. Not in a million years. I will not give spoilers, just in case you haven’t seen it but want to enjoy it with fresh eyes. I wish I could. It’s one of those stories I wish I could wipe from my memory and watch it again.

These are the twists I live for. The ones that make me go, “What the ever loving hell?!” or have me jumping off the couch shouting at the television.

I wanted more Westworld. I still had questions that needed answers. I wanted more William and Lazlo and Hector and Ford and the Man in Black…*grabby hands* But I had to wait.

Fortunately, the wait is nearly over. Westworld Season 2 begins on April 22nd, and I for one am ridiculously excited to see how the story continues. So if you haven’t seen it, I suggest you give it a try. There is excessive language, violence, and nudity. This show is absolutely NSFW and not family friendly. Adult content ahead. You can’t say I didn’t warn you. But everything in the show works to push the story forward.

I’m hoping that season two will give my muse a jump start.

It always amazes me how small elements, characters, settings, or even lines of dialog from a TV show or movie can provide a spark of inspiration. I love when those moments happen.

So, how about you? Do you find yourself inspired after you watch a good movie or an engaging TV show? Let me know in the comments. I’ll keep you posted on my Westworld addiction. *grins*

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Until we meet again, may your bookshelves be full and your hearts even more so.

All my love,

Kirsten

Shifting Gears and Finding My Voice

I have been MIA for the past two weeks, and for that, I apologize. If you aren’t aware, I am married to a military man. Which means, our lives revolve around his career. I embrace the life of a military spouse proudly. But the uncertainty that comes with it can be nerve-wracking on the best days.

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We had orders to a new base a few weeks ago. Then my husband made rank. Bonus! A promotion, a pay raise, and a new base. But it won’t be the one we had orders for, unfortunately. So we are in limbo at the moment, waiting to see where the powers-that-be will send us next.

My days have been spent sorting through my house, organizing and purging, preparing for the move I know is coming. So, I put aside my weekly posts until I found something worth sharing with you. I mean, really, sometimes I wonder if posting a weekly blog is even worth spending the time and energy.

Then I realized. If you’re a reader like me, then you just want to feel a connection with the author. I love hearing behind-the-scenes stories and snippets from an author’s daily life. I also enjoy when authors share their likes and dislikes. It makes them more relatable and human. Not that I think the authors I love are aliens or robots or anything so ridiculous. But, we do sometimes forget that authors have a life, a family, a home, friends, a social life, struggles, hopes, and fears. We forget there is a person behind the brand.

I adore the human connection. I long for the relationship between reader and author.

So, my wish is to do that here. I want to share bits of me with my readers. My question is, what do I share with you?

Well, it will not be my views on politics or religion. Sorry, while I hold my beliefs quite seriously, these are two topics that you will not see me talk about from this platform.

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Earlier, I found a post on another page that had Questions to Ask an Author. I liked the idea, and I may run with some of those since each question could easily provide us with some conversation starters.

Next week, I’ll post a response to one of the questions on the site. Hopefully, I will have some questions from my awesome readers to answer.

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Do you have any questions to ask me?

Or do you have any suggestions for posts you’d like to see from me? Feel free to contact me using the form or send a message on Facebook or Twitter.

You are more than welcome to comment on this post with your ideas as well.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Until we meet again, may your bookshelves be full and your hearts even more so.

All my love,

Kirsten

How to Write a Love Letter

This week, I’ve recorded a little video for you. Enjoy!

So, what are your thoughts? Are you going to write a love letter this year? Have you ever written one before? Share your experiences, suggestions, and thoughts in the comments below.

Until we meet again, may your bookshelves be full and your hearts even more so.

All my love,

Kirsten

Every Author Needs a Reader

The first week of January. It seems like the BEST time to renovate. Right? New year means new me. I hope I’m not digging my own grave here by posting my intentions for the year. You’ll hold me to it, right? Not exactly new year’s resolution material, but I’m definitely gearing up for a new direction. So…my game plan this year:

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But wait, don’t you already market, Kirsten? I tried, and I failed. Let me be honest with you. I suck at marketing. I’m horrible at it. I absolutely hate trying to sell myself as an author. Feels like I’m tooting my own horn a little too loud. The worst part is, I have to toot my own horn louder than everyone else who’s blowing theirs. So, it’s just a gigantic cacophony of authors making noise. And honestly, it’s exhausting.

I need something new, something fresh, which also brings me to my brand. I know who I am. I know what I like to read. I certainly know what I like to write. And I will be perfectly frank, I write what I would want to read. Sounds simple right? Wrong. Once again, I need to build my relationship with readers. Which is why I’m firing up the old blog again.

Facebook has done a bang-up job of hiding posts from my followers and potential followers. They want me to pay for every post to be seen. Well, I’m sorry, I don’t have that kind of money laying around. I have to be wise when I invest my money and my time as an author. Just like you do when you’re thinking of trying a new-to-me author with a shiny book cover and a promising blurb. I’m a reader too, I know. *wink*

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I picked up two part-time jobs to pay for my self-publishing. The problem was, it stole all my time from writing and marketing. My writing fizzled out. I had no direction. So, I made the decision to leave those jobs behind and focus on my writing again.

YOU are going to be the biggest help in having me succeed in my goal this year. When I say Focus on the Relationship, I mean the relationship with you as a reader. ❤

Readers are KEY. Why am I spending the money and the time writing and editing a book if no one will read it? I will gladly write it for me. But I want to see the joy and delight when someone dives into one of my stories and loses themselves if only for a short period of time.

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I love creating worlds and characters and romance. I truly believe it’s my calling in life. But I can’t write if I don’t have readers.

I promise to do my part. I have a list of stories that long to be shared with the world. Your love, encouragement, and support are more important than you know.

If you love an author’s work, let them know.  It could be the encouragement they need on a day when they just want to give up writing altogether.

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Here’s to a new year. I hope you will join me on my journey of writing self-discovery. I have faith it will be a productive adventure for both of us. Be sure to follow for updates. There are some fun blog posts planned for this year.

May your bookshelves be full and your hearts even more so.

All my love,

Kirsten

Creative Update: Current Projects

I thought this week I would write a little post to let you all know what projects I’m working on.

Prohibition Story (tentatively titled Mississippi Moonshine)

Virginia is a tomboy. Having been raised by her father and seven brothers, she lacks all the grace and sophistication a woman should have according to society in 1923. But she’s a river rat, born and raised near the Mississippi River outside of Alton, Illinois. When she discovers her family’s secret distillery hidden deep in the woods, she stumbles into a horrible confrontation with a rival shiner.

Nathaniel shed his proper English gentleman persona to become the most infamous shine runner on the Mississippi. His suppliers in Illinois and Missouri provide him with the most coveted moonshine in the country. But when a gang attacks his most lucrative supplier, he finds himself saddled with more than a financial loss. He finds a river rat stowed away on his boat.

Interesting huh?

Stage play titled Confessions of a Fangirl

We’ve all had our moments of fanaticism. This play is meant to be a visual depiction of the five stages of fangirling and how the seemingly innocent obsession can quickly consume us and ruin our relationships in real life.

I didn’t want to use one specific actor…so I combined three of my favorites to depict a much broader fandom (and not point any fingers since this isn’t about shaming or blaming, just showing the reality and the consequences).

This is my first attempt to write a play. I’m hoping it will help me hone my dialog and plotting skills…even more, I am hoping it will enlighten the world to the wonders and dangers of being a fangirl/boy.

Angus’ story, Book 3 in the Shadow Guardian series, working title A Wicked Shadow

Angus has been bothering me since I started writing A Shadow’s Kiss last fall. He’s begged and pleaded for me to tell his story next. So I am. I have planted the seed of his tale in A Shadow’s Kiss. His love interest is much more…unconventional than Madeline and Evelyn, who are both unique women in their own rights.

I will be plotting his story over the next few months and plan to write it for National Novel Writing Month in November of this year. My first two books were NaNo babies, so Angus’ will be too.

A book of poetry (if anyone had an interest to read it, I have no idea)

I’ve been writing poetry since I was in 8th grade. I have notebooks full of poetry, and so I’ve debated the idea of self publishing a little book of poetry. It’s the project I have spent the least amount of mental energy on, since poetry is such an underrated creative medium. Perhaps one day I will follow through with it if there’s enough interest. I thought it might be fun to just have some printed and sell them on etsy. 🙂 Who knows…I may need a push to do that at some point in the future.

I also have some ideas started for a series of Regency/Victorian (haven’t decided which yet) stories.

There are always notes and ideas floating around for stories to write. I always find a new character who speaks to me, begging me to tell their story. I promise to update you on the status of my projects.

If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to post them. I love hearing from my readers.

Also, check out my blog posts at my writer’s group site The Sarcastic Muse. I focus on my writing process and romance in those posts.

Talk to you again soon! Have a great week.

❤ Kirsten

What Inspires You?

One of the questions I always ask my fellow writers is: Where do you get your inspiration?

Every one of them answers that question differently. Me…well it really depends.

When I’m in a creative rut, I use writing prompts to get the word count going. My writer’s group, The Sarcastic Muse, has a page on Tumblr (click HERE for link) where we post daily word counts for anyone to use them. I find those come in handy when I’m stuck for a starting point or I don’t have a current project waiting for my attention. I’ve had several stories blossom from these writing prompts. I highly recommend trying it if you’re in desperate need for inspiration.

I also find I draw inspiration from watching movies or TV shows, sometimes a line or a scene or even a character can spark an idea that sets my creativity on fire and I find I NEED to write, to purge what’s in my head. Some people do this and create fan fiction, which is fantastic, I love fan fiction and there are some talented authors out there who write nothing but fan fic. So don’t think I’m knocking it…I’m not. What I’m saying is that I take that spark of inspiration one step further and let my mind morph the idea into something unique and fresh and completely mine.

That leads me to my ultimate source of inspiration. MEN…to be more specific, these life ruiners right here.

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For those of you who don’t know, the term “Life Ruiner” is defined as:

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THEY inspire me. These men who spark fantasies and ideas through the characters they play and their interactions with their fans. They are the heroes of my stories, the cast I choose when selecting my next pirate, alpha male, prince, bounty hunter, street racer, bootlegger, assassin, etc. When they spark an idea, I listen and write.

If you’re curious, Joe Manganiello inspired my Shadow Guardian, Gerard Butler inspired my street racer in Full Throttle, and Richard Armitage is the inspiration for my bootlegger on the Mississippi River. My actor in the play I’m writing is a combination of Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, and David Tennant.

Tom Hiddleston…well, he’s a different story all together.

So I’ll ask you all…what inspires you?

Thanks for stopping by today.

~Kirsten