Writing journey

The Worried Writer and Genre Limbo

I am writing this from Lancashire awkwardly drinking Yorkshire Tea; the War of the Roses may have ended centuries ago but there are still subtle undercurrents of rivalry between the two counties. I have found some Lancashire Tea in the small shop so I will have a guilt free cuppa later.

The Worried Writer and Genre Limbo
Time for Tea

I made it to the RNA conference and it is the last day. What an experience! In the talks I have listened to, people I have met and writing journeys I have heard, I feel invigorated in my creativity and determination to take the leap from writer to author. I did have a wobble of confidence yesterday because there are amazing writers in the group. The stories come alive with emotions and my scribblings about the comings and goings of The Enchanted Emporium appeared childish in comparison. This was impacted by my insecurity of the genre Willow’s and even Amber’s story fit. Too magical for women’s literature, not spooky enough for paranormal and with Amber’s tale it doesn’t sit firmly in the YA fantasy label. My explanations of the genre when asked were long winded “romantic contemporary women’s fiction with a hint of supernatural” felt like a mouthful especially when I struggle to say contemporary. Without a fit I felt no agent, editor would touch it so my mind latched on to the idea of self publishing; whatever A Blend of Magic is determined to be out in the world. Until yesterday. I made the snap decision to attend a lecture The Worried Writer by the delightful Sarah Painter instead of the scheduled one. It was a revelation.

Not only was the talk relevant to my worried mind and procrastinating ways in minutes she introduced her work as magical realism. It was a light bulb moment; that is my genre for both manuscripts. They have important themes, which I hope I can do them portray well, with emotion and depth but there is magic threaded through. It may sound stupid to some but having a name has given my work some value in my head and confidence to admit what I am writing rather than hiding it under a mumble.

I am a magical realism writer.

My tea has long gone and it time to mingle with writers who maybe worse for wear after the Gala dinner last night.

More soon.

Happy writing!

Love

Sunny days, panicking and updates
Writing journey

Sunny days, Panic and Writing Updates

The poppies are out

July is here with some glorious days; my garden is looking colourful and the bees are happy. I wish I could say I was out there enjoying it with them but I am indoors attempting to edit/rewrite A Blend of Magic. The deadline to submit it to the NWS for critique in August is looming and I am beginning to admit defeat. My plan was to have it complete for the RNA conference this weekend, instead I am 20% through. Why? Life, health and being naturally slow at typing and thinking but mainly panic and procrastination – a writer’s curse. One I need to learn how to resolve – fast.

This weekend I will be at the RNA conference, I am a bundle of excitement and nerves. Excitement at being in an environment full of literary energy, authors to inspire and things to learn but nerves because to gain as much as I can I have to reach out from my introvert shell to talk to real people without the protective barrier of cyberspace. It is easier to be you on a screen when in reality nerves take over. Reading the emails others feeling the same and the RNA have been very supportive and friendly to try to break down those feelings. There are many writers I follow on social media and it will be good to put faces to their names and ideas. I also have a one to one sessions with an editor and two agents. This seems so unreal that my brain has forgotten to the worry about those at the moment. It will happen; it feels premature to talk to them but any pointers and advice they give must be helpful. Even if they tell me my plot sucks and try something else.

Another worry, is my health. Travelling and a couple of hours socialising always pushes my medication and the delicate balance between living and a flare to its limits. I am asking for a weekend of talks, workshops, socialising and learning. Maybe it will be kind and the inevitable payback will be delayed until I get home. If not, strangers will see dystonia in its full glory with me being unable to speak, and my body contorting into impossible positions. It is bad enough when it happens with family but in public the word embarrassment does not cover it but writing has become my escapism and if I want to move forward, I need to take this next step. Luckily, my daughter is stepping in to be my carer and accommodation is on ground level so there will be no stairs to argue with. My plan is to attend the activities on top of my agenda and anything else I manage will be a bonus. Even meeting like-minded people will be worth it. Wish me luck.

A Spoonie Life

Other news:

Last month I was interviewed about book blogging at From Under the Duvet for the RNA blog. It can be found here.

I wrote a piece of flash fiction which would please Elsie and it can be found here.

Happy writing!

Love

Short story, Writing journey

Flash fiction: Lost in Art

It’s Friday. I have been to my writing group for inspiration and coffee. This is my homework based on the prompts from the Storyworld cards John and Caitlin Matthews.. It was great to see the range of stories they inspire.

I had the Fairy Queen, Door to Fairyland and the Rainbow.

Lost in Art

The art gallery heaved with the people as they hustled and pushed to catch a glimpse of the rare pieces from the long anticipated ‘Faeries of du Pre’ exhibition. Robert decided this would offer the ideal opportunity to fulfil his initiation in the gang. The others loitered opposite a few yards away, watching his every move, egging him on. He could not back out now. He took a deep breath and hood up, face down he weaved through the crowd, clutching his skateboard tight. It was this which brought him to the attention of Raz and his posse. There were plenty of shadows at the skate park where they could drink, smoke and plot schemes; one requiring someone small, quick and innocent looking. Someone like him. He would skate to escape the depressive atmosphere at home, and the anger of his stepfather. Once he let his guard down, the mismatch of personalities in the gang became his friends and family. Stealing a purse was a small price to pay for the protection and sense of belonging they gave even if seeds of doubt grew daily demanding he changed paths. He could enter the building, grab a bag and slip out unnoticed.

The atmosphere buzzed with excitement as people studied the framed collection consisting of sketches of elegant, ethereal beings, watercolours of streams, woodlands and Yorkshire landscapes A quick glance around and he saw his quarry. On a bench facing a large oil painting sat a dowdy old lady alone with her open handbag beside her. She was as still as statue; her focus fixed on the star of the exhibition; a painting titled The Queen of Elphame. Perfect. He had heard of the painting, everyone had. It captivated a legion of fans worldwide following its discovery in an attic in the village of Cottingley. Articles emerged delving into the history of the legendary artist, Jacques du Pre and theories of who inspired the vivid, unique masterpiece. His mistress or his imagination fuelled by obsession with the supernatural which led to his drunken downfall. Some believed it was the queen of the fairies herself after the accompanying old diary revealed he visited the area during the time of the faked fairy photograph furore. An explosion of merchandise followed – mugs, posters, postcards and bags. It was hard to escape her presence. Everyone was enthralled by the image except him. It was just a painting.

To his surprise as his hand hovered over the bag, its owner turned and placed her wrinkled, hand over his. “ I did …” he began to defend himself.

“Hush” she whispered her gaze returning to the painting. “Just watch.”

In silence, he became immersed in the landscape created by the artist. Snippets of conversation discussing brush strokes, composition and use of colour drifted by unnoticed as he studied the painted figure. Suspended mid-flight over the rippling stream, the royal fairy demanded attention from her subjects hidden in the trees and grass. Her large iridescent wings shone in the moonlight. A dragonfly fluttered in the corner, materialising from the bull rushes gently swaying in an unseen breeze. It zipped across to the other side of the canvas before disappearing into the distance. People glanced at the picture, but no one commented before walking away to the next piece. Robert glanced at the woman who smiled, and her age slipped away as he saw the woman she was in her youth in her sparkling eyes.

“They look but they do not see” she murmured.

Instinctively, he reached for his phone. No one would believe this unless he videoed it. It could go viral. She grasped his hand and shook her head. He put it back in his pocket and sat down. Together they watched a bird fly from the tree to the Queen’s unfurled hand to peck seeds before flying back. He ignored his vibrating phone as time flew by.
The visitor numbers decreased as it darkened outside until it was only the odd couple sitting on the bench. The loud footsteps of the curator echoed in the cavernous room as he warned them the gallery was closing in 15 minutes. They nodded and watched him walk away.

The woman stood and approached the canvas. Robert’s mouth dropped open as the Queen bent down and reached her hand for frail lady to grasp. The hands met: reality and paint blended until there were two people on the canvas. Alone he wiped away a tear as he watched the magic fade. He stepped closer, touched the old lady’s hand, the wrinkles had smoothed, and she looked younger. A smile formed on her face and her fingers wrapped round his.
The investigation into the disappearance of Robert Jones and Gladys Stone arrived at no conclusion with only the abandoned skateboard and bag on the bench connecting the two strangers. No one saw the two additional figures walking in the trees.

Happy writing!

NanoWriMo, Writing journey

Research, Motivation and of course a Cup of Tea

For those who follow or know me it is no secret my MC, Willow like me loves tea. However, unlike me, Willow has taken her love of this delicious drink to the extreme and has studied, worked with, and lives for the perfect brew.

As I research her backstory and personality I’ve found myself longing to walk amongst the rows of tea bushes in Shenzhen, Guangdong. Wishing I could visit Tong Xin Tea House, who I discovered on Instagram.

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On April 28, Jake and I set out from 8 a.m. in Shenzhen and arrived at Wuyi Mountain safely at 9 p.m. The 13-hour long journey was very hard but very happy. On the morning of 29, we went to the hotel to find J who arrived at Wuyi Mountain in advance. We started our journey in Wuyi Mountain. We tasted Bian Rou in the morning, drove into my tea garden and tea factory for about an hour, and arrived at the tea factory with Ja. Ke and J visited our tea garden and tea factory. In the afternoon, we went to the mountain to make tea. Everything was ready. After tasting Rou Gui and Da Hong Pao in 2013, the sky suddenly began to rain heavily. Finally, three of us were soaked into soup chickens. The heavy rain did not affect our mood. We walked happily in the rain and enjoyed the magical power of nature. We drove to Tongmuguan on April 30 at 10:00 a.m. It took us two hours to get to Tongmuguan from downtown. The road was rugged. We arrived at Tongmuguan at 12:00 p.m. smoothly and safely. We enjoyed the delicious food in the mountains at noon. After lunch, we went to Tongmuguan's brother's tea garden and the tea factory to visit the process of black tea picking and making. The scenery along the way was beautiful. We picked tea in the tea mountain at 1200 meters above sea level. Ye is very hard, every leaf is hard-won, return to Wuyishan city in the afternoon, every day is very full, J, will return to Shenzhen tomorrow, my trip with Jake is continuing. 🙏 .#looseleaftea#teaddict#gongfucha#chinatea#teaset#gongfutea#tetitas#breakfast #organic #cascara #cake #cat #dress#morning#morningtea#green#cupoftea #flowers #茶道 #sencha#shenzhen #lovetea #yixing #tealove #茶 #oolongtea #tea #chinesetea #koreanceramics

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There are many inspirational places I would like to visit and enjoy the full sensory experience rather than using photos or videos as prompts. Some are not as far-flung as India or Nashville, Tennessee where the unique High Garden Tea House and Potion Parlour are; I would love to visit Twinings at The Strand which has been there for 300 years or have afternoon tea at Betty’s Tea Room in Harrogate.

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The discovery of an UK Tea Academy, where you can train to be a tea Sommelier, made my nerves tingle with excitement. What an experience that would be and would give me a deeper insight into Willow’s world.

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The possibilities where her story could go are endless and I want to explore them all but then with a click of a mouse, reality bites. The ability to research to that depth requires funds only a fledgling penniless duvet dwelling paperback writer can dream of and as it stands, is it crucial to this WIP to experience them first hand? Probably not but it has given me the motivation to keep writing, and to keep dreaming of success because one day if I decide to write about a character on safari in Africa, I may just be able to experience it first-hand.

Time for a cup of tea made in the pot and write.

Happy writing!

Love

Kate Kenzie's Blog

P.S. All these places are now firmly etched on my bucket list and if they get ticked off, you will be the first to know.

Writing journey

April is here and so is Camp NaNoWriMo

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April has begun and so has Camp NaNoWriMo. After my success in November (I am still in shock I won) I know it will help me finish this first draft if I am determined enough and learn from my mistakes to avoid any more health issues. Going over my manuscript I am over two-thirds of the way to writing those elusive words The End. One character’s perspective needs to be threaded in and connective scenes need to be written. I am itching to edit which has allowed procrastination set in. A NaNoWriMo boost with the support, accountability and encouragement from The Fiction Cafe Writers and RNA will hopefully help me get back on track. I need to stop my mind slipping to things I can’t control, social media and the news and enjoy the escape to Whitby and the imaginary shop The Enchanted Emporium.

Current word count: 65,180

Aim by the end of April:  to finish the first draft

Realistically I want to write 10000 words or 30 hours of writing and research.

Happy Writing!

Love

Kate Kenzie's Blog

 

Writing journey

Time for Yorkshire Nature Walks

I was planning a post about the importance of HEA (happy ever after) books but after seeing a drunken or drugged Dragon twist a scene from Willow’s story into a different genre this morning, I changed my mind. Who knows what gobbledegook it would come up with?

The nice weather has meant I can go for a whizz on my scooter with the dogs, soak up sun and appreciate the beauty of the Yorkshire countryside. The calm allows the mind to focus on ideas and nature provides the inspiration for both of my WIP. Photos of flowers are taken for the mood board for Willow’s witches garden and trees for Amber’s Elfaen.

If you would like to have sneak previews of these when they happen follow me on Instagram here

I love trees and nature but many places aren’t accessible on wheels so if you see anything inspirational or quirky I would love to be tagged into any posts you see.

Happy writing and enjoy the sunshine

Love

Writing journey

Hello March, Where Did February Go?

 

 

March has arrived. The daffodils are blooming and there are signs of green on the hedgerows. Looking back it has been more than a month since my last proper post. I know February  is a short month but the speed it flew by was ridiculous. The last few weeks have been devoted to self-care because I discovered ignoring tingling in your fingers and arms, which began during NaNoWriMo, was not a good idea. It only leads to your arms feeling like you are attached to an electricity pylon every time you pick up a pen or type. Prevention is better than cure. Has it enforced abstinence from writing helped? Not at all, when dystonia likes to cause problems it does not relent easily. Not being able to type on demand is frustrating because I have been trapped in an endless scenario of perfectly worded sentences flowing in my head without a release except for a few unsatisfactory notes. It is true you don’t realise the joy of something until it is gone. Writing group meetings and cake have also been skipped. I have not been a happy writer.

In desperation Dragon Anywhere, the voice recognition app was tried again. My first attempt of using it was discussed here. The short story dictated was encouragingly accurate. Thanks to some wonderful people who I will be forever grateful, the full version of Dragon has flown on to my laptop. Words have been added to my MS word count;  a new way of writing has begun. The software needs training, laptop teething problems need solving and new neural pathways need to be formed but I have renewed determination to finish both my WIPs. Dystonia will not win.

Current Word Counts

The Ellfanian Journals: 48, 106

Willow’s Tale: 62,999

How has your month been?

Happy writing!

Love

Kate Kenzie's Blog