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Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

As many of you may know already, I went on an adventure this past August. I spent a week in Scotland. While I did do some normal touristy things, a good portion of the trip was going where I needed to go.

For my entire life, I’ve always yearned to go home to Scotland. Where this came from, I didn’t know. The music, the history, the very land called to me as sure as the south calls to birds during the fall. I went in hopes of finding the one spot that my soul yearned to go back to.

I found three.

One of them was outside of the town of Rosemarkie, on Black Isle. This is just slightly north of Inverness, across the Moray Firth. It’s not a big touristy spot, but well worth going to.

The name and the photos appealed to both me and my traveling companion, Tara. After doing a dolphin tour (yes! baby dolphins!), lunch, and a few other unexpected stops, we made it to the head of the trail.

It wasn’t even five minutes into the hike when I turned to her and said, “I can’t stop smiling!” And I couldn’t. I’d found the second place that called to me, and the first that was unexpected.

The entire hike was exhilarating. Not in the sense that it was a hard hike but the energy that surrounded me, seeped into my pores and invigorated my very soul. The Wiccan part of me was home. My soul danced with joy. My cares, worries, and stresses melted away. And I let myself hear what the woods were telling me.

Then, we came to the end of the trail and found this:

FG 11 BI 8.13

I sat on a rock and closed my eyes, opening myself up to the sounds around me. The rushing water, changing tone as it moved downstream. The light rustle of leaves being moved by the wind. The smell of damp earth. The feeling of being welcomed, and at peace.

As we headed back out, I heard music. Not just any music, but something that bordered on magical. I turned to Tara and asked, “Do you hear that?” I needed confirmation that I wasn’t the only one who could hear it. That it was in the air was not in doubt. Simply if I was the only one meant to hear it, and heed its’ call.

She nodded. She heard it as well. It would stop for a time, then start up again, as we hiked out. Eventually, we caught up with a pair of hikers. She had been playing traditional Scottish and Irish music on a fife as she and her companion walked. We thanked her for the music, as it was the perfect accompaniment to the afternoon.

We got back to the car park, and I leaned against the driver’s side door. Looking back to the trailhead, I said a silent thank you for all creatures. Both the visible and unseen. For they had welcomed me home as a kindred spirit. I had been found, but I was never truly lost.

BB

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Hey everyone!

If you read my last post, you know I recently did something I can’t remember not wanting to do. I took a page from Bilbo Baggins and went on an adventure.

Today, I came home again at last. The plane ride happened last Friday. I’ve technically been home for almost a week. But I was still processing everything I saw and heard and experienced.

We’ve had sucky air quality around here, as it seems like half of the west coast is on fire. Today, though, the air has cleared to healthy levels. I was able to open the curtains and windows, inviting the outside in for the first time. And I started to clean the house.

Keep in mind, the air has had so much smoke and ash in it that they were advising against vacuuming or sweeping in your house, as it would kick up even more allergens/pollutants. The weeds in the yard are in dire need of decapitation, but they’ve got a short reprieve. Those will be mowed down tomorrow.

Anyway, I’m wandering off topic. I’m a writer. It happens. As I was cleaning, I started to put the last remnants of my trip away.

Jewelry came out of boxes (though those were saved) and put in my jewelry chest or where they needed to go. The Jacobite Rose pin went on the green merino wool sweater, which is where I plan on always wearing it. The compression bags were refolded and put in their box. The suitcases were put back together.

And two packages, with gifts for family or friends not nearby, were sent off.

Scotland’s never going to leave me. The experience of going, of daring to do something I’d always wanted to do, will forever live in me. Even now, wearing the necklace with a bit of moss from Culloden, the contentment I gained…the peace in my soul….is still there.

By putting things away, sending them to their new homes, I’ve finished the process of coming home again.

Isn’t that what going on an adventure is all about? Finding your way back home?

BBCastle MacDuff 2 8.14

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Hey everyone!

Yes, I know it’s been a while since I posted here. As per normal, life happened. This was a good thing, though.

I’ve touched on this before, how the last 2 -3 years of my life have been chaotic. Too many things to list, and most weren’t good. Death came to visit far more than anyone should have to deal with. There were other things, too, that drove me even deeper down the rabbit hole.

I’d climb out some, start to feel normal again, and have something else come up.

In mid June, my husband looked at me and told me I needed something to look forward to. Something that would be a boost to my soul. At his recommendation, the next day I booked airfare for a trip I’d wanted to take longer than I could remember.

I was going to Scotland.

The trip was last week. I just got home on Friday. I’m still readjusting to this time zone. LOL. But my soul found three separate places it called home. Three places where I made a profound, deep connection that stretched back hundreds of years. And I returned home with a sense of peace, of contentment, of wholeness, that I’ve never felt before in this turn of the Wheel.

‘Guarding William’, the 3rd book in The Waystation Guardians series, came out right as I left. I also took books with me, to leave in hotels and B&Bs as thank you gifts. The B&B host in Inverness now plans to put my photo on the wall in the room I had, along with the caption of ‘American Author KateMarie Collins slept here!’. A restaurant, Hootananny’s, suggested I put a version of their beef stew in a book. Which I fully intend on having characters eat, should the manager actually send me the recipe (yes, it was THAT good!). A restored 14th c castle B&B I spent one night in plans to leave them in the Great Room, for future guests to read.

I found myself. And I may have found a few readers along the way. In going home, I’ve rediscovered myself. I’ve made peace with the chaos, and am armed with a renewed sense of direction.

Watch out, world. You tried to push me back down, and almost succeeded. But I’ve reconnected with that stubborn Scottish streak in me. I will find my readers.

If you’re wondering about ‘Guarding William’, here’s the link: mybook.to/guardingwilliam

BB

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I know, it’s been a while. Not just for my blog, but writing in general. Life has a way of doing that.

On Friday night, the hubby and I headed to a baseball game. We’d planned to take our youngest, but he got sick. So, I offered the ticket to a friend of mine. She was super excited (and repaid us in bath bombs – thoroughly addicted to her stuff!), so off we went.

I was feeling happy by the time we got to our seats (first row, too!). I’d been able to walk from the train to the stadium, then down to our seats, without stopping. A year ago, that wouldn’t have happened. Amazing how much difference 60lbs can make.

Anyway, at some point my friend wanted to go get some food. Back up to the concourse we went. One of the things she got was fried grasshoppers to put on her tacos. We arrived back at our seats, and I agreed to try one.

Not high on my ‘need to eat this again’ list, so you know. More like ‘nope, never again’.

After I finished washing the taste out of my mouth with some hot cider, I said something in passing that a single grasshopper wasn’t nearly as scary as submitting my first book to a publisher. If can do that…if I can go through surgery and finally start get my weight going in the right direction…a single grasshopper is nothing.

That’s it, right there. The simple act of finishing writing a book takes dedication. Checking on the submission requirements, doing our homework, and having the courage to hit send on that email – not just once but dozens of times – is bravery.

When you get that contract, you’re not at the end of the work. There’s still the promoting and marketing. But we’re scared to get out there and make cold calls. Get disappointed when sales don’t meet our hopes. And we give up.

Thing is, you did the hardest part and wrote the book. You did the work to find it a home. Giving up now because you don’t want to put the time into promoting it is like that fried grasshopper.

You’ve come so far. This is the easy part.

BB

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Hey everyone! It’s gearing up to be a super busy weekend. 6 days until we see the new ‘Star Wars’ movie!

Yeah, that’s my fandom of choice. We can discuss that another time, though.

Everyone talks about being creative, finding inspiration from the things around them. You can read countless stories on social media about how a writer looked at a situation, did a mental, ‘what if’, and turned it into a story.

The thing is, inspiration isn’t enough to make it as an author.

You need the self discipline and determination to sit yourself down and finish the story.

You need the critical eye and willingness to realize that the first draft is just that – a draft – and changes need to be made. Some will be minor, others major. But no manuscript is print ready from the gate.

You need the fortitude to do your research and compile a list of agents and publishers.

You need courage to submit you m/s to said publishers and agents.

You need patience and the ability to put your ego on the shelf when edits come back.

You need the mental stamina and strength to promote your book.

This is work. Plain and simple. It’s not as easy as sitting down to a computer or notebook and vomiting words onto a page. If you can’t get find that strength within yourself, you’ll not like the job.

Don’t get me wrong. The highs of being a published author are AMAZING. Having someone get excited because they met ‘a real author’ or seeing them hug one of your books after you signed it gives you some of the best warm fuzzies you’ll ever feel. And this is one of the few industries where the nice guy finishes first. But you have to be strong, have to draw on a mental toughness every single day. Bad reviews are going to undercut your confidence. Months without sales will make your stomach fall to your feet. Authors pour our souls into our books. We breathe life into our characters and work hard to create worlds that readers will be lost in. When those bad reviews or no sales months come, they hurt.

You can’t simply wait for inspiration to strike. You have to roll up your sleeves and work if you want magic to happen. If you seriously think all you have to do is write, you haven’t been reading my blog long. LOL.

BB

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Hey everyone!

So, the Whole Life Activation awards were this past Friday. While I was deeply honored to be on the short list, another author won. I have no doubt that she is talented and deserving of the honor.

And, despite all of you that voted for the cover for ‘Guarding Charon’, it didn’t even place in the final round in the AuthorsDB cover contest.

For a short time today, it hurt. I freely admit it. Authors are still human, after all. We want to be told we did good and win contests. Have that validation that all the months of crappy sales or writer’s block was worth it. So, when you come close to that brass ring, it hurts when you get told no. You weren’t good enough.

The thing is, I am good enough. I write good books that are entertaining. I’m not a total jerk to my publisher or readers (at least, I hope I’m not. If I’ve been a jerk to you, please let me know and we’ll hash it out). I’ve come too far to sink back into the mindset of I’m not going to be good enough.

I’ve survived rape.

I’ve survived a parent who was narcissistic.

I’ve survived being bullied.

I’ve survived crippling self-doubt.

I have gone through some really bad crap in my life. And come out on top. This isn’t the last award I’ll be up for. It’s not the end of my career. It’s the beginning. It marks another step forward because my work is being noticed now.

You can not let a single event dictate your future as an author. Ride the wave of hurt and disappointment, then find your resolve again. Because there’s no way to change the past. All we can do is look to the future.

BB

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Nine years ago, something happened in my life. For most people, they’d wonder why a D&D character would make any sort of impact in real life. Perchance I was a bit TOO connected to her. The thing is, that group of friends had been meeting every single Saturday for about 2 1/2 years. We too these characters from game infancy (level 1) to fully fleshed out characters with personalities.
 
When the group wrapped up, in rather unexpected and bad ways (we were all killed or imprisoned), we mourned the loss. We were bitter, hurt, and felt cheated.
 
Out of that experience, my muse was unlocked. I finally started to write ‘Daughter of Hauk’. And I got encouragement from friends and family that gave me the confidence to keep at it.
 
Without that party wipe, I wouldn’t be writing now.
 
As such, I’ve got a certain fondness for The Raven Chronicles and Arwenna’s story. That was my character, after all. I invented her, borrowed (with permission) other people’s characters from the group. Threw in a few of my own imagination. Changed a few things so the makers of D&D wouldn’t sue me. And used writing Arwenna’s story as a way to deal with some of my own issues.
 
So, yeah, it hurts when it goes months without a sale. Because it’s more than a good story. It’s my baby. I’ve written other stories that may be better told, or more engaging, but that trilogy will forever be my favorite. For very personal reasons.
 
What makes things nice is that the wait and patience is paying off. I’ve seen pages read or sales for all 3 books for 3 months running now. Even the fan fic has gotten some love.
 
Will it ever be on the NYT best seller list? Probably not. But my baby’s getting a little bit of love right now from readers. And I’ll take that.

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