Having Your Kids Close In Age

Coffee Doll Chronicles

Let me just start by saying I am in no way qualified to advise anyone on how to plan their lives. Whatever I post on my blog is either taken from experiences or my bottomless brain. In no shape or form is my opinion meant to disrespect anyone.

Now that we’ve got that covered…

This morning I saw a post somewhere on social media(I choose not to name or specify) about reasons to have your kids close in age and it was of a sarcastic and entertaining nature albeit some truth bombs were dropped. I’ve been planning to write about the downside of having kids close in age and by downside I don’t mean anything bad towards our little ones. It’s just overwhelming for people in different situations. This post is focused on the plus side of having kids close in age.

  1. They play together. I think this is the…

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My Favorite “Me Time” Indulgences

Can you tell I’m not a summer person? Just kidding. I have been MIA for a while and with good reason. Uh oh! Here comes the vent! It’s honestly been overwhelming with the kids, work, house things, outings, errands ever since summer started. I forgot how hard it was having two kids create chaos all day as opposed to just having my toddler with me when my preschooler is in school. Insanity!

As a little hello to my new-ish subscribers and a salute to my fellow parent bloggers, here’s how I survive admidst the chaos.

Books! Books! Books!

I’m never not engaged in a book. As soon as I finish one, I begin another. No intervals. If you’ve read things on my blog from way back you’ll see how drowning myself in stories and book worlds helped me escape from a lot, deal with a lot and conquer a lot. It’s no different today than it was back then.

Creating my own stories

At this point you’re thinking I’m a real party animal, right? On a serious note, it’s something that always came naturally to me. Weaving my own stories and characters and it takes a lot of the stress off my back so to speak. It’s a positive activity that I enjoy doing with all my heart and it helps me wind down from a long tiring day just as much as reading.

Thrift-store Book Hunting

Oh, that wasn’t a different thing than reading? I enjoy finding gems for a buck a piece. I feel like I hit buried treasure when I see hard backs in pristine condition and I almost feel guilty for paying so cheap for them.

TV Junkie

I don’t watch TV daily, a few episodes a week if anything but I do love to get caught up and engrossed in a good long running series. Few of my favs are Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Vikings, Supernatural. What are some of yours?

Treat Myself to Something Extra

Whoever says money can’t buy happiness didn’t fully think that through. (Again just kidding.) It might seem trivial to some but a lot of parents would agree with me on this. We sometimes enjoy a nice fancy dinner or sometimes just splurging on a favorite make up product does the trick.

Planning

This seriously is one of my favorite things to do. I’m always planning things, from outings to redecorating to enhancing my own life. I am still a work in progress and I dedicate a lot of my spare time to working towards many goals. It might sound like a task but I feel proud when I accomplish something.

It’s not selfish to take a time out for yourself even though you feel guilty for doing it. The key to holding everything together is to take care of you first. Leave me a comment and let me know what are your favorite indulgences.

xo Kat

How I Outline My Novel

There are a few different effective and straightforward methods to outline a novel, however, I do it in my own way. Recently I’ve seen some questions pop up about outlining novels so I thought I’d break down the way I do it since it seems simpler to me, and in another post, I will discuss the other methods thoroughly.

I think my way of doing it is very close to the snowflake method but as you learn more about it, you’ll see that I don’t stick to it fully. I just want to let you know that even though there are actual methods and names for them, there is no wrong way you can do this. Whatever works for you will be best for you. As writers of fiction, things are almost always jumbled and coming to us rapidly and out of nowhere so we tend to note this down all over. From notepads, to phones, to different apps and software. You name it, we’ve written on it.

So without further ado, let’s get into it….

STEP 1

I would call this your idea phase. You know that moment when an idea hits you but it’s only a sentence long? This is just step one. Fun fact about Kat: I used to begin writing with just that first idea and it was horrible. I found myself being stuck more than usual. This is where you’re going to brainstorm. Write down all of the ideas, thoughts, characters, names, whatever contribution you have to bring to this novel, just write them down. It doesn’t have to be in specific order. It doesn’t even have to make sense at this point.

STEP 2

Now that you have all of your ideas down it’s time to really think about the main plot of your story. An idea can go anywhere whether it’s romance, suspense, thriller or a mixture of genres. Try writing a summary of what you’d like your story to be about.

STEP 3

Create character profiles. I’ll briefly explain here how I do this as I plan to create an entire post to help with character profiling. This takes some work, some critical thinking. Not only are you going to name your characters, you’re going to create a description of their physical attributes as well as what they do and what they stand for. For example, if your character’s name is Sophia and Sophia has long blonde hair, green eyes etc etc Then you’ll need to add to Sophia before you start writing. What does Sophia do? How does Sophia think or react? Does Sophia have a shy persona or is she outgoing? What are her likes, dislikes, boundaries.

STEP 4

I’d recommend naming and explaining as much characters as you can at this point. The main ones, their family members(if they have a part in the story). While writing you’ll most likely add characters or omit characters. Have no fear, these changes are doable and nothing is set in stone. Having a base of characters gives you ammo to write with so along with your main plot and setting, you can write something without having to stop every few paragraphs.

STEP 5

I should have mentioned setting earlier but here’s why I left it out until now. During your summary stage, you would have most likely mentioned the location or setting in which your book takes place. Let’s call stage five, research. Whatever you want to put into your novel and you feel like you need to know more about it, get on google and research the heck out of it. Look for pictures of places, houses etc You can save them for later use, or you can just makes notes as your description comes to life in your head. Another thing you want to research is jobs functions, weather of a particular location etc. Anything that you feel you need help with in creating a better summary.

STEP 6

Summary number two! So now that you have all of this information, write a complete summary with the added details of your characters and settings.

STEP 7

What you’ll do from here is expand your summary. Don’t get rid of any of your earlier work by the way. Expand your current summary. Add your sub plots or scenes as I call them. Any specific quote or line you need to place somewhere, add it all in. You can redo this as much as you need to in order to create your desired outline.

STEP 8

When you feel like everything makes sense, start writing. Having this guide will help you to write on days that you’re uninspired or lost because you’ll know what’s going to take place. Even if you get stuck take a time out and then get back into it. Remember this is only the first draft and another fun fact: My first drafts are often horrible and written very poorly with a few brilliant things in between. Patience is virtue when it comes to writing. Take your time, try to finish that first draft even if you’re not completely satisfied. Anything can be corrected, omitted and modified later on.

I hope this made any sense at all and I hope it helps you in your writing process. Good luck!

xo Kat

 

Freelancing Failures and Future Projects

Approximately seven years ago, I started a freelancing company focusing on computer repairs and networking systems. I even dabbled with a little web design but it never took off the ground. I am skeptical about going back into freelancing, having to market myself, reach out to people that don’t want to be reached out to. Nothing comes easy as we all know and I am prepared for the negative as well as the positive. This time around I’m going to extend my book writing into freelance writing services which I’ll cover more in another post. Here are some of the reasons why my freelance business didn’t work in the past.

No Respect as a Professional

Because I started out very young, and somewhat inexperienced, I was at a deep disadvantage. Most of the time you try to network with family and peers before strangers, and those close to me just couldn’t take me seriously as a professional techie or an entrepreneur.

Working for Free

People who know you tend to not want to pay you for your skill set. Even with a registered business, you’re still expected to do favors. It’s tough when you’ve put out the capital to start your business and struggle to make profits.

No confidence

At the time, I thought I marketed my business averagely. I gave out business cards, printed flyers, did social media and the traditional word of mouth. I still lacked the confidence to approach strangers and make a sound point why I would be a suitable candidate for hire.

Lack of Persistence 

Although you fail and fail, and you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, in this line of work, you must possess persistence. It’s a risk, it’s a gamble and you must be on your best game at all times. Around the time things were going sour, I also migrated to another country so that was a major factor.

Death of Passion

Freelancing isn’t like landing a 9 to 5 job. Most people freelance because it’s what they prefer to do in order to utilize and enhance their skill set. If your heart isn’t in it or your skills are lacking, it really wouldn’t take off the way you want it too.

If you have freelanced in the past or doing it currently, drop me a line in the comments to let me know about your experiences. 

xo Kat

The Secret Life of A Writer

As a self-published author, and someone who’s starting with no strings in the business, I lead a double life. Until date I have hidden my writing projects and determination to be the best writer I can be from the majority of people I know, family members and peers.

My reasons for writing anonymously doesn’t have anything to do with insecurity or fear of rejection. As writers, it’s a benefit to yourself and your craft to actually get negative feedback. It helps you learn, it helps you improve.

My secret author life is not so secret anymore though. I’ve met some awesome and supportive people online who are basically in the same boat as I am. It’s been great to connect with my tribe you know, but there is still that darkness that haunts me when someone asks me what I do.

As it is, I don’t get paid for writing books, something I hope to change soon. My previous self-published projects only garnered a few dollars over the past year. For this reason only, I bite my tongue when I’m about to say to someone, “I’m a writer.”

I feel like hardworking, unpublished writers like myself aren’t taken very seriously until we land a publishing deal. So it’s not something I broadcast to each and everyone. Here are some of the reasons why I live this secret life:

Why are you so busy?

Having two kids, running errands, making sure everything is organized and writing makes me a busy gal. I don’t socialize much(not by choice, I just don’t know anyone) and I am home ninety-five percent of my life. People often have the impression that I sit down and watch TV all day while my kids are on tablets. This isn’t the case but I don’t say different. It’s hard to tell people I write most of the night, when I wake up in the morning my book is on my mind and I can’t wait to get to it. It’s hard to tell people I’m always writing down ideas or even parts of my book in a notebook or on my phone, whatever is available to me while I use the bathroom, in between cooking, in between homeschooling my kids.(My oldest attends school, we just do academic activities during school breaks).

People just don’t understand your drive, your thirst for writing. They don’t understand that sometimes you do it because it’s natural to you, it’s how you live, it’s what you love.

Oh, you’re a writer…what do you write?

uhhhh romance….uhhhh with sexy times. It’s hard to belt that one out. The look on the person’s face just screams, “Stay at home mom writing her teenage fantasies.” And then you’re back to being laughed at or not taken seriously. People expect you to be a JK Rowling or George Martin in one go. I promise you I don’t only write romance. It’s just what I’m comfortable with writing right now.

You’re still writing that book? 60,000 words isn’t much!

People who don’t write or even read for that matter don’t understand how much work, effort and time needs to be put in for a proper manuscript. Writing the first draft is the smallest task actually. These things take time especially when you have to give up sleep or something else to find that time to write. It isn’t easy and if you do it or have done it, give yourself a big ole’ pat on the back.

Wow you actually know what you’re talking about!

Okay so I got this one concerning my blog. I have to say I was taken aback. When you tell people you blog or write, they assume because they know you personally, you don’t know how to write professional and profess shock when they read something of yours. Did you not think I was smart enough? Or capable enough?

It’s all of the above really. I like writing anonymously, I like writing for readers, or critics even but I don’t write to attract negativity from the wrong sources. This my friends is why I lead a double life!

xo Kat

 

Mistakes I Made As a Writer

Since I have started working on book length stories, my knowledge and experience of the writing process has broadened significantly. When I started out with writing books, my basic process was to just start writing with one small idea I had at the time with barely any concept. I just had an idea, basic knowledge of my characters and I started to write. I found myself being stuck a lot along the way, that thing they called writer’s block. It would frustrate me to no end as to why I can’t just write my story and finish it despite having an idea of what I wanted to convey.

I took a break for a couple of months from working on a book, and I utilized that time to really study my craft and work on myself as a writer. Here are some of the mistakes that I made when I first decided to pursue writing books.

No Outlining

To be honest, I didn’t even know about outlining as a strategic way of writing a book. I had a notebook and I wrote down ideas and pieces of my story and I basically tried not to over do it, thinking that it was very incompetent of me to outline an entire book. I was both surprised and excited when I heard of well established authors doing this. Bear with me here, I was a total noob to this entire writing books thing. Previously, I had only done poetry and short stories for self fulfillment that I never let anyone else read.

Not outlining my story was a bad approach for me, and since then I have found it to help me write on days that I am not even inspired. When you have your lay out, you at least know what you want to say even if it’s first draft material.

Lack of Patience

When I first heard of self publishing, I was elated. I still believe that I am a novice writer, and I don’t think I have the confidence to pitch my book to any agent or publishing house so I felt like maybe this self-publishing route was a good one for me. As it was, I read a lot of great self-published books on Kindle, some of which are my favorite reads til date.

So I mustered the courage to actually begin writing the story in my head. Writing takes time, it’s a long process to have a completed manuscript, one that you’re satisfied with. Again, I saw prolific writers on Kindle just releasing book after book and often self-doubted myself as a writer. We all do at some point but I had days when I just felt like maybe I’m pursuing the wrong thing and that really affected me because the only thing I can say with confidence that I know how to do is write. Writing for me is living.

Underdeveloped characters

In my head my characters are well thought out. I am constantly always thinking of my stories and characters and it builds itself as time goes by. I do write down a lot of what I’ve come up with but when I read over my written work, I realize I need to personalize and give my characters more depth. If I didn’t learn how to do this, they would all sound the same. So it’s a matter of being one writer with many different stories to tell, and you have to fit yourself into many different hats/shoes. You need to spend more time with your characters, understanding their lives, their stories, their likes or dislikes, their jobs etc.

Rushed Content

This might come into play with my other points. Like I was saying previously, lack of patience invites rushed writing. In the desperation to have a finished book, my story and characters weren’t fleshed out enough. I felt like it was more a description of things, people and places, than a connection as a reader of my own work.

Too Much Telling, Not Enough Showing

This is a little tricky. Why do I say that? Because I’ve seen established authors do it. I’ve learned to correct my own essays in elementary school so when I read, I come across things that I feel should’ve been edited in a different fashion. It really interrupts the story for me but it is a learning curve. The best way to write, is to first be a reader.

It’s important to convey your characters thoughts and feelings not so directly to your readers. Readers are smart people, let’s not underestimate them. They can get bored and fall out of love with your writing before you can even blink. As an example, let’s talk about anger. Throughout the book, you wouldn’t want to repeat yourself like a broken record saying, “This person is angry” or “This person is furious.” A more comfortable way in writing the same feeling over and over is to describe what’s going on with your character. For instance, “She grips the edge of her seat until her knuckles go white.” Pardon my generic sentences, I couldn’t come up with anything else at this point.

A Thousand Rewrites

Frankly, I still do this and this is why I stress on outlining at least your basic idea before writing. Read over your outline and makes changes before you begin to write. Make sure you’re satisfied with what you have for a first draft. Anything else can be modified, fixed, added, chopped in your second revision.

Self-doubt

Even the best writers have self-doubt. I still doubt myself, and feel like I will be the laughing stock of the nation if someone actually reads what I’ve written. Previously I mentioned that I never showed my work to another human. Writing is me, I am writing. It’s how I truly feel. I want to be an author so badly, that I can taste it. If I give up writing, it would be like giving up a huge fraction of what makes me, me. Even though you self-doubt, there are avenues to make you feel better and comfortable as a writer. If you want it bad enough, don’t let anything stop you.

These are the main things that affected me as a novice writer. I’ve seen people ask questions relating to all of these so I thought I’d put together a post to share my experiences with writing. 

xo Kat

 

 

 

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier|Book Review

*4 stars on Goodreads*

The story begins with Philip, an orphan who was raised by his older cousin, Ambrose. Philip was brought up in a household with no women, so it was odd to him that his cousin Ambrose had gotten married while he was in Italy. They exchanged letters back and forth detailing their days and feelings. Philip began to harbor jealousy in his heart towards, Rachel(also his cousin, who has married Ambrose) since he never had to share Ambrose’s affection before. He loathed the day when Ambrose would bring Rachel home and had a plan set to basically treat her like trash. This absurdity was only heightened as Ambrose’s letters came less frequent.

Philip then decides to go to Italy when he receives an alarming letter from Ambrose but not detailed enough that he knew exactly what was transpiring. He knew Ambrose’s health had declined and was shocked to learn of Ambrose’s sudden death upon his arrival to Italy. His cousin Rachel had already disappeared from the villa where she and Ambrose lived, and Philip was directed to Rachel’s trusted advisor, Ranaildi, the man who handled all of her affairs.

Philip instantly dislikes Rainaldi and goes back home, plotting to do for Rachel should he ever see her. When she finally arrives at his house, he is deeply ashamed, and also surprised by her feeble demeanor. Surely she couldn’t be the villain he had painted her out to be.

As the story progresses, Philips shows himself as a spoiled brat who has become obsessed with Rachel. He enjoys her company so much that he basically demands that she stay with him for a longer time before she moves on to another place. He busies her with decorating the house, and building things around it. His godfather who handles the estate until Philip reaches of age raises concern over how indulgent and insistent he is on gifting Rachel expensive things and allowing her financial freedom to do whatever she wishes.

As per usual I have to cut my synopsis of this book as not to give spoilers. A great, engaging read about deeply flawed characters who you may have a love/hate relationship with. The author’s language was nothing less than marvelous. And I cannot wait to see the movie!

Happy reading!

xo Kat

How I Read for Cheap

Heya Bookish People! Are you ready for the summer sun? I’m not.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. These are all my opinions and whatever books/apps/devices are mentioned, I have purchased. 

If you’re an avid reader, buying books can get a little pricey. It adds up if you’re purchasing each book on average of ten dollars, and hardcovers for way more than that. Some people do love to collect pretty and limited editions of their favorite books and there is nothing wrong with that. But I am a reader for the story. It matters not to me the way it is delivered whether I’m using an actual book or e-reader.

I have a post up which I will link why I prefer using an e-reader. That’s just my preference. And the cost factor and limited shelf space has a lot to do with it.

Let’s get right into the tips I have for lowering your cost of reading.

E-reader

I would say this is the most basic way to cut a few dollars off of your books by using apps such as Kindle, iBooks etc. These apps are all available for your devices for free so there’s no cost to download it and you don’t have to go out and purchase an actual Kindle or iPad. You can do it right there on your phone.

Libraries

I love libraries and recently so many have been closing down which makes me sad but I think it’s a brilliant way to save on books. Not every book I read, I feel the need to purchase a copy of it so this is also a good way not to waste money. Just borrow them, for free. If you don’t like it, just return it.

Thrift-store

Recently I went down to Goodwill to donate some of my children’s books, the ones we have double copies of and they have a really nice shelf with books ranging from 99cents to $3 which I think is a steal. I came home with nine books for less than ten dollars and they were in good condition. Some of them were hard cover, some were in mint condition. Find some thrift stores close by and check them out.

Bookbub.com

I have been using this site for several years now and I’ve accumulated so many free books on Kindle. I don’t know when I’ll ever get the chance to read them all. Basically, all you do is sign up with your e-mail and every day you’ll get an e-mail notifying you of book promotions. Some books you can download for free for Kindle or iBooks and some books have a major price cut. Every day for the last three or four years, I have been opening emails from bookbub.com and it’s been really awesome. I have an abundance of books so I don’t always need to go out and buy a book unless I feel a strong urge to. And also with bookbub, you can select the genres of books that you would like sent to you.

Bookdepository.com

I haven’t ordered anything yet from bookdepository.com but I recently came across it and they do free shipping worldwide so it’s not exclusive to the US/UK. And also, most of their prices are marked down from it’s original selling price so that’s a plus.

ebay

Ebay has many preowned books for sale at marked down prices and sometimes you can score big when looking for an entire series or several books by a particular author.

I hope you all liked this. I do appreciate reading for cheap and if you have any more tips be sure to leave me a comment. I’d love to hear it. 

Happy Summer everyone. Enjoy your weekend!

xo Kat

Liebster Award Nomination

liebster

I have been nominated by Diary of A Bookfiend for the Liebster Award. I am always thankful and happy to interact with other bloggers like myself. Check out her page by clicking on her name (It’s linked above.)

What is the Liebster Awards?

Here is an excerpt from Diary of A Bookfiend’s blog:

“Liebster” is a German word meaning beloved, dearest, sweetheart, or darling.

For bloggers, the Liebster Award is an online recognition given by other bloggers to new bloggers for enjoying or appreciating their work. It highlights up and coming blogs.

Once nominated, a blogger is asked to answer 11 questions provided by the nominating blogger. They are then expected to nominate 11 other favorite new bloggers and come up with a list of 11 new questions for those nominees.

Here are the rules:
  1. Acknowledge the blog who nominated you and display the award.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger gives you.
  3. Nominate 11 blogs.
  4. Notify those blogs of the nomination.
  5. Give them 11 questions to answer.

1. What inspired you to start blogging?

Loneliness and wanting to help someone. I don’t have any friends and a few years ago I was really depressed and wanted to share my views on different things in the hopes that it would entertain or help someone.

2. Other than blogging, what are your passions in life? (name the top 1).

Writing. It truly makes me happy.

3. Suppose you won a huge windfall that would surely last the rest of your life, what would you do with the money?

Pay my bills! Then I’d take a vacation to see family overseas, and invest the majority of it.

4. What is your favorite place to read?

In peace. LOL! In bed, at night.

5. Give me your tips to stay awake and keep reading at night when you’re awfully sleepy.

If the book is really good, I feel an adrenaline rush.

6. Which of the following do you see yourself fit as a reader – having multiple books going at the same time or single-mindedly focusing on one book?

I prefer to read one at a time but sometimes I read on kindle and I’d still pick up a book so it ends up as reading multiple books.

7. How would you describe yourself in a few words?

Tired, driven, hopeless, realist, dreamer

8. Are you athletic or good at sports? (because I’m NOT; I’m curious!)

That’s a no hehehe but I do love badminton and tennis.

9. What is your go-to method to vent your stress?

Blogging or working on my book. I also clean like I’m a totally tidy person.

10. Tell us the name of the city (or place) you have never visited but desperately want to.

Anywhere in Italy or Greece.

11. Give me one thing that is on your bucket list (or thing you really want to do in your lifetime).

Walk in to a store and see my book on a shelf.

I had a lot of fun doing this tag. So thank you again Diary of A Bookfiend for tagging me in this one. Here are my eleven questions:

  1. What is your blog about?
  2. How often do you blog?
  3. What are you currently reading and what is it about?
  4. What are you plans for the summer?
  5. Do you have kids or pets?
  6. Give one thing you love about yourself, and one thing you think needs improvement.
  7. What are you passionate about?
  8. E-reader or actual books? Or Both?
  9. What is your favorite season?(Mine is Fall)
  10. What is your favorite holiday/occasion? (Mine is Halloween?)
  11. What is book you enjoyed as a movie or TV Show?

Here’s who I nominate if you haven’t already done and want to 🙂

My Heart On A Platter

D.E. Haggerty

Bookworms Confessions

Lyndsey’s Awesome Horror Blog

Anything But Books Tag

I was tagged by the awesome Diary of A Bookfiend to do this tag eons go. I apologize for slowly getting to it. Let’s go…

  1. Name a cartoon that you love.

Hmm…I’m not a cartoon lover per se, even if it’s always on in the background of my life. I used to really love Samurai X back in the day.

2. What is your favorite song right now?

I have not really listened to music post 2006. My music tastes are bipolar, and old. Currently I listen to a lot of instrumental music for writing and somehow Vikings(tv show) soundtrack has made it onto my writing playlist 🙂 Here is the theme song…

Vikings Theme Song

 

3.What could you do for hours that isn’t reading?

Sleep? Wishful thinking with my kids. I am always plotting my novels in my head, and writing where I can. I wish I could be afforded a solid couple of hours to get some work done daily.

4. What is something that you love to do that your followers would be surprised by?

I’m actually going to do an entire post about this. I collect words. I have a notebook where I right down cool looking words for future use.

5. What is your favorite unnecessarily specific thing to learn about?

Stuff…and things. I’m can search some really random things in the middle of the night. I love learning about different cultures and their history.

6. What is something unusual that you know how to do?

I can’t think of anything to be honest.

7. Name something you made in the last year and show us if you can.

Well since I’m a writer, I write. Here’s the link to one of my short stories on my blog.

my short story

8. What is your most recent personal project?

I am working on a book, as usual and I am in the middle of upgrading my kids’ room.

9. Tell us something that you think about often?

The future. It’s so uncertain and I’m not near the place that I want to be so it’s definitely something I stress about.

10. Give us something that is your favorite?

Color: black, green

Beverage: coffee

TV Shows: The Walking Dead, Vikings, Game of Thrones, Supernatural

11. Says the first thing that pops into your mind

Heat…because it’s humid as heck today.

 

I tag anyone and everyone to do this tag. I love to do tags and it’s a great filler for blog posts 🙂

xo Kat