I is for Identity (on fan fiction, being a lesbian, and lesfics)

Yesterday I went horse-back riding for the first time in 12 years. And it was amazing. Once upon a time, I was quite the horse-girl, been riding since I was seven, filled my walls with posters featuring horses, etc etc… I’m sure most people recognize the stereotype. And then I moved from home, grew up and just forgot about all of it. I want to find my way back, I really do. It’s a huge part of who I am.

It was the same with writing. The first time I announced I was going to become a writer was when I was five years old. I wasn’t able to write yet, couldn’t even spell my own name properly (Before you judge, my legal name has nine letters. Count all my middle names plus last name, my name has 9+8+4+4=25 letters, that’s a lot when you’re little.) I don’t know why I said I was going to be a writer, I just did. More on that here.

So I started writing. First, through pictures – my dad helped me with the words – then by hand, then on a computer. My childhood and teenage years were dominated by five main stories that I planned and stuck to.

However, between 19 and 23 I didn’t write anything, I even stopped writing poetry. I went to university and then started moving around a lot. I didn’t pick it up until I, by mistake, discovered fan fiction.

Fan fiction is the reason I’m an author today. Not just because it got me back to writing. It did that, but it did so much more than that too. Fan fiction made me interact with people. These people became my friends, some of which I’m still in touch with today. One of these people, whom I’ve sadly lost in touch with, gave me a couple of presents.

The presents were: Backwards to Oregon by Jae, Second Nature by Jae and Lady Knight by L J Baker. I started with Backwards to Oregon and my life was forever changed. This might sound strange to some. But I was a lonely little lesbian. Except for my wife – then girlfriend ya da ya da – we didn’t meet people “like us”. At University of Aberdeen all my friends were gay boys (don’t ask me how that happened XD ). Other lesbians? They didn’t exist and if they did, it was far away from us. Not that I have that many lesbian friends now, but I know that we’re out there. I know some online and I know that we exist. We’re real, you know? The online community of lesfic writers and readers has done wonders for my sense of self and identity. Maybe that makes me incredibly silly, but it’s still the truth. It makes me feel less alone. Less abnormal.

I feel sorry for the readers of my old fan fiction account, because it’s abandoned now even though I get the occasional likes and follows. It still exists and I’m proud of most of the stuff I wrote there. Mass Effect, Dragon age, Game of Thrones, Rizzoli and Isles, Portal etc… it’s fun to play with other people’s characters, it just is. It was great practice for me too, until I felt ready to play around with my own. In the beginning I wrote both but more and more, my own fiction took over. I don’t have time and energy for both.

(If anybody is curious about my fan fiction you can find that here, however please remember that my writing ability has gotten so much better since then.)

I realize more and more that I’m the same person I’ve always been. I have always loved horses, I still do today. I have always loved writing and telling stories, I still do today. Some things change, of course, but all in all, I’m still me. That will never change.

 

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H is for Home

It’s like coming home from a long trip, that’s what love is like. It’s like coming home.

– Piper Chapman, Orange is the New Black

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I’m not a big fan of the character Piper Chapman from the Netflix series Orange is the New Black. This is just my opinion of course, if you like her please don’t take offense, but she’s either the worst written character ever or the most well-written. Either way she comes off lacking in substance, she’s whimsical and has no sense of loyalty. But the quote above is the best quote I know for love. The type of love that isn’t new, that isn’t the passionate craze of the newly infatuated. The type of love that you have for someone you have known for a long time.

“Old” love. Companion love. True love. That type of love is definitely a feeling of coming home.

The wife came home yesterday. She’s been gone on a working trip as I’ve mentioned before. Without saying too much, she had been staying somewhere were she wasn’t allowed to use a phone. I hadn’t heard her voice for over 20 days. I was fine when she called me at the airport in Cape Town and still the moment I heard her voice, I burst into tears and all the feelings I had kept myself from feeling, came to the surface.

Meeting her after her 24 hours of flying was even better, and no tears then.

Home is truly where the heart is.

I’ve grown a lot this summer. I have overcome my fear of thunder. I have developed a new respect for heat and forest fires. I have, for hopefully the last time, woken up to the smell of smoke. I took up riding again. It hasn’t been a relaxing summer but I think I can go back to work in less than two weeks feeling accomplished.

Another H I can mention is horses. I’ve started planning my next novel (novel number five, can you believe it?), it’s a bit different than my other ones. It’s set in England, during the 1940s. On a horse farm. I’m trying to write an anti-hero, but we’ll see how that goes.

I’m going to post this and then start dinner. I hope everyone who reads this has had a nice summer too, hopefully without too much forest-fire/heatstroke drama. I don’t know about you, but I’m seriously looking forward for autumn and colder weather now.

 

 

G is for Good

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… or bad.

Yesterday I was lying in bed with my wife (that’s her hands and legs up there by the way). We were tired and silly and just talking and laughing. I can’t remember anymore how we got there but I decided to tell her about the most sensual part of a novel. I like stories that make me bleed. Stories that make me cry and ache. I just like feeling a lot. I like sadness. I don’t like vanilla stories were everything just falls into place.

Whenever I think of aching moments in stories, I often think about Radclyffe’s “Passion’s Bright Fury”. I love this book (And not just because I have a little crush on Saxon Sinclair). There is one specific scene that always destroys me.

This is the excerpt of that part (the scene is that Sax (the doctor) and Jude (the director) are going upstairs to the roof of the hospital before Sax’s shift starts. They talk a bit, make out a bit, and then the following happens) :

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F is for Freedom

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Before I get into this blog post I want to thank Lynn over at Lynn Lawler’s blog who has written a lovely review of Stargazing, my new novel. You can find the review here or here.

Thank you to everyone who has purchased a copy of “State of Emergency”, “Out of Hand” or “Stargazing” – please don’t hesitate to leave reviews on amazon or goodreads if you liked them. Leaving reviews is a simple way to give some love to your favorite author.

When I planned this blog post it was the day before my vacation started. As a teacher I get something of around six and a half weeks every summer. Of course, some days I do work on, planning and looking through new material but otherwise I’m free. I was looking forward to continue learning the piano, finishing ”A tale of Spiders and Canned Soup” (my next novel) without a couple of days. I wanted to go running and swimming etc. Instead I have re-organized at home, donated books and clothes. I have gone back and forth to my wife’s work, helping to prepare for her work trip to South Africa. She’s works in IT and she’s going down there to help with… something. She’s been doing insane hours and haven’t even had a day off during the weekend for a couple of weeks. This morning she left.

I’m such a silly woman. When I said bye to her at the airport, my tears came and I clung to her even if I know we’re going to see each other agian in just half a month. We just need each other so much, it’s a little bit crazy to still be this way after an entire decade.

I’m not into being alone so I’ve gone with my parents to their boat. I figured two weeks of fresh air, sea water, book reading and sun would do me good. I brought more books than clothes, plus my kindle. A book of soduko I want to work on. Also some horse magazines.

When I was a child I loved horses. I took every opportunity to go horseback riding or even just brush one or muck out. I wouldn’t say I’m good AT ALL. I just know basics like brushing, tacking, walking, trotting, cantering… I’ve done a little bit of jumping. That’s it. I realise now that I want to pick it up again. I want to be good. I would be happy if I could just do a bit of show jumping within the next twelve years, you know?

It’s a crazy dream so far. I have as a goal to just go riding at a local stable two times this summer and then wait and see how that felt. We kinda sorta hoping that I’ll get pregnant some time this year too and if that happens I’ll have to put the riding on hold for a couple of years. But I’m in it for the long haul, I don’t mind waiting. I like working towards goals even if it takes me years to meet them.

I still can’t believe I’m a published author, I have two books at home with ”my” name on it. Physical books. That I can touch. I can tell myself to sit down and write a book and it’s something I can do. Surely if I have the discipline to do that, I can learn to be a good rider?

Time to walk the dogs again, then I’m going to drink copious amounts of tea and try to get some writing done.

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E is for Exhausted

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I’m not really exhausted. Honestly. But part of me wants a vacation. I know this from last year – there comes a time in April where my brain stops functioning and I just can’t anymore. Can’t write. Can’t be active on Twitter or Instagram or Facebook (I’m trying honestly). Can’t read books. I guess it’s normal for teachers. Summer is coming, it’s been a long year of texts about body parts, countries and flowers. Lessons about punctuation (ever tried to teach someone where a sentence ends? It’s harder than it looks.) Lessons about 15+15 and 8-3-5, not to mention countless fights, drama among my girls, booboos and actual wounds and that time one my student got a “butterflycomb” (who sends a butterflycomb with their kid to school?) thrown into his eye. Don’t worry, he was fine even though we didn’t think so first. It’s been a year of angry (and not-so-angry) e-mails from parents. Of hugs. And pieces of art from my students that I want to spread all around me. Of meetings. Of tears from me when it’s just too much pressure to do this stupid, wonderful, lovely job.

My brain has shut down a little bit. It’s on hiatus. It’s just trying to survive until June when I finally can breathe again. Be myself again. Be a writer again.

Right now I just want to be alone. Do my job. Work on miniatures that don’t require brain-power the same way (current dollhouse pictured above). Maybe write a short story. Cook. Walk with my dogs. Cuddle with my wife.

That’s all there is left of me.

I’m sorry I can’t do better.

D is for Dragons

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Reaching blindly in front of me, stuck in a cave.

Ferling the shape of a head larger than my body and wings.

Are those fangs? Is that a crooked spine? Have I found a dinosaur?

Not a fossil. A skeleton.

When I reach between your ribs between four inflated lungs and squeeze the soft lump of a heart I found there, you roar.

I have found a sleeping dragon.

Your breath smells like ashes and your newly awake gaze – without coffee – is thunderous orange.

Angry.

Why did I wake you?

I squeak. Like a mouse. I didn’t mean to. I thought I had found a dinosaur. A real one.

You scoff. Shake your head and explain that if dragons are horses, dinos are donkeys and I’m lucky to have found you. One in a million.

My life by a thread I cannot climb, my heart a captive bird, my limbs trembling with fear.

Not brave. Pathetic.

Please don’t eat me! I’m ready to plead and beg. Ready to give the dragon anything. Riches. Beautiful virgin daughters from the village. A Samsung Galaxy S5. Anything.

You shake your head. Your black scales glistening in the dark.

Just leave me alone you imbecile. Worthless maggot. I just want to sleep and forget that the world is no longer mine. 

I bow my head, not daring to say anything else. I close my eyes staying bent forward, hot breath washing over me again and again. They taper off after thirty minutes and I dare to look up again.

You’re not there. Just a pile of bones. No volcano breath. No halloween-colored eyes.

Did I dream it?

My heart beat slows down to normal and I can breathe again. I laugh at myself and my mouth curls into a grin.

I was just spooked. It can’t have been that bad, right?

Let’s see if I can wake her again….


Author note: I just like dragons, okay?

Happy New Year


2017 was one of the best years of my life. It was the year I was hungover for the first time (the morning after my 28th birthday). The year I learned to blow bubbles with bubblegum. The year I signed with a publisher. The year I went to Universeum three times. The year I made so many new friends. It was a year of happiness. Of stability.

Welcome to 2018! Hopefully a year of action. Of being a more prolific writer even during working weeks. A year of no procrastination. A year where I’m hoping to bullet journal properly. A year where maybe I… learn to play the piano? I don’t know. But I love the feeling of January 1st!

We have a friend over and she’s dying to go and watch The Last Jedi again so that’s what we’re doing with today and later I’m going to do some writing as well.

Let’s look at last years goals:

Revise and self-publish “Out of Hand”.
Revise and send “Stargazing” to a publisher.
Try to update my blog once a month.
Not let my tumblr die. If I have one, I need to use it.
Finish The New Story, another contemporary romance.
Please, please, please finish Never break a leg before Christmas, (Come on, Kathy, this is getting ridiculous).
Start the sequel for State of Emergency.

How did I do?
I revised and published (not self-published!) “Out of Hand”. I’m almost done with “Stargazing” and I hope to send it to my publisher later in January, maybe the beginning of February. I didn’t update my blog once a month. My tumblr is not dead. Instead I’m actually using it quite a lot, so that’s good. I *haven’t* finished “The New Story”. I haven’t finished “Never Break a Leg Before Christmas”. I haven’t started a “State of Emergency” sequel.

How do I feel about this?
Perfectly okay. This has been one of my most stimulating but difficult years of my life. I want to write more during 2018, but I’m perfectly fine with my input during 2017.

Author goals for 2018:


*Finish and publish “Stargazing”.
*Finish and publish “The New Story”.
*Be braver and more active on Twitter, probably on Facebook too.
*Read more books. And not just the same books over and over.
*Read more books about writing.

I feel that these goals are attainable and I’m excited to start.

Happy January 1st everyone!

Adventures in Teaching First Graders

…or the story on how time flies when (a million things happen at once) you’re having fun.

Because I am having fun. Honestly. Even when it’s hard. Even though I’ve had to scale down in my personal life just to survive the wear and tear of this term. There just isn’t much brain power left when you’re part-time parent to 25 six-year-olds. To those who don’t know it I’m a primary school teacher in my second year of teaching.

I want to share the story of one chaotic afternoon from a few weeks ago. All kids’ names have been changed.

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Well here we are… (beware frustration)

And what have I done? To be honest it feels like nothing. On average I’m writing 300 words a week if even that. Updating my blog isn’t even on the radar. Even though I want to, I really want to. It’s May. Last time I updated my blog was January.

I looked at my goals for the year yesterday. Almost all of them are writing-related. And what am I doing? I’m either dealing with the stupid health issues or working. There isn’t much energy for else. And most of the time I don’t even feel guilty. I’m doing the best with what I’ve been given. And you know what? I have less than twenty working days until the summer. And during the summer I will collect myself, get my body to work again properly and have so much time to write. Before then all I can do is bide my time.

So I’ll probably not write anything here until the middle of June, but luckily it’s not far away. In the meantime I can start thinking about what I actually want to blog about.

Before I graduated, the idea of my blog was short stories. And it kind of works (except the mess that is “Never break a leg before christmas”, I know I haven’t finished it and honestly I will) except during school weeks when lesson plans take up a lot of my creativity and energy. Whatevers left I want to give to novels or novellas. So what can I blog about? What do people blog about? I don’t have that much writing experience, I mean, I do but not if you compare to other bloggers. Especially not this dreadful year. I have very little experience with self-publishing. What can I write about then? Teaching. I have experienced with violent kids, kids with dyslexia, kids with ADHD, unhelpful parents. I can talk about being rootless, of not living in a place more than four years all my life. I guess I can talk about boats. And nature. I can talk about stress and guilt. Of putting on music and dancing around to it. What else is there to me?

IMG_20170501_184516My mum gave me this light. It runs on cooking oil, how cool is that?