Just life, Writing journey

A Day of Celebrations: The RNA Joan Hessayon Awards

Yesterday should have been a day for digging out my make up, wearing the dress planned days before, to attend the RNA’s York Afternoon Tea and have hugs from my writing tribe after a year apart. We all should have been  sitting around a table full of delicious treats, clutching our wine and holding our breath for the announcement of the  Joan Hessayon Award winner. Our very own Emma Jackson was a nominee after her whirlwind of a year. She has published three books since the conference with the fourth ready before Christmas.  A Mistletoe Miracle was her debut. The nominees were:

RNA nominees

Instead, we were behind our computers and iPads in our own homes watching the proceedings online. Individual squares of nominee faces appeared on the screen with the introduction from the Chair Alison May. Everyone watched the delightful speech from last year’s winner Lorna Cook as she prepared to pass on the trophy. Katie Fforde announced the winner the shocked Melissa Oliver with her novel The Rebel Heiress and the Knight, Mills and Boon Historical.

celebrate-1786189_1920
Congratulations Melissa!

The claps and whoops Melissa deserved were lost in cyber space. Technology is great and has helped connect us all during the pandemic but nothing beats the atmosphere of celebrations when people are together in reality. The excited buzz filling the room adds to the occasion and spontaneous, unique memories are be formed by one off chats, unexpected meetings and the chance to find new friends. Hopefully, next year everyone will have a chance to congratulate Melissa Oliver in person so she gets the recognition she deserved this time and we can also celebrate the RNA 60th birthday as planned with great company and food like last year.

afternoon-tea-827395_1920

One of my dear friends in our writing group, Emma Wilson has signed up to Kate Nash’s agency so I hope we will have another good reason to celebrate if she is nominated for next year’s award with her wonderful heartfelt novel. Watch this space.

If you are looking for a spooky gripping read for the long chilly nights in the run up to Halloween grab Emma Jackson’s The Devil’s Bride. My review for it is here.

The Devil's Bride cover

More soon, stay safe and happy writing!

Love

just Kate

 

September is Dystonia Awareness month; I am taking part in the Dystonia Around the World challenge to raise funds and awareness for Dystonia UK. More info can be found here.

I'm taking part

#DystoniaAroundTheWorld Challenge, Dystonia Around the World Challenge, Short story, Writing journey

#DystoniaAroundTheWorld Celebrations and a Walk in the Woods

Not only have I completed 100 miles of writing enabling me to virtually visit my dream destination, The Cabinet of Curiosities, in Haworth, Yorkshire but I have leaped over the £100 mark in donations.

thank-you-2490552_1920

As promised for reaching my £100 target, I am sharing a piece of flash fiction before September when Dystonia Awareness Month begins. Thank you so much for all your support and donations. It is appreciated by myself and all those involved with the #DystoniaAroundTheWorld challenge.

forest-5317746_1920

A Walk in Bluebell Woods

Mary did not know why she stopped the car in the lay-by. She did not remember turning off the motorway. Perhaps it was the relief that the dreaded meeting had been cancelled, or maybe it was the tears running down her face that forced self-preservation to kick in, but it was the trail of bluebells snaking through the oak trees that made her get out of the car and follow the dancing flowers through the woodland.

Dappled green light shone through the canopy above her. She was not wearing the most appropriate footwear for the woodland as her high heels sank into the ground, but the blue path urged her forward. When was the last time she ventured into a wood?

Mary’s heart lurched as his disapproving face flooded her mind. He would not approve of such unfeminine activities as clambering over the fence or stumbling over the hidden roots in the deep foliage. She swore as she snagged her tights. The sting of the scratch bringing her back to reality as the rustling of the leaves in the soft breeze and the chattering birds calmed her thoughts.

The trees opened to reveal a bumbling stream, Mary sat on its bank while the motorway droned in background. As the sun warmed her face she imagined it as a roaring river or the buzz of a bee close by. She had always been told that she had a good imagination.

Suddenly an image of her mum’s smiling face flashed by; “Always my little Pollyanna,” she would say. Where did that go? Her positivity, the ability of always looking on the bright side and appreciating the little things; every day the greyness seeped in, dragging her down and strangling any glimpses of future happiness. A wall had slowly formed between herself and her colleagues leading her to watch the world in a haze.

Unable to resist she slipped off her tights and dipped her feet in the ice cool water. Making figure of eights she watched the ripples spread across the stream distorting the pebbles below. Her shoulders relaxed. She felt calm. She could feel the moment.

Mary looked at the ring of faded bruises around her ankle before rolling her sleeve up to reveal the fresh marks around her wrist. She had felt each one form as he crushed her against the wall, shouting her latest failures while his alcohol fumed spittle joined her tears. The list of her misdemeanours grew by the day, her body recording each of his disappointments.

Looking around her oasis, she didn’t want to leave or go home.

Home! The word conjured up fresh memories; warm dinners, being cocooned in love and surrounded by laughter. Touching her barely noticeable rounded stomach, she reached for her phone amazed at finding a signal. Her fingers glided over the keyboard remembering the number from years ago. Her heart thudded, and skipped a beat, as a familiar voice answered.

“Hi Mum, it’s me.”

woods-5069321_1920

Thanks again for supporting Dystonia UK.

Catch up soon when I have written more miles.

Stay safe!

Love

just Kate

If you would like to sponsor or follow my journey for the Dystonia Around The World challenge my page is here. Or follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

Uncategorized

A Writer’s Life: After Rejections A Magical Boost

Rejections are part of a writer’s journey. We have all heard about how hard it is to find an agent or publisher for the manuscript you have spent hours on and given part of your soul to write but I don’t think anyone quite prepares you for emotions you feel when one arrives in your inbox. This time last year, the idea I would have a complete manuscript to submit seemed unlikely. I had received positive feedback from my first 1:1s at the RNA conference, but my word count was lacking. With The End now reached and submissions to agents began the dreaded rejections have appeared in my inbox. I thought I was prepared after listening to agents and publishers talk about the criteria and slush pile, but I was amazed at how low you feel when you read the words it’s not for us. Thankfully, I have my tribe of writers to rely on to lift the mood and remember each rejection is a rite of passage in the transformation of becoming an author. As they stack up, it is proof I have finished my book and had the courage to send it off into the world. It is a sign of how far I have come from; in my local writing group I was scared to say my name, never mind share my work with others, and now I can chat about my characters and read aloud my flash fiction.* Rather than aspiring to be a writer, I am one. Next step up the ladder is the coveted title – author.

 

*I am still scared to speak to people I don’t know, but that is another work in progress.

 

My reward for finishing A Blend of Magic – a painting of The Enchanted Emporium by Jess Titcombe

 

Another way to battle the low after receiving a rejections is to highlight and collect the positives you have heard about your work. Stick them in a file,  a book or copy them on a trusty post-it note to remind yourself someone liked it or loved a character.  A comment I have nearby from my NWS reader:

Everything needed for a cracking good story is here in this full length draft.

Along with the positive feedback from my first beta reader, it gives me hope that with polish and changes it can become a novel readers can enjoy.

 

How do you deal with rejections? All tips are welcome.

Stay safe, keep writing and reading!

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

 

 

 

NanoWriMo, Writing journey

A Quick NaNoWriMo Update

This is a quick, very quick post; I should be focusing on increasing my word count because writing time is limited today but a quick update is needed. It is a week since I began to work with Megg and six days NaNoWriMo started and a miracle has happened — I am on target!

Day 5 words
I have words!

Some days have been harder than others. It seemed an impossible task on day three, after sleep won over my early morning writing routine and feeling ill but with the knowledge Megg was behind me words were written. How many of the those words will stay after editing? Not many but they have moved the story forward.

I predict today and tomorrow will be a struggle too with hospital visits and tests and I also fell into the trap of research this morning but with a site like the Tea of Life and writing about a tea obsessed witch who can blame me? Just don’t tell Megg

I need to stop procrastinating and write.

How is everyone else doing?

Happy writing!

Love

Kate Kenzie's Blog