Thursday, February 21, 2019

How The Artist's Way Broke My Writer's Block

I'm writing a blog post, in the middle of a very busy day and week, to share my excitement.

I have just completed a first draft on a novel after a very difficult three years where I only wrote one fantasy novel and one woman's fiction / romance and struggled with multiple writing blocks and major burnout, going over a year without writing anything new.

It all started when I began reading The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. Her book is addressed to blocked creatives. It's an encouragement, motivator, and a bit of a workbook all rolled in one. It is a bit of religious book, but not in a pushy way, so even those who don't believe in God can benefit from it.

I haven't finished the book yet. It's not that easy to read for me. When I read a self-help book, I strongly dislike long lists of exercises to do at the end of each chapter. They distract me and weight me down. That's why when I first starting reading the book, I had mixed feelings - quite strong ones actually. I loved the way she worked on dispelling some myths that creatives have. But then she wanted us to write "the morning pages." She said we should write three pages of our thoughts or whatever comes to mind, every morning. I was so angry with her, but she insisted it would unblock us. I thought, "How on earth would I find time to do this? I battle to find time to exercise and sleep enough as a single mom of three, running my own freelance business." But I was desperate so I read on. At first, I assumed we should write our writing projects in these three pages. I actually didn't fully understand that it was three page of journaling or free-writing our thoughts to get in touch with our creative side.

I'd already started off a book for Nano and had written about 10K. I'd reached a block in the book and couldn't seem to go on. But I was determined to try this and this book seemed the best bet. So, I found an old notebook in the house, took out my black Bic click pen and began to write. I did do a bit of journaling, but I mostly wrote my book. It was hard at first, but then it flowed. I did it the next day. And the next. I wrote three pages by hand for about three weeks without interruption. A day or two of life getting in the way interrupted it, but then I got back on and wrote.

The key here was setting. I made sure I was in a pleasant setting that was conducive to creativity. I went to my happy spot - on my bed in my room. I sometimes put on soft, instrumental music, or other times lit a candle. I was in a relaxed spot, away from my computer (which I now associate with work) and just having fun. The words would flow. She stressed that we should do it first thing in the morning before our logical / left brain kicked in too strong, and I did start with that. I think it was essential that I did, but then circumstances changed in my life and I needed to get going earlier in the morning, so that no longer worked. But I made sure that before I started my editing jobs for the day and went into editor mode, I did my morning pages.

So, yes, even though my morning pages aren't the same as Julia Cameron's ones, they have worked for me.

I have since read some more of her book and am enjoying it except for the excessive exercises in it, which only overwhelm and guilt me. But I'm deeply grateful for "the morning pages" which got me out of my three-year writer's block.

So, I've written the whole first draft of my woman's fiction / romance. I have a huge job ahead of me - transcribing the writing onto the computer. It's going to take me a couple of months to get the words down. I admit that it's not the fun part of this way of writing. And I still have to give the book a thorough edit and send it out to beta readers before I work toward publication. But hey, the first draft is down and I love the story. That's what counts, isn't it?

Here is the tentative blurb so you have an idea what it's about. Bear with me as I wrote out a whole blurb one day and I cannot find it anywhere. And the title is still under construction.

Flower Fields

Collette's designs and puts together the flowers for weddings. She's a successful entrepreneur, but her business has been floundering in the last few months. She's helping her friend Rachel, who is a wedding planner, to beautify the bride Debbie's wedding. Rachel's in a panic as a key celebrity bridesmaid - Andy - hasn't arrived and she begs Collette to take her place, seeing she looks uncannily similar to the actress. Reluctantly Collette poses as Andy in the bridal party. Because she looks so much like the actress, a long-lost cousin called Jonas strikes up a conversation with her. He confides in her when he drinks too much and she discovers he's the new florist in town - her competition. Has he been stealing all her clients? They hit it off though, but Jonas (who prefers to be called Jonah) starts to suspect the woman he's attracted to isn't his cousin after all. He's angry, but intrigued. He'd like to see her again, but Collette isn't looking for a relationship.

Her business troubles make Collette look deep inside at her own unrest. No matter how crazy it may seem, she knows she has to follow her heart and her dream and move to the country to farm flowers. She approaches Jonah to help her out and merges their two businesses. They are drawn to each other as they spend time together. But Collette's past hurts come back to haunt her and going back home brings them all to the surface. And Jonah soon discovers that things in her business aren't what they seem - something is going on that could sabotage them all.

Flower Fields is a book of unexpected love, dreams, family conflict, and ultimately redemption.



Thursday, February 14, 2019

Self-Love on Valentine's Day for Singles (Or Anyone Actually)

Happy Valentine's Day. I'd love to share an excerpt from one of my self-love books as a gift for you this day. Even if you're single, the day can embody love for you - self-love and friendship.

Oracle Card Made by K. Bosman (c)

Taken from my first book:

Falling in Love with Me - 30 Days of Self-Love


I’ve always felt that the cornerstone of a good relationship is respect. If someone doesn’t respect you, they don’t really love you, do they?

But what does it mean to respect yourself?

This is a really hard one, but it’s so important.

Firstly, do you criticize yourself constantly? What would it be like if you did that to your partner, friend, or your child? Would they feel loved? Would they want to be around you? Not at all. Remember that you’re the only person who is with yourself 24/7, 365 days a year, all the years of your life. You’d better learn to get on.

There is nothing wrong with becoming a better person and working on your faults, but negative self-talk can be debilitating. You have to learn to celebrate all that you are and all that you’ve come through. You’re an amazing human being. You’ve accomplished so much so far in your life, or multiple lifetimes (if you so believe). You’ve overcome immense challenges and stuck it out through many trials. You’ve loved and laughed and cried. You’ve grown as a person, matured through the years. The deepest part of your being is pure love. That’s because you belong to The Universe which is also pure love. You are one and the same. The very deepest well of existence is love.

Sure, you’ve messed up. We all have. Maybe you’ve done some terrible things that have really hurt yourself and others. You did those things because you felt separate from love. They were a cry for help. It’s time to forgive.

If self-respect is hard for you, write a list of five things you like about yourself.
Then write a list of five things you are crazy about yourself.



Thursday, January 10, 2019

Why I'm Back to Writing Sex Scenes

Ha!

Maybe the title of this blog post makes you cringe.

Or maybe it makes you go, "Yay, at last!"

I don't know, but I have to be honest: this is me.

The last few years, my life has changed radically. Not just with the divorce, but in my whole way of seeing things. I think the divorce played a big part in it, but also coming out of a religion that I was in my whole life.

I started deconstructing from this religion about five or six years ago. I can't say the exact date as it was a very gradual thing at first. Then it became quite a big thing when I left the church and became agnostic and questioned everything I believed in. But I felt too lonely without a relationship with The Divine. So, I decided to believe anyway and began to pray again. That felt right. And after my marital separation, I went back to the church, mostly for social support. I mean, church people are really kind and caring.

But I didn't belong fully anymore. I didn't believe half the things they preached. In fact, most of it made me cringe. But I went for the fellowship. Eventually, I couldn't hide my true self anymore and it came out several years later - end of last year. I could no longer teach Sunday School because my beliefs were too different and too questionable. I'd evolved too much.

Being an Evangelical Christian meant that sex outside of marriage is wrong. You just don't do it. And if you do, you feel guilty, ashamed, and have a lot of fixing up to do on the inside. And things like erotic romance are just no! Not allowed. I started writing erotic romance under the name Vicki Ballante before I'd left the church. I justified it by always presenting my characters as married when they had sex. It made me feel like I wasn't sinning. But the writing never felt right. It didn't come totally naturally; yet I wanted to write sex. In a previous blog post I blamed my ex for persuading me to do it, but I take that back. It was purely my decision. Yes, he prompted the thought, but I thought I could maybe become a best-selling author and that my sweet romance wasn't cutting it in publishing. That, of course, isn't the best way to do it. I don't disregard those who write purely for money and success, but that's not how I tick.

Writing for me runs MUCH deeper than that. It's in my blood. The flow heals me and feeds me. I have to write. It's like eating. It's like breathing.

Anyway, after a two-and-a-half-year writer's block, things are starting to happen. I managed to write one fantasy novel in the time and one romance - Cat Therapy, which is a sweet romance. I love sweet romance. I love reading it and writing it. I think that the feelings between the couple are so, so important and sweet romance puts a highlight on the progression of the emotional side. I love that.

But sometimes, I like the tease of the sex scene. I love to see how the couple come together and how their chemistry works.
Thank you to pexels.com for the free pic.

As far as writing it goes, it's just been happening. I haven't been planning to write sex scenes, but they've just been happening. The characters have called for it. The romance has needed it. And...it's also part of my healing. It's part of letting go the shame attached to sex from my previous belief system, and it's healing my hurt from my marriage and my divorce. I think part of the reason I struggled to write sex scenes properly as Vicki is because there were things wrong in my marriage and I didn't see it. Now, after healing and seeing things in a whole new light, I've got a dream. A dream about a man who will be tender and kind and just what I need. And I'm writing the hero I want. The man I'd love to make love to one day. And writing it is so cathartic. It's glorious. And it's showing me who I am.

I think that's what's so beautiful about the well-written sex scene - it can show us what a good partnership can look like. How a good and loving lover can be. And I think that's why erotic romance always upset me. And the shame from religion.

Being sex positive is a new thing for me. I've always felt these twinges that it's wrong to write sex and it's wrong to read it. But now, this gentle peace and this sparkling excitement is rising up in my soul as I begin to embrace the truth that we are sexual beings and as long as we make sexual decisions that respect ourselves and others, we aren't shameful and bad human beings. It's not easy to believe this and I still have a long way to go to be totally free, but I'm getting there. One step at a time.




Tuesday, December 18, 2018

It's Not Your Fault

I have a confession to make - I'm a bit addicted to podcasts. I listen to them when I'm cleaning, cooking, when I'm driving. I love hearing people drop pearls of wisdom into my lap. I love gleaning stuff from the experiences of others.

Today, I stumbled upon a podcast that said: It's Not Your Fault if Your Partner Has an Affair.


Although I knew the podcast was mostly geared toward those who were still in relationship, I thought I could get some good stuff out of this one. And I certainly did! Because those thoughts get to everyone who has been through the devastating pain of infidelity. I didn't entertain them long after the discovery, thankfully, but they did affect me, and there are still twinges that come out from time to time. Like today. When I have a small fight / disagreement with one of my kids, a little voice whispers in my ear - see, that's why your husband left you because you're selfish and over-sensitive. No one really wants to be with someone like that.

But then I got to thinking. When my kids do something that upsets me, I still love them. Fiercely. Love does not abandon or betray a person just because they didn't meet some supposed need or they upset you or you don't have a perfect relationship. No one has a perfect relationship.

I didn't only blame myself for the affair, but my ex spent quite a bit of time listing his disturbing bullet-point list of all the things I'd done wrong. Strange, before he'd met her, he'd never ever once mentioned a single one of those to me, nor had he ever said he was unhappy or wanted to go for counselling. So, I smell a rat here. It looks like he was deflecting the blame from himself. I'm not going to take that into my soul. I'm not going to hear all those soul-destroying words he threw at me.

Anyway, back to the truth that I want to relay to anyone who may need it:

1. No matter what's wrong with a relationship, having an affair is a moral choice and it's not the way to heal a relationship, nor even the right way to get out of a relationship if you want to leave. Yes, if the relationship is not going well, usually two people are responsible (not in a shaming way, but they could probably do with some pointers and counselling on how to improve the dynamic). Just because two people are responsible for maintaining a healthy relationship, does not mean having an affair is justified. Choosing to have an affair is a morally irresponsible and deeply violent and selfish act. There are so many other ways to deal with relationship problems.

2. Because the one who had an affair chose that way, the other partner in the relationship is NEVER to blame for the affair. They are hurting and should never, ever be blamed for it. That only makes the hurt much worse. It's like whipping a wounded dog. Never allow anyone to tell you that it's your fault. And don't go inward and try to find ways that you could have done things better, blaming yourself while you're at it - that's just a way of trying to control the situation because you're afraid of it happening again. (Nothing wrong with learning from the broken relationship though.) Common phrases like, "did you make him happy?" or "did you meet all his needs?" or "did you put your marriage first" are all painfully damaging and destructive. I've had those thoughts. I've even had some people ask me such things. Yes, I wasn't perfect. No one is. But that's not the point at all. Think of it this way: What if your partner was bedridden or paralysed due to illness and couldn't cook your food or give you sex, or meet whatever "needs" you have? Would it be okay to have an affair then? No! Unfortunately, some religious people also teach that our bodies don't belong to ourselves but our partners. What balderdash. This is very damaging stuff and can open people up to abuse in relationships. Your body is yours and yours alone.

Oracle Card made by Me - Copyright (c) K. Bosman
3. People who have strong self-esteem are more likely to heal quicker from the pain of infidelity. Those who believe that they are still worthy and lovable, despite what their partner or ex-partner did, are able to heal faster and better from the pain. I think I'm going to stick to the truth that I am enough. Yes, I'm enough. YOU ARE ENOUGH TOO! You have always been and will always be enough. Your worth can never be taken from you. By being human, you possess infinite worth and beauty. We all have flaws. That's what makes us human. No one is able to be the perfect partner or parent, all the time. We have a shadow self. But the beautiful thing is that shadow self is often our biggest teacher. In some religions, we are often told that those shadow parts of us make us shameful and horrible and displeasing to the divine. We are told to get rid of them. Thing is, we will never be able to get rid of them in this lifetime. We will always have things to work on, ways to improve, ways to become more loving. Yes, we do want to become more loving and more at peace. But, instead of seeing that shadow part of ourselves as icky and shameful and something to either suppress or to cut out, let's love ourselves despite that shadow-ness. Let's see that shadow as a gift to teach us many beautiful lessons. As soon as we start to love and accept ourselves as flawed, suddenly that feeling of having to be perfect all the time fades away. Instead we revel in our self-love and joy. Judgement drops its ugly barbs off our souls. And the less we judge ourselves, the more we can learn to love and no longer judge others. And the more loving we become. Kind of full circle, right?

(Thank you to Divorce Source Radio and David of closeconnections.ca - who shared the podcast.)






Monday, November 26, 2018

That Calm Inner Centre



The last few weeks have been pretty challenging for me in several areas, but mostly in the area of finances and health.

I have decided to not going into the gory details of what I went through - have since taken it off the blog. But here are the messages I've learned through the hard times:

Several messages kept popping up in different places - the message of being calm, of tapping into my calm, inner centre. You see, we all have this calmness deep inside of us. Our deep inner being is pure serenity. We just have all these external things that buffet us in this world - things around us to upset us, things going on in our bodies and emotional bodies. But those are all external things. The very core of us is always safe. And at peace.

I sometimes like to listen to NDEs (near-death experiences). I love hearing the messages / truths that the people learn from the other side. Everyone says that they feel the most incredible peace and love once they die. That's because our soul is pure love and pure peace.

We just need to tap into our higher self - our true soul. So, when the storm rages around us, we can choose to be calm. Yes, we may not feel totally calm because we are human and we get emotions. We get physical sensations. This world hurts and harms us sometimes. But we can be calmer, we can have an inner knowing that everything is going to be okay, that we are okay, and that we are growing through everything we go through.

The past few weeks I've chosen to look at the lack of editing jobs as a blessing instead of a bad thing. It's not easy for me. But I've been more relaxed, I've had time to write, and I've managed to write 11K words in my new novel / novella - not too sure how long it's going to be yet. I've learned to appreciate the little things in life.

So, my challenge for myself for 2019 is balance. I've allowed my need to work, work, work take me out of balance. I really needed this break as stressful as it was. I am working on balancing my diet and working on my fitness. I really need to get my health into gear. I've needed to work very hard the last few years to get my editing business up and running, but now it's time to bring my life back into balance. I've had my wake-up call.

But the biggest lesson I've learned the last few weeks is to sink into my inner being, that calmness I have inside me. To find peace in the midst of the storm. And to trust. To be guided by my intuition every step of the way. Not always easy, but always leading us back to peace.


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Free Book on Wattpad

Hi, I hope you are all well on this beautiful day!

So, I've taken one of my old romances I wrote years ago, which was contracted by Clean Reads, and I've changed things up a bit. I received some negative reviews on the book, specially with regards to my heroine. At the time they hurt, but they also got me thinking on how I can improve the book. So, I've fixed her up and made her a much nicer person. I've smoothed out the romance and just plain, old made the book better. It is a bit shorter though.

Anyway, I've decided to put it up as a free read on Wattpad for my readers to enjoy. The first chapter is now up!

Beautiful Hearts



Lisa is petrified, but can't resist saying yes to her boss, Dan Loriet, the handsome but fierce Editor in Chief at Prominence Magazine. He wants her to pose as his fiancee for a New Years' bash at his family's. In return, she may be able to get the promotion she's dreamed of. Turns out Dan's family is the family she's always dreamed of being a part of, and he's not so bad himself, when she gets to know him beneath the strict boss persona. But Lisa has a secret Dan mustn't discover and has several of her own inner demons to conquer. Dan has always been a player. Can he settle down with one woman, no matter how much she fascinates him? They just can't be a couple, no matter how beautiful their hearts are. There is too much pitched against them.
Find it here: https://www.wattpad.com/myworks/167455941-beautiful-hearts

Monday, October 8, 2018

Book Review - Come as You Are by Emily Nagoski

Today, I'm doing something different - I'm reviewing a non-fiction book I read, just because I loved the book so much. Not as a favour to the author or upon request, or in exchange for anything. I don't have the book cover art then, but I'll post a link to where you can buy it on Amazon.

Blurb:

An essential exploration of women’s sexuality that will radically transform your sex life into one filled with confidence and joy.

After all the books that have been written about sex, all the blogs and TV shows and radio Q&As, how can it be that we all still have so many questions? The frustrating reality is that we’ve been lied to — not deliberately, it’s no one’s fault, but still. We were told the wrong story.

Come as You Are reveals the true story behind female sexuality, uncovering the little-known science of what makes us tick and, more importantly, how and why. Sex educator Dr Emily Nagoski debunks the common sexual myths that are making women (and some men!) feel inadequate between the sheets.

Underlying almost all of the questions we still have about sex is the common worry: ‘Am I normal?’ This book answers with a resounding Yes! We are all different, but we are all normal — and once we learn this, we can create for ourselves better sex and more profound pleasure than we ever thought possible.



For all those science nerds out there, this book is definitely for you. I'm NOT a science nerd, so I did struggle in some parts to read this book, although she mostly wrote it in layman's language, but still, it made my brain boggle a bit. (Maybe that's easy, lol.)

Anyway, I truly feel that this book is an essential read for every woman out there (and also for their partners). It's for straight or gay women, although she mentioned that she hasn't done enough research to help transgender people.

There is so much out there in the media, which is largely accepted as true about women's sexuality, which is a far cry from scientific fact. Yes, the science is still evolving and growing, and they haven't discovered everything, but it's high time that people got wind of how we work as females.

I'm going to summarise what she covers, in brief, as I don't want this review to be a spoiler, but I do want people to get an idea of the powerful message she conveys:

1. We are all different down there physically and unless our body causes us discomfort or pain, we are normal and beautiful! (Porn stars are just that - porn stars, and oftentimes photo-shopped or changed.)

2. Physiological response is not the same as desire. Women need desire for true pleasure. Desire goes a lot deeper than just a physical thing.

2. Just like our physical parts are all arranged differently, so our way of functioning as a sexual being is unique. Not all women get aroused a certain way, orgasm the same way, and find the same things pleasurable. (Yes, I've written a post about this before and this book only confirmed my concerns about how women are portrayed sexually in media - 18+ movies, magazines, and some erotic fiction.) These images we have in our heads about how we should behave don't always measure up to our own realities, and when they don't, we start to believe that there is something deeply wrong with us. And that belief is the biggest downfall in our sexual pleasure.

3. Women are not the same as men. Yes, physiologically, we actually are fairly similar, if you look at the internal biology of our parts, but, as women, and some men, we are deeply affected by external matters when it comes to how ready and seamless we are in times of intimacy. We have brakes and they're all connected to our brains. And it's quite complex what causes those brakes. She goes into it in great detail and it is an enlightening read. Unfortunately, women are expected to act like men sexually and they are, once again, portrayed like that in magazines, movies, porn, etc. They are expected to be in the mood all the time, to have spontaneous desire (i.e. non-responsive desire) like men.

4. We don't actually have a sex drive. We have a sex desire. A drive is something that pushes us onto survival. We can survive as individuals without sex, but not as a species. That gives no excuse for sexual assault or the non-consensual stuff. NO ONE has any excuse to say that they need sex and that they had to have someone for their own needs to be met!

5. She goes into how to eliminate or work through the brakes that hold us back. Great advice. And a lot to chew on.

I don't know if I've conveyed her thoughts properly as I'm not very scientific, so I really think you should read it yourself, if you're interested.



Added thoughts on the book as copied from my Goodreads review:

Thank you so much, Emily. You have healed my broken heart!

This amazing scientific book (which did go over my head a little bit at times) showed me that I'm perfectly normal and wonderful just as I am. I understood myself for the first time. I'm not broken; I'm not "not enough". I just have sensitive brakes.

This book empowers women. There is so much in the media - magazines, TV, porn, romantic fiction, that gives false messages on women's sexuality. Everyone is buying into these lies (based on ignorance and thinking women are the same as men). It's making women believe they are messed up sexually, and making men less than loving and patient toward their partners. The book goes into almost every dynamic of issues (which are actually caused more by stress, low self-esteem and a misunderstanding of our brakes and accelerators than anything else) - you need to read it to understand.

I feel like Emily is a strong sister who has taken my hand and raised it up to the sky and shouted to the world that "She is enough".


Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Come-You-Are-surprising-transform-ebook/dp/B00V58R0ZE