The Dreaded Life of Being an Imposter!

My life has been a series of, “You can’t.” So, whilst I have thrust my chin out and made a statement about something I planned on doing with my life others have been there to either outright laugh in my face and/or smile sweetly at me in the way you do when you feel someone is slightly demented and you pity them immensely. Neither is kind to ones ego or positivity.

For me, these have been the things that have given me the dreaded feeling of Imposter Syndrome in my life, and of course becoming an author was no different at all.

I want you to think back over the aspirations you have told others and you’ve felt they have somehow made you feel as though it was too bigger goal for you to achieve. Here are mine:

I’m going to join the Air Force. 

They laughed. They being most of the people who knew me, because let’s face it my level of discipline aged seventeen was basically zero. They have a way of creating that part of you, though. Well, that and my parents sold my bed the day I walked through RAF Halton’s gates and absolutely refused to let me come home. It wasn’t until I’d been serving for four years that my ‘imposter syndrome’ finally vanished. How and why? I finally felt as though I was worthy of being there and added something. In truth, that had most likely been happening for a long time before then, I just didn’t feel it.

I want to work in VIP.

They laughed. Mostly because despite serving for quite some years before I chose this path to walk along for my career I had always been quite the non-conformist. My speciality in life has been to question and push boundaries as far as possible. This attitude does not smack of a person who works in VIP in the military. Don’t get me wrong, it took me the full stretch of my career to make it, but I still duped my way into the job I wanted. Did I feel like an imposter? The entire time. But, I loved it and it was a great way to end my career and it’s that time I look back fondly on. It would have been different had I ended up with a different family, but they all took me in their stride…I think!

I want to study law at degree level.

Actually, no-one laughed. Not to my face anyway, and I’m not sure behind my back either. Well, except my barrister friend who read my first essay and she wasn’t laughing to be mean, but she saw I wrote like a novelist rather than a budding legal mind! The only person who laughed at me for even attempting this  difficult challenge was myself. I took a two year sabbatical (which turned to three because it took a year to reset my brain afterward) from creative writing in order to achieve what I always wanted my entire life and never thought I would get…to wear a cap and gown and collect a scroll tied up with a cute ribbon. It was a lot of work for that one tiny moment of complete gratification. Even when I got my grade, with honours, I didn’t believe it. When I collected the scroll in the aforementioned outfit, wearing my prized unicorn shoes, which everyone stared at…the imposter syndrome vanished finally. It’s funny really, because in my professional division of the law, even when I really had no idea of what I was doing, I felt a strange confidence in my practices, so why simply proving I could do it on several pieces of paper terrified me so much, I’ll never know…

I’m going to be an author.

This is one that will never go away, I don’t think. I duped people on Facebook when I asked for their experiences of Imposter Syndrome by telling them I was going to explain how I overcome it in this blog post. I lied.

This is not to be mistaken as a complete lie, because I have overcome it lots of times, but it returns like that old cranky and nasty friend who tracks you down from time to time and then disappears again when you fail to gratify them with the lack of positivity that fuels them. You’d think after five published novels and at least another three on my hard drive, I’d believe, right? You are what you do, or have done, after all? People read your book, the figures are there and in some cases the reviews as well. Still, that sense of nagging doubt and crippling fear returns at the most inopportune times. Why? Because with each new title released, the fear you will finally be discovered as the imposter you are, returns.

When I picked up two publishing contracts, I felt I did get caught out because those two books did nothing. Nothing. I put that little niggle to bed when the publishing house closed and I self-published those titles and they did much better in terms of sales. The thing about this industry is you’re always learning and meeting new people, people who have the same stories to tell as I do. You pretty much have to push your small house published book as though you’re an indie to make it. Moral of the story? You may as well do it yourself.

These are mere examples of the times I’ve suffered with Imposter Syndrome. There have been many. Imposter Syndrome is proven to be something which afflicts perfectionists and people who feel they need to ‘achieve’ in order to be loved. Those are two traits I absolutely possess, to the point where people believe I’m much older than I am at times. Not because I’m fucking exhausted and look like a knackered old hag (both of which I often do.) But, so I’m informed, because I have crammed so much into my thirty-eight years of life. 

So, whilst I fully admit the Imposter Syndrome rears its ugly head, I have figured out a few strategies to help overcome them. This is a strategy which can be employed for any negative notions or anything that should be challenged within your mindset; take your thoughts to court. It is exactly what it says it is. For example:I am not a real author. When this book releases I will be figured out for the fraud I really am.

Imagine now, this statement I have made, this feeling of crippling self doubt is to be brought before a court and judgement would be made, either by a judge or even a jury of your peers. Your statement must be proved in the same way as any other act or statement would be in court. 

What is the evidence to support this claim? What is the counter evidence? 

It may be useful for the first few occasions to write down your evidence on a piece of paper. It may look something like this depending on your situation:

Supporting evidence (The reasons why you feel it’s true:)

I have very few reviews on my book.

I have never had a bestseller.

My sales are inconsistent.

I have to work another job and fit in writing around that.

I don’t make any money.

Counter Evidence (Evidence to the contrary of your feelings:)

I’m dedicated to writing.

I love writing.

I don’t sell as many books as I would like, but I still have readers.

X messaged me and told me how much they loved my book and why.

I got a great review.

I re-read a title from my backlist and surprised myself with how good it was.

I dedicated so many hours to writing the stories I wanted to read.

I believe in my work.

I have written and published x amount of books.

No matter what, the evidence, providing you have work out there is overwhelming. It would be a waste of time to have written the evidence list and not look into what is causing your doubts. If you do this and try to tackle where the issues lie, I promise you that upon each repeat of the exercise the list will get smaller. I mean, being on a bestseller list will likely remain on my ‘evidence list’ forever, but honestly…it’s hardly the be all and end all, is it?

Your review of your argument may look like this:

I have very few reviews on my book. (How have I tried to secure readers reviews? Have I asked readers on my newsletter/ Facebook fan page/ Instagram/ review pages I follow?) No? Reach out it’s worth a shot. In all honesty I find it so difficult to get reviews positive or negative to the point I had a work colleague approach me, grab hold of my arm and enthusiastically inform me she had read every book I wrote and absolutely adored each word I’d written. She gushed to the point of embarrassment (for me.) When I asked her if she left reviews, she admitted she hadn’t, but promised to. That was about a year ago…still waiting. 

I have never had a bestseller. (It’s not the end of the world. There are many authors who I love and respect that don’t possess this accolade…Maybe one day.) I’d like to add that one of the people who contacted me on Facebook to say she suffers with Imposter Syndrome is a bestselling author, so the feelings don’t go away then either. I recently read Write Naked by Jennifer Probst who explains how difficult post bestseller writing actually is on you. How much of a failure you feel if your next title doesn’t make in onto the NYT list. On reflection, I can absolutely see how that would be much more harmful than if you never had a bestseller in the first place! The book was fantastic if you’re into writing craft books, by the way.

My sales are inconsistent. (Look into my marketing strategy. What courses can I do that could help me achieve more sales at a consistent rate?) If you’re self-published, I urge you to surf through your genre. How does your book cover, blurb and landing page stand up against those at the top of your category. It’s outstanding the difference a few minor tweaks can make. Trust me, I turned a non-starter into my best selling title by making a few minor adjustments. 

I have to work another job and fit in writing around that. (There are bestselling authors out there who still have to work other jobs to make ends meet. Perhaps, if I was less of a snappy dresser, designer shoe and handbag lover I could survive on the income?) LOL. okay, maybe that’s too much of a stretch. But, remember only the top two percent of authors earn enough to live off what they make from writing and even then lots of that comes from other sources such as public speaking engagements. 

Okay, so all in all, I want to tell you something, if you actually got as far as to finish this blog post. If you wrote a book, bled onto that page, placed your heart and soul into the pages. Especially if you then continued to spill your guts and loved every moment of hammering the keys. You ARE a writer.

If you’re like me and put your hard earned money into your writing, whether that’s attending conferences, paying for editors…whatever, you catch my drift. Or, if, also like me, you worked hard submitting and submitting despite of the soul destroying rejection and carried on anyway until your work was in the public domain by whichever route. You ARE an author.

Another little secret…people will diss your book, this will happen. People will adore your book, also extremely likely to happen…

I highly doubt anyone will EVER call you out as an imposter…just sayin’.

While I’m here, allow me to show you this months Newsletter GIVEAWAY!

This month I’m giving away the entire Falling Series, a paranormal romance series penned by none-other than ME! Book 1, Falling to Pieces and book 2, Falling into You will be given away in e-book form whilst book 3, Falling from Grace will be a signed paperback!

Sign up HERE for your monthly chance to WIN!

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Thanks for reading! I’m really interested in other peoples experience with imposter syndrome, please get in touch by leaving a comment, messaging me on social media or by e-mail!

Chuck the Schedule…

Life is so very busy for the vast majority of us. I look at my completed schedule some weeks and honestly wonder exactly how I fitted everything in. Some weeks I look at an uncompleted schedule and wonder where things went so very wrong.

I have very high expectations of myself and place myself under enormous pressure to perform. Last week my daughter and I sat down to a Twilight movie marathon, I’ve watched these films plenty of times, so I brought my laptop along and worked on a novella I’m writing. 

Daughter: Mom, are you working?

 Me: No, I’m writing. I’m on leave from work today.

Daughter: *Eye roll* That IS working, Mom.

I’ve never treated my writing as a hobby, it is a job to me. Not just the writing, but being an author in general, there are aspects of it which are more laborious for me. Tasks that make it feel more like a job than a mere hobby. Of course, technically I don’t have to write. It doesn’t put food on my table or a roof over my head by any stretch of the imagination. Still, I place enormous pressure on myself to complete a weekly word count. My writing is a job, because even if I don’t want to do it, I still still down and tap the keys regardless. Thanks to Lily for reminding me of how much work I put into creating, whether that’s writing or narrating.

However, this is not the point of this blog. The message I’m here to give you is, sometimes you have to say ‘fuck it’ and throw the schedule out of the window. And a few weekends ago I did just that. I did something I used to really enjoy, but I simply haven’t made any time for since I flung myself back into this crazy world of creating fiction after a few years out of the game. I went fishing! Not just on one day, but Saturday and Sunday!

Fishing was first introduced to me almost four years ago when I met my partner, Nick. I went to watch one day and was oddly fascinated by the entire process, the sense of calm all around you and all of that thinking time you’re afforded by simply watching a float, hoping it will soon disappear beneath the waterline and you’ll have a freaking monster on the end.

Though, in my case, it’s usually something smaller than the stock of my small home aquarium! But, sometimes it’s not. You can have a good guess by how hard it tugs, but you’re not always right. It’s a surprise!

Now, I’m quite a girly, girl…skirts, heels, make-up and all that jazz. So, when I say I enjoy angling, I’m often met with great surprise. It was a shock to me as well, because before I began this journey the notion of touching a fish or a maggot would have actually made me vomit! It really is funny how you can change you own mind!

I digress. On the Saturday I went along with my partner to give it a go. I hadn’t been for such a long time I didn’t expect much success. I actually wasn’t even ready for my first catch, I dipped my line and felt that long missed tug before I even managed to ship the pole out into the lake. The ensuing few hours continued with a muchness. With my confidence fully restored I confidently put my name down for a match the following day.

Now, I loved pleasure fishing all of the times I went. Well, except for those days when I caught bugger all, which was often toward the end, hence the most likely reason for packing away my gear and exclaiming, “Fuck that shit! I ain’t sitting freezing my tits off for fuck all again.” But, a match always terrified me. Look, if I was a bloke I’d probably be okay with it, but I was a female living in a mans world for a very long time and I didn’t much enjoy that either. In fact I’d say it aggravated my non-conformist personality and brought it kicking and screaming to the forefront of my being. If you want to know what oppression looks like, try being a female in the military and you’ll experience being a second class citizen. You won’t enjoy it, and if you’re as strong willed as I am, you won’t accept it either. This is exactly why my career was over before it ever began. I wouldn’t change a thing. In my current career I rule by fear, sarcasm and the complete knowledge that I’m one of the best in my field. That way, people put up with my bullshit and general abruptness. So, I was terrified about how I’d be taken.

On the day, there was another women there which settled my nerves a little. She was lovely and chatty to me, too, which really helped. Also, while I was sat there I heard a conversation about how nice it was to see women fishing, though they emphasised how much they would hate their wives doing it because of the extra bait they’d have to buy, which made me laugh to myself.

Unfortunately, I pulled the worst peg EVER out of the bag! Peg 15 sits by a little bridge, meaning if your catch decides to fuck off underneath it, you’re essentially buggered! 

At one point I had one on, obviously a monster, which dragged me into the reeds and decided to spit my hook out and leave it in there. Could I free it? Could I hell as like. Luckily the owner come to my rescue…I had clearly loosened it by that point LOL!

It came to the weigh in. I had enjoyed the day so much, listening to my audio book, that I honestly wasn’t bothered about the result. I thought I had around 15lbs in my net and my partner weighed in at 17lb ish and I assured him I had caught less. My net were pulled and the fish were loaded into the weighing net, at which point my partners face paled somewhat and he turned to me and said, “I thought you hadn’t caught that much?”

It turns out I caught 22lbs ish! I was wholly ‘unsportswomanlike’ in my reaction, bouncing up the bank exclaiming, “Loser!” What? I couldn’t help it! 

Unfortunately, in a way this has made me not want to lose my winning streak. By winning streak I mean beating my partner because overall I came second to last. So, will I be partaking this Sunday? Probably not, but not because I don’t want to spoil my streak and more to do with the fact that it’s probably going to fucking piss it down…

I’m so very late this month in posting the blog that no-one ever reads, this means you’re very close to being the winner of my monthly newsletter giveaway! All you have to do is be a subscriber and check it out to see if you’ve won!

To win the prize, sign up here! The winner will be notified in the newsletter on Monday 31st August!

Have a great weekend! 🙂

A New Enemy!

 It’s been a bit of an odd month for me. Finally in the swing of writing my fantasy novella which is a spin off of The Falling series, I’m at least halfway though. Im still recording Falling to Pieces for audio, I have six chapters left! I was hoping to finish it this weekend, but I finally got my lockdown barnet sorted yesterday and Sunday was a bit of a washout in the being arsed department. Rest assured the work continues.

What I have really put my back into leaves me at utter risk of turning this blog into a diabetes blog. But, hey, it’s my blog and no bugger reads it anyway Lol. 

I have worked really hard on driving my blood sugars down and for the most part succeeded. I’ve seen my first, second, third and even fourth day of being one hundred per cent in range and trust me when I say it’s difficult to achieve because of all the things effected by blood sugar, my main failure is stress.

So, how did I get there? I put in a lot of research on how to combat post meal spikes for starters. Since starting with the libre freestyle I’ve noticed just how bad they really were. My initial research delivered the gloom of everything and told me that postprandial spikes contribute drastically to the onset of kidney disease and speed along retinopathy, eye problems mostly related to patients with diabetes. Sugar seriously fucks up your body, that’s what I already knew, but how the hell are you meant to stop it? The article is here, along with some ideal ranges and clues about how to achieve them: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/managing-diabetes/blood-glucose-management/manage-high-blood-glucose/

What I’m about to tell you seems so freaking obvious you’ll want to roll your eyes at me, I don’t blame you at all. In my defence, when I was diagnosed a dietician sat me down and told me unoquivically that I could eat whatever and whenever I want. I did not misunderstand the instructions by a healthcare professional and smiled when I read Adam Browns’ Bright Pots and Landmines, describing the exact same advice being given to him at the time of his diagnosis. Both Adam and I toddled off and carried on as normal, giving huge insulin doses and eating the very things we know raises our blood sugar in abundance, carbohydrates. 

The next thing I discovered, from the aforementioned book, from YouTube and other information rich resources is that…wait for this huge fucking bombshell I’m about to drop on you, you won’t believe it… If you limit your carbohydrate intake you also limit the rise of your blood sugars, thus causing more stability and reducing the post meal spikes. Duh! Again, I refuse to take the entire blame for not realising this sooner, because lots of us are advised not to avoid carbohydrates. I recall a Diabetic Specialist Nurse informing me, “Carbs are not the enemy, Lucy, they are what gives you energy.” Well, Mr fucking know it all, I’ll tell you what takes my energy, smacks me around the gob and assists me with doing nothing other than taking to my bed…high blood sugars caused by fucking carbs. I know they’ll be people out there screaming at me that I’ve been doing this wrong, you’re taking the fast acting insulin at the wrong time! I tried everything to get that right, even when the CGM told me, my blood sugars were falling quickly, I still suffered a spike regardless of the type of food. 

I quickly realised throughout my research there was only one way to go and that was to reduce my carb intake. For the most part I limit my carb intake to 30g of carbohydrates per meal. Until you really start to look and weigh your food you cannot fathom how much carbohydrates is in everything! 

Excuse the bags, it was an early morning stroll getting rid of high blood sugar!

Aren’t you really tired with having so few carbs? Let me tell you a little secret…if I have no carbs at all, I still have to take some insulin to cover the protein, this is done post meal and you have to work out when and how much is the right time for you. This is because protein produces glycogen in the blood stream too, meaning energy! I feel so much more energised it’s unbelievable. I have been working out on a daily basis, high impact workouts to raise blood sugars and walking to lower them. What’s more I’m really enjoying doing it, too. I feel so much better now I’m not suffering with elevated blood sugars on a thrice daily basis. That was energy zapping to say the least!

I have changed my entire families diet. Sometimes you would think I’m starving them to death and yet when each of them come to me happy they’ve lost some weight it serves as a reminder that fewer carbs is a good thing! Lots of salad and vegetables is the key to getting full, not pasta, potatoes, bread and rice!

This process has served a learning curb for me in the management of my diabetes. This won’t work out for everyone, of course, but it absolutely works for me! If you’re a diabetic suddenly discovering that your post-prandial spikes are effecting your life I urge you to at least give reducing your carbohydrate intake a go. Feel free to contact me if you want to discuss it.

As always, my newsletter subscribers are automatically entered to receive a monthly prize. Here’s this months! Go ahead and sign up here: http://bit.ly/ltkellynewsletter. You’ve got to be in it to win it!

Diabetes Week – The highs and lows.

Today marks the end of diabetes week, in the UK at least. I have been following #thebigpicture on Twitter and reading some inspirational post from those also living with the disease. Here’s my big picture.

The 9th October 2018 is a day I’ll never forget for the rest of my life. 

Only a few weeks before that date I attended an endocrinology appointment for a whole other issue, Reactive Hypoglycaemia. This condition is when your body sparks a chain reaction and releases too much insulin approximately four hours following a high carbohydrate meal (100 grams of carb or more.) Much like diabetes this condition has no known cause. My brother was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in his early twenties and I thought it was odd that I seemed to have something which appeared to be the exact opposite. That condition seemed to be very settled, though in a bid to avoid the GP surgery I informed the endo I’d lost a lot of weight with no known reason. 

He chastised me for not going to the GP, told me this would be nothing to do with his department and ordered bloods and a chest x-ray which told me he suspected cancer. He said he would order my results to be returned to my GP surgery and not to darken his doorstep until something changed. Oh, boy, little did he know…

In tune with my body and having watched my grandfather die of lung cancer, I knew in my heart that wasn’t the issue and looking back it should have been obvious. I was taking two glasses of water to bed and still craving more. Also, everything I put in seemed to put in came back out. I’d suffered huge weight loss, a constant tiredness with aching and stomach pain. Also, I was thirstier but I really didn’t notice it. 

A week later, I felt like hell on a stick so I called the GP in search of the test results only to be informed the results had been sent back to the endocrinologist. I called them next and explained. I got the usual, “We’ll have them call you back.” I decided I’d be waiting a while and left my desk. I returned ten minutes later to see five missed calls and a frantic voicemail from the endo. “Oh, shit.”

He could barely tell me the news I had diabetes and told me to go to the hospital right now. I totally crapped my pants and sobbed all the way there. It didn’t get any better when I got to the diabetes clinic to see two doctors and a nurse all lined up waiting for me. What happened over those few days was a whirlwind of information being slung at me like mud, with only a little sticking here and there. The endo said he’d never known anyone to go from having Reactive Hypoglycaemia to T1D. So, there, I’m a freaking medical mystery. 

I went home and cried and cried for days upon end. More people than I care to tell you actually said, “At least it’s not cancer.” I mean WTH? Who would say that to someone who was just diagnosed with an incredibly difficult and life-long chronic illness with so many possible combinations of complications attached? Because, oh yes, I was about to break out in celebration at any given moment!

I had trapped myself in a bubble and knew I had to deal with it. Hard shit, right? I have it, now get on with it…

What makes living with T1D harder is other people and what they think they know.

“Should you be eating that cake?” It’s safer for me to eat the cake than it is for YOU to be asking me if it’s safe for me to eat. Obviously, cake isn’t exactly good for anyone and eating cake, providing the correct dosage of insulin is taken, is no worse for a T1D than anyone else.

“You’ll have to massively change your lifestyle now, won’t you?” That’s more T2D, because lifestyle changes for the vast majority means they can possibly reverse the disease. It was sad when my GP sent me a leaflet telling me to exercise more, lose weight and cut carbs from my diet. Lose weight? I was already fast approaching being underweight and I believe the leaflet was geared for a T2D. My lifestyle changes amount to constantly chasing my tail and playing a blood glucose level game of chess, one which I still frequently lose. 

“You’re too old to have T1D.” This has been said many times. Most disappointingly by another T1D at a writers event who helpfully diagnosed me with type 1.5 diabetes or Latent Autoimmune Diabetes of Adulthood (LADA.) It was surprising to me just how quickly that lady became a qualified endocrinologist. I mean, it usually takes a lot longer than a few moments of history to come up with an accurate diagnosis, right? 

LADA is a condition which appears to straddle T1D and T2D. Initially it can usually be managed without insulin. It is also slower to progress than T1D i.e. months instead of weeks. To be clear my condition was rapid onset requiring the immediate treatment of insulin and with ketones present, in other words T1D. Though, it is most certainly true that the vast majority of patients are diagnosed before the age of twenty-five, there is still a small percentage who develop the condition later on in life.

“I bet it’s harder for you than it would have been if you got it as a child?” Hell no. I’m glad and thankful for the thirty-five years I had without it. 

“You don’t look like someone who should get diabetes.” Being overweight is nothing to do with T1D, no one is actually sure how it happens. Being overweight is also somewhat of a T2D myth, also. 

So, there we have it. If you find out someone close to you gets it try patting them on the shoulder and say something along the lines of, “This must be pretty crappy for you. I’m here if you need to off load.” I’m sure that would work much better! 

So, as a sort of diabetes week gift I got this nifty thing! It saves me from having to draw blood five to ten times a day! So, that’s always good. Just scan the sensor and you get a reading. It’s literally the best and worst thing that’s ever happened to me because now I know practically everything food does to me! Seriously though, I’m pretty sure the Libre Freestyle will be an absolute game changer. 

Excuse the poorly applied holding tape…LOL

In other news, this month’s lucky newsletter subscriber has the chance to win a signed paperback copy of Falling into You, this lovely bat bangle and a kindle copy of Falling to Pieces for those that haven’t read it yet! Sign up here: http://bit.ly/ltkellynewsletter

Also, I’m involved in a $100 Amazon gift card giveaway which you can enter here: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/bde4137412/?

Full-time Writing Dream?

If you’d asked me back in January what I would like to do more than anything else in the world, I’d have answered, “I’d like to write full time.” In a way, that’s still true, but it looks very different to how I would have initially imagined that would look. Here’s why…

I’m a paralegal, qualified to deal with matters within two laws that hold each others hands very well. I would never profess to have all the answers and most of those within the legal profession will hold their hands up to having to check from time to time. ‘Having to check’ is maybe a term I’m using incorrectly. It’s not necessarily that they’re unsure, but they look so they can go ahead and come across as real clever by quoting the law or a case on which they rely on to get their point across and appear even more clever. Bullshit often baffles brains and I admit to having considered making something up in a reply to a non-legally trained person (muggle) to see if they would challenge me or even check out my response. I’m brazen, but not that brazen. Also, I adore above nothing else being right. It’s human nature.

I have been a writer for a lot longer than I have been a paralegal and yet with writing there is no linear approach to it. Or, there can be in terms of plotting, but that makes life as dull as dish water and less creative if your character doesn’t go ahead and do something completely different to what you had planned for them. Or if your brain doesn’t produce that ‘ahh ha’ moment that will transform your manuscript from something great to something mesmerising. In short, as a writer you’re completely alone whilst you ‘gung ho’ that shit out of you and hope the readers like it. As a paralegal you don’t fucking care if they like your advice or response, you just hope they accept it and maybe say, “Thank you for your time, you clever little soul, you.” 

There is also a persona thing I have going on. At this point I think my paralegal persona is beginning to drift into my writer persona. Despondency is clearly setting in. Opinion is running rife on facebook as those seek to have their claims and opinions validated are posting away and many of my connections are other writers or have a connection to the industry. Funny, those who disagree with you are more likely to comment negatively and leave you feeling more frustrated than you initially were prior to your cathartic attempt at relieving some stress on, um…Facebook, the clear and obvious choice for personal therapeutic intervention (if you didn’t pick up on that, I was being acutely sarcastic.) All of the negativity forces you to delete your post in unadulterated rage that not everyone, in fact no-one, happens to agree with you and are being rather venomous in their comments. So, obviously you delete your post and then later feel the need to state that you deleted your earlier post and the reason/s why. Only this time you are decidedly more intelligent, you add the caveat that you don’t deserve to be attacked and will NOT tolerate this behaviour for having your opinion that was probably best kept to yourself. This is akin to a dog chasing its tail around. 

As a warning, I may be the person who makes you delete that initial post to begin with, or maybe I’ll be passive aggressive and post about your post? Who fucking knows? But, let’s just say I’m not feeling too pleasant. I’m like a boxer unable to fight, like a bee unable to collect honey…there is nowhere to direct my aggression usually delivered up to unsuspecting colleagues and other people who have not yet felt the wrath of my quirked brows and pursed lips in response to their stupid fucking question or request. As a writer I’ve followed a code where I don’t really express opinion, a bit like the queen but without being regal and all that jazz. My sole function since 2013 has been to make people like me and buy my book. Keep your head down and your chin up…

Of course, the screeches and screams of, “Fuck off!” still escape my mouth several times a day, but it’s just simply not enough to quell the rage inside. As a paralegal, I know unequivocally what I am doing and where to go in search of the answers if I don’t. As a writer, we’re often left to search alone in the dark or ask for help from someone who might laugh at us, like I sometimes do to the poor fellows who come in search of legal answers to things I think they ought to know. I don’t like this fragile feeling of being alone and not having all of the answers. I don’t like the anxiety of leaving all of my beautiful creations at the hands of other to poke and prod whilst silently dying inside because you must NEVER reply to a review. It’s the law. I detest that I must fiddle constantly with everything until I finally connect with my audience. I hate being the drop in the ocean. 

As a writer I am vulnerable in every single way. I can’t dispute that I’d love to get my books in the hands of more readers and earn enough money from it to say to my boss, “I don’t have to be here if I don’t want, you know?” (Sorry, boss. You know I actually love you.) I still have a job that I can do from home and for that I’m extremely grateful. Not just that I have a job that I can do from home, but a job I adore.

So, ask me again, “Lucy, what would you be if you could be anything?” 

Me: J.K. fucking Rowling

Why all Authors Should Beta Read

 I should what? I don’t have time for that, I hear you say. You’re wrong, I’ll tell you.that ‘I don’t have time,’ is something I would have said until a recent experience. 

I met Morgan A Kilth when she offered to beta read my upcoming release, Falling from Grace. She had read Falling to Pieces after watching a YouTube video I made, I confessed I was probably drunk when I made it and had no idea what the hell she was talking about.

Nonetheless, obviously I snapped her hand off and her feedback was awesome. I mean, I failed to travel through doors because my head was so freaking big. Morgan confessed she’d written a book of her own, I offered to beta read in return. She explained it was a romantic fantasy and what it was about. 

Now, I won’t lie, I’ve offered to beta read before and I’ll never forget the last time I did it. I opened the poor writers manuscript on a train journey home from London when I had to traipse down there for university. I laughed and made such bad facial expressions that the three other people at my table on the train began asking me what the hell was wrong with me. I told them someone had sent me a book for feedback, but it was truly awful stuff. We all ended up getting rather tipsy together, united in how horrendous the first chapter was. 

The writer hounded me and I ignored them because I just didn’t have the heart to confess that I absolutely hated it. I’ve read plenty of books where I’ve felt the same, and I’m certain many have felt the same about mine. Of course, books, like movies and TV shows are subjective and who am I to tell that person their book was horse shit? In truth, I am no-one…and there very well may be a reader that would adore it! But, it wasn’t me.

The same goes for me when I tell Morgan her book is amazing and out of this world, I am no-one. All advice has been offered as just that…advice and I honestly won’t be offended if she decides to reject it. I have ignored advice from betas and also accepted it. As a writer, we all have hard limits on what we will and will not change.

I can honestly say, I believe Morgan has a skill and whilst her manuscript lies technically incorrect in places, we all have to start somewhere. A draft no matter what shape it’s in is better than having no draft at all. One thing I can tell you for sure is that Morgan is a story teller, a story teller with a strong message to offer to young men and women. What Morgan has beautifully crafted is not Romantic Fantasy in the least…it’s YA Fantasy, and a brilliant one at that.

It’s been a long time since I read something that made me excited to be a writer. That is why I’m saying we should all beta read, if you pick up something great, something out of your comfort zone it can be inspiration to your own work and career. Knowing you had a hand in making someone else successful, I’m certain is also a great feeling!

Morgan

You can follow Morgan A Kilth here: https://www.facebook.com/morganakilth/?ref=page_internal 

It would be silly not to add that this is the final day you’re able to purchase all three titles in The Falling Series for 99p or 99c. Falling from Grace releases TOMORROW and I’m so excited to sharing it. This is the first book I’ve released in a long time and it feels amazing. I’m looking forward and somewhat dreading seeing the first reviews rolling in!

Don’t miss out! Get your copies TODAY:

Falling to Pieces:

When Teagan Lewis moves from rural Montana to the bright lights of London with her maker Thomas, she expects to live as harmoniously as she has for the last one hundred-fifty years.
Teagan didn’t know she had a heart or soul until she met Marc Romano.
However, it quickly becomes clear that Marc is forbidden fruit. All the signs that he isn’t human were there from the beginning, but she chose to ignore them…to her peril.
Can she simply walk away from this mesmerising stranger? Or should she risk her immortality to be with the man she has fallen in love with?

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2Ha4li7

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2EQ3xvn

Falling into You:

Marc Romano disappeared without a trace into the darkness. His lover became overwhelmed with grief in her loss. But her grief takes on a much more murderous form than most, for Teagan Lewis is a vampire.
Now her heartache is driving her further from the woman she once was, and she realises she must snap out of her monstrous habits and discover the way back to her old self. But how?
Ending their trip around Europe, Teagan and her friend Alex head back to New York. Teagan has the full intention of carrying out a dangerous plan here; not just physically dangerous, but emotionally as well.
How will she be able to resist the irresistible? And what of the new rival, Ivan Lenin? He threatens her life and the lives of everyone she loves. The only people who can help her are her sworn enemy and an ancient stranger. Will they assist her?
How will Teagan Lewis face the demons of her past and try to find happiness? Will she stay and fight or will she run from the things she must face in order to finally be at peace? Mistakes will be made. People will die. The time has come…

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2GwsvBR
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2IwCgm2

Falling from Grace: 

Teagan Lewis is getting married! Or is she?
Vampires, Bartholomew and Teagan have lived blissfully for eighteen years. That’s what Teagan would have you believe anyway.
Two weeks before their wedding Bartholomew goes missing whilst attending to Assembly business. In Teagan’s bid to track him down she finds herself before a powerful witch. A witch who bears secrets from Teagan’s and Bartholomew’s past.
These revelations set Teagan on a course towards physical and emotional disaster.Can Teagan overcome her discoveries and continue her life with Bartholomew? Or will she have no alternative but to walk away from the man she loves?

Amazon UK: https://bit.ly/FFGltkellyUK

Amazon US: https://bit.ly/FFGltkelly

Being a Parent & ‘high risk’ during COVID 19

 So, I wrote a really long assed blog the other day about how the UK governments measures were woefully inadequate in terms of protecting the elderly and vulnerable throughout the global crisis many of us find ourselves in. It was going to be entitled; ‘How BoJo is trying to knock me off – Part One (hopefully!)’

Luckily, for those elderly and vulnerable, BoJo appeared to come to his senses or was warned that by advising the British public to wash their hand and isolate for seven days if they had a cough or fever smacked of genocide. It was political suicide. Especially, as after he said that we ‘would lose loved ones before their time’ before promptly disappearing off the face of the planet. Hardly a sign of great leadership, huh?

Finding humour…

In an about turn, on 16th of March BoJo strongly urged those over seventy or with an underlying health condition to socially distance and encouraged those who can to work from home. These were along with other reasonable measures, such as not gathering in places.  

My best friend is one of those people who are naturally cautious about everything and overloads herself with information. She was talking about COVID-19 before it came to your average Joe’s attention. She talked to me today about the few extra bits and pieces in her cupboard that she’s picked up on her weekly shop since January and more so about how no-one is laughing at her now…

Unfortunately, she totally correct! The issue is, I wonder how this will change the way we live our lives forever? 

We have already changed our lives drastically due to the use of social media and the tons of advice, some of it completely incorrect, at our fingertips. Now, I don’t know about you but the pictures of empty shelves in supermarkets sets my heart pounding. It feels like forever since I’ve even been to a supermarket, in reality it’s been two weeks when the fear and panic along with disease progression were not yet ingrained.

The prospect of not being able to feed my family has me feeling quite anxious. Literally whilst writing this blog, my son wandered past with a pint of freaking milk in his hand, inspiring hysteria! I understand my daughters school issuing a letter asking parents not to worry children. However, I’m a parent that wishes to provide facts to my children and had to call an emergency Kelly COBRA meeting where I informed them one slice for wees and two for poos. Like, never believed I’d have to have THAT conversation. Also, a curb in appetite must ensue, along with the hand washing reiteration.

A colleague of mine decided to take pictures of empty food shelves and of the alcohol aisles in comparison. They were brimming with lovely drink! I almost posted, ‘Thank GOD! :)’ but I realised that wasn’t the tone of the post just in time! 

Admittedly, and perhaps I am naive, but I never saw it coming. I honestly never believed there was a time I would fear for my safety to the point that I’d sign up to stay at home for weeks upon end. Before you judge me and tell me it’s the flu, I am in the at risk category. Although, I’m young enough to probably survive if I get it, I’d rather not chance it. When I die I want it to be because of something I did, because of my lifestyle or the naturally better option of old age, not nipping to the shop to have some twat cough on me, thanks.

Having scrolled through many news articles and social media I remain concerned. This virus seems to be like the Marmite of the disease world. No, not like you love it or hate it, but you’re all out in a state of panic or not bothered at all. I look at peoples panic and I get it. I have freaked out several times, but now I can work from home and feel validated in my decision to socially distance, a sense of calm has washed over me. 

Whilst the schools remain open in the UK there is every chance my children could bring it home to me and I could contract it anyway, but there are some things that are unavoidable. I predict the schools will close here on Friday. My sons school sent home a package of ‘just incase work.’ A contact within the NHS told me they’ve been informed schools will close on Friday. So, watch this space. 

I urge you to do what you need to do to get through this extremely difficult time. I’ve decided to journal for the first time, I’ve never quite had the willpower, but I can see the benefits of releasing worries onto a page everyday. Another good way of looking at it, is you’ll hopefully look back on this five or even ten years down the road and thank God you made it through.

My blog is monthly now and I wonder what I’ll be writing about then? The air of uncertainty hangs prevalently within the air for many, globally. 

In positive news, I have a cover for Falling from Grace! I originally set a schedule for the release date of May 1st 2020, and a cover reveal for my newsletter subscribers first and the preorder and cover reveal for the rest of social media the following day. However, given what’s happening I’m planning on bringing it forward.

Additionally, I still have prizes for this months subscribers. We all need cheering up, please sign up for you chance to win because heaven knows we all need to cheer up!

Sign up here: http://bit.ly/ltkellynewsletter

Beware The Ides of January

 This blog is my first of 2020! I hear your snide remarks about laziness and incorrect maintenance of a blog space. Hell, I hear them inside my own brain!

But, honestly, hear my plea…January can only be described as utterly dreadful in many ways, and then the majority of February was taken up with the vast amounts of editing I should have done in January. SIGH.

So, please take the post as an update of what’s been happening with me.

If you didn’t already know, I smacked NaNoWriMo 2019 out of the ball park! I wrote the third, and long awaited book in my Paranormal Romance Series; The Falling Series. Falling from Grace has some wonderful, not seen before elements within the series. It was an absolute pleasure to write and undoubtedly, plotting has its merits. It flowed out of me like Norovirus and I expected the result to be just that, but I rather surprised myself!

That said, I suffered the soggy middle more than I ever have before. There’s definitely merits of being a pantser, too!

So what happened that made January so bad?

On the 30th of December 2019, as we were preparing to welcome a fruitful 2020, my beloved cat Henry was run down on the quiet rural lane outside our house. His neck was broken and he was killed outright. If I had to be thankful for anything, it would be that he didn’t suffer. Henry was a 9th birthday gift for my daughter in June 2019, she was his owner, but I was his human. I loved him so dearly, it’s difficult to describe with mere words. He was so young and full of life that his absence was apparent from the moment he was taken from us.

My grief was deep and all consuming. I had no idea how much I would suffer. Henry was the first pet death I have suffered.

Henry was resident on my lap throughout the first draft of Falling from Grace and already played a character in the cast, as a tenacious and feirce protector of his master. It was Henry to a tee. The book was already being dedicated to an angel taken too soon from the world, I hope R.K. Pavia is looking after my fur baby for me until my own time comes.

As if my grieving wasn’t enough to concentrate on, my daughter had surgery scheduled for her adenoids to be removed on 9th January. My bad luck unnerved me further, but luckily we got through that together and her health is much improved as a result.

Post surgery pic. Cake can fix anything!

The positives:

Toward the end of January, I made the decision that our household required an injection of love that could only come from another cat. We welcomed gorgeous Ziggy, he’s made us all so happy again.

I’m well into edits for Falling from Grace and I’ve sent ten chapters out to beta readers. I’m both terrified and excited for the feedback to start rolling in!

I have made a desicion to start concentrating on my newsletter. I’ll only be blogging once a month on average from now on, and sending out exclusive content in the newsletter which will be sent out on the last day of each month. Instead of throwing stuff out there, I think my subscribers should be offered rewards for taking their time to read my newsletter therefore one subscriber a month will be chosen as the winner of a mystery prize. I have already been in touch with a number of author authors and I’ll be offering their signed paperbacks as well as my own. But, the lucky chosen one will have a number of gifts sent to them, mostly book related or hedonistic in some way, because that’s how I roll!

If you’d like to sign up, because hey, you ignored the sign up on the way in…LOL. Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/ltkellynewsletter

Thanks for dropping by! Keep your eye out for my cover reveal of Falling from Grace...coming soon.

NaNoWriMo Newbie!

Between the end of 2016 and May 2019 I wrote around the grand total of fifteen thousand words, most of which were utter shit. I just couldn’t do it, I had nothing of me to give to a sentence let alone a page. My marriage had broken down and I left the family home, agreeing to joint custody of my two children, that marked the start of my dry spell. 

I’d had relative success in previous years, penning Falling to Pieces, my debut novel releasing mid 2013, Falling into You in 2014, Kissing Cassie in 2015 and Kissing Katie in 2016! I then wrote a book with another writer, which finished in 2016 but unfortunately we had a huge falling out on the account that he was an utter wanker. Therefore, that was a waste of both time and effort. 

When I left, I moved into a quaint little cottage, the end one of several and the largest. You would have thought it would have been idyllic and tranquil, but it turned out to be anything but. My next door neighbour was a nightmare. I left the property within four months. 

When I moved to the next place, I vowed to start writing again, even though I was due to start Mental Health Law  at Northumbria University. Life simply kept getting in the way.

So, what does this have to do with NaNoWriMo I hear you ask? 

I finally, oh my God, you have no idea how divine it felt, finished the first draft of a novel at the end of September 2019. But, I still feel so desperately behind and people talking about NaNoWriMo seemed to flood from everywhere. 

Of course, I understood the basics of NaNo, write at least 50k in the month of November. I’ve been a writer for long enough now to have full knowledge of what 50k means in terms of time and effort and honestly, I couldn’t think of anything worse. For me, the pressure of that would kill my creativity and freedom. There would be no way I could ever do that…

Then, this is number one…I remember a cold beginning of 2013, telling people that I was happy writing short stories and I could never write a novel. Sooo, I figure that I was completely wrong there, on six accounts actually. I got to thinking maybe I could write 50k in a month! Well, I can if I try.

Number two, the thought popped into my head that I could do NaNo if I set my mind to it, I picked up my phone to reach out to my FaceBook pals and find out their experiences with NaNo and caught a notification on the front screen of my phone, ‘Beckie Pavia shared a video to your timeline.’ Nothing unusual about that, I hear you say? 

Beckie lost her battle with cancer on 21st August 2016 and when I hit the notification there was nothing there. I’m a superstitious person by nature and I honestly believe that was a sign. For anyone who didn’t now Beckie, she was inspirational and positive to the end. I don’t know if she ever did NaNo, but if there was anyone who had the willpower to do it, it was her. That’s why ‘Falling from Grace’ will be dedicated to Bex who went by the pen name of R.K. Pavia.

Preptober has been a completely enlightening situation for me, too. I’m a loud and proud pantster, it’s in my soul and how I function best. I have saved the cat and plotted out the entire novel, if it doesn’t fly out of my fingers that way, then so be it. There’s a part of me that hopes it doesn’t, because that will mean flying by the seat of my pants was always the correct road to travel on.

Also, this awesome board has rocked my world…

I have never spent an entire month prepping a novel. All of my research has been done on the job. I have done tons of research for my NaNo project which has led to richer ideas, or so I hope. I will definitely be taking a month out for research in the future. I mean, I don’t know how I even came up with the idea of setting some of ‘Falling from Grace’ on the Scottish border, but my research has suggested that the place is absolutely heaving with inspiration. I’d love to visit.

Are you participating this year? If so, please send me a friend request. I’m ‘TheLTKelly.’ Have you entered in previous years? I’d love to hear about your experiences, good or bad.

Thanks for reading :).

Lucy

FREE ebook + Paperback giveaway

Falling to Pieces was my debut novel, released in 2013. A while ago I blogged about heading back to the Falling Series because I missed my characters more than I could bear. I completely admit that leaving the series at two books was a HUGE mistake.

However, all is not lost…as part of NaNoWriMo 2019 book three will be penned. 

As part of the process Falling to Pieces has had an editorial overhaul. With Falling to Pieces being my debut it required a little clean up and I’ve even created a playlist for my readers on YouTube, you can listen here. 

Falling to Pieces is FREE for a limited time.

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2Ha4li7

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2EQ3xvn

I’m also offering followers of my social media accounts the opportunity to win a signed paperback + bonus swag!

Check out the giveaways on:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LTKelly2/status/1188387447224311809

Facebook: http://bit.ly/345WNUX

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/B4HekJbAz-N/

For bonus entries please sign up to receive my brand new newsletter, here! https://mailchi.mp/f218cf8dad3c/ltkelly-romancewriter

I truly hope you’ll love Falling to Pieces as much as I do. I’m hoping the fruits of my first NaNo endeavour, Falling from Grace will be hitting your shelves in Spring 2020 But before that you’ll also have book two to read, Falling into You.

I would be grateful for your free book downloads and entries into my giveaways. But most of all your reviews once you’re done reading.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

Lucy