New Adventures of K.D. Upton

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Photo by Anita Martinz

Good day to all! Spring has sprung, especially the allergies, and I’m on a new course of writing like never before. Daily challenges aside, I’ve put pencil/pen to paper almost everyday this year, and I’m thrilled at all the progress. Of course, writing is like fine wine. It takes time, but I’ve got lots of fun and challenging adventures on the horizon that I can’t wait to share.

What’s on the list for this year? Glad you asked! The Protectorate series continues with Anna on a whirlwind trip across the globe, hounded by traitors and enemies alike. Ancient artifacts, archaic rites of passage, ill-inclined organizations, and personal struggles threaten to topple Anna’s fragile world in her quest of self, vengeance, and salvation. Teeth will gnash, guts will churn, and lives will be lost! Stay tuned;-)

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In addition to my labor of love, I’m gearing up for a new writing adventure. EDITOR. Yes! I’ve always had a passion for the written word, and I’m now embracing editing into my tasks of writing, blogging, medication consulting, and sleeping somewhere in between. With years of experience, professional publications, and nagging from other writing professionals, I’ll add a page on the blog in the near future for my anticipated launch as an editor. Looking forward to a great launch!

However, not only am I anticipating my book launch and editing, I’m knee-deep in craft books to hone dialogue, character arcs, plot, etc… I’m also on a steep learning curve when it comes to Photoshop, book trailers, merchandise, etc… It’s enough to make my brain explode. No matter the age, though, one can always learn! As I continue to rewrite/edit my current WIP, I enjoy learning/trying new techniques to take my writing to a higher level. With that in mind, I’d love to hear what sources you use for improvement in writing, and if you’ve got some easy pointers on how to navigate Photoshop, I’m all ears! Please comment below or send me a DM.

And if the above wasn’t enough, I’m learning a new language: Norwegian!!! Why? Well, I want to! My filled days make life worth living, and I encourage you to pick up a book, any book, and dream. That’s what life is for, isn’t it? Dream and then go after the dream. You’ll be glad you did;-)

Until next time, happy reading, happy writing, happy dreaming!

KD

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NaNoWriMo and Exercise

Hello November!! My love for this month grows exponentially each  year, and yet, my body wasn’t quite as prepared for the onslaught of writing and exercising that I’d imagined. Of course, I don’t think anyone can be completely prepared for the NaNoWriMo experience, but that shouldn’t stop anybody from attacking it.

It’s been a whirlwind of keys flourishing over the keyboard, hand cramps as a result of using a pen and paper routine before entering it into the digital realm, researching, writing, writing, and did I mention writing??? Yesterday, last week, today, and tomorrow all blur in total confusion, elation, and hard work, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

In the mire of a fulfilling writing life, I mentioned in a previous post about dipping my toes into the world of exercise. I believe it’s important to have a fit body to be an effective parent, spouse, and, of course, writer. With a lot of autoimmune issues, I struggle to tread water working full time, writing and being in ten places at once; let alone exercise. Yet, I believe it’s possible, and so I push on, and this November has started brilliantly.

NaNoWriMo: The Marathon

You know, there are a ton of similarities between exercise goals and writing. The first one being the decision to do either. One day, we decide, “Today, I will exercise,” or “I will write…” The courage to begin is probably one of the hardest things to conquer, but we begin anyway, and we charge forth as any energetic, bright-eyed, hopeful person does. Of course, it doesn’t take long before our first stumble or road block in the form of injuries, fatigue or writer’s block rears it’s ugly head. It is to these moments that can make or break us.

Not only does the will to begin need to be etched in stone, the courage to continue needs to be forged in iron, or adamantium (whichever you prefer). Yep, I went there;-) We must lace up those shoes and hit the pavement to work our way up to the 26.2 miles of a marathon, and writing is no different. Our mental muscles must be worked from flabby to fabulous over a period of time which varies from person to person. No matter how long it takes, we must continue to run, walk or even crawl across that finish line in the end because only we possess the ability to do so.

Where to begin?

However, I got ahead of myself. Allow me to backtrack. After we’ve determined we want to traverse down the path of exercise or writing, we eventually settle into a routine of sports drinks, fruits and veggies, or triple shots of caffeine, nights filled with jotting down notes from dreams, and the ever incessant clack of the keyboard. I’d be remiss if I left out the multitude of google searches, thesaurus checks or reading other books for inspiration, but the same would go for exercise, too. In order to cross that finish line, we must make ourselves knowledgeable. So, off to the races we go.

Next…

Next, we try routines. Some work out while a mass of others fall by the wayside, but we keep going because our inner drive compels us to, or we envision all those people that told us we couldn’t or wouldn’t ever make it. We run from our fears or head them head on, but we run nevertheless. Yes, we pay our dues, and we come out better people for it. Sure, we may not end up where we previously envisioned, but that’s okay. We may start out practicing for a marathon only to end up running a 5k, or we may outline a lengthy novel that ends up being a short story, but who cares? It’s still an achievement.  It’s all a part of the process, and who knows? Maybe, just maybe, we end up running that marathon. It may not be pretty, but come Hell or high-water, we drag ourselves across that finish line and relish in the euphoria of accomplishing the once unthinkable.

Yep, exercise and writing go hand in hand. There’s lots of planning, training and perseverance in the slimmest of odds, but the results are well worth it. So, today I write to you frazzled, fatigued, and sore, but my mental muscles are growing in size along with the once puny muscles that quivered at the sight of weights. My first battle conquered, I plod on with hope in my heart and an arsenal of knowledge in my pocket.

While I tackle this month of writing and exercising, I’ll keep you updated on my failures as well as successes. Until then, lift, read, run, squat, and write on! I’m interested in hearing your tips for this month of writing, too. I look forward to your comments and messages!

 

Happy writing and exercising,

KD

Review Time!

 

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A very special thanks goes out to author/reviewer, and all around fantastic human being, H. Eugene! Not only are his books spellbinding with phenomenal plots and characters, he publishes spectacular books with a speed that leaves my head spinning;-)

Recently, H. Eugene honored me with a review of my book The Protectorate, and I’m humbled to say the very least. Please take the time to visit his website Inkthriller.com for not only my book’s review but that of others! Also, sign-up for his email/newsletter to keep in the loop for all his upcoming interviews, appearances and book launches. His next book, 13 Flowers: Chocolate Will Kill You, will launch on September 9! It’s the third in the trilogy, and it’s sure to  knock your socks off! While you’re at it, purchase the first two in the trilogy;-)

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Courtesy of Inkthriller.com

Happy reading!

KD

Rick Riordan: From Teacher to Author

If you’ve heard of Percy Jackson, The Heroes of Olympus, Kane Chronicles, Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, The Trials of Apollo, Tres Navarre, or the 39 Clues, then you’re probably familiar with Rick Riordan. His rise to authorhood wasn’t a straight one, but thousands of children and adults thrill in his adventures. The writing world wouldn’t be the same without him.

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Photo via amazon.com

Born and raised in Texas, Rick Riordan graduated fro the University of Texas at Austin with a double major in English and History. He taught  history and Greek mythology in the San Antonio and San Francisco area for fifteen years to middle school children, receiving an award along the way.

While he enjoyed writing from a young age, it wasn’t until after being a father that he fell into writing due to his son’s ADHD and dyslexia diagnosis. His son enjoyed Greek mythology and would often ask him to create stories which birthed the character of Percy Jackson. After his son’s encouragement, Riordan wrote down the stories into a book form, making sure to include the aspect of dyslexia in his main character of Percy.

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Photo via blogs.wsj.com

“Making Percy ADHD and dyslexic was my way of honoring the potential of all the kids I’ve known who have those conditions. It’s not a bad thing to be different. Sometimes, it’s the mark of being very, very talented. That’s what Percy discovers about himself in The Lightning Thief.” via scholastic.com

Riordan currently resides in Texas and keeps churning out stellar series. Great for children and adults alike, you won’t regret cracking open one of his award winning books!

For more information about Rick Riordan and his books, please visit his website.

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Photo via scholastic.com

Other sources include famousauthors.org and scholastic.com.

Happy reading,

KD

John Grisham or Bust

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His works rival the best, his tenacity and perseverance are unquestionable, but how much do we know about this writing giant? Most people know his name, but when asked about the man behind the novels, I was at a loss. I could name his works from A Time to Kill, The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Rainmaker, and the list goes on. I marvel at his writing ability and creativity, but I couldn’t really describe the man.

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I have an internal desire to know what drives someone so successful in the line of work that I strive to get a foothold in, and what better way to learn craft than studying the best. It pays to know what compels someone to write, their backgrounds and history. I dare say most people write from their own loses, triumphs or dreams. So, it was with great pleasure that I studied up on the man behind the legend.

John Grisham, born on February 8, 1955 to a cotton farmer and homemaker, started his life on a farm in Jonesboro, Arkansas. The second of five children, John moved with his family to several places after his father changed from farming into the field of construction. Moving from Louisiana to Mississippi, John’s family landed in Southaven, Mississippi in 1967 when John was 12.

According to an article published in The Clarion-Ledger, John’s father was quite the storyteller as well as being the deacon in his church.

While in high school, John played football and basketball, but his heart stayed true to baseball. He dreamed of becoming a major league player after school. It wasn’t until senior English that he became intrigued by Steinbeck and read voraciously. However, writing wasn’t in his immediate future. He took several back-breaking jobs before deciding on attending Northwest Mississippi Community College. According to a friend, John was reserved to those unknown, but relaxed around his friends.

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John believed his arrival at Northwest would be the budding of his plans to be a major league player, but after failing freshman English, yep English, he rode the bench and decided to leave. Next up was Delta State University, but when the baseball plans fizzled and his coach recommended he hit the books, John agreed and ended up at Mississippi State University. However, he hadn’t found his path as he changed his major three times in subsequent semesters, but he eventually majored in Accounting at Mississippi State and graduated with a law degree from Ole Miss in 1981.

After a decade of practicing law in Southaven, Mississippi, he got the writing fever and proceeded to write a couple hours before work, during breaks and even after work. He read up on historical fiction and well known authors as well. Eventually he took the leap, against his friends advice, and quit law altogether to move his family to a farm. He worked on his first novel for three years before getting a deal with an unknown publishing company and spent his energies on begging friends to buy his book and holding book signings whenever he could.

John was discouraged after “A Time to Kill” wasn’t an initial success, and upon further encouragement from his agent, he wrote a second novel which launched his career. “The Firm” was made into a movie after his agent sold the rights for $600,000, and of course, the rest is history.

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John went from absolute obscurity selling his books out of the trunk of his car to being one of the all time best selling authors. His formula of hard work and perseverance are something to keep in mind for any aspiring author or for anyone in different fields. Never give up on your dreams!

I hope you found this article inspiring and insightful, and I hope you never give up on your dreams:-)

Keep writing, keep reading, keep dreaming!

Happy reading,

KD

P.S. If you’re interested in reading any one of his books, check out his Penguin Random House site!