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

Writing in a Hailstorm

Good Day to everyone! After what feels like a lengthy absence, I’ve hit the ivory of my keyboard to write again. A hailstorm pelted my life for the last couple of weeks, but I’m up and running again for what will surely be an extraordinary next couple of months. Time to catch up on all things written;-)

While the last couple of months have been filled with illness, it has also been a refreshing breeze. Not allowed to read or be on a computer, I’ve had ample opportunity to observe life and disconnect from the internet which has been spectacular. Creative minds never cease, and it is to this trait that I laud for my sanity with a ban on electronics.

Okay, I’ll admit, at first I panicked. What? No electronics, you say??? Are you nuts? I’m a WRITER, but these quickly diffused once the lurching and knotting of my stomach lessened and my mind unfroze. This would be a time of opportunity; not for sitting on the couch with a gallon of ice cream and a box of Kleenex. Pride, barely intact, I propped my chin up on a pillow and plastered a smile on my face, resolving to see this as a springboard and not a road bump.

The next steps fell in trickles then downpours once the first one took shape. As most would agree, sleep was in order. Lots and lots of sleep was achieved. If sleep were an Olympic event, I’d have a shiny gold medal right now. Next, hydration. Contrary to popular belief, wine is not for hydration. I know, a shock to me, too! So, I settled for my next favorite beverage: water. It sounds bland, but I spiffed it up with lemon juice and reveled in the fact that I was tripling my vitamin C intake. The pharmacist in me was doing backflips, I can assure you;-)

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Info on Vitamin C found at NIH.gov

After the sleep and hydration came…meditation. Yep, you heard it from the lion’s mouth. I’ve never been one to incorporate meditation in any kind of way into my daily life, but without the crutches of entertainment/stress relief coming from the internet or TV, I had a ton of time on my hands. Being a “Type A” personality when it comes to certain venues in life, I needed a stress reliever. What was I to do?

I remember in college taking a relaxation/meditation class for one of my general education requirements. At the time, it was an inconvenience, but let me just say that it came to the rescue in my time of crisis. Albeit approximately twenty years later, give or take a few years, I have been extraordinarily grateful.

As a side note, I’ve been told to practice yoga, and while I’m sure it helps others, each person is different. Having arthritis, lots of the positions have ended up hurting my joints rather than helping, and that’s okay. I think I’m more of a Tai Chi kind of person anyway.

Back on track, the meditation was word focused, and I have to say that as absurd as it sounds, the word “relax” helped me to…well, you know…relax. Silently repeating “Re” on the inward breaths and “lax” while I breathed out helped the contorted mass of muscles in my neck, shoulders, lower back, etc… I couldn’t believe it! After ten minutes, I opened my eyes and felt like a bowl of Jello. Decidedly better than a ball of wire, I immediately determined to meditate prior to every writing session. It clears the mind and lets the fountain of words flow onto paper.

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Photo via Tribunist.com

Once my symptoms cleared a bit, I admit, I binged on Netflix. Well, sort of. I can only watch a couple of shows before I have to turn it off. Drat you seizures! BUT, it was the rocket to my mood that I needed. All I’m saying is if you haven’t seen the show Superstore, you’re missing out.

The remnants of illness linger, but I’m ready to gradually increase my workload over the next couple of weeks. It’s phenomenal to be back on the computer, hacking away at the keys. Hopefully, the rest of the year will be smooth sailing. Of course, I’ll look like a walking Halloween sign for the remainder of Fall and Winter seasons as I must wear a mask, but I’ll have plenty of hilarious tales to tell you with all the stares and encounters I get upon my journeys out into the world.

So, until then, read lots, eat well, and write often!

Happy reading,

KD

Healing Through Fiction

Books have been a mainstay in my life since I learned to read all those many years ago, and they will forever be a part of my life until my last breath. To escape into another world for an hour, a day or more is something I’ll never take for granted, and it is also why I’ve become an author.

Situations in life lift us up and can also tear us into a pile of rubble in a matter of minutes. Like many reading this, I have had ups and downs in life. Most of my downs deal with family health issues stemming from cancer, diabetes, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. While I’m not personally afflicted with each of the above, I do have a couple, and I have immense gratitude for the families and caregivers affected by these terrible diseases.

You know, books, like movies, can ebb pain, fears and anxieties even if only for a couple hours. The world of fiction grows exponentially, thanks to Amazon, Kobo, iBooks and many others, each and every day. Endless opportunities to escape are at our fingertips, and I find it uplifting and cathartic in so many ways and exceptionally healing.

I’m especially grateful for the foundations that sponsor drug study trials for cures in diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer among other disease states. One day, hopefully in the near future, this will happen, but for the time being we wait and hope.

So, today I’m going to plug one very special foundation that’s near and dear to my heart. The Angioma Alliance is a foundation set up for people suffering from a rare disorder known as hemangioma cavernous malformations. Big words for a tiny disorder, but one that packs a devastating punch for people that suffer from it. These abnormal blood vessels packed together in the brain or spine are prone to breaking open, leading to bleeding on the brain. They may range from millimeters to inches in length.

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So, what happens when these bleed? People may experience headache, seizures, hemorrhages and stroke. In a nutshell, it can be devastating. My family has experienced the anxiety of waiting through the night to see if our loved one would live. I can tell you it’s not something I want anyone else to experience, but like other diseases, research is critical to finding a cure.

I believe there’s a medication waiting to be formed to stabilize existing cavernomas and to prevent rupture of these vessels. Right now, surgery is the only option, and some cavernomas reside in areas of the brain that surgery becomes too risky. Since this is a rare disorder, not much money is being thrown in the way of research, slowing the progress for these families. As a result, I’ve decided to donate a portion of my book proceeds to the Angioma Alliance Foundation to assist in some small way to their cause. I’ll post updates on numbers in the future, and I encourage people to read up on the Angioma Alliance Foundation for more information. I will also link to the organization on my blog site for anyone who is curious;-)

Healing through reading can be achieved, and I’m happy to be a part of it! I’m also excited to include my readers in on my own journey through getting fit physically and creatively. Okay, I know a lot of you are thinking, creatively? Let me explain. When our bodies are fit, our minds show less fatigue and allow the brain to fire without a ton of caffeine pumping through our tired veins. Sure, a little caffeine is great for people who love lattes and espressos, but I know some of you out there are dumping four extra shots into those already caffeine-chalked drinks, and I’m surprised our hearts don’t beat out of our chests.

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Kidding aside, it’s a known fact that most writers and readers sit while typing/reading, and this places us in a high risk category for heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, etc… I know, I know, enough of the lecture, right? BUT, I luuuv all my followers/readers, and I wouldn’t be a good pharmacist if I didn’t try. Drat that Hippocratic Oath;-)

That being said, I’m also doing this to make myself accountable for getting my body active, and what better way than to broadcast it across the web? From here on out, I’ll post random updates on my progress of weight lifting, interval training, water drinking, etc… to keep you all laughing and happily reading!  Let the groaning begin!

Does anyone out there donate to a foundation of their own? I’d love to hear about organizations you support!

Happy reading!

KD

 

 

The Ferris Bueller of Writing

Hello, Book World! It’s been a crazy, exciting time in the life of this writer. Last week, I celebrated a birthday, banged away on the keyboard for my current WIP, blogged and took in life. I’d say it was a stellar week, but then again I feel every waking moment is stellar. However, I digress.

What has Ferris Bueller got to do with writing? So thankful you asked;-) Well, Ferris Bueller has EVERYTHING to do with writing. I mean, not only is it hilariously funny, it’s a film with pointers on everyday living. You see, it’s easy for all of us to lose sight of the world around us and our life’s ambitions. The conundrums of eating, working, drinking, sleeping, working, tending to our house chores and children (did I mention working???) can pull the focus off of our goals faster than we can say “Lasagna,” which I’ve been longing to fork a sumptuous heap of onto my already forlorn and deprived tastebuds, but my gluten days are upon me and the rice noodles don’t taste as good.

Alas, we are beasts of habit, and the wood to stoke our fires sadly diminishes and we’re left to our learned daily rituals with a dim glimmer of the hopes and dreams traveling further out of our grasp with each passing moment.

The last time I watched Ferris Bueller I was but a wee babe, fantasizing over the fortune and fame that achieving movie star status would entail. I marveled at the spontaneity of Ferris, his hypochondriac friend and hot girlfriend seizing the day, getting in and out of situations effortlessly and comically. Who wouldn’t want to take a joy ride in the car or eat in a fine dining restaurant without having a care in the world? Matthew Broderick was perfectly cast in the role, and he’s one of my all time favorites even now. BUT, it wasn’t until I watched it again this past week after about a twenty-five year gap that I could fully understand and appreciate the message of the film.

Sure, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was meant for entertaining crowds and it excelled at that, but by the time the closing credits rolled, I gleaned another glaring message from this film that I wouldn’t have caught the first time around all those years ago.

Yep, I never caught this the first time around. We all need to slow down a little bit. I hear myself saying this a ton these days, and it’s true. Stop and smell the roses. Take time out to go to the park, go swimming, watch a movie, or read that book I’ve wanted to read. Of course, a date night is LONG overdue. Yet, many of us never take time to slow down and enjoy the little things until it’s late in the seventh inning when life has all but passed us by.

Now, what’s this got to do with writing? Everything! As writers, we observe, and if we’re too absorbed in the mundane of life, we fail to see the brilliance. Sure, we’ve got to tend the laundry, but take time to listen to the whirling of the machine. Imagine the cascade of bubbles sloshing about each time the washer spins. If a child cries out, listen to their pain, kiss their boo boos, and thank your loving stars that this day they cling to you.

Of course, another message I heard LOUD and CLEAR from this film the second time around was to take time for yourself. Not enough people do this either. I know we’ve got bills to pay, but we’ve all got five minutes to do something for ourselves. Ferris takes a day, but we can take five minutes. Listen. Breathe. Absorb your life.

If we hanker down and consciously take an active roll in our lives instead of floating through it, then we’ll be happier, joyful people, not to mention the upside to our writing or any other career we aim to achieve. Yep, our writing becomes vivid, a light in the tunnel of darkness, and we rain joy upon others in the process.

I can honestly say that I’ll be watching good ole Ferris Bueller again, but this time I won’t wait another twenty-five years. Nope, time is of the essence, and I plan on seizing it.

 

Carpe Diem and happy reading,

KD

Poll Time: Team Anna, Ava or Sonja?

Poll time!

The Protectorate is full of strong abled women who aren’t at all afraid of ruffling a few feathers. So, which team would you choose? (These are characters I’d like to see cast;-))

Team Anna, Team Ava or Team Sonja?

Team Anna

Team Anna

Team Ava

Team Ava

Team Sonja

Team Sonja

I know I love all three!

Happy polling, and invite your friends to vote!

Pictures via vogue.co.uk, aol.com, and imdb.com for Alicia Vikander, Teresa Palmer and Gal Gadot respectively.