Sorting Hats and Computer Crashes!

Hello all!

First of all, I’ve had quite the interesting weekend. My computer crashed and all my backups were lost, EXCEPT that I always keep a written copy on hand. Although I’ll have to retype the entire manuscript, which will undoubtedly take me uncountable hours, I’ll have to push back the release date for The Guardians. BUT I’m grateful! No working from scratch for me;-)

So, I decided I needed some fun in my life, and that led me to J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore.

At the Pottermore.com website you can find lots of fun and exciting things to do. Have you tried it yet???  Let me know where the sorting hat put you! Don’t forget to get your patronus and wand!

For your viewing pleasure, I’ve attached a video of some of the cast getting sorted.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Happy reading,

KD

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Cover Reveal and New Year Tidings!

Hello! I hope everyone had a pleasant New Year’s celebration, and I hope most are avoiding the nasty flu virus that’s spreading throughout most of the USA. Last year was productive, and I’m excited for 2018. I’m off to the races with the next in The Protectorate series with The Guardians set to debut either at the end of January or February.

Anna’s harrowing journey continues into her prophetic past as we rejoice in her triumphs and cry right along with her in her trials. On a worldwide rat race to uncover the mysteries surrounding her birth and the inherited role she must assume, Anna struggles for answers where friends become enemies and family are not who they seem.

I invite you to take this adventure with Anna in the second book of the series: The Guardians! Write a review and/or contact me on Twitter, FB, or here when you do.

Additionally, it wouldn’t be a new year without a new reading list. I’m up to my eyeballs in work and pleasure books, and I’m determined to read them all. Overachiever? Perhaps. Bibliophile? Absolutely!

At present, I’m reading Magnus Chase and The Gods of Asgard, Scarlet: The Lunar Chronicles, Archie Greene and the Alchemists’ Curse, Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America, My Dirty Fairytale, Paranoia: The Story of Jenni, and Origin to name a few. Yes, I read multiple books at once as it helps tremendously with my writing, meaning more wonderful books to churn out for my fantastic readers! Romance, YA, Suspense, Thriller, Mystery: I love them ALL. So, if you’ve got any you’re reading, please comment below and tell me which ones I should add to my TBR list of 2018.

So now, without further ado, I’m excited to present the cover for The Guardians.

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© protected image by IM²/Innovations Publications

Happy reading,

K.D.

 

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

Life Update!

Exciting times ahead, and I want to keep you updated. First, I’m all into Tai Chi for health! My health, like many out there, needs attention, and I’ve discovered the benefits of this ancient form of marital arts. As a writer, I’ve got to be centered, focused and as stress free as possible;-) Of course, stress is a common companion for any writer, but it doesn’t have to rule you. Plus, stress wrecks havoc on our immune systems, skin, hair, organs, you name it. So, if you haven’t tried Tai Chi, give it a go!

Next, I’m avidly writing the second installment of The Protectorate series. While it’s slow going, it’s coming along nicely. Like fine wine, my books get better with the wait;-) So, stay tuned as I get closer to finishing it and sending it off to my trusted and brilliant Beta Readers!

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In addition to life’s events and writing, I’m thrilled to read any second I get. My current reading list includes: The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki, Defiant Brides by Nancy Rubin Stuart along with lots of books/articles on George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Who says you can’t have fun researching? My love for all things historical runs deep, and I’m up to my shoulders in research for my series.

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Cover via Amazon.com

 

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Cover via Amazon.com

Lastly, I’m gearing up for a new path in writing, and I can’t wait to share it. However, I’ll release information on it in due time. Just know that lots of time, energy and effort have gone into this new project, and I’m thrilled for the opportunity!

So, what books are you reading? I’d love to know! Comment below and read on:-)

Happy writing/reading,

KD

A Time for Thanks

Thanksgiving is two days away for those celebrating in the United States, and I’m salivating at the prospects of pumpkin pie, turkey and stuffing, pumpkin pie, ambrosia and rolls, pumpkin pie and, well, you get the gist. For me, I love to plop down onto the sofa, stuffed to the gills with good food rumbling inside of my belly and surrounded by my loved ones watching my most anticipated event of the season… The AKC Dog Show, of course!

Yes, my love of dogs goes beyond borders, kingdoms and realms. They put a pep to my step and bring out the ooey gooey talking, lovey dovey heart of a child the second I lay eyes on my pup. *sigh* She’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of in a dog, and she never lets me down. Always devoted to my mundane habits of tap, tap, tapping away at the keyboards or midnight kitchen jaunts stealing yet another glass of water after my foggy mind attempted to write down a concept ripped from my dreams. Yep, she jumps to attention, her velvety soft ears pointed in my direction, and her gaze giving me the once over just to make certain I’m safe. I melt in those pools of soft chocolate, and I thank my lucky stars for the gift that she is.

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Of course, I’m grateful for my kids, too. Oh, yeah! My kids rule the roost in this family of complete and normal dysfunction. *wink* We’re no less dysfunctional than the rest, this I know, but we excel in our failed attempts at hitting the laundry basket or keeping all the peas on the plate. Sure, some land on the floor and get stomped and smashed to smithereens, trailed through the house in a final blaze of glory, while the pup even turns her nose up at it before plopping down on her half of the couch in a huff. “Silly humans,” she must think as she refuses eye contact for the next five minutes in hopes of shaming we mere mortals into tossing her a salmon flavored treat, down on our knees, begging for her forgiveness.

And I digress. Family. Right. You know, we’re all family if you think about it. My dog is as much a part of this family as the humans. That’s what I love most about my spouse, children and pup. If someone is ill, another fixes meals or picks up the laundry or simply sits by our sides binge watching Netflix or HuluPlus, sympathizing and caring in the best way we know how. We have our ups and downs, but our family is strong and have weathered many a storm. To this I am THANKFUL. GRATEFUL. BLESSED.

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So, while many are posting days of ‘Thanks’ during the month of November, I’m there with ya, shouting to the world how wonderful these people (Canines, too!) are by my side, but it’s no different than the other 11 months out of the year. I choose to live each day with a grateful heart regardless of the month.

One final word of ‘Thanks’ goes out to all my family near and far. Merriam-Webster lists “Family” as “a group of people who are related to each other,” or “a group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head,” but I beg to differ. My family constitutes those in my household but extends to those special friends in my life that are neither ancestrally related or by marriage. My family circle is blessed this Thanksgiving with wonderful family and friends living in Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas, Michigan, Colorado, California, and Australia and is enriched by those I’ve met through writing from the UK, Norway, India, France, Germany, Canada, Japan and the list goes on and on. There’s lots to be grateful for, and I wish all my family and fellow #NaNoWriMo writers a wonderful end to November.

Best of luck, happy eating, and, of course, happy reading/writing!

KD

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

Writer’s Life of Research

Good day to be a writer, don’t you think? I know NaNoWriMo is around the corner and lots of people are vigorously preparing for the onslaught, ahem… process. My life, unfortunately, is filled to the brim with research, editing, formatting, rewriting, and writing, among other life adventures, that I am not participating in November’s 50,000 words. However, for those of you that are, I wish you the very best in your November adventure!

For me, daily life consists of, well, writing. Of course, I write a little, but my mainstay of writing is the research. Tons of hours go into research, and I’m not ashamed to say it. Studious as a college freshman, I read, highlight, take notes and inspect pictures to the ‘nth’ degree before ever putting pen to paper or typing like the wind on the keyboard. Some writers plan every nitty gritty detail of each chapter using excel spreadsheets, and that’s great if it works for you! Alas, it’s not for me.

So, what’s my plan for writing? Glad you asked;-) I’m more of a fly by the seat of my pants with a skeletal outline of the beginning, middle and end. Of course, I throw in notes for the parts between the beginning and middle/middle to the end, but that’s it. I write, edit, rewrite, edit, so on and so forth until the inner instinct kicks in, telling me it’s ready to publish. However, this post is more about my love of research. So…

For me, research is key to elevating a good book to a great one. Sure, it takes loads of time. Sure, it can seem cumbersome and slow down the time it takes between published books, but it’s my cup of tea, and I’m sticking to it. For instance, right now, I’m writing my second in a series beginning with The Protectorate. Globe trotting and running head first into trouble, my main character Anna never had it so bad  good;-) Since her travels take her to the likes of Austria, Argentina and Germany, among others, I get to research these wonderful places and put Anna through the ringer either in a rainforest, museum or war memorial. It allows my mind the ability to create with an ease I’d never have without all the research.

You see, I’m one of “those” people who can’t write without knowing a little about the places my characters visit. While I don’t have to be spot on, I’d like to be as accurate as possible, and until I’ve made enough money to travel to those far away places, I’ll have to settle for second hand accounts of places my characters visit. Of course, I use google, but I also read countless books on historical places and speak to people who’ve been to some of these places. Pictures from trips are a treasure trove of information as well. It’s important to utilize all sources when writing.

In my second book, Anna travels to Germany, and I’ve had the pleasure of reading up on the culture, museums and places to visit. One such place I’ve stumbled upon is the Wilhelm Kaiser War Memorial in Berlin. Snug in the center of shopping and hotels, this museum has a history that compelled me to write it into the second of my series. I’ve spent days on learning the structural aspects of this restored church, architecture and history before ever putting pen to paper. Even after all the research, I find myself wanting to know even more about it’s history, and this is why I love the writer’s life. Folks, we get paid to dream, and research is a huge part of that for me.

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Photo credit: Thomas Favre-Bulle

 

Is researching a must in writing? No, but I’d be lost without it. So, off I go into the world of researching and writing, and who knows? Maybe one of these days, I’ll visit a place close to your home;-)

I love to hear from you! Has anyone visited the Wilhelm Kaiser War Memorial in Berlin? Where else have you gone that’s stuck inside your memory banks forever? Comment or send me a message, and please, whatever you do, keep reading!

Happy reading/writing,

KD