The Season of Self-Help (Books)

Two things should be said from the start.

Firstly, I can’t say I’ve arrived at any sort of an Answer to any of my questions about life, universe, and everything. But I feel that I’ve done my research, which means I can stop devouring the self-help books crowding my shelves and my Kindle – and I can start the Work. As in everyday practice of meditation, and being present, and being grateful (pretty much EVERY book I’ve read tells you to do so.)But first, let’s look at the second thing.

The second caveat is that ‘season’ is quite a loose term here. It’s been quite more than a season. I’d say it all started in March with my usual restlessness (I’m tempted to capitalise this word. It’s such a prevailing emotion in my life, the old mate Restlessness of mine; and it has so many facets that it’s almost a character I could put in a book). And then I saw the Marie Kondo series on Netflix… and I thought that perhaps it’s not Restlessness. Maybe, I was just Cluttered.

It took me 21 days. I donated 29 oversized garbage bags of clothes, 14 boxes of what Maries calls ‘komono’ (my collection of mugs; books; knickknacks; sofa cushions; pens, pencils, and whatnot); de-cluttered every single shelf in my house, and reorganised my art.

Behold my sock drawer and my tea/dish shelf!

And then I drew my first acrylic painting. A doughnut of all things. ‘Hm,’ I thought. ‘Interesting.’

‘Maybe there is something to this whole ‘”free space in your life and mind” thing,” I thought, “and maybe inspiration will flow, and your muse/daemon Elizabeth Gilbert style will sing to you and play a lyre and you will write your masterpiece.’ I think I should remark here that I still practice with Headspace (almost) every day as I’ve mentioned in my previous post. So, there’s a bit of space in the good old noggin of mine. Acrylics were a surprise, though.

The high lasted for about a month, and then my Restlessness was back. And that’s when the first batch of self-help books travelled from McNally and Robinson Booksellers to my bedroom.

And then some more came.

And let’s not forget the Kindle ones on my phone. I do spend a lot of time riding a bus.

So, now that the books have been read, notes have been taken, charts and graphs drawn, and the schedule 7 Habit of Highly Effective People style is made every Sunday…

By the way, I can’t recommend the 7 Habits book enough. It answered about 76.5% of my questions about the topics less encompassing than the aforementioned life, universe, and everything – at least the ones I could form to ask. It has little to do with effectiveness as it’s understood at work in terms of productivity and salary – and has everything to do with being a decent human being.

For me, the main point of the book (and all of them are worthy of exploration, in my humble opinion) is prioritization. I am definitely a person who has trouble choosing my battles. That’s why in the last five years I have started and abandoned a couple dozens stories, have tried my hand in pretty much every art medium, and have at some point considering learning punch needling, photography, and maybe professional gel manicure. But even The Renaissance Soul book (see above in the Kindle list) who defends the scattered and the ever-distracted like me insists on choosing several projects to concentrate on. Not all of them. Because we’re human and there are only 24 hours in a day. And I do work full time in a room with 8 babies under 18 months. And I have a kid. And I have to cook for three people with radically different diets (one is vegetarian, one is lactose and gluten intolerant, and one is a picky eater North American style, i.e. a pizza and hot dog lover).

The 7 Habits book tells you to schedule your week, not your day; and it tells you to base your schedule on the roles you play in your life. For me that would be:

  • a mom (Recently, Gregory and I started to do one art project a week. I, as usual, took it too seriously. I bought books and did my research on Pinterest because, you know, you have to ‘develop your child’ and so on… and then I chilled the F off. Last week we baked chocolate lava cakes in a mug in our microwave, splattered sticky batter everywhere, ate literally ad nauseam (it might have something to do with the amount of whipped cream on top of those mugs), and I have to tell it was much more rewarding than making a rocket out of recycled boxes, Karen.)
  • a person with a job (I think I will write about my struggles of being paid 12 CAD an hour in my next blog post. I am planning to blog regularly these days. It helps me stay sane. It reminds me of the ‘morning pages’ from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. The Bible for the artists (which is literally everybody, if you believe Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, which is almost like the Bible to me), The Artist’s Way suggests you de-clutter your mind every morning by writing at least three pages by hand. I think, slightly editing and organizing my thoughts and sharing them on my blog might be also beneficial for my artist’s mind – and might be marginally interesting to read to some people. After all, people do go to circus to watch clowns and monkeys, which is what my mind’s inner workings remind me of.)
  • a writer (All hail Liz Gilbert and Pam Grout and Julia Cameron and half a dozen other writers, including Stephen King whose On Writing I borrowed from the library, and who let me know it’s OK to stand up and say: I am a writer. They say to say it loud and proud (I might have squeaked it out, but baby steps, my friends, baby steps…) and remember, the only thing that makes one a writer is the fact that you write. So, that’s what I’m doing. I’m writing. I sit down, say a short prayer to my daemon, and then I work my a** off. )*

*Alright, this needs a caveat of its own. I only started sitting down and working my a** off last week. I updated my ongoing fanfiction story and I posted a new chapter of my cosy mystery on Wattpad. And I cleaned up my blog and my FB pages. And I went back to editing Blind Carnival. And recorded a Youtube video. So yes, the a** has been definitely worked off, but that’s just week one. Let’s see how long I’ll last.

And yet. Something has shifted. I feel it in the air. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air… Oops, that’s LotR. Nevermind.

I think what has changed is the End. As in the 7 Habits‘ Habit 2: ‘Begin with the End in Mind.’ What do I want from my writing in the end? I want to enjoy the process. I want to write and feel light, and mad, and tired, and inspired, and sometimes stuck and frustrated, and rewarded, and recognised, and… me. I want to be Katya Kolmakov, a writer. I don’t expect much income from my writing, but I want to sell my books so people can read them. I want to talk to people about my writing, so I’ll be recording videos and answering to comments under them and I’ll be writing webserials on Wattpad and answering to comments there – so keep them coming!

Also, I want to blog/YouTube. I want to talk about what it’s like out here in the savannah of the writing life, and maybe someone will want to hear about it.

Martha Beck in her Finding Your Way in a Wild New World (a super new-agey book, but I think I might have read it at the right moment, so I managed to tolerate the preachy tone and actually got through it, and found it oddly inspiring) proposes that hackneyed mental exercise of imagining what you’d do if you had no limitations. And so does Latte Factor. And pretty much every person who writes a book to teach you how to live your life. And one of them (don’t ask me which one, there have been too many) asks what you’d do if you had 36 million dollars (oddly specific much?) I think I’d just write all day. And paint and draw, just for fun and because when I have a brush or an ink pen in my hand I experience flow.

The other day I found a weird marking on my skin under my right breast. I promise, I’ll have it looked at next week. But my first thought was that if it’s something serious, I’ll quit my job and I’ll be writing between my hospital visits.

This does tell you something about my priorities.

OK, that’s it for now, folks. I’ll go cook for the week. Talk to you very soon.

Oh, and here’s my first YouTube video. It’s hardly good but I have no regrets.

Show Up and Write… or Not?

As I lie in bed sick as the proverbial dog (just a nasty flu, nothing that scary… but that’s the price of working with twenty-four three-year olds) I’m reading Art & Soul Reloaded, which tells me to get up, show up, and let the Muses channel it through me (‘it’ being art, spirituality, and the cheesy romance stuff that I’ve been writing for, Goddess forgive me, four years now)… and will I?

As some of you might have noticed – some of you being the three people who actually read all my stuff semi-religiously (looking at you, J., O., and G.) just because these three wonderful people are kind, and we – used to (see below) – fancy the same fictional hunk – I haven’t been exactly ‘channeling it’ since December. And before it… well, the trickle of creativity had been, put frankly, feeble. Why? Who knows. (And sadly, no, I don’t mean a hot Scottish Doctor, or even an adorable fluffy thing from Dr. Seuss). That ‘who’ who knows why Katya has been off radar – is Katya herself.

And the answer the Katya would give if asked is… ‘I just didn’t feel it.’ Or, more precisely, ‘I’m just not feeling it.‘ Whatever the ‘it’ is – and I can most un-modestly say that three years ago when receiving a passionate compliment for my smut writing (*sarcaaaaaaaasm* what an accomplishment!) I did say ‘I’m not writing it! It just flows! I just write it down!’

I’ve been working an inconvenient shift recently; it ends at 5.15 and then I bus for 20 min to pick up my son at daycare; and then we bus home; and I feed him dinner; and I need to cook and pack lunches… and then he goes to bed and I could probably sit down and try to feel it. Or alternatively, I could wake up (because I once again fell asleep at my desk (having ‘produced’ nothing by the way)) and go to bed. That is an excuse. Pam Grout tells you to stuff them up your creative arse (and according to Pam every arse is creative) and create. I’ll see what excuse I’ll come up with when my schedule changes (I’ll explain later. Like, couple paragraphs later.)

November 28th I started my formal Headspace practice. I suggest anyone who reads this (which is stupid since the three people reading it have already had a personal conversation with me on this topic) to give it a go. And all I mean is to poke the free app or watch a video on YouTube. For me, Headspace is a miracle. It has worked miracles. It is… just wow. And it’s that sort of mundane miracle, the sort that, when it happens, you go, ‘Why the frack didn’t I do that before?’ It’s that simple. And that miraculous.

G. (reader turn a very, very dear personal friend) asked me a couple weeks ago (in yet another message that I write an answer to every day in my head, but haven’t actually written an answer to… yet) how it feels to create in this new grounded state of mine. And I do believe I’m somewhat marginally a tad more grounded than before. I contacted the centre that had offered me a job at the same time as the one I’m working at right now (and it really isn’t working for me here) and they still want me, and the shift there will be 7.30 to 3.30, and hopefully I’ll be less drained and stressed out (by the work itself, not by the lack of writing (see below the hunk discussion)). That came from meditating with Headspace. So has better sleep, less emotional spikes, better eating habits… and watercolours. Yes, watercolours. I’m painting again. Every free second… quoting Eddie Izzard, ‘of which there are five.’ And I’m loving it.

But I’m not writing. For the first time in many, many years there is no narration in my head. No nagging feeling of ‘I should be writing.’ The idea of an incomplete story (or a couple dozen of them, on three sites) doesn’t bother me. I’m just not. Writing that is. And again, I don’t mean the act of writing (fingers clicking buttons) – there’s no low humming of text in my head; no characters talking to me and each other; no flutter in my chest (cliché alert!). When I look at the pictures of the aforementioned fictional hunk inspired by a certain British actor (this is the ‘first below’ mentioned above)… nothing. Nada. I see an attractive man. I hear no fandom call; my lady parts aren’t excited. (The lady parts are doing great by the way, also thanks to Headspace. But that’s probably a conversation for a different day.)

And if meditation has taught me anything at this stage (‘if’ being the key word. Or maybe ‘mediation’ or ‘stage’ are the key words here. I don’t know. Don’t ask me, I’m just here for a ride) it taught me to ‘take it as it is.’ And what it is… I don’t know. What is it? Is it a writer’s block? But I’m not blocked. I’m just floating on a cloud of content observing minutes and hours and days without writing go by. Is it a creative crisis? But I’m not suffering. If you ain’t suffering I feel like it can’t be qualified as a real crisis. (Nor the British kind of crisis either. But close, very close by the way. Nothing beats a calmer mind, let me tell you that. For me personally, that is. Your jam is your own.)

Headspace mediations warn you against creating narratives and getting stuck on them, so I’m just going to say the following:

  1. I paused my Patreon account because I’m not making any stuff (a term from Art & Soul book, I really do prefer it over ‘creating art’).
  2. I’ll continue painting, so Jane and Rochester for G. and a terrarium for J. are coming; and then we’ll see.
  3. I’m going to write more on this blog. This sounded pathetic. Ha. How’s that: ‘I’ll be documenting my creative journey on my blog because Art & Soul book told me to as one of my weekly assignments.’ And I am, as I was once told by my daycare supervisor (I’m still bitter about it. I’ll go meditate on it) ‘an obedient person.’
  4. I’m still planning to publish something in March as part of my Wren+Raven Publishing thing. Maybe Official Town Business will go to Amazon Kindle, since it’s complete and peeps on Wattpad are digging it. (I have managed to write a looooooooot of stuff in the last four years, haven’t I? So potentially I can continue publishing even if I don’t write for quite a while. There are those five books of Dr. T Series, and so on… But do I want to?)
  5. I’m going to listen to what Art & Soul tells me (or more like ‘yells to.’ Have you noticed how some books are loud? That’s another thing that meditation has changed for me. I think I listen better now. I hear better. But as a side effect, life and many little and not so little things in it became so loud.) and I’m going to get my arse off a chair and make stuff. I’m going to get up, show up, and make stuff. I’ll keep you posted.

Literally. (I do love this word. Sue me. People are allowed to love things that aren’t universally considered loveable.) So, I’ll literally post about how it went. The whole getting up, and showing up… Now I’m rambling, I should shut up.

See you.

Cheers xx

K.

P. S. Art & Soul says to ask Muses to channel their it though you. As in actually ask. To offer the Universe a prayer before you start to work your creative arse off, because that’s the only way to create. You sit down and do the work. Mid chapter 2 of Art & Soul or something of the sort I had a thought that maybe there’s something to the whole ‘asking the Ether for the gift of channeling the it thing’… and a few pages later it did. This fell out from between the pages. I mean, hello! Speaking of a speaking universe.

 

Back on My Feet!

My lovelies,

It’s been a rough couple months (I shan’t bore you with the description of my job and health struggles), but kkolmakov is back on her feet! And presenting Wren+Raven!

It’s become evident to me some time ago that – at least for now – it doesn’t seem that I’m going to be writing and drawing anything other than Wren and John in all their many disguises!

Remember how it all started?

Yeah, kinda like that 😀

And now you can find some ongoing webserials on my Wattpad and two new books on Kindle! In the next few days I’m also planning to post more of my drawings on my DeviantArt (I’ve been neglecting the art side of my creativity, but I’m hoping to rectify it.)

If you want to keep track on my (hopefully recovering) creativity, here’s the link to my freshly created newsletter: http://eepurl.com/dH2XSj  Through it, I’ll be keeping in touch with my readers regarding the Amazon publishing schedule and any other news. Please, sign up!

And finally, my Patreon is up and running again – with plenty of new goodies! Have a peek and consider supporting yours truly!

Alright, gotta dash! Thorin and Wren in Light Room are waiting for me 😉

Love you!

K.

 

 

The New Book and Other Pleasantries

Hello!

It’s been a while, hasn’t it, my lovelies? Life has been truly hectic, but fun; but if you stuck by, and are still here, here’s what’s happening in kkolmakovland 😀

  1. Hammer Up! is out!

I know, right? Shocking! Somehow amidst the new job; and the online childcare courses I’m taking; and the Comic-Con I had a table at; and the everyday life that shouldn’t be abandoned (Stop glaring at me, Laundry Pile! I’ll get to you, when I get to you!)… I released the second book!

It’s available here on Amazon… or alternatively, if you trust me (I swear you can, but you’d have to take my word for it 😛 ) you can send $25 to my PayPal and get a SIGNED copy into your mailbox. Just don’t forget to send the address where Hammer Up! should be shipped. You can contact me through my Writer’s Facebook page.

If you contributed into the Kickstarter campaign for Hammer Up! (it’s sad it didn’t work out, but it was loads of fun to try!) you know that there’s a print.

If you want it, it’s yours with the book for additional $5.

Those of you who already sent some funds that way, your books and prints will be sent out next week!

2. My new job is AWESOME! I’m now working in a childcare centre in a room with 16 three- to five-year olds – and it’s the best I’ve ever felt at work! Who knew after years of uni teaching; interpreting; translating; working in a bakery; and tutoring, that I belong in childcare?!

And the best part is that the schedule – early rise, and done at 5 p.m. – is quite perfect for writing, and drawing, and still being a good mum!

I will of course have to cut down some of my projects. Let’s face it, when I just started I had quite unrealistic expectations; but most of my stuff will stay. Here’s what’s happening:

A. Wattpad: several webserials are ongoing – and going strong! You can see the update schedule on the left of my Wattpad page. Jack in the Box is almost complete; and I’m still pondering which of the hundred ideas swarming in my head will take it’s Thursday slot 😀 Let me know if you have a favourite among those I mentioned before.

B. Art-ing is happening, and will go to DeviantArt, and Etsy, and you can see it on my Instagram.

C. I’m still planning to write some FF. The Four Corners of Middle Earth is the story I want to continue writing; and perhaps some others will get some attention 😉

Also, I’m planning to watch Thor: Ragnarok next week, and we all know what large amounts of Loki do to me 😉

D. I’m planning to revamp my Patreon page in the next few days, so feel free to support me 😉

E. My next big project is turning Blind Carnival (remember this one? she writes erotic novels; he’s boring in bed? 😀 ) into… a book? a webserial on Wattpad? something completely new? I don’t know, but let me know if you do!

That’s all, folks!

I’ll go write a new chapter for Second Time Around. Hogwarts Thorin and Wren need me! 😀

Here’s a photo of me from the Comic-Con if you missed it 😀

 

What Happened, and What’s Next

Hello, my darlings!

So, here’s the story of what happened to me last week, and what ‘our’ plan is – as in yours, as my readers and ‘art’ appreciators; and mine, as the author.

A while ago I’ve starting thinking that perhaps a job/career in childcare is something I should consider. I’ve always been good with children. There’s a popular anecdote in my family (me not included for embarrassment reasons clearly) of the 13-year old me calming down a tantrumy three year old on train, and the said tantrumy kid falling asleep for three hours on my lap, which he ‘never never did’ according to his exhausted mum. I do remember the kid, mind you – but being called ‘sophomoric’ for years wasn’t exactly my cup of tea.

There is another reason why I considered such career. My partner works shifts, and I need a job with regular afternoon hours so I can pick up my son etc. etc. There aren’t that many options for me here, let’s face it.

So, armed with the above reasons, and feeling I was a patient and well-rested person (after a year of writing and drawing, supported by the government Employment Insurance payments) I ventured into a job search.

I won’t bore you with details, but I’ll tell you that I got an interview on the very second day of my quest, right after I applied for a handful of jobs.

I was offered a sub CCA (childcare assistant) position in a daycare facility. I knew from the start that they were obviously desperate. It’s quite a sketchy area, I said to myself. Probably no one wants to bus there every day. It’ll be OK, I said to myself. I’ll get experience, since I have none; I’ll look around and find the best way to acquire the Early Childhood Educator certificate, required for a better job and salary, I said to myself.

The plan was good. The first day – not so much. Needles on the playgrounds, children with parents with restraining orders; social services dropping in, being spat on and kicked.

And then on the second day, my boss came up to me in the morning and said, “I need to talk to you.”

Oh-uh, I thought. I’m going to be kicked out, after one day, I thought.

I wasn’t. I was offered a position of an Inclusion Worker, subsidized by the government, to work with children with challenging behaviour. More hours, substantially more money. And yes, you guessed – substantially more stress.

The children are… wonderful. And scary. And complicated. And lovely. They are human beings, and I think they all latched on me the very first day, because I treated them as such. But it also feels like I’m in a wolf pack, and every minutes has to be spent on proving I’m the alpha there. Being a petite empathic female with an accent doesn’t help much.

So, now to the question of writing/drawing.

It’s hard to predict how (or whether at all, unlike the very first week) I’m going to be functioning once I leave work five days a week, but it’s abundantly clear that only my most interesting projects will survive the purge that’s coming.

Here are my thoughts on what stays:

  1. Wattpad will be the platform I’ll be posting my writing on. If you still want to read my stuff, and crave more of modern Thorin and Wren, here are your options:

Official Town Business (updated on Mondays), cheery cozy mystery/romance/humour – stays because Oakby is this wonderfully unaware version of Thorin/John; and I love Mops to bits;

Jack in the Box (updated on Thursdays), psychological drama/romance/erotica – stays because Jack is more Lucas North than Thorin; Gemma is an ultimate INFJ. The story is close to completion; and once it’s done I’m planning to write another webserial on Thursday, of the same mature dramatic nature. She’s a DCI, he’s invited to consult on the case. He’s more than ten years her younger. I’ve had a similar set up in my head for a different story, but with a prof and a student – but it felt too unethical to me, especially considering my teaching experience;

After the Fall (updated on Wednesday), a romcom cowritten with Virginia McCain, will stay because co-writing is fun;

Under the Wolf’s Skin (updated sporadically), is a fantasy werewolf story, which started as a fanfiction story, and was cowritten with Wynni and RagdollPrincess. I took off my chapters from the FF site, and I will expand and rewrite most of the plot. It’s lashings of fun because I’m creating an unusual for me amount of original characters, and generally I’m enjoying not to take a story seriously.

Please, vote with stars and leave comments for me! It’s endlessly encouraging, and it will cheer me up when another pair of scissors is propelled towards my head.

2. As for fanfiction, I’m planning to finish Thorin’s Wife (there are just couple chapters left) and maybe finish the short story in Another Night, Another Path. Other than that I don’t expect to have any time for FF – at least, not for a while.

Please, let me know if there is a story that you REALLY want to see happen, and I’ll see what I can do. Honestly, your opinion matters. Let me know.

3. The Kickstarter for Hammer Up! doesn’t seem to be happening. There are only 8 days left, and it’s only 30% or so percent funded. It might be my last indie publishing project, so I’m rather sad.

Please, let your friends and relatives, who might be interested in a humorous well-researched greek mythology romance, know about it. And what if we can make this miracle happen – and a very nice person gets a job of editing it, while I get another book to feel accomplished about when I’m old and grey? 🙂

4. Escape from the Woods (Russian folklore based YA fantasy novel) is still sitting in my drawer, and I’m still looking for a publisher. I’ll keep you posted on the subject. As well as regarding Blind Carnival – which is being slowly rewritten into the third person so it’s either postable on Inkitt, or publishable.

5. My art will go on *Celine Dion style wailing* and I’ll be posting it here and there (Instagram, DeviantArt etc.), but there will be two main areas I’m planning to apply it at:

~ my cheery red-nosed colourful illustrations and drawings will go to my Etsy into my Funky Fair Tales; as commissions; and as drawings for purchase;

~ in the same style, I’m working on a children’s book with the working title Peppermint, the Girl Who Didn’t Want to Be a Princess. You can guess what it’s about, of course; and I’ll keep you posted on the progress.

~ and finally, Axolotl Returns!

This project has been long brewing in my brain, and here it is! It’s a steampunk style children’s book about the adventures of clever 11-year-old twins, Unna and Dunn, and their quest to uncover the secret of their Uncle Darius and find the legendary flying vessel Axolotl. I’ve created the Facebook page for the project, which you can follow to get regular updates.

I will be selling the book by chapter + original illustration as instant download PDFs on my Etsy. The chapters will also be available to my supporters on Patreon with the donation of 25$ a month.

 

At this stage I feel like this is as much as I’ll be able to manage (or perhaps, even less, but one can hope.)

So, let me know what you think about the running projects! Hope you stick around! And again, please, consider pre-ordering my book on the Kickstarter and encouraging your friends and relatives to do so as well!

It’s a pleasure to have you all in my life!

K.

BIG NEWS!!! KICKSTARTER for HAMMER UP!

Hooray, hooray! Hammer Up! is here!

Monday, June 19th, I’m launching the Kickstarter campaign for my novel Hammer Up! 

Here’s the link to the preview of the campaign: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kkolmakov/789289621?token=2d03203d

Starting Monday, this link will lead to the active project, where you can choose a reward that fits you. There will be an ebook, a printed book, prints of my art, PDFs of short stories, and for those of you who love me a LOT there will even be signed copies!

I have rewritten and reedited the original text. It’s now in the third person, and a few plot holes have been fixed. The Kickstarter will allow me to hire a professional editor, formatter, and designer. Trust me, it’ll be a blast when it’s finished!

So, have a look! Heph and Phro are hoping for your support!

What’s New (And Continuing)

Hello!

Just thought I’ll quickly jot down what’s going on, so it’s easier for you to keep track of my mad activity (or find something new of mine to follow 😉 ):

1. Dr T is done! I know, right? Shocking! It’s been three years! They were my first modern pairing! Inconceivable! 🙂

Please, leave me a comment under the last chapter, if you read this webserial! It would truly warm my heart!

2. My two modern webserials on Wattpad are doing great! (as in I haven’t lost interest in them 🙂 ) Have a look if you’re curious!

Jack in the Box is dark and angsty and all about creativity and drama (and the mindbogglingly sexy, tall, dark, blue-eyed, and predictably brooding of course! You know me 😀 ) It’s updated every Thursday. And I know it got really difficult recently, but it’s going to get better soon! I promise!

Official Town Business is all British countryside, murder investigation, and lots of humour and romance. It’s a bit Midsomer Murders, a bit Beaton, and a lot of Heyer 😀 I love me a good old-fashioned small town/gruesome murder mystery 😀 I posted the first few chapters here, but the story is continuing on Wattpad. It’s updated on Mondays now, not Saturdays.

If either story tickles your pickle, please give them stars for chapters and leave comments! I’d love to see you there! And I loooooooooove feedback!

3. Drawing and polymer clay are doing great! You can see the labours of love on Instagram and buy some of them on Etsy.

4. News! News! News! As those of you who voted for Hammer Up! on Amazon know, it didn’t get chosen for publication, but I’m not giving up! I still want to see my Phro and Heph published, and this time I decided to try a Kickstarter.

I’m going to raise funds for hiring a professional editor and a designer; and those who donate will get the hard copy of the book, additional short stories, and gifts of prints and special little somethings that I’m industriously working on. The editor is a friend of mine, so she was generous enough to offer her services for minimal price, so I’m very optimistic that we’ll be able to gather enough financial support for it! And then my fun and sexy myths will be a candy!

I’ll keep you posted!

5. As you can see I haven’t slowed down my fanfiction writing on FF or AO3 even a bit, and even started couple new stories, but so far I had no luck finding a job, so we’ll see how it goes! So, I’m enjoying the hours I have for drawing and writing all by myself, and the Spring is here at last – so all is well!

I hope life treats you well!

Cheers,

Katya

 

Live Well and Prosper || Chapter 20. Happy Ever After

From the author to my readers:

Here it is, my lovelies – the final chapter. Three years, ninety four chapter, four companion pieces; more than 150K words; the very first modern pairing; the hottest smut; the biggest heartbreak. The longest journey; the favourite characters.

It started as a one-shot based on a prompt ‘camping’ on fanfiction.net. It went on hiatus. It has been moved from FF to my blog. It could have ended twice since then. It had had a different wedding in it; and then the protagonists had to part their ways – because I’ve grown and learnt in the years it took to write it; and I just couldn’t do it to my dear Wrennie. She grew up as well, into Dr. Leary, and not Mrs. Thorington. She changed from the woman who finds herself accidentally pregnant; into a woman who offers her wonderful, progressive, feminist husband to have a child. It could have ended on a melancholic but gingerly hopeful note – with her walking away from their relationship, and then perhaps giving it another chance – but it turned out there were still people reading the story…

And you made it all possible, my dear readers! You guided, supported, asked questions, mused, disapproved, and sympathized. And you gave Wrennie and Dr. T their happily ever after.

And I will never forget it. Thank you.

Katya

P. S. I always thought that giving the soundtrack to one’s writing is a cheap trick, but since it’s my last chance…

The songs that travelled with me through the whole story:

“If I Didn’t Know Better” Nashville for sex and dance; first proposed by RagdollPrincess on FF. There was no dance scene in the charity auction chapter, but I could just see them in my head, and feel the warmth of a touch of a hand.

“As Cold As It Gets” Patty Griffin a song that caught my attention as a background music to a Thorin fanvideo, and that travelled with me from my first Middle Earth stories into this modern AU. When it was time to crank up drama in the story, Patty was in my earphones.

“Closest I Get” Katie Hertz the sound of Wren’s heart and Wren’s love for John.

And when the story gained the second life, after Wren walked out on John: “Slow” Leonard Cohen. Sometimes, we all deserve the second chance.

***

{From now on “Official Town Business” will be take this webserial’s place and will be updated on Saturdays. I hope you might consider reading/following the story.}

A/N: Leave me a goodbye comment, my dear reader. I want to remember you forever.

Six years later…

{Companion piece “Triple Trouble”}

Ten minutes into the drive all four men of your life are asleep; and you and Unna are left to think your deep feminine thoughts alone. Judging by a foot constantly digging into your ribs, your six month old fetus of a daughter is busy planning her Olympic athlete career. You’re pondering that blasted article you’re supposed to submit to a certain peer reviewed journal. Given a choice you’d rather shovel fish guts. The second pregnancy – which eventually will be thrice less productive than the first one – is much more difficult for you as a scientist. All you want these days is to curl in an armchair with a good book – something by Tolkien preferably – and a cuppa; and damn the articles, experiments, and grants!

John stirs on his seat, and mumbles something in his sleep. Poor duckie, he hasn’t had proper kip in the last four years. Funny enough, he’d been suffering from insomnia since he was a teen, and he’s still taking it worse than you. Maybe, it’s because less time passed for you between the mad uni years – survived on caffeine and refined sugar – and taking care of three babies. Or maybe, it’s just because you’re a woman, and thus, generally more of a badarse.

Unna inside settles on punching your bladder with an elbow; and now you have to choose between suffering and squirming; and making a stop at the nearest garage – and risking at least one of the boys waking up – most likely Othin, of course.

You sigh and slowly drive off the motorway, following a sign pointing at the nearest loo. You park, and gently touch John’s shoulder. His eyes fly open. Panic readily slashes into the blue irises. OK, you’re exaggerating – it’s just mild terror. In the habit still left from the days when a hiccup of one baby in one room could wake up the other two in the other room, he silently mouths, ‘What?’

“I’ll be right back,” you mouth in return, and point through the window at the washroom sign. He nods.

You carefully climb out of the Rover, and half close the door. The smack will wake up at least two; and just a lock clicking is enough for Othin.

In the queue to get some water and crisps, you’re lazily studying your reflection in a fridge door. Couple years ago you started cutting your hair very short, and this morning you forgot to brush it. It’s standing on your head in a very peculiar way. You consider quickly buying a tacky brush with Frozen characters that you see on the counter and trying to rein the daft orange semi-curls. You are after all going to a wedding.

It’s Thea’s wedding, as shocking as it sounds. Jimmy had finally ‘worn her out’ – his words, not yours. It’s been as long for them as you and John have been together. Together-ish. Just like the two of you, Thea and Jimmy had their ups and downs; but while for you it’s been a rollercoaster, those two have been in a bloody blender. They seem to break up and make up every month. But hey, who are you to judge? You’ve dumped poor Dr. Sexy couple weeks before the wedding. You bet there will be a dramatic falling apart just after the honeymoon is over – and perhaps, another wedding right away. Or a couple.

Killian and Lan are coming too. Thea has become their NGBFF, and they are her ‘run-to household when Jimmy’s once again fallen from grace.’ They call her ‘our practice baby.’ Altogether, clearly there’s a harmonious arrangement there.

You still see a lot of her, but mostly when you have ‘you time’ away from your family. Babies terrify – and honestly speaking, disgust – Thea. Six-month old Thomas spitting up on her best Dior coat didn’t help the case. Quite often you and Thea are joined by Candice – now Candice Dwalinson. Her son is two now; and the three of you go out, dance, and drink – except you, of course – away from all that manky testosterone.

Well, since we’re going through the list of your closest relatives and friends, Phil gets an honourable mention as well. The poor sod is in the middle of his divorce. His American viper has caught him cheating, and will now sue his arse off. According to Killian – the two of you are insufferable gossips, and couldn’t care less – she hasn’t been exactly the picture of marital faithfulness, but the plonker got caught first. Worse so, it was a drunk party shag. With three chicks. There has been a sex tape in the making involved. He’s in deep shite.

You take your bag and head to the car. Predictably, there’re voices inside.

“Giraffe!” Dain’s yelling, pointing at the piece of paper in John’s hand.

“Cow!” Othin offers another option.

You climb in and look at the back seat.

“Da can’t draw,” Thomas offers you an explanation. Apparently, your old man decided that drawing a deformed looking animal and letting the boys guess what it was must be the most engaging activity.

You look at the drawing and snort.

“It’s a dog, isn’t it?” you join the game, and get the very John Thorington, Roger Moore style eyebrow. “Cat?” you try again, and he theatrically crumples the paper.

There’s a protesting shout from Dain. He’s in the collecting stage, ahead of his brothers – everything has to go on the wall. Especially anything that has been touched, breathed at, or looked at by their father. Not that Dr. John Crispin Thorington ever needed an ego boost, but he has three avid fans. For them, he’s god. You expect this next one will just join the club. You bet they absorb this adoration towards him through the amniotic fluid.

Dain receives the smoothed out masterpiece; and he pressed it to his chest. Thomas is eyeing it with jealousy, but he’s too much of a Thorington to beg. Othin is already distracted by a dog outside.

John turns on Octonauts for them. They have a ration of an hour of ‘screen time’ a day, and they immediately grow quiet, fully absorbed in the adventures of Peso the Penguin and the Spook Fish. You’ve seen – sometimes with one eye, another peering into your laptop – about six hundred times. You properly hate the bloody Spook Fish. 

When they’re watching telly, only a live T-Rex barging in could make them hear or see anything around them.

You start the car, and then John’s hot hand lies on your knee. You press your lips to hide a smile. It might still be an affectionate gesture, and not a hint on shag. Nope, it is definitely a hint on shag – he’s stroking your skin with his thumb.

“What is it, Dr. Thorington?” you ask in a nonchalant tone.

“Why does it have to be something, Dr. Leary?” He mimics the intonation. “It’s my wife’s knee. I’m allowed to touch it if it’s not interrupting her immediate activity.”

“Uh-huh,” you draw out. “And the fact that there has been none of… a certain unmentionable activity in our house for fifteen days has nothing to do with this.”

“Sixteen, but who’s counting,” he answers, and the palm shifts higher. “And you fell asleep despite our ‘plans’ twice in the last week.”

“Well, at least I haven’t fallen asleep mid-process,” you snort, and he chuckles.

“No, we aren’t that bad yet.” You know his shoulders are shaking in his full body laugh. “But I’m serious, Leary. We have three months of life left. Let’s live it in full.” He then yawns, which gains him a quick sardonic glare from you.

“May I remind you that in most cases it’s you who loses consciousness before anything can start?” you point out. “I did try to poke you on Tuesday. You were nonresponsive. And I had a new… outfit on.”

“Oh? Damn it.” He emits a theatrical groan. You decide to take mercy.

“It’s in my bag right now.” You bet he’s just preened up.

“What colour is it?” he asks in a tone of a boy inquiring about a toy car under a Christmas tree.

You decide it might be a nice new game.

“Remember that day you came back from Japan for the first time?” A pleased hum tells you he remembers. “The same red. And it’s two items.”

“Two items? Hm…” He pretends to ponder it. “What else can you tell me?”

“There’s a bow.” He has a mild bow kink. There’s a low rumble in the throat.

“Any buttons?”

“A lacing.”

“You’re spoiling me, Leary.” His voice is dropping lower.

“I’m only returning the favour.” You quickly cover his hand, and intertwine your fingers. “I feel properly spoiled on everyday basis.”

***

The boys are placed in a guest bedroom in Jimmy’s parents house; and you two are in the next one. You’re closing the door between the rooms, when his fingers wrap around your upper arm, and he pulls you in.

You press into him, as much as your stomach allows; and ogle the sexy smile playing on his lips.

He makes a step backwards; and you follow. He leans to a bedside table, and pushes a button on the radio. You Don’t Own Me by Dusty Springfield starts playing, and you burst into laughter. He clearly has prepared, while you were tucking the boys in.

“Interesting choice,” you murmur, and he theatrically picks up your hand in an invitation to a dance.

“There was either this, or Dylan. Jimmy’s parents still aren’t over Woodstock.”

“Oh, so your generation then?” you ask impishly.

“Don’t push it, Leary. I’m still capable of throwing you over my knee…” He wiggles his eyebrows. “That is if I don’t fall asleep standing up.”

You laugh, and the two of you start dancing.

Dancing is one of the things that he does best. Oh wait, that would be all things requiring physical coordination! Bollocks, whom are you kidding? He’s basically 87% of a perfect man. Alright, maybe 92%. You’re biased, though. You’re madly in love with the bloke.

You move closer, and hide your face in his chest. He wraps his arms around you; and you breathe in the cologne, and the familiar, endlessly dear smell of his skin, fresh and spicy.

You two dance a lot. It’s your thing. Other things are ‘your thing’ too – reading the paper together; taking the boys to book shops; buying each other house plants; his magnificent back rubs, and the acupressure you’re certified in and that is the only thing that helps with his migraines. But dancing is special – it’s intimate and raw and vulnerable and open. It’s talking without words; it’s sex in clothes – not that they’re always present during dancing; or stay on for long.

Suddenly, you feel your eyes prickle, and a few seconds later you sniffle. By then you two are just rocking side to side holding each other tightly.

“Alright, Leary?” he asks, and moves away slightly, to look into your face.

You give him a teary smile.

“I am… happy.” You sniffle again, and the following little laugh from you is somewhat shaky. “I might be soppy from sleep deprivation.”

He guffaws.

“We could go to bed,” he offers; and you decide that it just won’t do.

You pop open the top button on his shirt.

“We could. Or we can enjoy the life in full.”

You lick your lips, and open two more buttons. Oh hello, chest! Look, Wren’s fully awake now! You place a slow, open mouthed kiss on the pectoral muscle, and give it a small bite. The chest rises in a sharp inhale. You tread the fingers of your right hand into the thick chest hair. There’s a lot of salt in this pepper now. Everything about the man makes you so randy – but fucking hell, the chest is pure magic!

You tilt your head and murmur, “I just think that if we don’t do something nasty on the Bofursons carpet, giving my knees and your arse proper rug burns… we’ll end up shagging tomorrow in some random place, once we can’t hold it back anymore… And then we will get caught…” The shirt is now on the floor, and you’re working on the belt. “And people will say, ‘Aren’t they too old for this? Look, she’s already preggers, and it’s still not enough for them…’”

He’s cupped the back of your head, and he leans in and catches your ear between his teeth.

“How about some carpet now, and then a quickie in the Bofursons’ pantry tomorrow?” he whispers, and hooks the finger of the other hand on the collar of your tee. The long nose brushes on the muscle between your neck and the shoulder, and your head spins.

“Should I go change in that new set?” you ask. You’re breathy, and your legs are wobbly – he’s kissing your neck just the right way.

“Nah.” He actually says ‘nah’ – in that posh voice of his, and you momentarily get distracted from your bosom heaving and giggle. “Keep it for when we’re old and disinterested in shag.”

“That will never happen,” you say solemnly. “You’re too lush.”

“Well, and if it does…” He kneels in front of you, and is unbuttoning your trousers. “Then we can buy a sleeping bag, unroll it on the bedroom floor, and reenact you crawling into my tent to ravish me shamelessly.”

“That never happened!” you protest loudly. That’s not the first time this conversation is taking place. “I legitimately thought there was something in the dark out to get me.”

“Poppycock!” He pops the ‘p’ and emphasizes the second half of the word. Cheeky bastard. And yes, of course you’re thinking about his cock at the moment. You’re intimately familiar. “You barged in to lure me in your web with your sexy PJ bottoms and your scratched ankle.”

“And wellies…” you pant out. He’s pulling down your knickers, and his tongue has just brushed at your right hipbone. “I had wellies on…”

“A definite turn on,” he purrs, and the tips of his fingers brush between your legs.

“Perv…” you breathe out.

“Beautiful…” he murmurs.

He’s kissing, and stroking, and undressing; and you push your fingers in the silky, heavy curls at the back of his head. Your body feels weightless and fluid and cherished. His wonderful hands caress your hips, and he starts leaning back. You’re even smaller this time with Unna, and you can still move very easily. He lies back, you crawl on top. Between the two of you, you have one shirt, one bra, and one sock left on.

You press your hands in the Bofursons’ carpet on two sides of his head, lean down, and look into his eyes.

“Dr. Thorington.” You smile widely; and the crows feet run into the corner of his mesmerizing cerulean eyes.

“Yes, love?”

THE END

Companion Piece || Triple Trouble

“Mrs. Leary, this is Ms. Edna, your sons’ teacher.” You internally groan. What is it this time?

“Yes, Ms. Edna. How can I help you?” You drop your head on your desk. The lab flasks in front of you give out a sad clank. Yes, my dearies, your sympathy is well deserved.

“Well, we’re having a bit of a situation in here…” Ms. Edna’s voice is cautious. “Thomas has locked himself in a supply closet.”

Bugger.

“I am sorry to hear that.” Pronouncing apologies for your sons is sort of an automatic response for you by now.

“Well, you see, Mrs. Leary, the closet doesn’t have a lock…”

You gently bang your head to the table.

“And where’s Dain and Othin?” you ask mournfully.

“That’s another… um… problem. We had to put Dain into the headmaster’s office. There was a row…”

You straighten up in shock. “Dain was in a fight?!” What in the name of all deities could make Dain fight?

“Of course not!” Ms. Edna chuckles. That indeed would be a sign of an impending apocalypse. “Two girls had a fight over his attention. Blood was shed…”

You bite into your bottom lip. That sounds more like your second youngest son. Well, technically second youngest – there were three minutes difference between him and Thomas.

“And Othin?”

“Othin is fine. He’s snacking at the moment.” There’s warmth in her tone. No one can resist Othin’s sunny smile and the blue eyes he inherited from his father.

“So, Ms. Edna, what is to be done about Thomas?”

“Well, we’re in the middle of negotiations with him.” She sighs and ventures into the explanations. “You have to understand me right, Mrs. Leary, we are not in any way blaming him. This morning we just had a safety lesson and explained to the children that there are a lot of dangerous materials in the pantry. So, I assume… he probably tried to protect other children from entering the closet.”  Bloody hero, always taking care of his subjects! You think of a regal posture of your oldest son. Well, he was only three minutes ahead of Dain and nine minutes ahead of Oliver – but still, bloody heir to the throne of Thorington line. “We’re just informing you of the incident,” Ms. Edna keeps on droning into your ear. “And again we suggest you find some sort of extracurricular activities for him. Such an astonishing engineering talent in a five year old… We don’t even know how he managed to assemble a deadbolt; there was absolutely nothing to use for him in the closet…” You close your eyes.

“Thank you for your suggestion, Ms. Edna. We did sign him up for a science club, but as you can understand he’s rather bored there… And they do not want to accept him to a higher level, until he passes the first. And the discussion of colours and shapes irritates him.”

Ms. Edna chuckles. “We are familiar with the attitude, Mrs. Leary. And the glare.”

Bloody Thorington! Bloody Thorington glare!

You sigh again. “Do you need me to come, Ms. Edna? I can escape the lab for a couple hours.”

“Probably not, our science teacher is here, and she is talking him through the disassembly of the lock he’d made. I’ll keep you posted, Mrs. Leary.”

“Thank you. Have a great day!”

She chuckles. “You too.”

You hang up and groan. And once again look at the positive pregnancy test in front of you. Oh poop!

Katya on the Mend

Yellow! 🙂

I seem to finally start crawling out of the dark and scary place where my poor psyche had cornered itself in the last couple weeks; and I’m making tentative steps towards a semi-functional creative existence.

So – quite gingerly – here are the plans for the nearest future 🙂

  1. I’m back to writing fanfiction. Just as I mentioned before, I’m planning to focus on Letters to Your Heart and Old Wounds, Fresh Scars; and the smaller stories (such as Here Be Dragons) on FanFiction and AO3. I’m not giving up on fanfiction completely; but I’ll try not to start anything new for now, and I’m planning to drop the stories that bring no joy (sorry, Gilmore Girls, but I just have no energy for something less than my beloved Tolkien-verse 😀 ). Just as I mentioned before, I’ll need to find a job in May; and I just won’t manage if I overload myself.
  2. I’m writing two webserials on Wattpad: the dark and tense psychological drama Jack in the Box {updated on Thursdays}and the humorous murder mystery Official Town Business {so far updated irregularly; after Dr T Series (which has only couple chapters will the completion, can you imagine?! O_o) is over, it’ll be updated on Saturdays, and published on the blog as well}Thorin/RA inspired male protagonists and new versions of Wren included 🙂
  3. Due North is still available on Inkitt. It’s gathering votes, and I’m waiting to see what this site can do for me. For now, you can still claim your free copy.
  4. Voting for Hammer Up! on Amazon Kindle Scout is over. The campaign is under review at the moment. Let’s see what happens 🙂

I’m still drawing and ‘playing’ with polymer clay. You can see and buy my stuff on Instagram, Etsy, and Society6.

Couple projects that are at the planning stage for now:

1. A webserial on Etsy. I’m currently working on the character design for it.

2. Blind Carnival (!) this one is a bit of puzzle at the moment. I took it off JukePop, and I’m not quite sure what I want to do with it. I could just edit it and start selling it on Amazon. On the other hand, I could try to run a fund raising campaign for it on Kickstarter to be able to afford better editing and cover design. On the other hand, I’m not sure I have enough readers these days to pull it off. What do you think, my darlings?

So, here’s what’s up with kkolmakov 😀 How are you doing, my duckies?