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?

 

The Winds of Change for K. Kolmakov

So, here we are. Yours truly, widely known in immensely narrow circles as kkolmakov, and you, my beloved readers.

I have to say, I have rewritten this post about a dozen times by now… And yet I find it difficult to put what I need to say into the right words.

I feel as if I reached some sort of a tipping point in my writing (and drawing as well, but it’s a bit of a different matter). I started three years ago, with a small drabble on fanfiction.net. So much has happened since then! I know at least one of you has been with me on this journey from day one; and just for that I’ll be forever grateful for that day on the plane when I typed my first 300 words. (My dearest J., I’m of course talking about you!)

I learnt; I grew; I found friends, and lost friends. I saw the world more clearly, and I love it more, and am scared of it more. I know myself better now (and I can’t say it made my life easier.)

But enough rambling.

A few days ago I arrived to the realisation that it’s time for change. Very few of you know my personal circumstances, but in simple terms, I have been fortunate enough to be able to take some time off work since May 2016 and dedicate myself to writing and drawing. This luxury will end in May 2017, and by then I need to either find a job; or become a published author, actually paid royalties, and/or an artist with constant income.

In no way I find I’ve wasted these past months. I wrote fanfiction as much as I wanted; I wrote the YA fantasy novel (which I’m currently looking into publishing); I put “Hammer Up!” to Amazon Kindle Scout. I wrote on JukePop (a bit more about it later); and Wattpad. I’ve almost finished Dr T Series here, on the blog (a project that has spanned over all my writing years). I drew; I sold my art on the Central Canada Comic-Con; and Etsy; I opened a Society6 shop. I experimented with pastels, ink, and polymer clay.

But it’s time to accept that:

1. The Hobbit fandom has shrunk. I hardly get any reviews for my recent stories. Except for you, my few loyal readers, who are generous and forgiving enough to give a chance to all my random endeavours! And even wander from platform to platform with me! (Words can’t express how much I appreciate and love you – each and every one of you!)

I doubt I will ever write for any other fandom as much and as wholeheartedly as i did for this one. I’m a monogamous creature. I will never have any other King.

2. Fanfiction, Wattpad, JukePop, DeviantArt, and Instagram don’t pay bills, as rewarding and fulfilling as they are emotionally and mentally.

3. I don’t want a boring office/kitchen job. I know I’ll be restless and miserable if I am not allowed to spend 8 hours a day with my keyboard and/or brushes.

Which altogether adds up to the dire need to restructure my creative life.

So, here are my plans for the nearest months. A lot of the following requires your advice/suggestions/votes. Please, let me know in the comments!

{A} Regarding fanfiction:

I’m planing to slowly cut down the number of stories I write. Most of those that still get some readership (such as “Letters to Your Heart,” “Old Wounds;” and all those smaller ones such as “Here Be Dragons”) will be completed, but much depends on the readers. I’m expecting to leave “Four Corners of Middle Earth” as my last Hobbit/LotR fanfic going post-May.

If there’s some specific story that you’re dying to see finished, or kept ‘alive,’ let me know.

{B} I’m planning to finish Dr T Series. At the moment, I anticipate about 5 chapters left in the last part, tying loose ends, and sending Wrennie and Dr. Sexy into their well-deserved happily ever after, with the triplets and Unna, sparkles and unicorns, etc., etc.

I still want to continue writing a modern romance/erotica webserial with weekly updates; and I think “Jack in the Box” on Wattpad will be the one.

I have couple of other ideas that I’ve been considering, such as that “May to December” one I’ve mentioned before with the professor-student scenario, with a reversed age difference, where Wren is 42 and divorced, and John is her student. Couple other ideas are also rattling in my barmy noggin. The question is: where would you prefer reading it (if you’re still interested in reading my musings, of course) – here on the blog? On Wattpad?

{C} The previous question brings me to the matter of JukePop and Inkitt. I’m leaving “Blind Carnival” sitting on JukePop for now. Several of you were immensely kind to say that you’d buy another of my books (you can’t imagine how flattered I feel when I read such wonderfully kind comments!), but for now “Blind Carnival” will have to wait.

Meanwhile, “Better Than One” (the one with the Canadian farmer lacking any ability to communicate verbally – remember this one?) is currently being moved to Inkitt (click on the word for the link). I’m still trying to figure it out, but so far I know that they’re running a romance book contest there. As soon as I know more, I’ll let you know. I think if the book gets posted, there’s a limited number of free copies, and after that people are supposed to pay. I’ll keep you posted so that you can grab yours.

{D} I’m currently in correspondence with Winnipeg Police forces gathering info for that whodunnit for Etsy with my illustrations. As soon as I have my research done, I’ll start on the chapters. Again, I’ll keep you posted.

{E} I’m planning to continue drawing. My creepy ink drawings will go to Society6; they seem to fit well on tees, mugs, and phone cases. My colourful watercolours and clay figurines will be available on Etsy.

{F} I’m currently working on a picture book titled “Miraculous Mira” – of course, with a few familiar faces among its characters (you can find out more about it on my Instagram.) Hopefully, I’ll manage to publish it.

So, these are my plans.

I sincerely think that writing doesn’t happen just to the writer. It’s our shared experience, and I am grateful for each one of you, for your being in my life, and those interaction we had. And so, I truly want to continue being your writer. If you still want Wren/Olivia/Etta/Gemma and John/Darius/Thorin in your life, and Mira as well, and just a bit of kkolmakov, let me know. We’ll move together to Wattpad; or Etsy; I’d love to see you among my followers on Facebook, or Instagram. And then one day, when I’m in your town/county/province/country signing my bestseller (pfft, as if!) you’ll stop by and say, ‘Hey, I used to be so-and-so, your follower on fanfiction;’ and that’s when you’ll see kkolmakov frantically shaking your hand and tearing up.

Cheers, my lovelies.

kk

Two New Projects

Hello!

I decided it was a good idea to write on my blog more often, just to keep you posted regarding what’s going on, and more so, to get some feedback from you, my duckies!

So, there are two ideas that I’m nursing these days (besides the usual lot of FF, AO3, and JukePop writing; Stop, Hammer Time! editing for Amazon Kindle; the Etsy shop; and (for some inconceivable reason) my sudden interest in the birds of Manitoba.)

Idea #1: Taro Cards

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Some time ago I wandered in our local occult/New Age shop. It’s not exactly my cup of tea, but I do have broad interests 😉 I chatted with the owner about my art and such, and that I was considering drawing a deck of Taro cards. It was just a vague thought at the time, but it sprouted when she bestowed me with the deck that had previously belonged to our main Taro reader in the city. The reader had given it up for ‘adoption,’ and the lovely lady in Radiance Gifts shop thought I was the perfect candidate 🙂

So, now, armed with couple books and keen interest, I decided to venture into drawing a deck. I’ll keep you posted. I’ll be posting designs on my Instagram (check it out for birds of Manitoba as well, if it tickles your pickle 😉 ) and I’m considering later selling the deck on my Etsy.

Idea #2: A modern fantasy story based on Russian folklore

This one has been brewing in my brain for quite a while. There are all those fascinating characters from my childhood – Koshey Bessmertny (Deathless), and Baba Yaga, and Vassilisa the Wise – and I always wanted to write them, and the dark and thrilling and mesmerising stories I listened to as a kid; but I also wanted to give them a twist.

It is something that is done a lot these days (see Percy Jackson, and hundreds of other stories of the same sort); and I even heard that there is a fantasy novel about a girl in the States (maybe, Canada) fighting Slavic monsters. I will of course have to do my research. I’d hate to be unoriginal!

Also, I’m not sure about the format of it. Should it be a novel? Should it be a webserial – on JukePop, or this blog? Or should I sell it by a chapter on Etsy as I’m planning to do with the whodunit?

Altogether, the things I do know for now:

1. The main characters are:

Miroslava ‘Mira’ Krapiva, a fourteen year old girl living in Winnipeg with her mom;

Yana Krapiva, Mira’s mom, a Russian immigrant to Canada; a baker in a local organic bakery;

John Bessemer, going by nickname Kosh, a mysterious man from Yana’s past;

Vasya, previously a rag doll, now a fully functional, yet very hormonal teenager.

2. Here’s the first chapter 🙂

Escape From the Woods || Sample Chapter

All of it very is much approximate! Feedback is highly appreciated!

Here are the first drafts of two characters’s appearance:

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Please, let me know what you think!

Cheers!

Katya

 

Update Schedule and Patreon News

Hello!

I decided that it would be nice of me to post my update schedule, since I was asked several times, and generally, I feel people are already twitching nervously since I’m jumping from platform to platform, updating in a seemingly frantic fashion 🙂

Firstly, yes, I am. There’s a lot going on, and it is very much frantic 🙂

Secondly, here’s the schedule in case you want to read something else by yours truly (or all of it! But who has that much time? 😉 )

Monday: Fairy Wars on Archive of Our Own (Celtic mythology and The Hobbit fusion)

Tuesday: Read Like a Book (BBC Sherlock fanfiction; previously posted on fanfiction.net) on Archive of Our Own

Wednesday: fanfiction day 🙂 Either Four Corners of Middle Earth or Read Between the Lines on FanFiction. Or both. I can’t help it! I want it all!

Thursday: second chapter a week for Fairy Wars on AO3 + Better Than One (romance/mystery/erotica parody) on JukePop

Friday: catching-up day (there are couple things here and there, such as a new Star Trek fusion crossover Sunny Side Up on AO3, and the exclusive for my supporters on Patreon 1930’s Agatha Christie style mystery story Lady Leary Mysteries; so it’s not like I have nothing to do 😉 )

SaturdayDr T Series on my blog.

Sunday: no updates. I’m probably in the zoo with my kid. Have you read the chapter in Better Than One about goose poop? Yeah, that zoo 😛

And now, regarding my Patreon:

Firstly, my most heartfelt gratitude to my Patrons! Your support is most appreciated! I’m hoping my Patreon to grow soon, and then I don’t have to find a job 😉 and can just continue this updating madness, and finally finish my children’s book Axolotl Returns, and start looking for a publisher for it! (Let’s face it, if you like my Johns, you will love Uncle Darius 😉 )

As for the exclusive Patron posts that are only available for you if you’re donating (as little as) $1 per month:

I’ve sort of lost my interest in my Rodhina Project. I blame the lack of a dark haired, blue-eyed male protagonist 😉 The interest will, of course, be back in September, when I am planning to start working on more art for the upcoming Winnipeg Comic-Con where I’m going to have a table. We are having William Shatner as a guest this year! I’m excited 🙂 (Also, whatever art I create by then will be surely available on my Etsy shop. I’ll keep you posted.)

So, I’m thinking for now my Patrons will receive exclusive chapters of Lady Leary Mysteries as a reward for their support: The general rating ones, containing the investigation plot will be available to all my Patrons (pledges starting at $1 per month); and for those pledging $10 – erotic companion pieces. (I’ve written one already. I’m completely infatuated with this story, and this couple thrills me. So I wrote ahead, which I only do if I can’t contain myself 😀 I hope you like them too. And again, the fashion!)

So, see you in my multiple platforms and (hopefully) my Patreon!

Love you all,

K.

P. S. Did you see my modest doodles on my Instagram? I’m planning to start posting my doodles on a DeviantArt page. I’ll keep you posted 🙂

The Question of Mental Health

When I started writing the story that later became my book “Convince Me the Winter is Over,” both protagonists had been well established characters. I had written numerous stories on fanfiction.net about them. The circumstances were different, they would have had different professions and family history, but the core qualities were the same. She had always had high intellect, a collected, slightly OCD personality, and had been introverted, empathic, and controlling. He had always shown himself passionate, courageous, imperious, impatient, and dominant.

Except this time she had a clear and undeniable mental disorder. In chapter one she mentioned scars covering her back from abuse, her inability to touch or even talk to strangers, and since the story was presented through her eyes the text was frantic, almost delirious. These days, editing the first chapters for publication I sometimes have to take a break and do some breathing exercises. Some days I just can’t edit at all. Wren in the first few chapters is resistant, avoidant and plainly unpleasant to be in the head of.

And several readers didn’t like it. They had been used to the little know-it-all Wrennie, the ‘perfect match for our grumpy King,’ the woman capable of controlling her emotions after being threatened by her husband’s sword and the woman who knew how to rule a country and its moody King.

When Wren started suffocating from painful anxiety at the prospect of sitting on the same sofa with a male person, half of those readers felt pity. Other half would question whether she was even good for him. It was John, their beloved John, the modern version of Thorin Oakenshield, and they did not want him to go through what it is like – to be with someone with severe anxieties.

I would get angry messages. Or “Poor Wren…” would appear in almost every review. Rejection or pity, these are the two most common reactions. “Pull yourself together” (also known as “Snap out of it”) or the stigma of being broken/sick/incomplete/in need of fixing.

And then I got that first personal message. A reader, and bless the anonymity of fanfiction.net, told me they were the survivour of childhood abuse and my story was important for them. They told me that every day, at least once (or a dozen times) they felt there was no way out, that the life they had built would fall apart any moment, and my daily updates made them see that there was hope.

‘Hope’ was the word that stood out for me. It reminded me that that is what art is about. About making difference, and making a statement, and if you have even the mediocre ability to do it, you have no right to not to.

Other messages came, more and more. Different stories, different people, those readers that were new, and those I had talked to many times before. I cried, I agonised over my answers for days, I felt honoured and awed.

***

When I took my draft to a professional writer to have a look at for the first time, I was told to get rid of the clinical language.

‘Don’t label it,’ I was told. ‘No one would want to read about a person with C-PTSD.’

Why, I asked myself? Because there is a stigma on mental health issues? Because people are told to be ashamed of them, to hide them?

“Stop letting yourself emotional-ise!” I was told when I would have a panic attack in my teen years. And yes, there was a word invented specifically for that state of mine.

***

There isn’t enough awareness. There aren’t enough words for it. And those words honestly shouldn’t be ’emotional-ise.’ There isn’t enough resources. When you are depressed, you have nowhere to go, and you need to, right now, and talk to someone.

We need to talk about. We need to give it names. We need to be open about it.

I felt this story had to be told.

***

I distinctly remember one personal message from that time. The reader was enraged with “poor Wren” once again appearing in other people’s reviews. She was not ‘poor,’ she was not a victim, she was a survivour, as cliche as it sounded to many. She was fighting, she was growing, she was healing.

That was and is what the story’s about. Healing.

It isn’t a love story, because it is not love that heals all wounds. The person does. Wren was trying to. John was a trigger, an impetus to shake her out of her stagnated, frozen world of highly functional and thus somewhat ‘comfortable’ anxieties. But she did it herself. Through making steps and making effort.

She has C-PTSD as a result of childhood abuse trauma.

She sees a therapist.

She has panic attacks.

She self-regulates.

She brings her mind onto breathing. It has to be done gently, otherwise it can trigger higher level of anxiety.

She is in the state of constant vigilance, she experiences fear-potentiated startle.

All that needs names. We need to talk about. We need to be open about it.

With awareness we will get rid of the stigma.