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 😀

 

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?

 

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

 

The Question of a New FanFiction Story

Now that my longest, most popular, “epic” fanfiction story Me Without You is almost complete (and what a journey it was!) I’m planning to venture on a new adventure. This time I want to write a more “typical” fanfic – the classics of “a girl joins Dwarves on the Quest” one, with my original character bringing that beloved “feminine touch” to the events.

Werna, daughter of Lyr, the niece of Dain Ironfoot, will become yet another version of my all time protagonist, Wren, but some changes will have to be made. As a Dwarf, she’d have to be more traditional, less sensitive, less… well, weird 🙂 She is of course based at least partially on yours truly, no author can avoid this trap, and of course she’s a bit… “special” 😀

I’m a true believer in MBTI as a wonderful writing tool for developing characters. So…

If Wren in my FanFiction and in modern romance/erotica in Dr. T Series on this blog, and on JukePop in Blind Carnival (alias Olivia Dane) is a definite INFJ, Werna will be an ENFJ.

And somehow in my mind, based on the fact that her ideal pairing would be an ISFP, which is… Bilbo, a love triangle was born in my mind!

How’s that?

Thorin, Bilbo, and Wren… Oh myyyy *George Takei voice* That has never happened before in my writing, but isn’t it a delicious angst producing idea? 😉

I’m industriously working on this story, and here are my habitual notes in one of the hundred little notebooks I have scattered around my house 🙂

Bilbo -- -Letters to Your Heart, Axes to Your Scabbard- on FanFiction.net -- The Hobbit FanFiction Werna -- -Letters to Your Heart, Axes to Your Scabbard- on FanFiction.net -- The Hobbit FanFiction Thorin -- -Letters to Your Heart, Axes to Your Scabbard- on FanFiction. net --The Hobbit FanFiction

Hope to see you in the review page of Letters to Your Heart, Axes to Your Scabbard!!!

Cheers,

Katya

Art used in the graphics: by Selma Pimentel

The Question of Fanart

wren1

Never in my wildest dreams I expected to have fanart made for my character. OC, original character, as they are called in the mysterious world of Tumblr, fanfiction and fandoms. It is not just me being sincerely modest. I am indeed sincere by the way. It is flattering and validating. And humbling. But about the responsibility I feel as a writer – a bit later.

Mostly I was astounded by the email from a wonderful professional illustrator with their friendly, almost off-hand offer, because I write fanfiction. Well, wrote fanfiction. My first book is already available for pre-order on Amazon, but it is quite a different story, since Convince Me the Winter is Over is contemporary fiction, dealing with psychological healing and PTSD, and not exactly the light stuff I write on https://www.fanfiction.net/u/4633889/. No travelling across Misty Mountains and enamoured Dwarven Kings.

With Winter I decided it was worth trying to publish it because it seemed to have made difference. Because readers would contact me and tell me that it made them feel better, or start therapy, to accept that there is nothing wrong with them, to consider seeking help, and most importantly, to stop blaming themselves.

And after the email from the talented Selma I once again questioned what I am doing as a writer. If some of my fanfiction stories spark creativity, does it mean I have underestimated the impact they make?

On the side note, reviews that people leave under each new chapter of my current story Me Without You are a social commentary much more fascinating than my writing. People unhappy with feminist ideas my redhead lives by, her resistance to the role of a wife and a ‘good woman,’ her refusal to give up her life for being with a man, whom some readers go as far as to call “too good for her then.”

If a person felt like spending some of the time they could dedicate to their professional activity, sharing their creativity and their efforts with others, to consider the face of the girl who has been my protagonist since day one, if Wren of Enedwaith is now travelling through other media and other platforms, does it mean I have to be even more persistent and more careful in delegating the ideas I believe are beneficial for others to read about?

Speak of anxiety inducing thoughts…

P.S Fanart: http://whowanderlost.blogspot.pt/

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.