New Year, New Me (Because We’re All Done with 2020)

So, I think we can all agree that 2020 should go. Like, it’s done. We get it. It’s struggling, it’s not up for the job. It’s like a hungry, thirsty, and lactose intolerant toddler that had a bottle of milk, went through five diapers, one of which leaked – and it’s just DONE. I think it needs some water and a nap. And we need year not-2020.

So my not-2020 is going to start July 2, when – after an introvert version of Canada Day celebration, which I assume in my family’s case will mean a scooter + 2 bikes ride, a gluten-free pizza (still working on developing that one family cauliflower crust recipe, at the moment it’s a bit meh), and maybe a LotR or The Hobbit marathon – I’m going back to work. Which means, among other things… ROUTINE.

I love routine. Routine and me are pals. I’m going to make a YouTube video on my lifestyle/routine. It’s not much of a ‘style’ to be honest, I’m no guru or influencer or whatnot, but I thought I’d share. (I was watching a Mel Robbins video – I’ll deliberate below on why I was watching it in a second – and she said, ‘There’s someone in the world who NEEDS to hear what you have to say.’ So I thought I’d tell you about my morning pages practice and my love for ACV. You can always ignore it, right?)

You’d think there would’ve been tons of routine during the quarantine – but in honesty, it felt like being on a motor boat on a rapid river in windy weather. And so you know, I start ‘feeding the fish’ on any floating vehicle before they start the engine or pick up a paddle. It was a blur of going for three hour walks to distract an anxious child from the panic ringing in his teacher’s voice, baking three trays of cookies in a day, sublimating the rage and the fear by weeding the yard (poor, poor thistles), and all sorts of funny behaviours, which I (and my son) will later address in therapy.

And then it all suddenly settled in my mind, about two weeks ago, on a sunny afternoon, nothing special about it. Like that glitter that you can see in a snow globe that goes down and suddenly it’s… calm. That’s how it felt in my mind: silent, but not empty, and sparkly, and festive. Was that acceptance? I don’t know. Hopefully. Maybe the Yale course on well-being I took for free on Coursera kicked in; maybe it’s yoga; but she surely ain’t born with it, I can tell you that.

Some time ago a friend of mine started on her own decluttering journey. Mine started March 2019. She messaged me and asked what’s going to happen next, now that she’d deleted almost all of her pages and was ‘attacking’ her wardrobe or a book shelf or something. And I told her that soon she’d experience… The Void. I’ve been there. The (creative or otherwise) Void when you don’t know what you want to do, where to go, and whether there’s even a point. I told her all you can do is sit in The Void – and LISTEN. And you’ll feel restless, and you’ll try to force yourself and The Void to give you some answers, and you’ll try to fall back onto the old patterns of creativity (and life in general.) It’s like after you Marie Kondo your house, and create this minimalist + a tad of hygge + mindful decor, one day you pass through a shop and for no reason pick up a candle. And then you come home and stare at it in your bag and realise that was the Katya from before March 2019 who bought that candle. Because Katya of (not)2020 doesn’t need it. She doesn’t even want it. It’s orange! I have nothing orange in the house. Everything is navy blue, and pink; and my clothes are, plus a bit of olive grey. And then I thought that I could possibly fit the orange candle in my teal dining room, near the orange portrait of my cat that I painted… but why would I? And then I went back and returned it, and had to go through the annoying process of ‘filing the refund’ into my budget app on my phone (highly recommend the Spendee one, in my experience it’s the best in preventing disagreements with a spouse… in my experience.)

And that story I tried to force myself to write in the middle of Winter – just to FEEL something, just to reassure myself I’m creative, and trying to artificially create that buzz that runs my veins when I write – that story is basically an orange candle. If you’re anything like me, and not necessarily in terms of writing, you admit your fault, and you understand you ‘spoke too soon,’ and The Void wasn’t done – and you sit back and continue listening, while still decluttering here and there, because it’s a practice, not a project.

And then The Void whispers. Maybe it just reminds you of that one thing you’re good at. Or maybe it tells you a story, if you listen attentively. And then, if you accept the Unknown and go with it and breathe through it – and with it – something takes shape.

And that’s when you start setting goals. But they have to be SMART goals (and it’s an abbreviation, not an emphasis I go for, here.) Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Relevant. Time Bound. Here, you start reading self-help books again, but this time you do it mindfully because you’ve decluttered your mind, why would you put unnecessary info in it?

And then you start looking around, and organising your life – and if you’re Katya Kolmakov, you understand that what you do best is writing light, happy webserials for Wattpad. And that’s what that someone in the world who needed to hear what you have to say is here to read and hopefully enjoy and maybe crack a smile. And that you’re ready to set those 3 month goals Brian P. Moran speaks about (another of self-help gurus, whose book you can read if it’s something relevant to what you’re working on right now – but only if you ARE working on something like that. Or not. You can read whatever you want.) And in my case, those goals are:

~ Update. Update regularly. Write and/or edit every day. Find an hour for it in your day. (Or 30 min.) Let your kid play PvZ and go check that chapter for spelling mistakes.

~ Work towards hopefully turning one of those stories on Wattpad into a paid one. They’re popular. Wattpad can pick it up, promote it, and you get that CAD 2K a month you’re visualizing every morning. Does visualization work? Hell if I know. Does it feel good visualizing a juicy 2K in my bank account sitting on top of my measly salary? Sometimes. Sometimes it’s bitter sweet, but I’ll give it a go.

~ Publish the next Kindle book. This one will be fun. I decided I’ll let my readers decide what it’s going to be. I think I’ll make a poll on my Author Facebook page. I want to see how much activity it’ll generate. If there’s no one there besides the five people left from the good old fanfiction times, I’ll adjust and find a new channel. I’m flexible. I have the head room, as David Allen puts it.

Actually, does visualisation work? Does a ‘weekly reset?’ How about ‘implementation intention?’ ‘5 Second Rule?’ 80/20 rule? I don’t know. But I’ll give them a go. It’s a new year, new me after all. Cue the pretty pink graphic I created.

One of the personal development gurus suggested creating an inspiration board (you can see mine on my Instagram) and also making a bespoke desktop image for your computer to inspire you every time you turn your laptop on. I used the images from my desktop in this image: it’s all about writing, and selling one’s books, and hygge, and the lack of anxiety, and BALANCE. Let’s see how this goes. Let’s see if I’ll manage to go back to my 5 a.m. morning routine (I used to be able to do it before the pandemic, but it wasn’t ‘the new me’ then and I wasn’t productive. I mostly scrolled through social media, but I’ve reduced it to 2 rounds of allocated social media times a day now, so maybe I’ll manage to squeeze something better in my time between a shower and a cup of joe.) I’ve been spoilt rotten and sleeping till 8 in the last 9 weeks. Even my cats have switched to a late rise. So, I wouldn’t hope for too much. But I’ll try.

I think, I’m out of The Void (don’t know if it’s related to Stage 3 of re-opening after the pandemic, but if it’s not, it’s a heck of a coincidence) – and I’m starting to want things. Not tangible things, because I haven’t gotten off my high horse of the Kondo philosophy and mindfulness and (sadly necessarily) tight budgeting. I want readers. I want a readership. I want to be paid a bit for my writing, but I’m going to be healthy about it. I’ll set goals, and work towards them, and I’ll learnt on my failures. I didn’t say it right. I don’t want things. I want EXPERIENCES. I want to see people comment, and laugh at my stories, and worry for the protagonists, and feel relieved when it’s finally their HEA time. And I want to enjoy the time I spend on my computer, with my pink desktop background, in my pink shirt (it’s almost always pink. It’s pink right now.) I want to record YouTube videos and not say anything too important in them. I want to connect.

Hope you do too, because there will be videos and polls. And new stories. Nothing heavy, just something… pink. Hope you stick around! If it’s your cup of Earl grey, of course.

Love you all. I truly do.

Katya xx

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!

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

Hammer Up! is Up

Come to Amazon Kindle Scout and vote for my story Hammer Up!

VOTE HERE!!!

Summary: To win the right to choose her husband, Aphrodite has to endure ten days in the company of Hephaestus, the fallen god of smithery. Except, everything about Heph freaks her out: he wears dirty clothes; he limps; his sacred animal is an ass. Meanwhile, he thinks she’s a slag, and nothing but the means to an end.

Do you want to learn the Greek myths the hot way? Surprisingly accurate mythology, Cockney speaking gods, and frisky erotica are mixed in this story full of humour and romance.

After 30 days, if the book gets published, you get a FREE copy!