Inspiration/plotting

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Where do you draw inspiration from when you write?

For me, story ideas can happen literally anywhere, when I’m doing chores, watching t.v., reading, daydreaming, any time of the day or not. Some are fleeting, just a wisp of a story that is all to soon gone. Other times, it’s a fully fleshed out story that just needs me to put pen to paper.

So how do my ideas become stories? I have a rather lackadaisical approach to it, honestly.

Wisps

These are just pleasant little treats that I get throughout any given day. A snippet of a story about someone in a grocery story or another driver on the road. What the cat was thinking about while it attacked the other cat. They are as fleeting as soap bubbles and disappear as quickly as they appear.

Odds bobs

These are stories that are clearly part of a larger story. However, what larger story it is, I have no idea. The scene or chapter is fully there, but there is no context for the rest of the story. Why are these characters there, where do they go from here, what even brought this group together and why is this scene so important? I don’t have answers to any of these question. I will usually write this portion and tuck it away. Sometimes the rest of the story emerges, sometimes it doesn’t. If I’m stuck on my WIP (or procrastinating, I hate editing) I can peek at these and see if anything gets triggered.

Story seeds

Sometimes I have ideas bouncing around in my head for several days before I get around to writing them. This allows me to get the flavor of the story, if you will, and decide whether or not I want to actually write it. If an idea has stayed around for a few days, I will jot down the main points, character name, what they’re doing, the top few points in the story. If the story goes away at this point, the story is just a seed and needs to grow a bit more before it becomes a story in full bloom.

Stories

After jotting down the idea, if the story doesn’t go away, then it’s ready to be written. The characters are developed and ready to talk to me. I like to think of myself as someone taking dictation as the characters narrate their stories to me. When I sit down to write, I don’t have things entirely mapped out, as a matter of fact, outline hinders my creative process. When I sit down, I know who the characters are, the general direction I want the story to go, and three or four milestone or anchor moments. What do I mean by that? These are parts that are unchangeable parts of the story. These have to happen in order for the story to happen. They cannot be changed, they cannot be moved, or writer’s block will happen and I’ll have to retrace to see where I tried to force the characters to do something so out of character that they shut the entire production down. The rest of the story flows around these points and I learn new things about my characters all the time. For example, I didn’t know that the main male character in my series had siblings until book three. FYI, neither Aletta nor I were happy about him omitting that fact.

Plot Bunnies

These are the stories that are just distractions. Imagine a toddler hopped up on sugar running the household. That’s what these are, they detract from the main story and have no point. They are hard to spot, sometimes I can be writing what seems like a logical part of the story only to find that I’ve followed a plot bunny and written myself into a dead end. While not totally useless, they can give you ideas that you might not have considered before layering new depths into the story, they are very disruptive to flow and pacing.

So how do you get story ideas?

New Farm Member

If you follow my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/theseekerfiles/ or my twitter https://twitter.com/TheSeekerFiles, you’ll know that I promised to tell you more about my road trip today to get our newest herd member.

Meet Hershey

Here at the Meadowlarks & Morninglories Farm, we are moving more into raising mini nubians. Nubian’s originated in England and although they are primarily a dairy breed, can also be used as meat goats. Now as anyone who has ever had the pleasure of owning/raising goats can tell you, goats can be quite stubborn and cantankerous. They have their sweet moments, don’t get me wrong, but when their mind is set on something, oftentimes their owners get taken along for a ride.

This is where mini nubians come into play. Over the past decade roughly, breeders have been working on breeding nubians smaller while still maintaining their standards as a dairy goat. This makes them ideal for people who love goats but don’t necessarily have the strength to deal with a full sized goat. Not to mention, they are adorable! Some of the babies are only about knee height.

Right now, we are working on building our herd and transitioning from full sized nubians to mini nubians. To this point, we’ve brought in two smaller bucks and several smaller does. This is where Hershey comes in.

Hershey is what is known as a wether. All that means is that he is a fixed male goat. Wethers primary use is for either meat or companionship. Since they are fixed, they can safely stay with does without the risk of breeding them. Also, since they are larger than the does, they can defend them better against threats. Hershey was chosen for his good personality and sweet disposition and should be a great addition to the herd.

However, it did take a bit to get him home to us. He was finally big enough to come home with us, so today we set forth to get him. It was a 2 1/2 hour drive get him from the farm where he was born. It was a pretty drive and my mom and I had a great time going down there through some of the prettiest countryside. However, the ride back home seemed a bit longer, as he’d never been separated from his herd before and sang the song of his people on and off searching for them. However, we made it home without any incidents, so I’m calling that a win.

We put him in with the bucks at this point (the does are in the pen next to them) just until the herd gets used to each other. Then we’ll separate off the youngest does that we don’t intend to breed this year and put him in a pen with them.

Left to right: Pockets, Duke (Hershey’s uncle), and Hershey

In addition to the goats, there was Monkey a.k.a. Munca. She climbed the kennel bars we had her in as a kitten, thus the name. She oversees the running of the farm and takes her job very seriously.

Are you sure he’s ok?

So a long road trip but totally worth it. He’s settling in nicely (it will take a couple of days for him to fully settle) and is going to make an excellent addition to our herd.

So what new animals have you added to your family or farm lately?

Happy Friday!

Many Hats

Human beings are complex creatures. We are rarely ever just one thing, but change our roles throughout the day as needed. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am a writer and I’ve been writing for so long now that I no longer remember when I began writing. But that’s not all I am. So here’s a peek at a few of the other hats that I wear.

Ninja

In December 2016, I started looking for a dojo that taught Tai Chi so I could get back into shape. I live in a rural area, so there’s a lot of driving involved and add in a desk job and I wasn’t anywhere near where I wanted to be physically. The Tai Chi place that I found was highly questionable in their answers to my inquiries, so I decided to look elsewhere. I found my current dojo, which teaches International Kenpo Karate Jiu-jitsu, a form of American Kenpo. I paid for sixth months up front because I knew that if I didn’t pay, I would go. I’m still there 2 1/2 years later and loving every minute of it. I go for my brown belt next month (eek) and my dream is to eventually open my own dojo.

Farm Girl

We live on a 23 acre farm in rural Colorado. It’s a beautiful place and I feel so blessed to be able to see all the stars at night. We have quite the motley crew of animals. We have nine goats and will be picking up a tenth on Friday (I’ll do a special post about all of the goats and the new one on Friday.) All but two are mini nubians. And let me tell you, mini nubians are soooo adorable. They’re only about knee height, so tiny. They’re like the fun size of goats. We also have a small flock (6) chickens that keep us in fresh eggs. Let me tell you, you have not lived until you’ve tasted a fresh free range egg. Then we have 5 midget white turkeys. Sigh, what to say. I now understand why calling someone a turkey is an insult. They are not the brightest birds, but they’re great grasshopper control. We also have 4 dogs and 8 cats, which I’ll talk about more in a different post, as I could go on about them all day.

Hobbyist

I have several hobbies that I like to pursue in my free time. I am a voracious reader, I basically read everything I can get my hands on, although I have to draw the line at horror and books with too much gore. I have a very vivid imagination and I like to be able to sleep, lol. I also do needle arts, knitting, crocheting, embroidery, and sewing, although all by hand. The sewing machine and I do not get along. It is currently sewing machine 2, Katie 0. I haven’t decided if there will be a round three. I also love the outdoors and love to go hiking and swimming. I do not like skiing or snowboarding. I know that this is strange for a Colorado native to say, but it’s true. Honestly, the idea of strapping two sticks to your feet and going down an icy, rocky mountain at high speeds or strapping two feet to one stick and going sideways down said mountain, yeah, my self preservation just nopes out. Still thinking about trying cross country skiing though.

Everything Else

And that doesn’t even begin to cover the day to day things that everyone has to do, grocery shopping, meals, laundry, all the day to day minutiae that we do.

You

So what hats do you wear? I’d love to hear all about your adventures and the things that you do day to day 🙂

Happy Wednesday

Islands

The digital age is an amazing thing. Anything you want to learn or know is literally at your fingertips. Waiting is a thing of the past, you can get information and news in moments and most items can be delivered in just a few days. We are no longer local, we are global!

But on the other hand, there are some distinct downsides to this global world. I am free to write behind the safety of a computer screen (This was great when I was younger, because I was terribly shy), but others feel safe to tear me down. We also lose a big chunk of our communication ability. Our brains are so incredibly complex, that we receive and process so many signals that we aren’t even aware of. Body language, vocal intonation, time, mood, etc. But cutting these out, we lose quite a bit of how we receive information.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love all the advantages that technology has afforded us. But I don’t want to sugar coat it either. We are more alone now that we are more connected than ever. We have lost our human connection in favor of being constantly plugged in. And this has led to an array of other problems. For me, it has increased my stress exponentially as I try to keep pace with this fast moving world and to wear all the hats associated with Indie Publishing.

The truth is, I don’t know how to do all of the things that are necessary to publish successfully. Of the things that I do know, I am probably doing it wrong at least half the time. But we’ve been trained that failure is weakness, to cover it up and hide it away. And I refuse to live by these rules anymore.

Yes, I fail horribly some days. Most days, I have no idea what I’m doing. But you know what, each failure has made me stronger and helped me to learn. And there are people out there who are rocking the things that I’m failing. So I think it’s time to start reinstating the human connection, to let people know that yes I am human and imperfect, but I’m pretty fun to know and who knows, I might know something that will help you on your journey.

So let me know what you think about the digital age and the human connectedness/disconnect. Share something that you’re struggling with and something that you are totally rocking. Let’s give ourselves permission to be human and real again 🙂

Happy Monday

Hardships on the Journey

Hey Everyone,

So it’s Wednesday, the middle of the week. Starting with my birthday, I decided to turn my life around and live my life boldly with no apologies. Part of this process is taking care of my health. I mean, we could all take better care of ourselves, right?

For me, this meant getting back onto my supplement routine and to give up caffeine. Just so you know, I have nothing against caffeine, but I don’t drink coffee. It takes too much sugar and cream to make it taste good to me for it to be worth drinking. Which brings me back to giving up caffeine. I’m giving up soda simply because there is too much sugar in it to be healthy for the lifestyle I want to live. Add to that the fact that I can drink a 2 liter daily, and well, I have a soda addiction.

So I gave up soda cold turkey on Monday. It’s Wednesday and my head feels like it’s going to explode. I know that if I gut through this, today will be the worst and I will feel much better. But today? Today I am questioning everything. Why do I do this to myself? Why do I turn to junk food for comfort? What would one little cup of soda hurt? It couldn’t possibly hurt anything.

That’s not the truth though. It would be a step on a slippery slope and before I know it, I would be back into the same routine, using the soda to feel human, even though I didn’t feel great on it, I would be functional. Don’t get me wrong, soda tastes delicious, but the pound here and there quietly sneaking on and the energy crashes is not something that I am willing to accept anymore. I deserve to have good health, to have natural energy and a slim frame (Still working on the last one, lol). I just have to keep reminding myself that nothing good happens without effort and a little pain now will save me a lot of pain and heartbreak (and most likely hospital bills) down the road.

So how can I take this struggle and turn it into a triumph? Well, if I persevere, my health will improve and I will hopefully be able to clear up some of my brain fog. I know that my struggle is not unique, so I’ll be able to relate better with others that are going through this. And, as a bonus, I’ll be able to use this in my writing. When I write, I want my characters to feel so real that my readers feel like they could meet them walking down the street. So I can take this and use it in a story somewhere. For example, a character signs up to guard a foreign caravan and they don’t drink coffee, so they have to deal with the withdrawal while staying alert. Or maybe it’s a hostage situation, how do you deal with all the stress of such a situation while your head feels like its about to explode? How does it change depending on whether you are the hostage or the hostage taker?

So what struggles are you dealing with? What battles are you or your characters going through? Let me know, I’m really curious to find out 🙂

Happy Wednesday!

Where to Start?

I should’ve brought a map

So it’s Monday morning again, new week, new start. Ah, sometimes I am ever the optimist. What the situation truly is? It’s not even seven a.m. yet and I am most decidedly not a morning person. However, I made myself a promise that I was going to get up and get going, that I am going to follow through on all of my plans. I am sitting on my bed and I have a ginger kitty distracting me in my lap, begging for attention and cuddles while I try to concentrate. Forget typing, lol.

But I made myself a promise and I’m going to keep it. So I am up and I can somehow work around the needy feline (practice makes perfect, lol). However, I also promised you guys honesty. When I booted up my computer this morning and started running through my to-do list, I almost had a panic attack. I have so much to do, where do I even start?

Do I start by getting my cover art redone with my real name? But I want to make some changes to the books, some parts that I skimmed over before that I want to expound on, which will change the thickness of the book which in turn will change the dimensions of the art that I need.

So I should start with writing. After all, that’s what’s holding up the cover art and republication. That has it’s own set of difficulties. I really need to get editing my third book (I hate editing. I try to liken it to pruning a plant to make it healthier and more beautiful, but seriously, editing is one of the most painful processes for me). People have been really patient while waiting for me to get the third book out. But am I doing them a disservice by having substandard earlier editions out there? And what about book 4? I don’t want to have people wait forever for book 4 to come out, now that I’m getting my act together. Ok. Deep breath. Let’s put it aside for a minute and come back when I’m a little more awake and have my thoughts in better order.

Let’s start with social media. After all, if no one knows about my books, it doesn’t matter if they are great or not, because no one will be reading them. Oh yeah, I am still in the process of converting them over from Kat Seaholm. That’s all right, this I can do. Oh, I need to know my password? I’m sure I wrote it down…. somewhere. Ok, good. Don’t know what I was thinking when I made that password but I can post now. But what to post? I don’t want to come across as needy or overly aggressive. I want to be funny, but not flippant. And definitely NO politics. The world is crazy enough, I just want to make the world a better place, to give people a break from all the crazy.

And thus the hamster wheel of my crazy brain goes around and around. I will eventually find a way to break it into manageable chunks and find a way to move forward through the fear. Although at times I wish for a clear road map, I find so many unexpected gems on the journey that I could’ve never possible anticipated.

So what is going on in your life this week? What big goals/dreams are you trying to accomplish? And what do you do when you get overwhelmed by your to-do list?

Happy Monday Everyone!

Changes – This is Me

You may have noticed that I’ve recently changed a few things about my blog lately after being absent for quite a while. Life, as always, is crazy, but I want to share why I’ve decided to make these changes. Let me tell you about me.

I don’t remember learning how to read, it’s just something that has been part of me for as long as I can remember. Books have been such a large part of my life, they make up the core of who I am. I have been writing nearly as long. I dictated my first stories to my mother who kindly wrote them for me and then moved on to writing them myself. There was nothing that I enjoyed more than getting lost in a good book or creating a story.

When I was fifteen, I finished my first novel. With all the brash enthusiasm of teenagers, I sent my book off into the world to be published. I made the mistake of choosing Tate Publishers to send my book to, a company that I later found out did not have a great reputation. After waiting months to hear back and being told repeatedly that everything looked good, I received an email saying that they could publish my book….. for four thousand dollars. I was crushed, naturally, for what teenager has 4k just lying around. Also, at no point was any discussion of payment brought up, so I felt blindsided and betrayed. Looking back now, I know that this was a rather naive way of viewing the world, but it set off events that changed my life for the next fifteen years.

After receiving this email, I swore that I would never show anyone my writing ever again. Again, teenagers are so dramatic! And I was a terribly shy teenager so having summoned the courage to share my writing, this made it’s rejection all the more painful. (I think I had some wild idea of becoming the next J. K. Rowling or Christopher Paolini, an overnight sensation with people begging to read my books. I don’t know, time has passed since then.) From that day forward, I never shared my writing with anyone, not even my family, although thankfully I never stopped writing.

Years passed and I finished high school and then college, before moving into the workforce, landing my dream job as a librarian. Throughout this time, people had told my that my writing was great, although I never showed them the stories that I wrote, just college and workplace assignments. Office politics happened and I ended up quitting my job as a librarian and becoming a full time essential oil wellness advocate for doTERRA essential oils. This allowed me to travel to Guatemala and Nepal as well as meet some incredible people. I know, you’re wondering why I’m telling you this, but it’ll become relevant later, I promise.

Two years ago, in September 2017, I got fed up with living my life in fear. I challenged myself to write a mystery and publish it in time for Halloween. Imagine my surprise when I sat down to write the mystery and a six book series popped into my head! And thus, The Seeker Files were born. I did manage to write the first novel in a month and publish it, but I was soooooo burnt out, lol. Since then, I’ve written and published the second book and recently finished writing the third book in the series. (It is now in the editing stages, which I admit takes a bit longer. Editing is not in my wheelhouse, lol). All of this was done under the name Kat Seaholm

Fast forward to May of this year. I am still with doTERRA essential oils and right now, the company is really focused on something called Gallup or Clifton Strengths. If you don’t know what that is, check it out, it is totally amazing and life changing! https://www.gallupstrengthscenter.com/

I ended up taking the full 34 strengths test and it was life changing for me. It allowed me to see that there was nothing broken or wrong with me, that I was simply being ME. By learning about these strengths and how to use them properly instead of holding me back, it was life changing. It was like finally being able to breathe deeply after holding my breath for all of my life. It give me permission to be me fully, without shame or regret. And this is when I realized, that even though I had published my book, I was still living in fear. I was afraid to put myself out there, fully and totally, was hiding behind a pen name using a plethora of excuses as to why it was a good idea or why people would hate me. And I’m tired of it. So I’m currently working on rebranding everything under my real name.

So goodbye Kat Seaholm. You were good to me, you helped me get past my initial fears and to actually get my work out there. But it’s time to let you go and to step boldly out so people can get to know the real me, with all my quirkiness and rough edges.

Hello! I want to invite you to get to know me, the real me. My name is Katie Holmburg. My mother loves Irish names, so my name originally was going to be Kathleen, but as my middle name is Colleen (I’m the third generation to have Colleen as a middle name and love it), it was decided that Kathleen Colleen was too many een’s so I ended up with Katherine instead. But I am and always will be a Katie, not a Kathy or a Kate or even Kat, but simply Katie.

I turn 30 tomorrow. I know that this is a big milestone for a lot of people, but I am so grateful to be turning 30. I feel like I am just beginning to hit my stride in life, to figure out who I really am.

I am happily single and enjoying life. I have waaaaay too many cats (8) but wouldn’t get rid of a single one. I am about a year away from getting my black belt in International Kenpo Karate Jiu-Jitsu or IKKJ and love being a martial artist. My mom doesn’t understand how it is that her only daughter is the one who took up martial arts or writes murder mysteries instead of one of her three boys, but she loves me anyway.

I love to write and I love to read, but I hate grammar and it hates me back. I still have the first novel I wrote, but it needs a serious overhaul and is NOT a part of The Seeker Files. I’m still figuring out the part of being a writer/publisher/wearer of all hats, but I learn something new everyday. But I know that my characters will always have a story to tell and need someone to tell it, a.k.a. me.

So thank you for being part of my journey so far. And I hope that you continue the journey with me as I continue writing The Seeker Files and discovering Aletta and Lirim’s story. As I discover who I am and share it with the world.

Happy Friday!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEJd2RyGm8Q

This is Me

Daylight Savings – Urgh!

As you may be able to tell, I am not a fan of daylight savings time. It is not good for us physically, emotionally, or mentally. Even though time is a fluid concept, something that humans have come up with to help us navigate this world, it is still vital. Our bodies are both incredibly sturdy and incredibly fragile. Throwing it off it’s rhythms by even an hour leads to weeks of fatigue and diminished performance.

Here’s an article about some health risks associated with Daylight Savings:

https://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/ny-news-health-heart-attack-daylight-savings-time-24-percent-20190311-story.html

So what do you like or dislike about Daylight Savings Time?

Friday – From the Author

I know that I’ve been absent for a while, since last year in fact. I bet that a lot of you thought that I’d fallen off the planet. Truth is, life got crazy busy for a while there. Hopefully now I’ll be able to return more regularly. I’ve missed all of you and look forward to getting reacquainted!

Here’s my jam for the week, what was yours?

Happy Friday!

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