What Am I Worth?

“They say if I care about myself

I’ll pay for this product, that gym membership

work hard and burn my candle at both ends to get ahead

oh, and don’t forget my beauty sleep because YOLO!

You. Only. Live. Once.

Is that living?

Same pattern, day after day –

Go to school, get a job, get married, have kids – here’s a box

fit yourself into it and don’t forget to be yourself.

My. Self.

Who am I?

Mother, Wife, Lover, Friend, Performer, personality without end…

Spiritually Stuck.

Move, Breathe, Heave something so I can feel deeper…

They ask: What do you do?’

How do you put a price on priceless work.

So I devalue myself because I don’t know what I’m worth.”

 

Full version of the new spoken word piece on YouTube.

 

Spirit of Faith

What is your choice in a time of need?

Fear-based blame, anger or greed?

Or do you choose Love and truly believe in

the higher power you hold in your Heart within?

Do you even know which path you choose?

When faced with decisions what is it ego is afraid to lose?

Do you understand the contrast of fear-fuelled action,

and true Heart-centred Spirit attraction?

In those times when all seems lost,

fear-filled action is a greater cost,

to your body, soul, mind, and Heart

for they are all one and not apart,

In any situation, two choices are clear,

Which will you choose – Love or Fear?

Peace is the hope of your every distress,

Hope is the gift for your happiness,

Hope shines a path toward the Light,

Where you’ll find your Faith to hold tight,

Our lives are stories without an end,

Faith travels with us through all twists and bends,

Walking with us through the unknown,

and in our Heart we create our home.

 

~Kellie Kamryn, (c) 2018

 

 

A Novel Creation – Beta-readers, Critique Partners and more!

It’s important as an author to have fresh pairs of eyes look over your work once it’s completed. Other people see things you might miss, even though as authors we can be the most critical of our work. When I’m re-writing a book for instance, I have someone beta-read for me to make sure I’m not missing plot points, or to make sure I don’t have parts of the story that should have been deleted still in there!

Beta-readers are important because these are people you trust that are fans of the genre you write. They will be able to tell you what they liked, what they felt fell flat in your book, and give you good suggestions because they read so many books in the genre. If you don’t know any readers of your genre, I’m sure you know someone who loves books. An avid reader will be able to do the same because they know what makes a good story flow for them while they’re reading.

A critique partner differs from a beta-reader in that your critique partner is usually another author you trust to read your work – someone you know will give you good advice on plot points, editing, character development etc.

When I joined a writer’s organization, I met a lot of great authors at a conference and some of them became my critique partners for a time. Now that I’ve been published for a few years, I use beta-readers more often than critique partners, mostly due to the fact that I’m not a new author anymore, my confidence at being able to write a good story has increased, and I have great editors I work with on a regular basis with my publishing house. Nowadays, I want to know if a reader feels anything is missing for them, and I take their feedback and feel out how or if I want to change anything.

I get asked a lot to critique people’s work, and unfortunately these days my answer is ‘no’ for the simple fact that my writing schedule is busy. I do critique samples when I host workshops. My advice to authors is to join groups in-person or online. Be open to constructive feedback.  It’s difficult to have someone be critical of your work, but if you’re serious about being good at what you do, you need to be able to hear what others have to say about what you’ve written. Be wary of people who tear down your work. There is a difference in constructive feedback and picking apart everything you’ve done.

I recall the first time I hired an editor to edit one of the first books I’d ever written. It came back with so many red track-changes that at first I cried! Then I saw what she’d done, and I knew I could learn. I encourage everyone to love what you do, but step back and let others help you make your manuscript shine. Be open to how others view your work because there is so much to learn, and another perspective gives you a fresh view of what you’ve done. You do not have to always agree with a beta-reader or critique partner, but more often than not, if these people care about you, they will want you to become better.

Happy Writing!

~Kellie

**Please subscribe to my Youtube channel to keep up to date on the latest performances, writing tips and more!

 

 

Blogging and Youtube series for authors!

A new series here on my blog and on my Youtube channel will be for authors who are new to writing or want to learn more about certain aspects of the publishing world. Topics will range from dealing with “writers block” to spamming, finding critique partners/beta readers and more! In the near future, I’ll have my writing workshop A Novel Creation up as well. Subscribe to my blog and Youtube channel so you won’t miss out!

 

Q&A with Kellie: When do I find time to write?

When do I find time to write? 

This is a short post to go with the short video! I find time to write whenever I can. It might be a half hour here or an hour there. If possible, I try to write every day. I also give myself permission to have a break now and again if I’m tired. I can’t do everything all the time or I will get burnt out. If you are an aspiring writer, all it takes is minutes a day. Set goals for yourself to reach a certain word count on the piece you’re working on. A little every day will go a long way. Find writers groups to join, or organizations to help you with information you might need. If it is important to you, find a way to practice as well as make your dream a reality.

Short and sweet! More books coming from me in the next few months, so if you haven’t, check the books page to see what I’ve got available now, or eXtasy Books site.

Video:

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Writing Workshop in Winnipeg!

 


Begin the new year by changing the story of your life by learning to write the novel in your heart!
**Please note this is a THREE workshop series. Participants may register for all or for the workshop(s) of their choosing. A discount applies when registering for all three. These workshops are for beginners or more experienced authors, fiction or non-fiction.

INVESTMENT: $40 for 1 workshop
$110 for all 3 workshops
Payment may be made by eTransfer, PayPal, cash or cheque. To register, please email or call Kellie: kjkamryn@gmail.com or 204-996-0440.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Workshops tend to fill quickly and are capped at 15 participants. A $20 deposit for one workshop, or a $45 deposit if registering for two or more will be required to hold your spot. Deposits are refundable only in case of emergency.

LOCATION: 1016 Marion St. Winnipeg, MB (Back addition with the Ancient Design sign in the window)

DATES & DESCRIPTIONS:

Saturday, February 11, 2017 – 10:30am-12:30pm

WHAT IF?
Stuck on a plot point? Experiencing writer’s block? Have a great idea, but not sure how to begin? Author’s in all stages of their writing ask me how I overcome these obstacles all the time. In this workshop we will focus on discovering the blocks to our creative process, and how to develop our process in order to keep creativity flowing even when our process changes over time. Participants examine the question: What IF? And learn how to apply it to their storytelling to begin an outline for their first short story or novel.

Saturday, February 18, 2017 – 10:30am-12:30pm

SEVEN POINTS TO PROPEL YOUR WORDS INTO CREATION
Participants create or strengthen an existing outline of a short story or novel using seven plot points. Discover how this simple outline tool can be used to plot a novel or short story, write a synopsis, and ensure you’ve got everything you need to bring your story to life, as well as pitch it to an agent or publisher. Participants will leave the workshop with a working outline of their book.

Saturday, February 25, 2017 – 10:30am-12:30pm

POLISH ‘TIL IT SHINES!
In this workshop, authors will develop their editing toolbox, learn how to use the five senses to enhance their story scenes, and discuss publishing options for their finished product. Authors are encouraged to bring the first two pages of their book to begin the editing process. Discussion on the publishing process will continue, and we will focus on what to do once you’ve polished your manuscript.

Visit the Facebook Events page for updates and postings! Hope to see you there!

New Year – New Happenings!!

As the New Year approaches, I wanted update everyone on the goings-on in my publishing life, and other exciting news!

FIRST – I received a publishing contract from Extasy Books for an erotic comedy series – THE HARDER’S. I will be glad to reach a wider audience with this series and all the stories have been revamped, so very excited about this. I will keep everyone updated on release dates and covers!img-man-reading

SECOND – I have always dreamed of combining my gymnastics talents with my newfound passion of martial arts and with Ancient Design, along with my dear friend and teaching partner, Kelly​ Whelan-Enns, our school is taking off with Women’s Self defence classses, our Academie Jacques Levinet training, and kids kung fu and tumbling classes. I’m also teaching gymnastics at Panthers Gym club here where I live and I love it!

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(photo taken at Straight to the Point Acupuncture in Winnipeg, Manitoba)

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THIRD – here’s an excerpt from Sins of the Father, book 3 in the Sin City series. Please remember: this excerpt is UNEDITED!! This is another hot BDSM erotic romance. This will be the final book for that series, and if you visit my website, you can read excerpts, and check out buy links for the first two on the Books page. I’m working hard to get this book out for the New Year, so stay tuned!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! WISHING YOU ALL THE BEST FOR 2016!!!

EXCERPT:
“I know.” He cuddled her close to him once more. She allowed him to pull her close, even though her body remained rigid. “It’s a gift I treasure.”
“Then what do you need from me?” she asked, her voice soft.
He considered for a moment before speaking. “To listen. To consider that once this is over, we continue a personal relationship.”
“I see.”
Silence descended, and he waited for her to speak. Long moments passed.
“There’s just one problem.” Her voice sounded sad when she spoke.
He combed back some of her hair, and placed a kiss to the top of her head. “And what’s that?”
“You’ve rescued me. I don’t want a white knight. I never have. I’ve prided myself on being able to take care of myself. How do I ever accept that you swept in and saved me when I couldn’t save myself?” Sobs began to wrack her body again.
Perplexed, Saul held her close, allowing her to cry again. They certainly held differing perspectives on the current situation. While he viewed her with an inner strength he’d seen in few people, she saw herself as weak because she’d gotten in trouble and hadn’t known how to ask for help. While there were many things he could give to her, she had to figure this one out on her own.
When her sobs subsided, he held her away from him, thumbs brushing away her tears. He opened his mouth to speak, but she cut him off. “No,” she sobbed. “You need to understand. I have been drawn to you since the night we met. I didn’t want to be. Yes, it’s part me being stubborn, but it’s also a matter of me knowing I can take care of myself. Da Silva wanted to hurt me, I ran away because I didn’t know who to turn to or what to do. Then you showed up and rescued me. How will I ever feel safe on my own again?” He tried to speak again, but she interrupted him, continuing to rant. “I care for you, Saul. I have trusted you to be my Sir under the circumstances. What if something happens to you at work? What if you have to go away? I don’t like being vulnerable like this. I don’t want to lo—” She stopped short at her own revelation, and struggled to get away from him.
“You don’t want to feel love because you’re afraid it’s not real.”
Fear shone in her eyes. “What if it’s not?”
He held her firm, and stared directly into her eyes. “Maybe it’s a matter of your perspective.”
“What are you talking about?” Desperation tinged her voice.
“You fled because you didn’t know who to turn to, or who to trust, but that’s not true. You trusted your parents and went to them. When I arrived, you chose to trust me. You didn’t expect me to save you. You made a choice, Denise.” He observed her swallow hard as she allowed his words to sink in. He continued, “You chose to ask me to fulfill your needs. You chose to talk to me about everything. Some of the circumstances happened without your consent, but you have made your own choices on what to do about it. Not everything has been out of your control. Loving me isn’t—it’s a choice.”
One corner of her mouth twitched up in a sad, half-smile. “Love doesn’t always feel like a choice. It kind of hits you right in the heart when you least expect it.”
His smile widened. “True. I’ll give you that.” He caressed her cheeks with his thumbs. “But it is a choice on what we want to do with the love we feel for someone.”
She closed her eyes, her voice barely audible when she spoke. “I really don’t want to run away.”
“Me either.”
Opening her eyes, she studied his features, her fingers playing with his goatee again. “So, what do we do?”
He drew in a fortifying breath. There’d be no guarantee it would work, but like anything in life, certain risks were worth taking. “I have an idea, but I can’t guarantee you’ll like it.”
Her jaw set in determination. “Let’s hear it.”

(c)2015 December Kellie Kamryn

The Art of Imperfection

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Once upon a time, I was a competitive gymnast…

These days my inner gymnast is disguised as a mom of four, author, narrator, and all round good person. I can still perform cartwheels, handstands, round offs, flips on trampoline, and the splits, which make the guys at the training gym groan. (Mostly because I think they have to learn something they find difficult that I learned a long time ago. Or perhaps they’re thinking that whoever the man sleeping in my bed is—he’s a lucky bastard. And really, most nights it’s my youngest son whom has woken from a nightmare, so no hanky panky there. But I digress…)

During a conversation with a friend, I told him that I wasn’t interested in achieving physical perfection. He said I balked at the very idea because of the experiences I had as a gymnast. And you know what? He was right.

While I never developed an eating disorder as some of my comrades did, I had experiences that shaped the way I negatively saw my body, and exercise in general. When I was thirteen, a coach told me and my parents that I needed to grow my hair long and get contact lenses so I would look “pretty” and this would help boost my career as a gymnast. Notice how none of this had anything to do with my physical abilities or gymnastic talent. I received the message that in order to be successful, I had to be beautiful, and clearly, according to others, I did not measure up. I judged myself by the standards of others, and found myself lacking.

At the age of thirteen – well see picture above.  In the span of a year, I transformed myself by growing my hair long, and getting rid of the glasses. And it worked. Suddenly, I had all sorts of validation from friends, to fellow gymnasts, coaches, and boys at school. I was beautiful, therefore, I would be successful. Right?

Fast forward a few years to when my career ended. I didn’t make the Olympic team as most thought I might, even though I worked hard. Plagued with injuries, I wondered if I’d even aspired to that.  So many wanted me to “make it”, I lost sight of what I wanted. At that point, I felt I’d let down everyone in my life who had tried to make that dream a reality. Talk about carrying guilt.

In university, most of my gymnast friends became fitness competitors, and some girls joined our ranks because they wanted to be like the “beautiful gymnastics girls.” I kind of feel sorry for the image we portrayed, as if by being “one of us” you were automatically cool. An image is just that—a fantasy we portray to the world because our inner world doesn’t measure up. And that’s how I felt for many years.

Upon graduation, you’d think that with my physical education and kinesiology background, and my overachieving ways, I would once again strive to be the epitome of physical perfection. The fact now I have cover models and fitness industry professionals for friends, perhaps I should strive to achieve the outward appearance of physical fitness I feel modern society is obsessed with. To be honest, I used to. After the birth of my first and second children, I did manage to get back to a good weight for me. I worked out hard and ate right. When I found out I was pregnant with our third, while elated at the news, a part of me was upset that I would have to go through this all again, only to achieve my goal weight afterward. Talk about pressure, guilt, and anxiety all rolled into what should have been a beautiful experience. (This is covered in another article.)

After being diagnosed with post-partum depression at the same time as being told I was pregnant with my fourth child, I decided to give up the quest for physical perfection. After a life time of seeking validation outside of myself, I chose to go inward and love myself exactly the way I was.

After the birth of my son, I stopped exercising as if I was exorcising the Devil himself from my body. I chose to start loving every inch of me just the way it was, even though according to my doctor, I was thirty pounds overweight. I carried that weight for a reason. I was insecure, I wanted people to love me, I was anxious, and most importantly—I didn’t love myself.

Over time and with emotional healing, I learned to love me—every stretch-marked inch, both lopsided small breasts, my great calves and muscular shoulders, my soft belly my youngest calls my “squishy”, the roll of skin left over from the C-section, the near-sightedness of my green-hazel eyes, my smile, cute feet, jiggly thighs, curvy hips, and flat butt.

This isn’t to say I didn’t exercise at all. Over the past few years, instead of being obsessed with physical perfection, I learned to listen to myself. I found exercises that were gentle yet effective, I took up martial arts, I stretch every day, and I cut out all sugar from my diet for a few months. I learned that I didn’t have to kill myself through exercise to be healthy, and that physical perfection doesn’t mean you’re healthy in mind, body or spirit. And if loving myself means that I eat better, exercise more, and I happen to achieve what the outside world deems as a “nice body”, then so be it. A “perfect body” isn’t something I’m striving for. Being healthy is.

Once I stopped seeking validation for myself from other people, I learned to love ME. In fact, I like that my body is not “perfect”. From time to time, I put on a bit of weight, but this is usually at a time in my life when I’m feeling insecure or anxious about something. I know that with time, and when I go inside to discover the source of my insecurity, the weight will drop when I no longer need my “squishy armor” of protection.

Earlier this year, I was asked to “play up the pretty” in order to sell my books. I had mixed feelings on this because I want readers to read my material because they like it, not because of the way I look. I realize that a “package” sells a product, which is obvious from companies who mass market products from supplements, exercise equipment, teeth whitening agents, to romance books. Sexy to me is a state of mind, not necessarily what I−or anyone else−look like on the outside. Sexy is an attitude. While I choose to post nice pictures of myself for covers and social media, I also portray the real “me” as much as possible in my articles, and through what I post in public forums.

I told this story to my oldest daughter who is now sixteen. I want her to love herself for who she is, not for what others think she does or doesn’t look like. I want the world to love her as she is, and that will only happen if she loves herself first. Society in general likes to tell us that if only we did this, or used that, we too could be successful and loved and beautiful! And I’m here to tell you that you already are. Every inch of you. But don’t take my word for it—discover it for yourself, and reach what I call a healthy state of imperfection.

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White Knight

One day she stared into the mirror and said,

“There’s a hole in me I want someone to fill.

I am lonely and don’t want to be alone.

I want someone to give me everything I need!

I want to be rescued!”

As the echo of her cry died down,

the face in the mirror stared back at her for a moment;

a pregnant pause,

and then —

“I will be your white knight,

I will rescue you and we can ride off into the sunset.”

Skeptical, her brow furrowed, taken aback at the offer

so easily proffered.

The reflection continued,

“I promise to love you when no one else does,

I will fill the holes and cracks in your soul,

and teach you that being alone

doesn’t mean you ever have to be lonely.

What do you say?”

A blink, tears fall

a slow nod of her head to show her acceptance…

The face in the mirror smiled,

reached out a hand,

then placed it over her heart.

“Then let’s begin.”

(c)Kellie Kamryn, 2014

Pieces

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Old patterns and emotions shatter

scattered pieces

reflect back fragments of self

no order

chaos

confusion

darkness envelopes…

Dawn’s rays bounce off the glass

a new puzzle emerges

solvable

I sift through the wreckage

creating new structure

a masterpiece in the making