Tag Archives: blogging

Website Makeover and Pen Name

Looks like I will be posting more, which is always a good thing. I checked last time I uploaded new content on my website, and shame on me, but last upload was sometime in 2014. Like I said. Shame.

It’s okay, like good wines, I needed my time to mature. I am also considering writing under a pen name, which I wasn’t interested in when I first started publishing but now it makes sense. I like to separate church and state. So I used a random name generator, and came up with Katarina Lebeau which doesn’t sound too shady. It rolls on the tongue.

The website will take some time to transfer over and get its makeover, but the blog will remain and I will change a few things here and there to bring it up to modern 2018 times. The logo shall remain the same, since it’s my brand.

By the way, the brand can be a little obscure so this shall be explained as well. The Manicheans’ concept was born in 2010 from a very casual conversation I had with a friend, also author, after she read the word from some random “word of the day” site on her phone. Manicheaism is a religion or philosophy based on a supposed primeval conflict between light and darkness. It spread widely in the Roman Empire and in Asia, and survived in eastern Turkestan (Xinjiang) until the 13th century.

Basically, Manicheaism explores the duality within us and the world between light and dark, positive and negative. I liked this idea very much because it represented, and still represents, very basic principles, on which I can build any arch I want. I didn’t think I’d use the Manicheans as my brand as much as I wanted to write (and it’s still a work in progress) a trilogy titled The Manicheans. This is my life project at this point. The books promise to be long, extremely complex and probably will get buried under a thick layer of dust once published, unless used as paper weights, but they will be (at least that’s my intent) very exciting to read.

After years of silence, I think I’m ready to kick ass. I don’t want to speak too soon, and I certainly want to keep building up on this writing every day goal I have, but I think I’m ready now to explore new things.

Before the Manicheans get out, I want to try to finish a novella I started at the end of 2016. It’s sci-fi. My new goal is to publish it this year. Start new. As Katarina Lebeau. And take it from there.

New Stuff (and old train of thoughts)

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So today is a snow day but I still made my way into the City this morning and on my commute, listened to a beautiful song by the (in)famous Ke$ha called “Praying”. When you listen to this song, you can really feel it to your bones she speaks from the heart, and sings with so much emotion. All the hardship she’s been through made her transcend herself. The pain she felt has become a vessel for her inspiration, and you can tell, by listening to the lyrics, that she remained true to herself. There’s no glitz, no glamour, no extra bright lights. It’s raw, it hurts, and it’s beautiful.

This song made me then ponder about my own writing and creative process. I started writing heavily in 2010 while I was going through a shit storm of everything and anything that can make your life hell, and I used this heartache to fuel my stories. My craft was not perfect by all means, but the message went across and many people identified. I used Twitter a lot, built a following and joined a community of writers and like minded creators and felt at home for a while. Then life got better, and my writing lost its spice. I disconnected myself from the community, and continued my writing journey away from Twitter and social media platforms in general.

I deeply believed pain was necessary for me to create anything worthwhile. And it’s not an exaggeration to say many poets and authors were tortured individuals, and they created masterpieces because of their misery. Happiness does not fuel the creative process the same way. I noticed it with my own process, and the stories I crafted and am still in the process of crafting. I, first hand, don’t want to sit down for hours at my computer anymore and write, and edit, and write and edit, but sitting down is not even the issue. My characters and my plots don’t feel the same when my life is good. I don’t need them to save me from myself. Because let me tell you the truth: I lived through my characters more than I lived my own life. I hated my life honestly, so fantasy was a good escape for me at the time. I wouldn’t say it saved me from myself, because I hit my bottom anyway, but it did the trick for a while.

So where am I now with my writing since my life does not suck anymore? Well, I want to write funny stuff. I have ideas about roller derby, and my alter ego Kiki Reynolds and her adventures. I also have my trilogy The Manicheans which has been on the front and back burners for years… Rewritten countless times, it’s way harder to write comedy than dwell on depressing garbage all day long by the way, and I still haven’t found my voice. Probably because my voice is constantly changing. I also don’t want to necessarily write commercial stuff. It’s rough. Writing is an art that lost a bit of its flavor over the years and development of self publishing platforms. Anyone can write. Anyone can publish. Freedom for all, which is wonderful and all at the same time awful for folks who really want to write quality content. You get lost in the masses. Marketing takes all your time too. Social media management becomes a second job. Automated tools to post and repost content are also a handful… See I started writing on a typewriter when I was about nine years old, so moving on to now, I did not consider writing as more than just you write your book, and you publish and that’s it, you move on to your next project. Yeah, I lost my inspiration. I really did, which made me question my entire creative process when I listened to Ke$ha’s song and wondered, do I need pain in my life to be able to write again?

I don’t think I do. I have to get used to creating without a crutch. Because pain was my crutch for so long. I have to really dig deep, sit down (and gosh I hate sitting down so I’ll stand), and draft outlines, character profiles, and plots. Practice can only make me so perfect. I’ll practice. The marketing component, however, just kills me. Thinking about it, I want to pull my hair out. Do I want to write something commercial? No. I don’t. Then I should not expect to find instant gratifying success and sell a thousand copies of my books in a month. I therefore should not worry about the marketing process. Stop projecting all together, girlfriend, and just write!

Now this post reads more like a rant than anything else. I swear I did not mean to rant. I’m not even upset it’s snowing out. I actually enjoy any weather now, and I’m not saying that with any sarcasm. I enjoy being outside. I love feeling one with nature, no matter whether it rains or shines. I find it peaceful. I don’t lose myself in the every day noise anymore. And not losing myself in my own head’s noise anymore either makes me not really care about spending hours marketing my talents and showing the world I can wow you with my words. Yes, I love to write, and I will write because I enjoy it. Period. I don’t need to sell or market, or develop content so that the world can treat me like an influencer. If I influence you, then it will be completely involuntary.

I’m not trying to impress anyone, and this has been the biggest change for me since 2010. I’m not running in this competition for Best Selling Author. I’m sure I will continue working on my works in progress when the creative spirit strikes me spineless. I’m mostly experiencing now. And experiencing joy takes over feeling pain. Just living makes me smile.

So do I have new stuff? No. Am I going to try to put new stuff on this platform? Yes, I’ll try. I always say that, and then remain silent for the rest of the year. But seriously, I’ll try.

I know I already said that. I have to repeat myself sometimes.

 

 

#FF One Lovely Blog Hop – You’ve been nominated! #Hop

Howdie and happy Friday! It appears I have been nominated as a participant of the One Lovely Blog Hop by the wonderful C.L. Schneider (check her book The Crown of Stones here and her blog here). This blog hop is designed to show our readers a more personal side to ourselves. Gosh knows I’m trying to do that every day LOL. I haven’t been on this platform a lot lately, and I apologize, but books don’t write themselves and if I don’t sacrifice at least something, the Manicheans Trilogy will take decades to finish. I promise though, you won’t be disappointed with the final result.

Alright, I’ve been challenged to list seven interesting facts about me. The rules are that I share 7 Lovely Facts about myself, and links to at least 15 blogs that I enjoy reading. If I’ve nominated your blog (see names below) please don’t feel any obligation to join in but, if you do, please link back to the blog of the person who nominated you (that would be me!), share facts about yourself and nominate 15 blogs (or as many as you can).

As Julie Jones would say, here goes nothing:

1) If I was given a choice, be imprisoned for life, and write, or stay free, but don’t ever write again, I’d choose imprisonment. Obviously, I never wanna be given that choice, but freedom of speech to me is more important than freedom of movement. Once you prohibit people from thinking and saying whatever the heck they wanna say, society is doomed. Abuse of power and censorship are death to me. Isn’t it what we fall victims to when terrorists kill because we’ve expressed ourselves? And why should I be afraid of speaking my mind? As long as I’m not inciting riots and violence, I’m free to speak and think whatever I want. That’s what the First Amendment tells me anyway. Now people’s understanding of this fundamental right is a total different ball game. And we have a tendency to take this particular right for granted. Restrain me to a chair, and prevent me from going anywhere, I’m gonna go mad real quick. But tell me I can’t say this, or that, and I might not be as aggressive. Stealth oppression is the worst.

2) I have four cats, but I’m no cat lady. I’m jumping on a lighter subject with this one. First, who determined the number of cats that makes someone a cat lady? Four cats is nothing. And no, I’m not in denial. If I had four turtles, would you call me a turtle lady? (I think this would sound offensive to some people.) Seriously? My house is clean. Doesn’t smell. My cats are cute. Like holiday calendar cute. I work, I shower, and my boyfriend is as much in love with these cats as I am. Therefore, revise your cat lady judgmental statements. So what, you’re jealous I have so many furry pussies to keep me warm at night? Your loss.

3) Unlike a bunch of people out there, I don’t hate Iggy Azalea. Who raised their hand and asked “Who the crap is Iggy Izalea-something spelled weird, whatever that name is?” Yes, I did that too. Thank God for Wikipedia. She’s a white rapper from Sydney, Australia, and she’s pretty popular right now. Some black hip hop artists are just slamming her for stepping into their territory, claiming hip hop is black culture, not white culture, blah blah, bunch of unnecessary drama and bad publicity, that made me like this Iggy chick even more, and these haters even less. The appropriation of anything just doesn’t scream tolerance to me, now does it? As soon as you say “it’s mine”, you sound like a selfish prick. Who made you the owner of anything? As long as you have the talent, and work your ass off for it, freaking take the reins. Drive, speed up under the influence, and crash for all I care. Black, white, yellow, green, at the end of the day, it’s hip hop, it’s music, it’s words on a page. It’s freedom of expression again! Jealousy, and under the belt jabs are just another sign of immaturity.

4) I’m lactose intolerant. Who cares if I can’t eat cheese, right? Or ice cream? Or drink milk? I don’t really care either. I can live without all of that. The problem is that sometimes, I’d like to eat cheese, because cheese is delicious, and well, I gotta pay attention to how much I eat. Lesson learned: pleasure causes pain too.

5) I learned to parallel park by crashing into cars. I say “crashing”, I should use “brushing”. Well “hitting softly” if you’re really technical. The reason is when the parking spot is really tight, and you gotta park, you have to jam yourself in there. Bumper to bumper, push the car in front, and the car behind, and tada, you just created your personalized parking spot with one half of the car on the sidewalk, the other half into a tree. And if you own a Smart car, you can park in any direction you want! Isn’t that sweet? We can’t say whatever we want, but we can park however we want! Life is just so full of surprises.

6) People have suffered from my elbows. And I will explain. In New York City, when the subway, or the street, whichever, is packed, and I’m talking not even one square foot of personal space available, when you move, and exit the car or have to walk through a thick crowd of tourist who just don’t give a flying banana about standing right in the middle of the intersection taking pictures of tall buildings, and not speaking English, so they can’t understand when you curse at them, sometimes, you gotta use the elbows. And the elbows work like this: open the arms like two powerful wings, and engage. The only issue with the elbow hit is that once I sent a girl flying to the other side of the underground pass, and the other time, a kid took one elbow in the face. It’s horrible, but I didn’t intend to hit anyone. I was just trying to walk out of the crowd. If you don’t live in a big city like New York, you won’t understand what jampacked is. I don’t really use the elbows that much anymore, now I’ve switched to breaking the crowd with my forearm-it works like a blade. I’ve noticed it’s less lethal, and I can sleep at night.

7) Last but not least, I’m a licensed attorney but I’ve never practiced. And it’s a good thing because it gives me an edge. I know about the legal world, and am truly inspired by it, but I feel like a spy. I know their secret, I belong to their private club, but I’m not really one of them. LOL The Manicheans takes place in a law firm. Brace yourselves.

Well, that wasn’t too bad. Now onto the nominations:

1) Minnie Lahongrais

2) James Garcia, Jr. 

3) Nina D’Arcangela

4) Axel Howerton

5) A.F. Stewart

6) Julianne Snow

7) Kim Koning

8) Clarissa Johal

It’s not fifteen, but eight very good blogs from great authors! Now hop on!

***

And remember, 32 Seconds is still available for 99 Cents on Amazon, and will be promoted in a ginormous book tour this February. You gotta love it!

32 Seconds by Johanna K. Pitcairn – YA Psychological and Paranormal Thriller

32secondsfinalcover.jpgTo the average onlooker, the city of Los Angeles represents glitz, glamour, and the celebrity lifestyle. But to seventeen-year-old Julie Jones, the city is a vast host of problems she’s longing to get away from. The latest? An unfortunate disagreement with her ex-boyfriend Mark—one that could land her in some serious hot water.

So rather than face the troubles that torment her, Julie decides to run away from her old life and start fresh somewhere new. But her parents aren’t on board with the plan, and she soon finds her bank accounts frozen and her wallet empty.

With just seventy-five dollars and a full tank of gas, the troubled teen is far too stubborn to turn around and head home. So what’s a girl to do?

What Julie doesn’t know is that her travels are about to take her somewhere unexpected—a place where she’ll be forced to come face to face with the ghosts of her past in order to secure her future.

A tale of redemption, hope, and freedom lost and found, 32 Seconds is a thought-provoking exploration into the human spirit and the nature of forgiveness.

Click here to access the ebook. Happy reading!

#FF Download Your Brain…Or Not

When I have time to kill, I like to read other people’s blogs. I especially love the ones that get a lot of views, because DUH!! It means they’re doing something right. One thing I’ve always wondered when blogging, was how to write about stuff and not sound like I’m whining, or talking about stuff no one cares to read about, or like I like to call it: download your brain.

At the very beginning of my writing journey, I used my blog like a journal. And for some strange reason, people didn’t walk away! They actually read my stuff. Shucks, that tells you when you really work hard at something, results always pay off. But after a while of journaling like a crazy lady, I took a break and asked myself: why should I blog? Why should people read my stuff? Am I trying to teach them something? Am I trying to sell more books and reach a wider audience? Am I still using the blog as a journal, or have I evolved? Can I really do this????

*Deep breath*

One: yes, I can do this. Two: I will write about writing. Three: Writing about writing (hehe) can be about my upcoming book, my struggles as an author, my tips and tricks, my thinking process, my ramblings, and bam, why not post a cute picture of my cat?

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Alright, I got this one off my chest. One thing I’m not going to blog about, is my brain download. Because brain downloads are just not cool. Let’s say it how it is. You don’t care to hear about every single thought that crosses my mind. It’s none of your business, and it’s boring.

The issue with brain download is that it can affect all of us at any given time. I have brain download when I work on my novel. It’s a diarrhea of thoughts that have no purpose but fill out some space. Just like when you try to do NanoWrimo and your 50k words consist of pure gibberish. Brain download should be reserved for special forums where it’s welcome. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of such forums, but in today’s world, anything’s possible, so I remain open-minded on this one.

Blogging is great when the message is clear, the style is neat, grammar is proper and vocabulary is diverse. I don’t do convoluted paragraphs of complex words that don’t belong together in one full sentence. I don’t do effed up imagery. I don’t do lack of punctuation. I don’t do clusterfuck of ideas.

Once I start working on a blog post, I realize it’s more than just pouring thoughts on the screen. And the same process that happens to a book, should happen to anything I write.

My blog is an accurate representation of myself if I stick to the basics, which are:

– stay true to myself

– don’t overdo it

– keep it short, simple and clean. And when I say clean, I don’t care about profanity, I’m talking about clutter.

I’ve seen blogs that are a mess of icons, pictures, widgets left and right, oh gosh, where the heck have I landed? These blogs remind me of cars covered with stickers. You don’t really know which direction the author was going for but he/she sure loves sticking random crap on his/her site!! Therefore, as much as the brain download is a no-no, gathering all sorts of stuff on my page is a no-no either.

I’ve read somewhere on the internet sphere a blog post should consist of a catchy title, text and picture(s). Whether it’s a photo album or just a thumbail, I don’t really care about pictures. If the text is good, hell yeah, my cherry (and hopefully yours too) has been popped! The title doesn’t necessarily make the post good, but it doesn’t hurt to attract crowds with something that sounds good.

Have I omitted anything? If I did, let me know your thoughts!

Have a great weekend, folks!

 

#FF How to gain more exposure on social media

Happy Friday folks!

When I joined Twitter three years ago, my newbie method was simple. Retweet all day long links to my blog posts, and DM authors and people in general whom I found interesting, create some tweepships (friendships on Twitter should be called tweepships) and go from there. It took me a good six months to gather 3,000 followers, and I was like wow, I have arrived. Using apps like Tweetadder and FollowFriday or Triberr were my golden tool to market my brand and reach new followers.

Today…well a lot of things have evolved and as soon as I stopped flooding my feed with retweets, the I Likebeloved apps I used all the time disappeared and got replaced with…well that’s why I’m blogging about it now!

First and foremost, the first thing to do is blog, blog, blog, regularly, otherwise people will forget about the blog. It’s incredible, but sadly true. I lost my touch because I can’t do everything at once!! But I gotta keep up, it’s a must.

I predominantly use Facebook and Twitter – I’m not so sure about Linkedin, given my day job has nothing to do with this job, so I’ll pass on that. I paid Facebook to get more likes on my page – does it really make a difference?? No, not really. I don’t see a huge impact although I have over 2k likes – my belief is my posts are still drowning under other people’s posts, and gosh, we know there are a ton of those; so I read on another fellow blogger’s site to click the highlight button when posting on Facebook so the post doesn’t get lost in the stream of posts. I’m gonna try that and we will see right?

Triberr worked for a while and then I lost touch with it too. I haven’t checked back in. Not really sure I want to.

Instagram is the big hottie lately. I am not sure how to handle this one, given I don’t do many pics, and Instagram is more for images than words…I thought of creating a profile for my Sphynx cat and post pics of him on there just because it’s funny. Will it help my writing career? Um. Maybe. Who knows? I gotta try or I’ll never know!

Tumblr, Pinterest, Google +. Gosh, I don’t know guys. I feel like I need to hire a personal assistant to get all my social stuff taken care of. I would seriously need to tweet and post all day long – like I used to do – but when would I get my writing done???? I gotta clone myself.

Paying for Twitter followers?? Will that really make a difference? I don’t know if reaching 100k followers will launch me into a new universe. I am not checking Twitter as often as I should, so yeah, I don’t know. I gotta see where this one takes me too…

Post pics with your posts, write something interesting, get people to interact with you…Youtube is my favorite platform to this day, but I don’t have awesome content yet to really make a solid impact. I have a channel, and I posted my book trailers on there, but I am thinking of creating my own Vlog business – food for my own thoughts really. And TIME!!! Gotta find the time to do all that.

Given 32 Seconds is being released soon, I have room to experiment. So I’m gonna go all out and see where this takes me…

Until next week, have a great weekend folks!

Note to Self (204) Heartfelt

Why dance? Why sing? Why read? Why ride a bicycle? Why pet a dog? Why play football?

Why blog?

I heard that question once from someone I thought would understand, yet, it appears that person didn’t have a clue. It’s okay. Not everyone is supposed to understand what goes through my head. The answer is easy. Blogging makes me happy. I’m not writing about people because I like to gossip behind their back. I’m writing about me. My thoughts, my concerns, everything that bothers me, I jot it down because this process helps me. Blogging is my therapy. Some people run marathons, others go for a walk. I write to heal.

I know there’s no reason to justify my actions, but I want to be honest with myself, and with the world. This forum is public, and therefore accessible by anyone who wishes to read my words. I don’t want to entertain the idea I’m here to demean people, or lie about them. Certain individuals had a certain impact in my life I cannot ignore and must write about because I feel better once I purge all the bad memories they put me through. I’m not lying here. If I was lying, then what would be the purpose of this page? My readers wouldn’t know the real me. They wouldn’t care to visit this site. I’m not perfect, but I know I’m not a liar.

As a recovering alcoholic and addict, honesty in my sobriety is my priority. Not that it wasn’t before, because my motto has always been to stay true to myself, but I recognize I made choices and lots of mistakes that made me doubt my own truth more than once. Today however, I’m back in the clear, and am fully aware of what I need to do. Certain individuals won’t remain my friends, new people will enter my life and make it richer, and I will go with the flow, because I’m not in a bad place anymore. I learned to take things one day at a time, and let my emotions speak anytime I feel like it, thus the blogging will become much more intimate (although I’m pretty sure it was intimate before…). I guess I just want to stay real. No bullshitting anymore. No drama. If you don’t like what you read here, no one is forcing you to keep going. You can leave and may never come back.

I’m not afraid. The future is bright, it truly is, even if I don’t know what will happen tomorrow. I might just change everything about my life, but I won’t become someone I’m not to please a crowd that doesn’t even accept me for who I am. I’ve said this a million times, and I will repeat myself but this is me. Take it or leave it. And my heartfelt blogging will remain, whether you like it or not.

Now, Ladies and Gents, back to the fun stuff. 😉

Note to Self (162) Limbo

I haven’t been blogging much. Two reasons for that: my fantasy series Death by Chocolate is taking much of my writing time, and I don’t have many bad or difficult things to blog about. Honestly, I started this blogging adventure as therapy and it helped tremendously. I cannot advise people enough to write down everything that they don’t like about themselves, or their lives, because words have such tremendous power over the mind, it’s sometimes scary. But good. A good sense of scary.

So yes, I’m doing well. A few hiccups along the road, of course, nothing is ever perfectly perfect, but overall, there’s nothing I can complain about. I thought my break-up with my closest girlfriend would have taken a toll on my successful journey to recovery, but it hasn’t. Quite on the contrary. I’m happy by myself. I enjoy taking my time and focusing on my writing, without drama, without unnecessary concerns, and gossip, and usual BS that comes along with girls in general.

It’s something I’ve noticed since I was young. I like to be on my own. I learned how to be alone – since my siblings were too old to really share anything with me – and I built a whole world of entertainment by reading, and writing, and painting… Art made me whole. To some I must sound like a crazy person, but I’m honestly just a little eccentric. Everything else in my life is pretty normal. My job, my hobbies, my pets, my friends, my routine… I’m a nerd. I do nerdy stuff. I also run and walk a lot. I love strolling in Central Park, and people watching, because they’re a great source of inspiration for my books.

So yeah. I’m good. Feels sometimes like I’m reaching a weird state of limbo, where no evolution is possible. But it’s only an impression. Things keep moving forward. I made peace with my past. I’m ready to move on. I’m free. Independent. Ready to take over the world. Well, at least a little bit of the world.

No limbo then. Just the continuation of a wonderful adventure.