Happy Friday!

Not much to say but I hope everyone has a great weekend full of fun and family. For me, I am on week two of a fabulous thriller writing course through Writer’s Digest and just uploaded part one of a short story I’ve been working on over at Wattpad. Thanks to Wattpad’s @hopelessmuse (Mon) for the fantastic cover!



The Great Unknown: Trying a Different Genre

Under my Kim English moniker, I write family friendly, totally PG books for kids and teens. In real life, I am a devotee of all books spooky and creepy and will never turn down an opportunity for a dark thriller. While my offbeat thriller for adults (under a different pen name TBA) continues its slog through the submission process (shout out to my fabulous agent Gina Panettieri) I’ve also started dabbling in short stories, and in particular, horror/noir.

It’s s strange sensation to leave your writing comfort zone and hone a whole different skill set. Maybe it’s a mistake to try different genres, and I’ve read many people, much more experienced and qualified than me, who caution against cross-genre writing, especially as an unestablished author. I understand the notion that it’s a good idea to master one genre before tackling seven different ones, and I accept that a certain amount of branding goes into marketing your name with your genre. But unless I’m setting the publishing world on fire in kid lit (spoiler alert: I’m not), then who is going to gripe if I write a few short stories that are meant to keep you up at night, double checking the locks?

To that end, I posted my first horror short story on Wattpad (my user name is KimQuill). “The Dread” made a few long lists and a couple of short lists, but ultimately didn’t find a home, so I gave it one. I found that writing short stories (in any genre) has helped me improve my overall writing tremendously.  I’m also outlining the third and last book in the Coriander Jones series, will be putting out another picture book in a couple of months, and, depending on how submission goes, I see some thrillers in the future, maybe even a cozy. Oh, did I mention that steampunk novel that I am dying to start?

Maybe it’s just a bit of attention deficit (SQUIRREL!)  but for me, life is too short to forgo the enjoyment of learning something new. Unless I become the next big thing in a genre, I’m not going to sweat dabbling a bit and dreaming a lot about what I might try next. The best thing about writing is that you can sit down and make up whatever you want. If people like it, great. If you get paid for it, even better.

The cover for “The Dread”  is below. Pop over to Wattpad if you have an account (and you should- there is some great stuff) and let me know what you think. Have a great weekend, everyone!dread!


Nano No No

This year I decided to give the November novel writing challenge known as NanoWriMo a shot. I had created an account last year but never went further and so I geared up for a productive month. I was armed with a pseudo outline, synopsis and the first 2000 words under my belt.

And then life got in the way. This month has been a perfect storm of teenager-related activities (driving lessons, anyone?) a job re location (complete with packing and cleaning and finishing up projects) and the usual nagging necessities such as sleep and meals. At the almost halfway point, I have not added a single word to the initial count.

“Sigh.” I keep thinking, “There is next weekend!” But then I remember I need this weekend to do work projects. I’m not giving up yet, but realistically, I’ll be lucky to log in 20,000 by the end of the month.

In happier news, a short story I submitted to Pulp Literature’s Raven short story contest made the long list, but alas, not the short list. But hey, it’s s a start. It’s a creepy little horror story that I hope will find a publication home somewhere. I’ve always loved reading horror, so I took a stab at writing it, and if I ever finish two other WIPs, I’ve sketched out an outline for a second short story.

Oh, and there’s also that pesky academic paper I need to finish in 2016 to stay on track for completing a degree I’ve been plugging away for several years.

So whatcha doing this November? if you’re on Nano, look me up (I Am Groot is my handle) or drop me a line. Anyone else taking a stab at short stories? If so, where are you submitting? What books are on your holiday wish list? Oh jeez, that reminds me, I’m way behind on my Goodreads reading challenge…

Can You Schedule Creativity?

Successful authors often advise aspiring writers to “write every day.” Even if it’s a few hundred words, the theory goes, you have something on paper, have established the muscle memory of writing, and even if the five hundred words are drivel, eventually, that drivel will morph into something marvelous if you keep writing. Not making time to write writing every day, we are cautioned, makes us less likely to write well and to finish what we started.

I liken this to the way songwriters make “appointments” to co-write with artists, a common practice in certain musical genres. Although it seems counter intuitive to make an appointment to create art, there must be merit to the process because so many successful people employ it.

Alas, I can’t partake. Like all “pantsers” I strike when the iron is hot, write until I run fallow and then take a nap. I can go for weeks, even months without writing anything and then go on a creative binge, smiling as I go because I know I’m writing something that was waiting to be written. Whenever I’ve tried the “write every day no matter how bad it is” method, I end up frustrated and surrounded by gobs of words I’ll never use. If it’s true that writers have muses, then mine loves to nap as much as I do. So I wait until she gets caffeinated and decides to pop an idea, a scrap of dialogue, whatever, into my head so I can write it. I know she’ll come when the time is right. I know she’ll help me figure out the sticky middle and how it’s going to end. I just know.

Also, she doesn’t take appointments.

Happy Labor Day weekend! Stay safe and read a good book.