The Long Way Around…

“When it comes to fighting, physical strength really has very little to do with it. One of the tenets that judo is founded upon is “Maximum efficiency, minimum effort.” That has really defined my career. It is the foundation of all the techniques and everything I do. It’s one reason why I don’t get tired. It’s one reason why I am able to fight girls who are a head taller than me, or chicks who are on steroids. People who cheat or dope lack the one thing every true champion must have: belief. No drug or amount of money or favoritism can ever give you belief in yourself.” — Ronda Rousey (My Fight / Your Fight)

I read a REALLY great book this past week. I’d heard about Ronda Rousey’s biography from Brian Johnson, a philosopher I follow who takes great books, on being great, and breaks them down into bite-sized chunks. Something about this particular note he did stuck out at me and so I decided to read the book—despite the fact that I assumed it’d be all about MMA and the UFC, which I’m not particularly a fan of. I’m not necessarily not a fan either— it’s just that watching two people beat the hell out of each other isn’t really my idea of fun. But then, upon digging further, I read that Ronda was a Judo champion. And somehow that made it different. Although maybe it really isn’t. :)
Also, during the first disagreement I ever had with my husband he dubbed me a ‘verbal Judo Master.’ It stuck, and well, I really felt like Ronda Rousey and I had something in common. ;)

All BS and sarcasm aside—apart from the verbal Judo part—(I can go a few rounds) Ronda’s story is pretty amazing and very inspiring and I could not put the book down. Her words made me question a lot about my life in regard to where to be soft and where to be hard. Particularly in the parenting arena. I loved her mom. Although, fair warning, in this day and age her style of parenting isn’t likely to be highly regarded.

In addition, there were great bits of wisdom on vulnerability and passion— and how to use them to your advantage. But my biggest takeaway was something she said about not allowing others to project their insecurities and limitations onto you. This lesson is one that has shown up again and again for me and I’m pretty much past ready to be done with it. So, it was perfect timing. And the perfect book.

Lastly, this is the point at which I should probably market talk about the book I’m working to meet deadline on. Instead, I’ve decided to save that for the newsletter which comes out Thursday. It’ll include a Kindle giveaway, the first chapter of Anywhere With You… and probably a few other things. :)

P.S. One of my favorite passages from My Fight/Your Fight.  

“I lost my second judo tournament. I finished second, losing to a girl named Anastasia. Afterward, her coach congratulated me.

“You did a great job. Don’t feel bad, Anastasia is a junior national champion.”

I felt consoled for about a second, until I noticed the look of disgust on Mom’s face. I nodded at the coach and walked away.

Once we were out of earshot she lit into me. “I hope you know better than to believe what he said. You could have won that match. You had every chance to beat that girl. The fact that she is a junior national champion doesn’t mean anything. That’s why they have tournaments, so you can see who is better. They don’t award medals based on what you won before. If you did your absolute best, if you were capable of doing nothing more, then that’s enough. Then you can be content with the outcome. But if you could have done better, if you could have done more, then you should be disappointed. You should be upset you didn’t win. You should go home and think about what you could have done differently and then next time do it differently. Don’t you ever let anyone tell you that not doing your absolute best is good enough. You are a skinny blonde girl who lives by the beach, and unless you absolutely force them to, no one is ever going to expect anything from you in this sport. You prove them wrong.” — Ronda Rousey (My Fight / Your Fight)

What to watch…

“Without learning and preparation, you won’t know how to harness the power of that kiss”― Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life

Whenever I’m intensely in the thick of the writing process (working on a novel) I watch A LOT of film. I consider it scratching as described in the book The Creative Habit.

One thing that I particularly love above film (and I’m sure there is a correct and proper term—I just don’t know what it is) is its ability to show without telling. It is one thing I’m trying to improve upon in my writing—but find difficult. This is also one of the reasons that most of my novels are written in third person, omnipresent tense. I like to see what’s going on in all of the character’s heads. Not so different than in real life. ;) The trouble is, in my opinion writing this way is much more difficult than writing in first person where it’s more acceptable to hand it over, so to speak.

But I’m not a fan of just handing it over. I want to have to work for it and vice versa. However, I’m not sure that readers always enjoy this. ;) Or if they do—it needs to be done really well.

For example, in The Age of Adaline (which I’m about to talk about below) there’s a scene where the camera pans in on a number of locks on the front door. This very brief scene infers something to those that are paying attention. It shows us insight as to the character— without directly handing it over. This is my favorite aspect of art. To figure out how to do the same with words can be a rather difficult challenge. Still, I try. :)

That said, I thought I’d share a few (or three) films I adored recently:

Philomena

Oh my, Philomena. What to say? The day I watched Philomena I was expecting a delivery, which as it turned out arrived exactly as the movie was ending. It was both good and bad timing as I answered the door in full on ugly cry. Standing before me was a middle-aged Cuban man who spoke kindly in broken English and was understandably quite perplexed. But for a lover of words this experience showed me the beauty of not using them. I simply moved to the side, pointed to the TV, and uttered something along the lines of ‘that damned movie’ to which he offered a look of understanding and gently patted me on the back. All the things delivery people must see. Ironically enough, just an hour and a half earlier, about twenty minutes in to the film, I had wondered why in the hell I was watching it. But by the end, I recalled and quite unexpectedly I might add what it had been like to be fourteen years old, knocked up, and in the belly of a very old building with an ancient nun teaching class— all the while questioning how in the hell you ended up there. Shame was the answer. If not yours then certainly someone else’s. 

Love & Mercy. 

Brian Wilson’s story, my God… The power of love. The power of loving a person, a vocation—and the perseverance and grit it takes to do both.

The Age of Adaline. 

I loved everything about this movie. The imagery. The absurdity. The story. The history. The messaged tucked neatly within. Loved all of it.

What I learned from being a quitter…

“Commitment means staying loyal to what you said you were going to do long after the mood you said it in has left you.” — Orebela Gbenga

I told this story in front of fifty-five women the other day and they seemed to think it was pretty funny so…

This is what happens when a survivalist and a minimalist decide to climb a mountain together:

There will be many “discussions” about why one needs so many items for a DAY HIKE.

Eventually, the minimalist relents because she understands: You can be happy OR you can be right. 

Only, what she should have understood is that if the level of difficulty for a climb is listed as very strenuous, it actually means VERY STRENUOUS. Because if she had, she would’ve certainly fought a little harder about the BS that was being loaded onto her back.

At any rate, eighty-five percent of the trek to the summit turns out mostly uneventful. Except for the fact that the survivalist half of the party likes to annoy the other half by teetering on the edge of a mountain with fifty pounds of unnecessary camping gear strapped to his back. And let’s face it: pretty much no one is going to believe he “just fell.”

They make it to the point where there’s about two hundred feet left to go to summit. This is how the rest of the climb is described:

Follow the trail to the right and back down a few hundred feet before ascending a steep, slippery slope (which can be covered with snow) to a signed viewpoint.

Get ready for some more serious climbing and scrambling through the boulders that make up the summit.  The trail gets faint further up. When in doubt, keep going up. Some rocks will move under foot so be sure to use your hands for balance.  You’ll notice a couple plaques, memorials, and flags once you reach the top.

DSC00591

This is where she decides to quit. For one, she’s carrying too much crap to make it fun. Two, she decides their children need at least one surviving parent.

She tells him to go on and to leave his pack. And for God’s sake to stop teetering on the edge. Or he is going to die. One way or another. He agrees. This is all his fault. But she doesn’t say so. Or maybe she did. She probably did.

She perches herself in a spot that unbeknownst to her seems to be designated for all the other quitters. She meets three people from her hometown and one from the Dallas area. They get to know each other. Turns, out they can’t breathe at 12,000 feet either. This quitting thing is amazing! I mean what are the odds?!?

Two men on their way down access her situation and ask who left her with two packs. You see! Sympathy. This quitting thing isn’t so bad after all! 

Plus, she’s always saying she needs to be more gentle with herself. This was her chance!

She sits there. And weighs her options. She watches him climb. She considers whether or not she’s really done. She thinks she is.

Until two people stop not far from her. She listens as a man consoles his partner. “It’s ok,” he says. “No one will know you didn’t make it to the top. Just say you did.” She watches as the woman nods and appears relieved.

And that’s when it hits her: She’ll know.

Quitting is a bad idea. She might get sympathy. She might even  meet people (nice people!) to hang out with along the way. People who will console her with camaraderie.

But, in the end, she’ll know. 

So she gets up, dusts herself off, leaves those packs where they are, and climbs to the top.

“Where are the packs?” He asks when she reaches summit.

“Down there,” she points.

“You just left them?”

She gives him the look. “I don’t even want to carry those fuckers down. Do you really think anyone else does?”

He smiles.

Because he knows… she’s right.

IMG_2203

It’s more fun that way…

“Jack learned that summer – when dealing with women, it’s best not to say everything that’s on your mind. The less you say, the better it is for you. He learned that women do not think like men. End of story.” – Britney King, Somewhere With You

“I know I don’t always like your idea’s upfront,” my husband tells me. “But afterward I’m always glad I went along with them.”

“Not always,” I remind him— as minimally as possible

“No, not always,” he agrees.

“But usually,” I smile. And leave it at that. Of course, I file his sentiment away for a later date, when I will no doubt need it.

That day came sooner rather than later— as they often do.

“Hey,” I say and he looks up.

“I have an idea,” I tell him.

He stares at me. Half scared. Half intrigued, I think.

“I’ve decided on my next project. And I need to do some research.”

“Ok?”

“I think we should take a road trip,” I say and I describe the idea very loosely. Mostly, because the idea is just that. I list off the places I’d like to visit and explain the only prerequisite be that neither of us have visited any of the places before. Our children will be visiting their grandparents. He asks if I’m sure I don’t want to bring them along. I assure him that I do not. Not this time.

“Ok,” He says.

“Um… I’m talking about driving four-thousand miles…”

“Sounds good,” He replies and goes back to what he was doing.

Was he even listening? I check the time. And then I wait…

Fourteen minutes later…

“Where are we going to stay?” He finally asks. “Have you even thought this through?”

Not really. But I improvise. “We’re going to camp.”

He deadpans. “You!? Want to camp for that many days?”

I shrug. “Why not? It’ll be fun. We’ll just pitch a tent… wherever we wind up.”

He sighs. “Do you even know how to ‘pitch a tent’?”

“It’s figure-out-able.”

“What you really mean is that you’ll watch me do it…”

Pretty much. That is exactly what I mean. “No, what I mean is that it’s teachable.” 

“Ok,” he says. “But we’ll compromise on the camping. By at least half.”

“We’ll see,” I reply. Even though I know he’s right. And I quote, “I don’t know why you’re pretending not to like my idea’s when in the past you’ve told me you’ve always been glad that you’ve gone along with them.”

He smiles. I think he’s on to me. “It’s more fun that way…” he says.

I answer with silence.

Because I know… and because he knows…

Now, we’re getting somewhere. ;)

——————————————-

That story told, I can’t think of a better time to announce my next book… and show you guys the cover.

Readers asked. I listened…

I’m working on the follow up to Somewhere With You.

The sequel, Anywhere With You is set to release in the fall.

First though, a bit of research. :)

If you’re interested in real-time data… you can follow me on Instagram @msbritneyking

Adobe Photoshop PDF

Adobe Photoshop PDF

P.S. Many thanks to Lisa Jay for her work on the cover design. I sent her a mock up of what I wanted and less than 48 hours later we had a cover. Not only is she great— but she fit me into her very busy schedule and I appreciate both. She has worked on all six of my covers.

After Winter, Spring.

“I want to do with you what spring does with cherry trees.” ― Pablo Neruda

 

I’m not going to say that a lot of the bad poetry I’ve been sharing here is going to end up in a certain book…

But I’m not going to say it isn’t either. ;)

Below, the latest…

 

After Winter, Spring. 

 

We’re opening the windows,

And the doors of our lives again.

Too long closed—

To keep out the cold.

We shake the dust off and out,

Erase what winter left behind.

Finally, the sun is shining.

And the birds sing once more.

A time for renewal—

I’m certain this is what happiness feels like.

How much better can it get? 

I don’t know…

But lest not forget—

Summer is headed our way, too.

Maybe, it is as they say…

The best is yet to come.

And I wonder…

How ever did we get so lucky?

Not just to have found each other—

But to have survived another winter,

together.

The Stories We Tell…

“You can decorate absence however you want- but your still gonna feel what’s missing.” ― Siobhan Vivian, Same Difference

Just checking in to say, that I’m so close to the finish line with Breaking Bedrock that I swear can almost see it. But, I also want to say that… you guys, this story is gutting me. I’m actually happy that it’s grey and rainy and turning colder here because I’ve seriously been making excuses as to how many days I can go without leaving the house, save for taking the kids to and from school- and that’s saying a lot because I’m the most social person I know.  It’s almost like this book, these characters are changing me. Or maybe they’re just giving me an outlet for grief, I don’t know. Perhaps, a little of both, I guess.

The other day my toughest beta reader gave me some advice telling me I need to “get to the point.” To which I promptly asked “What is the fucking point when you love someone so much and you’re missing them that bad? How exactly are you supposed to put all of THAT into words and wrap it up with a pretty bow? I mean…how many of us are capable of being truly brave when it comes to love?!? ” And then I considered that maybe he was right and so I put on my big girl pants and went back and did a rewrite that was so emotionally raw, I still don’t think I can read it back. I’m thinking…I’ll just let my editor deal with it. ;)

Anyhow, here’s to friends who call, to let you say what you need to say, even if you cry a little, or a lot, and then make you laugh so hard, you choke on your oatmeal. For people who give you what you need and then tell you to get back to it. For songs that say what you wish you could. For colder weather, and for rain that matches your mood. For books that make you feel. For lovers who bring out the best and the worst in you, and everything in between. For these things, I am grateful.

Head Down & Going Under.

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.” ― Jane AustenNorthanger Abbey

I’m drowning in words and word counts over here, my eyes keep crossing, I’ve got the blank stare thing going on, and I can only move my neck to the right. But I guess all that’s to be expected when one forgets how to pace themselves. That and of course it’s probably just what happens when and if ones characters decide to start being little shits,and inform you that what you’ve written for over the past six months, is no where near worthy or deserving enough of how their story should unfold.

So…for the past week and a half the voices in my head have practically forced me to write over 3K words per day– that’s about 6+ hours of straight up writing (for me), in case you’re wondering. As of today, I have about 25K to go to get Breaking Bedrock where it needs to be before my deadline. WHICH IS IN ELEVEN DAYS. AND IF YOU CAN’T TELL BY THE CAPS, I’M FREAKING OUT ABOUT. JUST A LITTLE BIT. ;)

Anyhow, today also marks the start of NaNoWriMo and I have to admit that this year I’m “cheating” a little bit. Well, I’m not exactly cheating per se, but instead of writing an entire novel, the first 25K words I need to “win” will go to BB, and the second half of them to a new project, a standalone, which I’m excited to get started on.

The good news though is despite the fact that I can’t see straight, I’m getting decent feedback from the betas, which helps a lot, and kinda sorta makes up a little for all the work my characters urged me to scrap. Also, my husband happens to be beta reading for me this time and he sent me a text the other day which read: “MOST ENGAGING CHAPTER YET” and he’s so tough, you guys (seriously you have no idea), that I’m feeling pretty good about where the story is heading.

Now, back to it, but first a teaser from Bedrock:

collage 4

P.S. This is what I’ve written to this week:

AND THIS:

P.S.S. There’s a giveaway for Bedrock going on over here.

And Then There Was A Trailer…

“Chance favors the connected mind.” ~ Steven Johnson

If you follow me over on FB, you may have seen this post…

Have you ever worked with someone on something and found that person to be so amazing that you felt it was divine intervention (or kismet) that the two of met?!? THAT is exactly how I feel right now and I can’t wait to share what’s coming. P.S. Sorry…I myself kind of hate stay tuned type posts and I’m in no way trying to do that- I was more or less just saying how grateful I am to have found exactly the right, talented person. Kismet or divine intervention or whatever…well, it rocks. 

I was speaking of Lisa of Pixel Pixie Designs. I was introduced to Lisa via an email I received from Goodreads which featured several posts from an author chat in their forums. I had a very specific idea in mind of what I wanted in a book trailer for Bedrock…I just wasn’t sure how to implement it…so I sort of gave up on having one done. Then came Lisa. :) Immediately after writing her and receiving her response I knew I wanted to work with her. And she proved to be every bit as amazing as I thought she would be. Normally, I don’t read these emails so it’s pretty awesome that I did that day.

Anyway, check it out…

P.S. This video contains mature adult content and is NSFW or children.

What’s It About? The Truth: Sometimes it comes with a warning label…

“If you expect to succeed as a writer, rudeness should be the second-to-least of your concerns. The least of all should be polite society and what it expects. If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered, anyway.” – Stephen King

It’s amusing that I’m writing this on April Fool’s Day. It’s not a joke. Promise.

Today I’m breathing (a little) sigh of relief. Yesterday evening, I hit the send button and off the editor my novel went. I DID IT! I WROTE A NOVEL!

It wasn’t easy, there were many times I’ve questioned (and still question) just what in the hell I’m thinking. There have been times I’ve felt like an actor portrayed in an action film, dodging bullets left and right; yet who somehow still manages to come out alive. And wearing a smile nonetheless. I realize that we all feel like that from time to time in life. But I’m writing this because I want to encourage you, no matter what it is you’re working towards, to keep going when the going gets tough. Keep going on the days or weeks (or months) when it seems that everything is conspiring against you and every shitstorm that appears is a sign you should just give up. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. And eventually you’ll get there. It’s inevitable. I’m telling you this because for me each time an obstacle presented itself, I saw it as a sign. When something unexpected occurred, as it always does (two back to back car accidents, lots of sick kids, the deaths of two of the most important people in my life) I’d say to myself: Maybe this isn’t right. Here’s your chance to quit. Come on, there’s nothing wrong with quitting. And….ah, hell you’re not quitting…you’re just changing direction. But somehow I kept at it, knowing that I’d set out to do this…I set out to write this novel and by god I was going to do it.

Somewhere along the way though I realized that it was about more than just setting out to do something and doing it. It was about realizing a dream. It was about falling down and getting back up. It was about learning and not being afraid of all there was to learn. My god, there was so much to learn. But most importantly, it’s about opening up and allowing myself to be vulnerable. It’s about laying it out there and being able to say take it or leave it. Like it or don’t. Judge me…tell me what you think. It was about taking feedback and accepting criticism. It’s about saying this is me (partially anyway) and this is what’s in my head. These are the things I think about. These are the questions I ask myself. And when I say this, I’m not referring to characters in the book; I’m referring to who I am as a writer.

That said, one of the questions I’ve been asked often has been: what’s your novel about? And to be honest, I’ve struggled a little bit with how to answer that. I’m not sure exactly why… but for some reason (I think) people have assumed that I was writing humor or non-fiction. Or that I was writing about life as a mother of five. So to then say to these people that what I’m writing (is FICTION) and it’s sometimes dark and is laced with a little profanity has been interesting to say the least. I think it’s funny when I hear authors say, “my books target market is…anyone who loves to read.” Because I will tell you right now…my novel isn’t for just anyone. Due to heavy subject matter and sexual content it’s recommended for mature readers. It’s not for those offended by profanity and/or sexual content. Part suspense, part thriller, it’s about surviving and thriving in spite of the odds. But over all, deep down at its core…it’s a story about love.

So…. without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to my first novel entitled, Bedrock.

Bedrock is a love story designed to showcase how the choices we make ultimately shape our lives. It serves as a reminder that in the end what defines us is not the big events, the monumental occasions. It’s the tiny, seemingly inconsequential moments in between. It’s proof that time passes and we cannot, no matter how hard we try, get it back. Bedrock is a story of love and grief that pretty much sums up the context of the human experience.

When Addison Greyer, a happily married mother of three, decides to re-enter the workforce, she never once considers that taking a job might unravel everything she thinks to be true about her life—that it would cause her to look deep within and confront fears she didn’t know existed. She couldn’t have foreseen how a chance meeting or a single day can change the course of an entire lifetime.

Like many women, Addison is defined in terms of marriage and motherhood, until she suddenly finds her life turned upside down by her husband’s decision to take a job thousands of miles away. When her tough-as-nails boss offers her an opportunity she can’t refuse, Addie is forced to make difficult choices. Those choices take her further and further out of the carefully crafted fairytale life she has created and lead her into an unknown world where things are anything but black and white: a world where she learns that desire is not only dangerous but deadly. In this world, all bets are off as she is forced to finally confront her past. As her past and present collide, she has to make decisions that for most are unthinkable, decisions that can tear her family apart, and perhaps even have fatal consequences.
P.S. Thank you for reading here…and as always for your support.