“Unbridled” FREE on Kindle Unlimited

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Unbridled is now on Kindle Unlimited!

This is an official announcement that my debut novel Unbridled is now only on Amazon. I have taken it down from other channels because I wanted to take advantage of some of the marketing options that KDP Select offers. Plus, there has been no monetary benefit for me on other channels for the past four years since publication.

What this means:

  • Unbridled is now available for Kindle Unlimited subscribers for FREE. If you are a KU patron you can now read Unbridled for no extra charge.
  • I will be able to offer free days or other specials for Unbridled which I’ve been wanting to do.
  • An easier way to do a giveaway through Amazon.

If you have bout Unbridled previously on other channels not on Amazon, I do regret that I will not be re-uploading it to those services in the future. If you would still like a copy and get your money’s worth, please comment so I can get in contact with you and see if I can get a copy to you or let you know when I’ll be posting it free on Amazon outside of Kindle Unlimited.

Thanks!

H.K. Rowe

Boy and Girl Clothes

Happy Ostara! Happy Spring!

I’m hoping 2017 will be good for me to do some spring cleaning. I have already begun my Great DeCluttering of 2017 and 2018, where I’m making goals for myself – read all the books and empty one bookshelf by end of 2017 and sell the books. Unfortunately I tend to accumulate more books. I don’t know how that happens…

I did clean out one shelf so that’s good. If anyone is my friend on Goodreads you’ll see a mass addition of “read” books in the coming year. Next I want to clean out closets again, especially the baby’s as she grows out of clothes, and then start on the kitchen with dishes that we don’t really use. My friend and I intend to have a garage sale soon, so I’m gathering up stuff in boxes in a place in the garage for when that happens. I just hope the weather gets nicer so I can go out and start pricing things.

Speaking of kid’s clothes, I have another friend who’s expecting a boy soon and she’s always lamenting how boys clothes are not at cute as girls clothes, and it’s funny because I’ve kind of felt that both clothes are cute, and I’ve wanted to buy my daughter boys clothes before, and we have, but clothes with dinosaurs, super heroes, and power rangers on it were cute too, and made me miss having a boy as well. I love my daughter, but maybe some day I’ll be able to have a boy? I know it’s not really up to “me” if that happens, but I would love a little boy to buy clothes with dinosaurs and lizards on them, as well as play outside in the mud with him, find toads and earth worms — I guess I can do that with a girl too. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not limiting what my daughter can do either…

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We definitely bought this boy’s onesie for our daughter. Because this is totally her. You can find this at Target.

But maybe I feel cliche as a mom that wants to have one of each. I’d love to see my husband bond with a son like I do with my daughter, and hope that he has a relationship with a son that he had with his father.

Oh, and yeah, I’m sure he wants to buy our future son dinosaur shirts too.

No matter what, if we have girls, a girl and a boy, or just one girl, I hope we can take them to Gatorland like we did for our Honeymoon in Florida. No matter what gender you are, they have to enjoy seeing big crocodiles, pythons, turtles and all the other kinds of animals they have there. That’s my hope anyway.

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In other news, I’m still working on the short stories. I was looking for stock art for covers the other day and enjoyed it very much.

There is this stock photographer that I follow at DeviantArt that has a lot of book cover contests with her art. Sometimes I vote on them, but I also think in the back of my mind that I can do a better job. I know that’s rather pretentious of me, so I kind of thought if I think that, why don’t I do it? I can’t be all talk. I have to show that I can do it. So I looked at her current contests and downloaded the images and plan on entering. Fingers crossed!

If anything it’ll be good for my portfolio.

Cheers,

H.K. Rowe

#MondayBlogs – Fear is a Health Fuel

“My ‘fear’ is my substance, and probably the best part of me.”

– Franz Kafka


For about a few weeks, I had been living in thoughts fueled by fear. It was an old fear, one that I had already faced, buried deep, and moved on. Unfortunately, I had to face it again. It was unavoidable, and if I didn’t face it head on, I knew that many people would have suffered. My fear had light. It had substance, and the only way I could face it again – back from the dead – was to speak my story, under oath and on record.

Without going into the depths of this litagation process I had to endure, I was able to survive it. I face it head on. I had people at my back, encouraging and supporting me. I had people’s faith, love, and warmth surrounding me. I had power, from my Creator, and from my own just ideals. I knew I had goodness and truth on my side.

I can’t lie; it was scary. I was afraid for days leading up to it, and I was afraid in minutes that carried on through it. I was afraid, but I had to speak up and tell my story.

The scariest part came afterward when it was done. You’d think once it was over and I made my deposition that I could sigh in relief. I could not. Fear was still in its raw form, whispering things in my ear, filling my bones with uncertainty and future ordeals. I could not be comfortable. I worried, I fretted, and I thought of the worst to come – all products of this fear.

It’s such an unpredictable energy, one difficult to harness. It left me immobilized some time after it happened. I had reassurance from my loved ones, but I was not appeased.

The fear that had been sleeping had resurged with new life.

I wish I could say I woke up the next morning feeling better, that all was behind me, but the fear still stays like a sleeping dragon.

How can I use this fear into something good? How can I take such dark energy and transform it?

I’ve been reading a lot of books that deal with a woman’s journey to the Underworld. Most of these books are philosophical as well as spiritual based, but I find they have a lot of merit.

I need to travel to my own underworld and face my fears. I need to strip all that is worldly, all that does me no good, and leave it as a pile of clothes, ashes and debris at my feet. I need to strip even the things that are important and find just me – my whole self, not just a body, but the essence of me, and find a way to transform myself, to take the bad and leave it behind, and be reborn into something new.

The New Moon is just that time. It has passed weeks ago, but now the chaotic energy of reflection, of my own darkness, is a chance – a new chance to move on and begin new things.

The old fears still sing with residual energy, but I know what’s waiting for me, what I have ahead of me and what I need to achieve. I can let fear consume me and do nothing. I can “give up” and I can let it cripple me, or I can face it. I can USE it.

That energy, as fickle as it is, is entirely mine. It is in my head, my bones – like fuel, and I can use it to overcome. It is a motivation point. It does not serve me as a monstrosity to steal my energy and leave me vulnerable.

But it can define me as someone who takes fear and rises above it – Uses it to stomp through my own doubts and demons and prove myself wrong.

My fear is fuel. It’s daring me to be better, to change it, to transform into someone else. My fear leads me into the Underworld of my own darkness.

And I’m the only one that can use it, break it as it encases me, and strip the energy and change it to something else. It’s only up to me to come from my journey from the Underworld back into this world ready for change.

I’m ready for the next journey. If Fear is my companion, then it only makes me stronger to fight harder. Nobody can do that to me. I only have myself.

END

HK Rowe

#MondayBlogs – Goal Setting

I love how Monday rolls around and I get this strange motivation that the beginning of a week will be different than all those other “failure” weeks. I have this confidence that if I was able to drag myself out of bed at 6 am and work out to a particularly hard Jillian Michaels video, then I can conquer the world.

Today was no different. I woke up in a really good mood. I got 30 minutes of intense work out in, and I made my lunch and fixed my breakfast, and I had minutes to spare before my husband got ready to carpool to work.

I arrived at work feeling READY. I tasked out all the things I had to catch up on, and I made a plan. As usual, most of my work was done in the AM, and now I’m working on my goals for the evening.

If I’m this productive in the day, hey, why don’t I try that schedule again? Meaning – it’s a new week, I will go back to trying to work at an art/creative schedule after work.

I grabbed the post-its and opened my calendar and laid it out.

GOALS PER DAY:

– 30 minute morning workout

– 1 drawing/sketch

– 1 hour of editing/writing or 500 words of writing

– 15 minutes of yoga/meditation

– stay under 1500 calories

Seems doable right? But there’s always this underlying fear in the back of my mind that something is going to trip it out. Murphy’s Law has put a target on my back. The shotgun is ready, and he’s already digging pitfalls for me to encounter during my perfectly pristine week of simple goals.

Maybe I have time to still fill those goals in barring any trip ups. Maybe I have nothing to worry about.

But I made a pact with myself, and I’m the person that I can let down. Let’s see what happens.

I always bet on myself.

Cheers,

H.K. Rowe

#MondayBlogs – Pause

Hey!

I know I’ve been a little slow on updating my blog posts. I have been totally busy and dealing with a small cold, so some things have had to take a backseat. I am regularly editing Killer Orange as well as working on the cover design. I’ve been reading A LOT as well.

Last Thursday was my husband’s birthday so I’ve been spending as much time with him as I can. We also inherited a computer, which I have since had to reformat and then re-install Windows and all its updates. Fun stuff! Work continues to be busy. Now I’m just catching up with things. (It never ends!)

I hope to get back on my blog schedule either Wednesday or Friday.

See you all then! Cheers.

HK Rowe

#MondayBlogs – Talking About My Book and Other Fears

Last Saturday, my husband and I planned on having a date night with just the two of us. With our busy schedules of my two jobs and his social work job, as well as with social events with family and friends, we’ve rarely had time to ourselves lately to enjoy each other’s company.

We must have been on the same wavelength because we’d both somewhat suggested it to each other to reserve that Saturday night for us. I’d been wanting to go to a new sandwich cafe in Elgin that I’d heard about called Blue Box Cafe, which you can guess is completely Doctor Who themed. They served coffee and tea and sandwiches with locally made products. They gave almond milk and soy milk options for their coffee, and for me, who’s lactose intolerant, that was ideal. They streamed Doctor Who episodes on two TVs in the backround. We’d watched the tale end of Cold Blood when we’d sat down to eat our sandwiches.

After dinner, we’d noticed that the place was filling up for a live podcast show. Since our plans did not include this, we intended to leave and I’d later look into what other geeky events they had going on some other time.

Before we left, Joe noticed all of the business cards and flyers by local businesses, freelancers, and artists on the window sill before leaving. He turned to me and said, “This would be a perfect place to leave your card with your book link on it! Do you have any?”

Immediately, I froze. I didn’t want to be a shameless promoter when I’d just found this sacred space – a place that I was still awed and nervous about because I didn’t want to screw up my image in front of the people that came here. I wanted to be withdrawn and observe first, work my way into this place and the atmosphere before I shamelessly promoted myself into a place that I hoped to make another local hangout.

I didn’t even look if I had any cards. I just told him I didn’t. I knew I was low on them, but I just fibbed a bit and was too scared to leave them. I wanted to leave them, but I froze. I felt almost dirty even considering it. I had just come to this place!

This is just something I’ve struggled with lately. Publishing a book is a new experience for me. For more than a decade I’ve “published” fanfiction all over the web and even in a couple of annual fanzines, but I have never really talked about them in real life. Fandom culture is so different to me than the indie writing world. There are so many “don’t do this” and “don’t do that” rules to proper marketing and etiquette in drawing interest for your book. I was afraid leaving a stack of cards for my book would make me one of those people that others felt was too audacious, too presumptuous that others would care about my book. I felt like a creep, almost, even considering putting my book cards there.

It’s silly, I know. My first book sales weren’t a crazy breakthrough like most people’s. I could have marketed it better. I could have talked about it more. I could have printed out more cards and left them everywhere I went.

I could still do that, but I’m skittish. I’m still dipping my toes intp the cold waters. Cautious.

My poor friends and friends of friends have to pretty much pull my arm to get me to talk about my book. The shocking thing is that if and when I DO talk about my book, people are always interested. Then I can’t shut up. People are always amazed I did such a thing. It makes me proud of myself and feel accomplished.

Yet I feel like I always have to keep myself in check. Don’t want to get a big head!

And yet, I always find out that it isn’t the end of the world when I talk about my book and no one is interested. People generally are. I can’t let this fear and hesitation continue to rule me. It’s something I have to work on, and I’m always searching for ways to improve myself when it comes to this task of just breaking through the wall I’ve built around myself and just TALK to people.

Perhaps soon I’ll get over it. I mean, I pretty much have to if I will continue to put out more books. Maybe I’ll even get to the point where I leave a stack of my book cards at my favorite coffee shop.

Cheers.

HK Rowe

#MondayBlogs – High Expectations of Self

To everyone that writes out there I want you to know that I have faith in you.

I may not know you, I may have never read your work, but if you love to write like I do, I feel a kinship with you, so therefore I have faith with you.

I understand some days really suck for writing. Some days you can’t look at a white screen without getting nauseous or anxious. You post a poem or a flash fiction on your blog or journal and you don’t get any likes or comments. The world seems quiet and you feel like no one is paying attention to you, no one gets you, and it’s the loneliest most awful feeling ever.

Some days you may even want to give up writing altogether.

I’m telling you now – don’t do this to yourself.

Keep writing, even if one person in the whole world reads it and appreciates it – keep writing. Keep writing so much that people can’t help but stumble upon your work. TALK about your writing to others. Talk about them to your loved ones, your friends, and strangers on the bus or train.

If you’re an introvert – well, try to have bursts of extraversion and TALK about your writing. SHARE it. Don’t give up.

But remember this – don’t have high expectations of others when it comes to your writing. Don’t expect everyone to love it, rave about it, and tell you that you’re the best writer they’ve ever encountered.

The only one you should have high expectations of is yourself. The writer in you needs to write like you need to breathe. The writer in you needs practice, as well as gain exposure to other groups of writers to learn basic writing formulas and structure, grammar, and critiques. You need to expose yourself to how others write and what they think of your writing in order to develop a sharp mind and a thick skin.

You need to have a high expectation of yourself because you believe in your writing,  you know you can work through the pain, grief, anxiety and self-loathing and someday become confident and strong so that criticism HELPS you, and flames and nastiness bounce off you like nothing.

If your feelings get hurt, learn to be the bigger person and move on. Learn to accept that not everyone is going to like your work. It isn’t personal. If it IS personal, then maybe it’s that person who has issues – not you, because you’re strong, you’re a rock star, and you write 1000 words every day, and read other books, and go to the local writing group on Wednesdays.

Do what you need to do to be the best writer you believe you are.

When you share your work with others, and you engage with other writers and readers, you form relationships. You need to be genuine and sane, and for gods’ sakes, open your mind to their writing and opinions. Writing is never a one-way street. You don’t fling your work out there like pasta on the wall and expect it to stick to everyone’s favor. Engage with your followers, writers, and readers and become a real person to them. Don’t expect too much out of them, but try to be receptive to what they like and do. Share and have opinions. Encourage others and engage with them at a real, personal level.

I say this because forming a one-sided relationship in life never works. It can’t all be about you and not anyone else. You have that thick skin now, so you can talk to others and not let small things bother you that you’ll turn into a drama llama and then block and flame them on your posts. Remember when I told you to be sane?

The only person you can disappoint is yourself, and that’s how it should be. If you disappoint others and it cripples your writing ability so much that you want to quit writing forever, I wonder if it’s really important to you.

How important is writing to you exactly? And how important are you to yourself?

Cheers,

H.K. Rowe

#MondayBlogs – Time Management and Other Failures

Last night I made a post around 9:30 in the evening. Ideally, I should have set that up last night and scheduled the post, and then it’d be done and I wouldn’t have to worry about it. You would think on a Sunday I could make one damn post!

Saturday night I had the misfortune of getting a migraine. I get them a lot, though lately they’ve been rarer. I was not lucky Saturday night. It hit me while I was at a friend’s party and it lasted into the morning. It really ruined my schedule, which really stresses me out. In a perfect world, we were supposed to come home from the party, I could make my post and schedule it for the morning, and then I could get a good night’s sleep so in the morning I could wake up early and go through all the things on my Sunday to-do list into the evening. It would have been great! I had everything planned…

*sigh*

Unfortunately, my anxiety and migraines don’t care about my plans. My social life, my career, the dogs, and all those pesky last minute favors I do for others don’t care about my writing schedule. The weeks begin to melt away and once again my drafts go untouched. It’s been daunting trying to find time to write.

I read a ton of articles and blogs telling me I’d just be successful if I’d set aside DAILY  writing time. How cool would that be? If only my days were that consistent. Maybe I do four to five days a week? Maybe I do three? Maybe I wake up super early (not the time of the day really enjoy writing fyi) and write 300 words! Maybe I write at the same time of the day as Famous Writer A! Then I’d be successful.

I work two jobs. I take care of two needy dogs and a frazzled husband (he’s a social worker, ’nuff said). I take care of myself sometimes, you know – exercise, eating, hygiene. Occasionally I write. (I don’t even want to go into my drawing and art muscles – poor things.)

Perhaps this article is a tad bit cynical. Maybe I’m just whining. And I’m sure people have tons of advice. The challenge to find writing time is working with my own crazy schedule. How do I schedule a moment of peace within a tornado of chaos? Maybe I scale back some of my busy social and work things! Maybe… Well maybe I just learn to say no to others so I can say yes to myself.

I’d be happy to hear anyone else’s woes on how they have no writing time. I’d like to know if you solved your problem and if you found some balance in your own chaos. I can’t figure out myself yet. I can’t just write whenever I have the time! I need structure, and so far that’s been the one thing that’s been holding me back.

Cheers,

© HK Rowe

#MondayBlogs – Writing Origins

I have always dreamed of being a writer. I know that’s a cliché line. Probably everyone here has dreamed of becoming a writer so they could someday see their work in print.

I guess the difference is that during the end of my teenage years, I abandoned my dream. I saw it as a necessary tragedy, an end to years as a child who dreamed of having my book in print and on the shelf at the store.

As a child I suppose I was naïve. I believed that I could be a writer because so many had done it before. I had encouragement from other adults, teachers and peers that I should write.

At age 5, I wrote a poem about horses. The poem was written in the middle of a sheet of copy paper, framed off by a pencil line. Outside of the framed poem, I had drawn apple trees with horses underneath them. This was the beginning of my aspiration to write, as well as draw.

When I was 13, I wrote and illustrated a story about a Native American girl who stood up to her Colonial oppressors and traveled the nation to speak out about her culture and protecting their lands. She was bullied, threatened and ignored. Yet she was braver than I could ever be. My seventh grade teacher had faith in me though. She sent my story down state for the Young Author’s Award.

At age 16, I wrote a poem about Marilyn Monroe and got it published in the local advertising paper. I have never been prouder of myself, and for a kid like me, it was hard. I was naturally introverted, an inward observer and thinker. I did not like socializing with people and writing was my only escape from being ostracized and bullied. I was a child from a divorced family, a child wounded from parental abuse. I was a child that often questioned a faith that did not fit me. Writing and reading (and art) were my sanctuaries.

I was always writing, filling diaries with my daily thoughts and struggles, and filling blank books with stories about female pirates, Christian girls who wanted to protect their families, and women in the Regency area that struggled to be independent in a patriarchal system. I wrote sci-fi stories about unknown worlds further expanding my creative escape.

Before my first semester of college I worked on the longest story ever, writing by hand because I could write anywhere (this was 1999, things weren’t entirely mobile at this point), and when I was finished, I used my new student ID to get into the college library so I could use the computer. I could type and write to my heart’s content, without any distractions. I wrote this story to enter a Science Fiction contest, and I was proud of how much I had accomplished. It was the longest story I’d ever written – 20,000 words! When I finished the manuscript and saved it on my floppy disk, I was ready to take it home.

Then, storm warnings went off and everyone in the library as well as the college were shuffled down to the basement. A twister was spotted in a field not too far from the college and everyone had to take safe cover in the basement.

Minutes went by and when we were cleared, I headed outside to the parking lot under a green sky, got into my car and headed home. My parents were frantic with worry. I was scolded and shouted at for being irresponsible, and I was sure I had told them I was going to the college to type my story. In a moment of their frantic worry, I felt like my story didn’t matter. I felt like I was being denied the glory of finishing my story because the storm had fueled them with worry. My accomplishment was nothing.

It wasn’t long before my focus on my writing would go dim. When I’d received acceptance into a college that focused on playwriting, something I dreamed of pursuing, I couldn’t wait to tell my mom. I wanted to become a playwright and work in Hollywood or Broadway! I wanted to write the next big TV show, or even a movie. The college was out of state, sure, but I’d been accepted, so that didn’t matter right?

It really didn’t. What mattered was the major itself. If I pursued this major it would mean that I would not go into the art field. I would not learn about design or art or even art education. My mother did not want me to give up on my art talent.

To me, it did not seem like my writing was as important as my art talent to everyone else. I was discouraged again. I left writing; I left my dream, and I enrolled in another school and declared another major: Illustration.

I can’t tell you how much this one moment in my life still stings me today. I felt like I was pressured to become an artist – to mold and shape that talent, and though I love art and design and did well in school for it, I never felt complete.

I suppose I gave up. I gave up the little girl who wrote stories and illustrated them. I gave up the dream to have a book on the shelves or write a play on Broadway.

I did not give up writing for long. Somehow, such a thing always comes back to people who have it singing in their blood, bones and brain.

I found another outlet, away from discouraging peers or family, away from my anxiety and stress to be the perfect artist… I found fanfiction.

A lot of successful authors have terrible and nasty opinions about fanfiction. They don’t think it’s real writing. They don’t believe it’s beneficial to borrow other people’s characters and make other worlds out of them.

At the time, I didn’t care about that, and I’m glad it didn’t. Fanfiction changed me. I saw all these people coming together for something they loved and putting their own spin on things. I wanted to be included. I wanted to share my thoughts. I wanted to interact with these communities.

In 2001 while I was at college, I did. I joined a few anime fandoms and began writing stories, joining online clubs and meeting other writers. There was drama, of course, but there  was also a great sense of community with critiquing and encouragement.

It was about this time I dropped my Art History minor and pursued an English Minor. I met my husband in an English writing class, and my writing began to improve with each fanfiction I wrote. I gained my confidence as a writer back; even if I was just getting encouragement from people on the net, it still meant something to me. It meant a lot to get that attention and to give it back, thus forming relationships with people. People come and go, but some have stayed, and I cherish all those relationships and experiences.

Around 2011, a fandom friend suggested self-publishing. I had seen fanfiction writers self-publish with vanity publishers and such, and I just found it way too expensive. However, I came to learn that Amazon was making it much easier for people to publish things on their own.

The idea wouldn’t leave me alone. I could finally publish something entirely mine! Someone might read it! I could share my story with others!

The little girl who used to dream about being a writer returned!

The rest is history. Last May I self-published my first original novel. I still write fanfiction to escape, but I’ve become a lot more focused on my own self-pub writing career. It’s still new, and I’m still learning, but I won’t give up this time.

I won’t let people discourage me.

I know I will always be writing. I owe a lot of my writing resurgence to fanfiction, and I am not ashamed of that. I guess the lesson is…whatever inspires you to write and improve as a writer, don’t ignore it. Take that chance. Find others who share your passion and express yourself. Don’t let people tell you not to write. Don’t let people’s opinion hold you back.

Has anyone or anything tried to discourage you from pursuing your writing dreams? Has your writing future ever seemed bleak and doomed so much you wanted to give up? What helped you overcome it as a writer?

Cheers,

HK Rowe