And now… for something completely personal

kiss

H.K. My artwork – 2002

Let me tell you a little about myself, not just the writer and artist, but ME.

(Although this post may be a bit random…)

I don’t like opening up about myself. I don’t like sharing my feelings with people. I don’t even like sharing feelings to my best friends, my family, or even my mom. I have a hard time opening up to my husband. It’s not that I can’t; I just don’t want to be a burden. I don’t want people close to me to see the flaws or to find flaws in my hard work. I want them to think of me as strong, determined and capable.

I want to see myself like that, but that means I have to work at it. As an abuse survivor, I had to grow up rather quickly and become independent. I don’t even remember my childhood. It’s a dark space in my brain that I can’t access, blocked off from all the things that happened to me. I know what happened to me, I remember my feelings, but I don’t remember events clearly. Most people have memories so clear it’s like a movie. In my movie, there’s a big ink spot in the center and I can only see faint unrecognizable shapes on the sides.

Counseling aside, I didn’t talk about it like most things. I knew that it was a part of me, and that I am the person I am today because of it. But I also know that it has influenced me to have some rather infuriating social skills. I prefer a loner’s life, even though I enjoy being with friends. I enjoy listening to my friends, I enjoy their confidence, and helping them. I enjoy being the shoulder they cry on. I enjoy giving them advice. But I do not enjoy asking for such things in return.

I have chosen this behavior, and I am aware of it. I’m comfortable keeping most things to myself. It takes a lot for me to even show pride in anything I’ve done or accomplished. For example, when I published my book, I distributed it as much as I could, but when I would meet new people, it was always someone else telling them that I wrote a book. They were immediately entranced. “Tell me about your book!” And… it was awkward for me. I didn’t feel they’d be interested at first. When I talked about it, I was cautious. Most people are kind, and they are excited to know someone that has written something, but sometimes I feel like I act like a complete stone-faced moron, like I can’t even be excited about it and promote myself.

I internalize praise just as much as I internalize criticism. Criticism wounds me where praise embarrasses me.

I feel like a weirdo. But it’s my nature to be more introspective than overt. It’s my nature to plan and do things rather than talk endlessly about things. It’s in my nature to make impulsive decisions without telling others or getting others’ advice. I feel sometimes this makes me seem snobbish or aloof, but I don’t know how else to be.

I was once a young girl who sat in the corner with her drawings, her paper and pen, her books and her dolls in a different world while the rest of the real world carried on. I was the young girl who wanted to do things to show people I wasn’t this victim, that I wasn’t to be pitied, rather I could show people how self-sufficient I am.

I guess I just got to good at it because when my friends or family find out that I’m doing something or something happened and I didn’t tell them, they take it as a personal slight. Trust me, I never intend to hurt anyone. I’m just not good at sharing pieces of myself.

Most of the time I just don’t know how.

Cheers,

H.K. Rowe

MIA – But not really

I really need to post here more often but as it happens for most, real life is getting in the way.

Work makes me exhausted sometimes. I feel like like I hardly have any brain power left for my own projects when I come home. I hope to rectify that.

For those that know me well, you know that I have an anxiety disorder. I’ve been trying to manage that lately. It’s been mostly good, but the bad days are really bad.

I’m still writing when I can and when my own doubts and anxiety doesn’t block me. It’s a constant battle with myself.

Summer is the time of social activities, so I’m gone a lot. This party. That graduation. This birthday. Etc. I also just got back from vacation with my husband. I rarely get to have real time alone with him so that’s been nice.

I also became an aunt. So that’s nice. My new niece is adorable. It makes me want kids even more.

I’m de-cluttering my house. I didn’t know that would take so long but apparently going through stuff and getting rid of it takes time. Also, it’s only the beginning of the list of house improvements I want to do this year.

I hope to be updating more soon. I’m still editing Killer Orange and Mod Fury as well as finishing up a few other short story projects. NaNoWriMo is coming up and I already have an idea for that. I do hope to publish something this year, however. I just need to get off my ass and do it.

Catch up with you all soon! Take care.

H.K. Rowe

Catching Up

I feel like I have spurts of activity here, and I don’t mean to disappear. I do keep up with the people I’m following as best as I can, but sometimes I don’t have a lot to report on my writing front, or life in general I guess.

Spring is here so I’m in a de-clutter mode. Plus, when you live in Chicagoland, when the deep freeze is over, people start wanting to do things and come out of hibernation. So, we’ve got more to do now that it’s nice out. I’m loving to get back to walking my dogs in the warm weather.

Writing is going slowly, but I’m still participating in Camp NaNoWriMo and steadily moving along. My short story is called “Petra’s Revenge” and the more that I think it’s only going to be around 7K, it might end up being 10K in word count. Ah, so it goes.

I’m finalizing the cover for Killer Orange. I’ve been slacking on it even though I’m determined this week to get back to editing. Making the cover has given me some inspiration. I will do a cover reveal in May. So, coming soon!

I have such great support for my books. My husband is of course, is my biggest cheerleader and I don’t know what I would do without him. He even went so far to make me a fan art cover for Killer Orange. It’s ridiculous and made in Paint, but it’s just so like him to be wacky like that, to be encouraging and silly.

But it’s cool to see unlikely sources ask about my books and writing; friends of friends, in-laws, and even my boss.

I’m thankful for warm fuzzy feelings.

Well, back to the real world! Good luck with everything, guys.

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

Something Different

It’s true. My writing schedule is sort of paused right now. I’ve been insanely busy, dealing with some anxiety and trying to find any motivation in these subzero Chicago temperatures. It’s been brutal. I feel the cold so deep in my bones it’s been hard to do anything productive. I’m most useful at my job, it seems, because that’s how I have to be. Otherwise, I’m just energy drained.

Here are some things that passed across my Facebook feed that I felt I needed to share:

7 Romance Publishers that Pay – For those romance writers out there. 7 Publishers looking for submissions.

Chicken Soup for the Soul – $200 for non-fiction poems or prose.

I hope those links help out! For those of you dealing with the snow and cold, stay warm! For those of you in the warmth and sunshine, enjoy it, you lucky bastards!

Cheers,

HK 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

Nonfiction Wednesdays – Silent Knight

The sexual tension between us was like silly string. Though I’m sure it was thicker on his end and thinner on mine. Despite the carnal looks he gave me behind that sheepish smile, I knew that it was time. I had the scissors ready in my hands to end this gauche chase.

I made the motion to him to come follow me out of the sweltering store and have a seat on the ground. I sighed heavily and rested my back against the window. Dirt and pebbles crackled beneath me as I shifted into a comfortable position on the rough concrete.

He followed me nervously like my dog does after a rough scolding. How could I tell him? He was my friend, but I could see in the way he looked at me that he wanted to be more. I knew he would patiently wait an eternity if I gave him one obliging signal over any course of time.

If I wanted to save this friendship, I had to be the one to bravely speak. I wasn’t going to let this tension haunt us any longer. I shifted the dirt between my fingers. I wasn’t nervous, but I was scared I’d hurt him. I cared about him, but he wanted a different kind of care that I just couldn’t give him.

“You know, you’re one of my best friends.” I licked my lips. I still couldn’t look at him. “But I can’t think of you as any more than that.”

There! I did it!

I choked back a sigh. I wanted him to see that this didn’t affect me.

But it was painful. I knew that inside him the gallons of hope for me to ever love him swiftly evaporated away with that statement. I was the coward though. I couldn’t even look him in the eye while telling him something that would change the way he looked at me forever.

Superficial conversation soon followed, and he sauntered around lightly acting out that nothing had hurt him. But I knew by looking at his eyes that it did.

© 2004 – 2015 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