Breaking down the Dream of an Empire (Lesson #1)

I am a dreamer.

It’s one of thing that people find endearing about me (I think…at least my husband does).

Many years ago (but not too long), I wanted to be a lawyer. At the age of 12, I wanted to be that person who I had seen in court dramas on TV and make a difference. I even competed in competitions where I had to act and write like a lawyer. And I excelled at it. My mother got a kick out of it whenever she had to dress me up in a dress suit, looking ready to kick ass in the courtroom.

I became driven at the age of 12. And I completed the very dream I had envisioned. I’m a licensed attorney and have been now for about 6 years. I have touched upon almost everything within the law field, even the lofty goal of being an entertainment attorney working for the likes of Sony Music and Bad Boy Entertainment.

I was driven. I was focused. I was pushing myself to excel.

And I also stopped listening to the dreamer in my head.

Some short time into high school, I began to turn to the page. I was too much of a dreamer and most of the time hated the mundane of facts and non-fiction. So I turned to a little notebook I had and I began to write poems (like a lot of angsty teenagers do). But the poems morphed into bigger aspirations. I was then dreaming of stories and differences I would do in the books I would consume. It then became a writing a play for a competition at school and immersing myself in the Drama Club – the true place for dreamers. I began to write short stories. I had tapped into a stream of aspiration and ideas I didn’t know I had inside of me.

Then I gave myself a reality check. I told myself writing wasn’t going to pay the bills or put food on the table. I had to seek out a respectable profession like being a lawyer.

I buried the dreamer deep down. She had to be put away so I could focus. And focus I did.

To this day, I still wonder whether the dreamer and the achiever could have co-existed at the same time. Probably not, because I didn’t have the skills to balance two things at the same time. I’m not sure whether I can now but I am attempting it.

The dreamer reemerged when I needed her the most. To help cope with studying for the bar – I wrote fanfiction (not ashamed of it – if you want to read it some, let me know). Then when I was looking for a job, she came with an idea for a novel which I have spent the last 5 years working on. And I have several other novels in my head, ready to be put to paper.

How I functioned without my dreamer throughout college and law school is still a mystery to me. But she has been flexing her fingers and she is ready to spring out. Because she has now placed in me the biggest dream of all.

The Empire. Or at least that’s what I call it and I was calling it that before the show.

Being a lawyer in as many different fields of law as I have been in my short time has given me perspective. Your past experiences, good or bad, always teach you a lesson. Lessons that will benefit you in the future whether you know that future or not. My experiences gave me perspective on conducting business – how to do and what not to do. And that to be truly happy, the best business is your own where you can call the shots (especially if you are Type A like myself).

And I have a MASSIVE dream for my Empire. Media company that will feature voices that don’t normally have a platform that will encompass books, films, social media, etc. I could go on and on about this vision and how boss it’s gonna be (that’s for another post).


When you have such a huge dream, it’s very easy to get swept up in all that has to get done. And if you’re like me, you want to get everything done like yesterday. I’ve caused myself so much stress about getting everything done that I have burst into ugly tears about how I’m ruining everything by being tired (did I mention I’m a Type A?).

So here’s the first lesson I learned:

YOU ARE NOT A GOD OR A GENIE.

The dreamer is holding on to the dream of the Empire but the achiever sees that all of the legwork should have been done years ago. That we have lost time and that we have do everything now to just catch up, let alone progress forward.

TAKE A DEEP BREATH. NO, REALLY TAKE A DEEP BREATH RIGHT NOW. (I just did it myself.)

I am thorough believer that everything happens for a reason – even when I don’t like the outcome or wish it wasn’t so. There is a reason I took the long way to get to this point – of being a writer and wanting to start my own media empire including a publishing company. I had to go through the ups and downs of life to understand that this is where I wanted to end up. Because I needed perspective.

Just because I’m starting later doesn’t mean my dream will never get accomplished. It’s never too late for my dream. I will need to remind myself of this when I am pushing through work deadlines and possible distractions (read: kids) in the future. It’s never too late for now. And because it’s never too late for now, everything doesn’t have to be done now.

Take the slow cooker. You know why a slow cooker is one of the best inventions known to man? Because the best flavors and best textures need time to simmer. Time to perfect.

Slow cook your dream, throw in some dedication, a few dashes of patience, a couple of drops of innovation, a healthy cup of teamwork and collaboration. And let it cook until it’s done. And sometimes the dream is too big to fit in the slow cooker, so slow cook what you can realistically can get done now.

I’m getting my yearly strategic plan ready (more on that in my next post) so I can effectively execute the plan in a well thought out manner instead of the emotional mess I tend to be. And I learned that through my experiences. You see, full circle.

So I am may be a lawyer now, working on blah stuff.

But I will always be a dreamer. Taking it one day at a time.

 Thanks Ed.

#itsKTnotKatie

Normally…

Normally I’m not that cranky about waking up on Mondays. It’s more likely I need a break from my weekend because they tend to be jammed packed and getting back to my normally scheduled activities like the pandemonium I like to call my job can be considered a break.

But today …


I could not be bothered.

Maybe because I just ….wanted my hopes and dreams and aspirations to be fulfilled so I could gleefully get up and start doing what I love. Books and pages and paper, oh my. I wanted my edits for my book to my main focus. I wanted to be heading to my own office for my publishing company. I wanted my husband to be heading his job of producing films and web series. I wanted our Empire to be on steady legs and busy with activities. But I woke up “Nope not yet. Just another grey Monday. Now get your butt up and go pay those bills.”

Le sigh.

It’s in these moments I gotta try to pep myself. So I write. Writing honestly does it for me. When I can’t vocalize what I’m feeling, it’s amazing how writing and putting down can free you. If you are new to my posts, I tend to write a lot of inspiration-get-your-mind-right kind of posts. All of stream of consciousness. I hope you enjoy it. Maybe it will do something for you too.

I’m just glad I don’t have to dig particular deep to out of my funk for this particular day. Because I’m quietly plotting. Quietly working. To get my ish together so I can have my dreams realized.

I’m not at that Beyoncé level but I’m getting there.

-#ItsKTnotKatie

To the Man Who Said To Go Kill Myself

Dear Jackass on 42nd Street:

I’m not sure what happened to you today before you met me on the street. I’m not sure what had you staring at me particularly hard on the street this afternoon. You were on your way somewhere. So was I. We had several feet dividing us. Even on the sidewalk we would have never even brushed against each other. But for some reason, today, your eyes were directed towards me. 

Again I don’t know what you expected to find on the street today. I’m not sure if you thought that walking on 42nd Street meant that you were going to come across the most comely of people. That’s not the 42nd Street I have come to know in the past 5 years of living in NYC. My experience of 42nd Street have taught me that many different types of people traverse on this road. Homeless. Wealthy. Men. Women. Children. Young. Old. Eccentric. Crazy. Cranky. Rude. Kind. Accepting. 

For me, you fell into the Rude Cranky Man category. 

Because in the few moments that I came across you, you decided that you didn’t like the sweatshirt I was wearing. The black leggings I was wearing. Or the black skull cap I was wearing. I’m taking a guess here that you didn’t like my hair being in a twist braid around the crown of my head.  Nor that I wasn’t wearing any makeup and I wasn’t afraid to show the impurities on my face. The acne scars. The weeks of fatigue from working a high stress job. I wasn’t afraid to show that because I was on my way to a facial. 

No matter what the reason, my looks offended you. My looks offended you to the point of you screaming at me saying:

You sure is ugly. Good God, you are so ugly, you should just kill yourself now. Cuz no one could ever want to be with you.”

You may not have cared about how I felt because again you probably fall into the Cranky Rude Man category. But I’ll let you know. I was appalled. Confused. Shocked. Pissed came actually a few hours later. You’d think I’d feel hurt. But I never did. It made me immediately feel indignant. 

Indignant because it brought me back to all the times that men have told me I need to smile while on the street. Or if I have ignore their advances, I’m a bitch. Or if I focused on something, then I have “resting bitch face.”

Guess what, Cranky Rude Man? 

I am not here on this God-given earth for your enjoyment.

No one asked you to look. No one asked you to critique. Because you are a man, that automatically gives you the right to critique my looks and if they are not up to par by your own standards, then I should kill myself? Do you not hear the arrogance in your voice? That you a man with your own faults and failings would demand that I, a woman, who you deem unworthy of love to kill myself?

I should also include you in one more category. 

Sad. 

You’ve probably heard that a lot in our political discourse but you truly are the epitome of the word “sad.” You’re sad because your life must be going so shitty that you feel as if you need to spew hateful things to random strangers just to pass on the hurt along. You are Sad, Cranky Rude Man. 

I could have spewed hateful ugly things back at you. They were on the roof of my tongue. But my first immediate response to you if you heard it was “I’m married sweetie, thanks!” You probably said some more things to me but I didn’t hear it. I just called my husband once I got into the spa I was talking towards and told him all about what happened. 

And he reaffirmed to me the beauty that he saw in me softening my heart again. If only the world could be enclosed in love ten times more than the hate…

So Sad Cranky Rude Man, though I didn’t say it at the time, in the deepest part of my heart have two messages for you:

1. Whatever is your problem, fix it before you try to enter into the world where other real people live. 

2. 

Sincerely,

K. T.

When Waiting Drives You to Punch Someone

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”
Carl Sagan


Hello family:

I’m sure I’ve told you that I am currently querying for agents for my novel that I’ve slaved over for years, and I am finally able to let go (Back in the Game, Part Deux). Again, it’s an amazing to be able to say out loud that I’ve written a novel, and I think it’s sooooooo good that I should be represented in selling it to publishers. As I said, it’s a fantastic, brilliant feeling.

But… the thing is…

THE WAITING SUCKS!

My inclination is if it’s within my power to do something about it, I’m going to do it. And if it’s not within my control, then I figure out a way to get it within my control. Yes, I am one of those people. One of those people who must have a finger on just about every detail that there can be. I already feel sorry for my poor boyfriend when we do get married (can you say Bridezilla?)

Anywho, I like to be able to push and prod when I need to, to make sure things get done. And with this, I CAN’T. I just have to wait. And if you are anything like me, you fight the impatience beast inside of you all the time. Like a perpetual boxing match with no end.

I’m the guy in the middle by the way.


I just want to knock this out of the park and move to the next step – whether it be getting representation or just moving on to another piece. But I can’t – I have to wait until it’s ready. How many things, in your life, are completely out of your control? Like you can’t move forward until this particular thing or issue is dealt with?

Most of the time, perhaps you can. I literally have to tell myself every day many other things need my attention. Such as

1. Work. You know the thing that pays the bills every day. Until I get that check in the mail, gotta make sure that paycheck this is maintained.

2. My relationships. Family and loved ones are apparently dying for my affection since I have been engrossed in getting my book ready. Maybe I could remind them what I look like….

3. Read. I know I need to keep up with the trends – especially those that are making their way through the publishing world. So I’m trying to stay on top of top-selling books in the fantasy/science fiction genre.

4. Writing. Most important thing – if I want to make a career of this, I probably should have some other material to fall back on. For instance, The Want is the first of a series. But I don’t know whether it’s going to be successful. So I’ve been playing around with a new novel idea. Might as well get cracking on that one.

These are only four examples, but it’s what I have to do to make the wait easier. It’s not easy – again waiting absolutely sucks. But it’s a part of life and it is what it is. Now and then, I find myself staring at the inbox, willing a new email to come. Then I remember it’s only been so long so there’s no point in being sour about it. Just let it happen – it will happen in its own time.

BUT! When I do get control again….

Back in the Game (Part Deux)

You know, it has been a REALLY long time since I’ve been on here. Like ridiculously long. And I could give excuses like the demanding legal job, losing that job to getting another demanding job to general life stuff…but who wants to hear about that?

That’s old and boring. So we won’t go down that route. 

Let talk about what’s new! A couple of things. It’s only taken me about 4 years, but I’ve taken my novel, polished as best as I could and finally sent it out to agents.
First let me say, the book has gone over a serious makeover. No longer called The Balancer but The Want. More unexplained phenomena with earthquakes, tsunamis, and even people. I’ve ripped apart twice, had editors look it it, rip it apart a third time and I’ve come to the nitpick stage. They usually say if you are there, it probably no more you can do with it.  
Even with the nerve-wracking fear of rejections, there is a particular beauty and sense of accomplishment to seek to sell your work. To say that I’ve written a novel and I’m sending it out for representation. I actually said it out loud at work. You may think that’s not a big deal to say but when it’s been my little secret for years…that’s massive. 
(You might be saying, we’ve know that you write for years. Yeah you might but they don’t!)
So there’s that little diddy. 
And with every sense of accomplishment, it starts the clock over for the next project. And I’ve been waiting for a year to start working on it. Yes, I could have started the moment I was hit with the idea but I wanted to let go of The Want (not entirely but close to 80%). That way I know I could give the 2nd one the attention it deserves. 

Guys, I’m excited for this one. 
This one, tentatively called Harry and Me, includes all the elements I love in a book but also time travel. Partly inspired by the ever so wonderful Doctor Who (can’t pick between 10 or 11). It’s a three part series and will be in the new adult genre. Even now, as I think about it, I get a bit giddy. My characters are awesome! #ButReally
And always, my characters will feature characters of color. Not to get on my soapbox but I do believe that I want to help foster a literary world where it will become normal to see other people of color on the covers of novels. 
And all the more props to me when I can say to my little girl or boy, “That’s my mummy’s book.” 
So that’s going on with me. There are other side projects I’ve also abandoned that will be picking back up. Third Times a Charm, I am talking about you! (I’m coming home)
There is this sense within that I am actually coming home. Back to my corner, with my laptop and my little table, exploring my dreams in written form. I didn’t realize it had been calling back until right about now. 
It feels like my mother is calling for me. 
Coming, mom!

Plan B! Reevaluating your Goals!

Hey fam, 

So the Indiegogo campaign is over. 
Unfortunately we didn’t make our goal. Heck to be honest we didn’t even make 10%. 
Whenever you don’t make a certain threshold or goal you have to go back and reevaluate your choices. Was it my novel idea itself? Did I not explain in it a more engaging way? Or maybe the chapter I put up to entice people actually turned them away?
Fam, I went through every possible scenarios. But one conclusion came increasing clear. EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON. I’m a firm believer that this process for me wasn’t supposed to work. If it was suppose to, it would’ve. But!! It doesn’t mean the overall plan to become a writer is in the trash. It just means we have to go another way about it. 
Ever have something happen to you where it reaffirms you commitment to your dream but you think you have better way to go about it (or don’t trust what happened) and you go a different route? That’s exactly what happened to me. I had attended a conference and made a couple of pitches to agents who were genuinely interested in reading. But in the fear of rejection (also because of the genre I’m in) I thought it would be best if I didn’t go traditional. At least I knew I could publish myself. So I tried to raise money. Didn’t happen. TWICE. 
You don’t need a third time to tell you the first way was the way to go. Especially after all the effort, money and energy I put into making this campaign work. 
So where does that leave me? Back to the traditional. With a new novel. I’ve decided to put “The Balancer” on Wattpad and start on another one of my ideas. This way I can still get the exposure for my work and work on something that can have a fighting chance in this massive book market. Some of you might think don’t write to simply appease the market. I’d like to think I’m not. I’m still getting my voice out there. With an idea that I genuinely like that just happens to fit in a hybrid genre (dytopian/fantasy). 
The major lesson in all this is just because one door isn’t open doesn’t mean others won’t. Possibly before you started to learn more about the roadblocks in your way you had a simple idea. Return to the simple idea and make it happen. Listening to naysayers may educate you but possibly cripple you. KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE. Preserve and it will happen!
So you can check out the Balancer on Wattpad. I’ll be putting up the link once I make a couple of changes to the teaser chapter I put up. But you can see the new cover I created. 
Again fam, never give up and surrender. Reevaluating your choices is never a bad thing as long as you make a decision to keep moving and evolving. And if you are out there and you need motivation, let me know. Right behind being a lawyer and writer is a cheerleader! Motivation and inspiration are my pom-poms! 😜
Until next time (more than likely tomorrow)!

Major Announcement for the Novel!

Hiya Family,

A great couple of things have happened that have officially pulled me from the quagmires of despair into totally and absolute joy.

I’ve finally taken the plunge and contacted a group about self-publishing my book. IT’S OFFICIAL!

You must be like “You’ve been saying that for the longest time. What’s so different now?”

The difference is pushing the button.

Since a couple of months ago, I have been on fence about really writing. Work and getting my Masters got in the way of everything and it made me question whether I really could do this. Be a writer? Barely had time to get myself out of the bed in time for work!

Then about two weeks ago, I randomly decided to read the first novel-length piece I ever wrote. And this may sound really self-absorbed but I couldn’t put my own work done! It wasn’t that I didn’t what was going happen but it was the story that kept me captivated. And I can be my own worst critic! But I honestly thought to myself, that wasn’t half bad.

Then I got to thinking, if I am able to write something that I can honestly enjoy reading several years later, I might have something there. So today I took the plunge! I contacted my book publishing adviser and set the official timeline. EEEEKK!

And I push the other button that I had been putting off for a while – my Indiegogo funding page. The publishing world has now allowed others to self-publish and take control of their own work. It is my wish to do the same. I’ll discuss more about my goals for funding in another post but you can take a look at it if you want a sneak peak! Bring My Novel To Life!!

But honestly I can’t tell you how siked (yes, I still use that word) I am about this entire thing. I started officially writing just about three years ago. Finished my first novel-length piece in a couple of months. Finish my current novel in 5 months and I still have much more to give!

Stay tuned and thanks for your continued support! Your comments and well-wishes give me the mojo to continue!!

Ciao,

Kristina

How Pinterest Saved My Novel

Family, I gotta testify and tell YOU how Pinterest save my book, gave it a second life and raised it from the dead.

I’m getting ahead of myself so let me back up a bit. You see, when you have been working on something so hard and take a break from it, you can lose your initial vision. How you saw your characters, how you saw the world you created. It’s like a film that covers your eyes. Like sunglasses that are stuck to your ears and you can’t get them off without doing yourself much harm.

Well, family, I had some dark sunglasses on. I couldn’t get a handle on my protagonist. I started to forget my how evil my antagonist was. I was starting to forget how steamy the love connection between characters was. I was losing why my character would do certain things in certain places and I was losing why certain places did the things it did. And let me tell you that is the worst thing to happen to a writer. Sweat was pouring, itches broke out and panic was starting to come around the corner.

BUT PINTEREST!

Pinterest gave it new breath. It came in and it saved me. It saved my female protagonists and it saved my male protagonist. It saved my scenery and it saved my minor characters. And you must be asking how did it do that? WEEELLLLL, I casted my characters. I finally put some faces to some names. The same way you might have a pinboard how to keep track of people and places, Pinterest became my roadmap. And it’s pretty fun too! I was like a casting director and began to interview actors to see who could do my characters justice. I could just imagine how I would act if I was actually in the room casting people!

Not mention everyone at one point thinks of how their novel would look on the Big Screen. Pinterest was my way of bringing it to reality. To make it a possibilty. To see how the cast would look like once my novel reached the ears of Hollywood. Don’t look at me funny – you know you’ve done it too! Come on now! 🙂

Family, Pinterest saw me in my panic and came in and save me. It picked me up and turned me around. And it set my feet back on solid ground! I’ll give you a look at what I did. It may not be entirely clear to you what and who exactly people are. But you can get a feel how much fun I had and how much it can really get your ideas together!

I just gotta thank God for giving the Founder of the Pinterest the idea. I don’t think I could’ve made through finishing my novel without it. If you are in a place where you need a refreshed look at your novel, use PINTEREST! Fabulous, Friendly and FREE!
I’m going to sit down and enjoy my pictures now,
Cheers!

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