Kim’s birthday post

Today is my birthday and the day has started off quite well! My hubby made me a lovely birthday breakfast, my friends have been sending me Chuck Norris jokes (yay!), I have today off from work and I’ve got lots of writing ideas. All that’s left is to treat myself to a few new books for my Kindle. 🙂

Before I do that, I thought I’d give you heads-up on a couple of books I read during my lovely two-weeks off for Christmas. I usually spend the Christmas holidays reading lots of  holiday chick lit and romance novels.

So what did I read this year (other than the Christmas novels I told you about a few posts ago)?

Image via theninaperez.com

Image via theninaperez.com

Thanks to the chicas in the Fans of Interracial Romance group on Goodreads, I stumbled upon writer Nina Perez and her Sharing Space series. The series is comprised of five (soon to be six) short novels following the romance between Chloe and Patrick. In Book One, we find out about how Chloe meets Patrick–she needs a new roommate after her ex-roomie Grace hightails it to LA to find fame and fortune as an actress. Chloe advertises for a new roomie on Craigslist and, after a number of disastrous roommate interviews, meets Patrick, a personal trainer and aspiring actor who needs to move to Manhattan to be closer to his job.

Through the course of the books, we follow Chloe and Patrick as they both try to ignore their mutual attraction for the sake of maintaining a good roommate balance, the inevitable moment when they can no longer ignore how they feel and the mixed reactions of their friends and families when news spreads that these two have finally become a couple. Add to it family drama, corporate hijinks and misunderstandings with friends and you’ve got a series that sucks you in like a good episode of Scandal (okay, it’s not as hot as Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn together, but they’re pretty hard to beat).

I’ve read the first five books loved them all. I really like how Perez writes about how Patrick and Chloe become friends before they become lovers. I also like her realistic portrayal of the complexities of friendship. Myra and Chloe’s friendship felt true to life, as did Perez’s description of Chloe’s relationship with her cousin, who is more like a sister to her. Patrick’s complicated friendship with Max and his attempts to help his wayward sister Charlotte also rang true.

Two thumbs up for the Sharing Space series. Looking forward to reading Book 6 later this month.

Image via hannahfielding.net

Image via hannahfielding.net

And now I just started reading The Echoes of Love by Hannah Fielding. Set in Venice, The Echoes of Love follows Venetia Aston-Montague as she finds herself falling under the spell of the very enigmatic and sexy Paolo Barone. Their chance meeting–he rescues her from masked assialants one night of the carnivale–sets Venetia off on a quest to learn to love again–even as others warn her about Paolo’s lothario reputataion–and to face the demons from her own past. I’m about 100 pages into the story and I love it so far. 🙂 It speaks to the Italophile romantic in me.

I love the lush descriptions of Venice, and how Fielding pulls you in as a reader so you feel like you are walking beside Venetia as she steps into the mysterious spell that is Venice. Going to dive back into the book again in a few minutes and get lost for a while. 🙂

That’s it for today! I need to go for a walk, get some more writing done, etc.

What are you reading today?

On Pinterest, writing Maybe Baby and inspiration…

I think I’ve become addicted to Pinterest. I’ve been using it to make inspiration boards for my writing and it really helps me–especially when I am trying to imagine setting and what my characters look like. Before Pinterest, I had scrapbooks full of pictures, piles of magazines that littered my desk…it was wonderful chaos that could sometimes be distracting and become a bit of a nightmare. I am trying to bring a sense of order to my life and Pinterest, in its own little way, is helping. Well, at least it’s helping keep my desk While I’ve been working on Maybe Baby, my inspiration board just seems to get bigger and bigger. I’ve got 88 pictures pinned depicting the people who inspired my characters and the places in Copenhagen and Stockholm that feature in the novel. When I first started writing Maybe Baby back in November, I knew I wanted to play with the idea of a Dane as the love interest for my expat American heroine. I was in the middle of a dreary Swedish winter and Nanowrimo was the only thing keeping me from focusing too much on the gray winter skies. I wanted my Swedish main character, Niklas, to be like the Swedish seasons–beautiful and warm in summer, but in turns distant and emotionally unavailable.

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Rudi Køhnke

When I first began writing Maybe Baby, I initially had a Danish actor, Rudi Køhnke, in mind as  Mads. He had the same intensity that I thought Mads should have. But the more I thought about it, the less he felt…right. I’m not sure why he didn’t feel right but he never really became Mads in my head. Maybe he was a little too boyish-looking? Maybe he was too young? Mads is in his mid to late thirties and Rudi Køhnke looks a little too long. I started searching again for the right Mads and it took a couple of days until I realized I needed someone who looked more experienced and had a laid-back vibe. I didn’t want him to be too perfect. I wanted him to be flawed in a good way.

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Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

Eventually, I realized the person I’d been thinking about as I wrote about Mads was actually another Danish actor, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Images of him pepper My Maybe Baby board. Once I switched to thinking about him as Mads, the scenes he was in were easier to write. I guess it helps that I was seeing him everywhere–on Swedish TV, in Game of Thrones, in old episodes of New Amsterdam. I showed my Maybe Baby board to some friends who’d been reading the unedited chapters of Maybe Baby as I posted my Nanowrimo progress here on the blog. They all agreed–he was Mads. So when I finally publish this and, if some lovely day, someone wants the film rights…it’s on one condition–Nikolaj plays Mads. I can’t really picture any American or British actor playing him.

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Kerry Washington

American actress Kerry Washington became the inspiration for Laney. I liked her vibe. I’d seen her in a few films and liked how she could exude vulnerability and sexiness at the same time. Just before I began working on Maybe Baby, I watched Lakeview Terrace. Kerry plays Lisa Mattson, one of the main characters in the film, and she is gutsy, sometimes frustrating and not afraid to show her fear, confusion and anger. She was the perfect Laney and every picture I found of her confirmed it for me. So maybe I need another clause for the day I sell the film rights…Kerry should play Laney to Nikolaj’s Mads. Writing the first draft of Maybe Baby took a month. Revising it has so far taken me four months. I keep finding small things that could be better. I had three months of author mentorship with author Misa Ramirez via Savvy Authors, and she helped me see when I wasn’t going deep enough with my POV, when my pacing was off with too much telling instead of showing and when the backstory was taking over. (Thanks, Misa!) 🙂 I’ve got a plan, and I am trying to stick to it. I’m a bit behind schedule but I think I can catch up. 🙂 In the meantime, I’ll keep writing and, when my brain stalls, I’ll search for pictures that inspire me and pin them on my Pinterest board. And I’ll keep you posted on my progress. 🙂