- #GivingTuesday – please give if you canby Kim Golden
This year’s a little different
I know, it’s been a while. This is usually when I’m deep in NaNoWriMo and holding My Season of Giving (when I donate the proceeds from my book sales to charity). This year, my mind has been elsewhere. With my mom’s terminal lung and brain cancer diagnosis, I’ve been more focused on preparing myself for what’s coming next.
I’m nowhere near my NaNoWriMo writing goal. I write every day. Not many words, but they’re getting written.
This year, let’s do something different. Instead of me encouraging you to buy my books and help me give to charity, I’d love it if you used #GivingTuesday as the start of your own Season of Giving.
The best gift there is
Not sure where to start? Here are some charities that I’ve supported in the past that are doing what they can to make the world a better place.
World Central Kitchen – WCK is on the frontlines providing food to people in times of humanitarian, climate and community crises.
Habitat for Humanity – Habitat for Humanity helps build homes and communities as well as advocates for affordable housing, energy efficiency and safer drinking water for people around the world.
Philabundance – Philabundance is a non-profit food bank with a simple mission, eradicating hunger for good in southeastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey. It’s part of the Feeding America network.
American Lung Association – ALA is dedicated to defeating lung cancer and supporting people who are affected by the disease.
Invictus Games Foundation – Invictus Games Foundation offers a recovery pathway to international injured, wounded and sick servicemen and women (active duty and veterans).
These are just a few a few organizations that need your support. If you are unable to give money, then consider giving time and volunteering at local organizations in your community.
We can all make a difference, even if sometimes it seems like the troubles of the world are too much to bear.
- It’s already autumn – we need to catch upby Kim Golden
I know. It’s been a while.
Summer has moved on. It’s efinitely sweater weather, depending on where you are in the world. Here in southern Sweden, it’s fleece jacket and scarf weather.
Since July, there’s just been too much going on. I always intend to pop in here and keep you updated, but then life keeps throwing curveballs.
And I am just trying to prepare myself.
Last year, I shared with you all the news of my mother’s lung cancer diagnosis. It was caught early enough that she was able to ndergo targeted radiation and was deemed in remission.
Unfortunately, this year, we found out that the cancer had returned. It had metastasized as lesions on her brain. She underwent full-scale radiation at the beginning of July. The cancer then reappeared as flecks on one of her adrenal glands and lymph nodes. More treatment ensued, this time immunotherapy, which seemed to be working. And then it stopped working.
My mom is very frail now, in the hospital again, and has made the decision to stop all cancer treatments. She will enter hospice care next week.
Through all of this, I am eternally grateful to the cancer team at the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine at Penn Medicine who have been taking care of my mom.
On the road again soon
I’m heading to Philadelphia on Wednesday and will be there with her for a while. I love my mother. I wish she could live forever, even though I know how unrealistic that wish may be.
I may live 3,940 miles away from my mother but she is never far from my thoughts. We have a special bond. We are more than mother and daughter – we are friends and I adore her. We may bicker sometimes but she knows that I love her. I know that she loves me.
No one can break the special bond we have.
Writing is my self-care
So while I am in Philadelphia, spending time with my mother, I will also be doing NaNoWriMo. I’ve already brainstormed the idea with my writer tribe in Matera, Italy. It will have two story arcs – one in the early 1960s in the US, Italy and Scandinavia and one in the present in the same settings.
And my mom is helping me with details for part of the story arc set in the Sixties. This is my passion project. It’s what will get me through this period.
I haven’t decided yet if I will share early, unedited chapters here on my blog.
I might be too busy with my mom.
All I can tell you is that writing this is what will get me through these difficult times.
- What’s going on in my lifeby Kim Golden
This year was supposed to be about getting back on track with my fiction writing and marketing my books. It started off well in January. I had a new release called Marry Me which was available exclusively from the Happily Ever After Collective on Patreon. I was managing to write every day and feeling really good. I was working on a new book for the next season of HEA Collective and writing a standalone for the Maybe… series.
I’d asked 2023 to be kinder than the previous years and it seemed like it was delivering.
Of course, it was too good to be true
Within a few weeks, I was in the midst of restructuring limbo at my day job, switched to a new project and finding that I had to do extra work since we were no longer allowed to use freelancers as backup. Whatever work-life balance I had that gave me space to write disappeared. I had a couple of meltdowns while trying to figure out how to write copy for this new project – especially when the early collaboration I was used to as a senior-level copywriter seemed to be downgraded as irrelevant.
I was told, “All we need from you are snappy headings.”
Not what you want to hear when you are a copywriter whose specialty is emotional storytelling and who was hired on the strength of that type of storytelling.
Of course, it turned out that more was needed but not being able to contribute to the concept in a meaningful way left me feeling disconnected from the project. I did what was needed. I didn’t really feel fulfilled or satisfied. And I was frustrated that the extra projects I’d had to take on were overwhelming and left me too exhausted to even put in the bare minimum necessary to work on my fiction writing.
I was not happy. For nearly three years, I loved my job. Now I dreaded even having to be in meetings. I couldn’t figure out what to prioritize and everyone was telling me to prioritize their project but no one seemed to get that I was struggling – even when I was very frank about it.
I guess the honeymoon was over.
We decided to move to Malmö
Then we decided to move to a new city. As much as I loved Älmhult, I missed the options available in a larger city. We’d been spending a lot of time in Malmö doing housesitting/pet-sitting gigs on the side and we’d come to love the city. We found a great apartment and could move in the first week of July… and then we had to start packing.
Not the news we were hoping for
Then I found out that my mom’s cancer was back. This time it wasn’t in her lungs. It had metastasised as lesions on her brain.
All my focus (what was left of it anyway) disappeared. I had to drop out of season 2 of the Happily Ever After Collective because I was too frazzled with everything going on at work + moving + my mom to write. The standalone? I hadn’t touched it in months because my focus and motivation were shot to shit, for lack of better phrasing.
So what’s going on now?
My mom had been planning to come to Sweden at the end of August. That’s no longer possible now. She’d booked tickets so that I could fly back to the US with her. We’re trying to get those tickets transferred to my name so that I can use them to fly over. I’ve asked my manager and project lead to take me off a project for Q4 since I don’t know how long I will need to be in the US, and they’ve been very supportive.
I’m hoping I can head to Philadelphia to see my mom and help out within the next week or so. I won’t feel like I can completely relax until I can see my mom again. I haven’t been in the US since last April-May, when she was first diagnosed with lung cancer and going through targeted radiation treatments. I’d hoped to have been there last autumn but work got in the way.
I don’t know when a new book will come. I hope soon but I can’t guarantee anything. If you’ve been following me, then you know that the last few years have not been good. I’ve lost too many friends and loved ones to stroke, cancer, etc.
I’m doing the best I can. But sometimes it feels like I’m treading water and just trying to keep my head above the surface.
So, please, bear with me. Please be patient.
And keep my mom in your thoughts. And if you or someone you love is affected by lung cancer, please consider giving to your local cancer or lung cancer charity.
Canada: Lung Cancer Canada
South Africa: Cancer Association of South Africa
- What Kim’s watching: The Perfect Find on Netflixby Kim Golden
Yesterday was Midsummer’s Eve (or Midsommarafton as we call it in Swedish) and, instead of doing all those traditional things we’re supposed to do on that day like pretend to be frogs while dancing around a maypole (yes, that really is a thing here) or picking flowers to put under our pillows in hopes of finding our true loves (well, we already have each other), or canoodling in the woods after drinking too much brännvin and beer, we decided to kick back and watch a movie.
A fun movie and a great summer read
I was very happy to find out that The Perfect Find was now a movie directed by Numa Perrier and starring the always awesome Gabrielle Union, Gina Torres, Keith Powers, La La Anthony, Aisha Hinds and D.B. Woodside.
In The Perfect Find, we follow Jenna Jones, former It-girl fashion editor as she tries to regain her professional footing and stage a comeback after a very high-profile firing. In order to do this, she has to ask her nemesis Darcy for a job. She gets the job, but also gets in some hot water because of Eric…her very cute and sexy colleague who’s eleven years her junior…and Darcy’s son. What could go wrong? 😉
In case you didn’t know, The Perfect Find is based on Tia Williams’ novel of the same name. It was one of my favorite reads of 2021. If you haven’t read it yet, then get yourself a copy now. It’s the perfect summer read.
So now I am thinking about other books I’ve loved that would make great movies. Of course, I’d love to see one or two of my own books on the big screen (I think Maybe Baby, Maybe Tomorrow or Near Enough to Hold would make excellent movies).
I would also love to see these titles on the big screen:
- In Every Mirror She’s Black by Lola Akinmade Åkerström
- In Black & White by Nia Forrester
- Killing the Sun by K. Larsen and Mara White
- The Never List by DL White
- Stockholm Diaries – Nordic Nights 1 by Rebecca Hunter
- Frozen Music by Marika Cobbold
- Love Is by Tia Kelly
My list could go on. Which books would you love to see on the big screen (or Netflix, etc)? Let’s compare notes!
- Trying to stay sane when everything is hurly-burlyby Kim Golden
I know it’s been a while. I apologise for the silence. I’ve been busy with preparing to move + being knee-deep in a new project at my 9-to-5. It’s been a pretty hectic time and I am looking forward to summer vacation, even though it’s still many weeks away.
So what have I been doing?
Besides working, I’ve been trying to stay focused on finishing some fiction writing projects. It hasn’t been easy. After a long day of meetings, I am not always motivated to sit at my computer and write. I’ve been trying to use Google docs on my phone, which sometimes helps. But there have been many, many days when I simply don’t have the energy. I end up watching a series on Netflix or Disney+ instead.
Late to the game but I’m loving Only Murders in the Building and Abbott Elementary
I was pretty adverse to subscribing to yet another streaming service since I already have Netflix, SkyShowtime and HBOMax. But ever since I heard about Only Murders in the Building and Abbott Elementary (which is set in my hometown of Philly) I finally gave in and subscribed to Disney+. The bonus is that the Swede gets to watch all the Star Wars stuff that he loves.
Hooked on Queen Charlotte: a Bridgerton Story
I’ve also been obsessed with Queen Charlotte: a Bridgerton Story. In my opinion, it has outclassed both seasons 1 and 2 of Bridgerton. Why? Well, the chemistry between India Amarteifio and Corey Mylchreest is electrifying. Plus, I am convinced that the writing and the conflicts are so much more interesting. Add to it the dynamic of Arsema Thomas as young Lady Danbury and you have a combo who makes you want so much more.
Plus, I loved Brimsley and Reynolds’ love story, and I really need to know what happened to Reynolds since we never saw him in the the “present” scenes.
And what have I been reading?
I’m re-reading The House of Eve by Sadeqa Johnson. So what’s the story?
“1950s Philadelphia: fifteen-year-old Ruby Pearsall is on track to becoming the first in her family to attend college, in spite of having a mother more interested in keeping a man than raising a daughter. But a taboo love affair threatens to pull her back down into the poverty and desperation that has been passed on to her like a birthright.
Eleanor Quarles arrives in Washington, DC, with ambition and secrets. When she meets the handsome William Pride at Howard University, they fall madly in love. But William hails from one of DC’s elite wealthy Black families, and his parents don’t let just anyone into their fold. Eleanor hopes that a baby will make her finally feel at home in William’s family and grant her the life she’s been searching for. But having a baby—and fitting in—is easier said than done.
With their stories colliding in the most unexpected of ways, Ruby and Eleanor will both make decisions that shape the trajectory of their lives.”
I’m telling you – read it. Do NOT ask questions, just read it.
That’s it for today. Must get back to writing so I can have something new for you soon.