Birthday Month #BirthdayBehaviour

So…

This month is my birthday month. It’s a milestone birthday. Which means…. Milestone surprises. And I’m already being spoilt…

Left: New Macbook Right: Old but faithful Macbook
Ooh even the box has rose gold accents
Ta-da…Now isn’t that just gorgeousness. Everything should be in Rose Gold. The perfect writers’ laptop.
All my favourite writer weapons. Pens. Notebooks. The Perfect laptop. #inkslaying

This beautiful early birthday gift arrived. I have desperately needed to upgrade my 10-year old Mac Pro and at the top of my wish list was this sexy rose gold MacBook (2017). I’ve been dreaming about this gorgeous machine since the first model came out in 2015.

Surprise, Surprise!! My family decided to spoil me this year with this sleek and sexy ultra-portable powerhouse. I just have to say I want all the things in Rose Gold.

So I’d like to introduce Rizzoli. Named after my favourite fictional female detective.

I absolutely love this MacBook. Apple I’ve got to say you’ve outdone yourself this time.

To be honest it was a little daunting to switch to a new laptop after 10 years on my trusty Mac. But thanks to the brilliant migration assistant on my Apple time capsule, the backup and transfer of the last 10 years went smoothly. Nothing was lost. Thankfully.

I’ve had it for about 2 weeks now. And it is an absolute delight to write with. The butterfly keyboard is so responsive and really comfortable to type on. The battery life is phenomenal. I can use it on battery charge for a full day without needing to be charged. I also love that I can recharge it with the same power-bank I use for my iPad mini in case I’m not near a power point. But the biggest difference is just how portable this tiny MacBook is. Packs all the power and punch of my old MacBook and so much more but in an ultra-light minimalist design. Truly this machine is just pure delight to work on. I’ve got to say I personally think this is the perfect writers’ laptop.

Now the next thing I need to do is upgrade to Scrivener 3. Scrivener 2 is my power-weapon in all things writing but after watching the introduction to what’s new and improved in Scrivener 3 from the brilliant Scrivener Coach, Joseph Michael, I think Scrivener 3 is definitely going to hit all my sweet spots.

I also decided to treat myself to some early birthday treats…

Of course it was stationery related….You can never have enough paper and pen things.

New notebooks!

The one on the left is going to be a series catch-all bible for my current WIP Tattooist- Blood & Ink series.

The one on the right is for my shiny new secret WIP series: Nightborn.

Shiny new MacBook ✔

Shiny new Notebooks ✔

Shiny Writer in procrastination…Progress through Procaffeination ✔👩🏻‍💻☕😂

Now back to writing….

Begin again with the smallest numbers

Burning the Old Year | NAOMI SHIHAB NYE

Letters swallow themselves in seconds.

Notes friends tied to the doorknob,

transparent scarlet paper,

sizzle like moth wings,

marry the air.

So much of any year is flammable,

lists of vegetables, partial poems.

Orange swirling flame of days,

so little is a stone.

Where there was something and suddenly isn’t,

an absence shouts, celebrates, leaves a space.

I begin again with the smallest numbers.

Quick dance, shuffle of losses and leaves,

only the things I didn’t do

crackle after the blazing dies.

Word of the Year 2018

BLOOM

Every year for the last few years I have chosen ONE WORD to theme, drive, inspire, motivate, guide my next year. I have come to truly cherish this year-end ritual. This time around it has been particularly poignant as I reflect back not only my last year but my last decade as well. 2018 is a special year for me personally. It is a year of new pages, new beginnings, and introduces a new decade of birthdays for me. It is going to be a year of changes, small and large.

I look back on the last 10 years and I find I am grateful. That may be an odd phrase and to be honest it wasn’t the first phrase that came to mind. Other preferred phrases would have not been good in polite company.

But I am grateful in spite of. I am grateful to have got to this point, to have survived. I am grateful that the many trials and heartaches have strengthened my core. I am grateful for the people I love in my life. I am grateful for sifting through the sands of betrayal and misery and finding true veins of gold. I am grateful for my body even if at most times during the last decade I have experienced the most upheaval in terms of my physical health. I am grateful for treasured life friendships that have nurtured and comforted me. I am grateful for friends that are family. I am grateful for new friendships that have cheered me. I am grateful for the relationships that have come and gone. I am grateful for the lessons. So yes, in spite of this being the most difficult decade of my life in all aspects, in spite of it starting in heartache and broken promises and ending in heart-shaking grief, in spite of all of this I am grateful. I am grateful because I came through. I am grateful because I am here. I am grateful because the greatest lesson that this last decade has taught me is that life is rich in complexity, living is messy, chaotic and beautiful, surviving is our strongest instinct and that both our joys and our sorrows stretch our hearts and strengthen our cores.

But in 2018 I want to BLOOM. I believe there is a season for everything. The last decade has been a season of growing. I want this next decade to be a season of BLOOMING.

2018 Core Desired Feelings

What are Core Desired Feelings?

I’ve been subscribed to Danielle LaPorte’s newsletters and enjoyed her website for a couple of years now. This year I decided to dig deep into her book and/or goal setting planning system: The Desire Map.

“The Desire Map…

Knowing how you actually want to feel is the most potent form of clarity that you can have. Generating those feelings is the most powerfully creative thing you can do with your life.

What if, first, we got clear on how we actually wanted to feel in our life, and then we laid out our intentions? What if your most desired feelings consciously informed how you plan your day, your year, your career, your holidays — your life?

You know what will happen with that kind of inner clarity and outer action? You’ll feel the way you want to feel more often than not. Decisions will be easier to make: You’ll know what to say no to and what to say hell-yes to. You’ll be more optimistic, more open-hearted. It will be easier for you to return to your center in the midst of a challenge.”

~ Danielle LaPorte

Danielle also created a planner, available in both weekly or daily. So this year I decided to treat myself to this Planner. My main planners are still my Hobonichi’s. But The Desire Map Planner (Daily) is my intentions and self-care Planner/Journal. This year is a banner year for me in many ways but I wanted to make sure I was taking care of me, not just my tasks or schedule, but actually blocking off time for me to do things that feed my soul, fill my heart, energise my body and refill my well of creativity. So this Planner is the place I block off time for activities that don’t have to be ticked off but more for experiences that make each day feel a little better. I love the idea of setting down on paper how I want to feel this year. So the Core Desired Feelings just zings for me and for the intentional year I want to live this year.

These are my ‘Favourite Things’

Jawbone UP2 Fitness Tracker

Oral B Pro 3000 Electric Toothbrush

UE Boom2 Bluetooth/Wireless Speaker

Nanami Seven Seas Crossfield Notebook (A5)

Hobonichi Cousin (A5)

Hobonichi Techo (A6)

Hobonichi Mega Weeks (Cheque Book Size)

Desire Map Planner

Tell me, What will be your One Word theme for 2018?

Tell me, what will 2018 bring you: Questions or Answers?

Filling the Well

The last two weeks were difficult for me and for those I love. Two deaths to commemorate. And another loss for someone I love. My soul felt clogged up by the mud of grief. I needed a reprieve, a solace, a nourishing…


So I went to an art exhibit that has currently been showing in Auckland.

The Body Laid Bare| Masterpieces from Tate [On view March 18 through July 16, 2017]

Encounter the human form—in all its complexity—in “The Body Laid Bare: Masterpieces from Tate,” Auckland Art Gallery’s major exhibition for 2017. Beautiful, sensual and at times provocative, more than 100 artworks from Tate, London, tell the story of the nude and trace artists’s captivation with the human body over the last two centuries. Journeying through time, from the classical, biblical and literary subjects of the 1800s to the body politics of contemporary art, “The Body Laid Bare” brings together masterpieces by renowned artists including JMW Turner, Auguste Rodin, Pierre Bonnard, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Louise Bourgeois, Cindy Sherman, Sarah Lucas and many more. At the heart of the show is Auguste Rodin’s marble sculpture The Kiss which—although celebrated worldwide—is travelling beyond Europe for the first time. Other renowned works include Picasso’s Nude woman in a red chair (1932) and Bonnard’s The bath (1925).

This was both an exquisite and confronting exhibit. There were pieces that were raw and erotic, pieces that were heart-breakingly beautiful, pieces that were confronting and pieces that simply awed me. But each piece had its own place in this one of a kind exhibit. I went for Rodin’s “The Kiss” but I was transported on a visual journey that filled the hollow parts of me. The exhibit was everything and nothing that I anticipated.

So let me share with you the three pieces that absolutely entranced me and for a moment filled the dark hollow spaces with a hopeful light.

The Kiss | Auguste Rodin (1901-4)

The Kiss is awe-inspiring, simply exquisite. I have seen many images of this sculpture but the privilege of seeing this in its stone flesh is breath-taking. Truly a memory that I will treasure.

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The Lament For Icarus
The Lament For Icarus | Herbert James Draper [1898]

The Lament For Icarus | Herbert James Draper [1898]

Words failed me at this exquisite piece of work. I had not heard of Herbert James Draper prior to this exhibit. But this is one of those pieces of art that touched my soul. The image here does not do the true work justice. Suffice to say, this is a piece that will inspire me for the rest of my life. 

Arched Figure | Louise Bourgeois [1993 (cast 2010)]

Louise Bourgeois’s Arched Figure is both confronting and exquisite. What stood out to me though was that the sculptor was 82 when she sculpted this truly magnificent Figure. I was awed to imagine her rough-hewned, wrinkled, strong hands manipulating the clay into muscles, ribs and limbs, finally giving life to this Arched Figure; perhaps raging against the age of her years but yet still revelling in her ability and her art.

Louise Bourgeois photographed by James Hamilton, in 1992, with her piece Arch of Hysteria.

Tell me where you go, what you do for light in darker times?

Tell me how do you fill the well?

 

Interesting Articles

Winter, Wolves, Words

I have been dreaming of wolves for the last year or so. My dreams are always vivid. I also have many lucid dreams; dreams where I can control the dream and even where I can re-enter a dream days after having it. All of my stories have come from dreams. Vivid dreams that wake me up at 4am in the morning scrambling for pen and paper to write down what I see in my dream world. But lately there have been two dreams that I keep on having…

One is a dream of wolves and the other is a stirring in my imagination, new scenes in a new story in a new series… 

The wolf dream is a favourite and one that I love to return to. I have always believed that if I have a spirit animal, as the native Americans talk about, it is the Wolf. There is something about wolves that call to my soul. So it does not surprise me that for the last year I have been dreaming of wolves. I have been at the crossroads of death and life, grief and joy these last 400 days. Dreaming of the wolves symbolises change, a wandering and roaming both literally and figuratively, a need for freedom and a longing for my pack. I am searching. I am hunting. I am roaming. But I am roaming in the spirit of the Wolf. I am feeling more certain than I have been in a very long time of where I want to be, who I want to be, what I want to write. 

  • “When the Wolf appears, either physically, through meditation or through a dream, it’s often a way of telling you that you’re either using your intelligence and instincts well to solve a challenging life situation, or that you’re not using them at all…
  • “The Wolf represents the pathfinder. He is a guide that helps you to discover when you are being misguided, or led correctly, when using your instincts…
  • “When the Wolf shows up in your life, look closely and listen carefully to what your intuition or instincts are telling you…
  • “Wolves are wild animals, they are beautiful creatures of mystery that cannot be domesticated. If a Wolf appears to you in a certain period of your life when you’re in doubt of the changes that are happening, it can be reassuring you that the path you’re taking is the right one, and that you’re being loyal to your instincts. Equally, if the Wolf presents itself in a moment in life where you feel stuck, it might be reminding you that you’re a free wild creature, that you can deviate from whatever path you are currently on and become a ‘lone Wolf’ if necessary in order to pursue your dreams…” | Wolf Spirit Animal

For so much of the last couple of years I have felt like I was ensnared in a world of smoke and fog, at the mercy of circumstances and situations, in a state of reaction rather than action and choices. This last year the smoke and fog turned to a smouldering fire that almost consumed me, leaving me a husk holding ashes in my mouth. Even my dreams abandoned me. There was just an opaque greyness in my dream world that stole the rich vividness I was used to. 

But around Autumn, late March in the Southern  Hemisphere, I dreamed of my wolves again. Those dreams started cracking the husk of me open again to find small seeds of new dreams. The ashes in my mouth were still there but now they were softly glowing with forgotten embers of warmth and new sparks of energy. As the world around was turning into russet oranges and rich reds and sun-kissed golds, the embers started waking up. 

Now in Winter, with the tree branches stripped bare of all the colours, naked and open to the crisp clean winter air, the embers in my mouth and my soul are glowing brightly and warmly, embracing me in a cocoon of heat, energy and inspiration… Inspiration that is both lighting my current writing path but has also opened a new path in the forests and mountains of my imagination… But more on that in my next post. [Aside: Get used to reading more frequent posts from me here…as the embers start burning away the ashes to make room for new words again…]

So yes I am paying close attention. I’m open, listening with an open heart, and actively looking for new paths from my Pathfinder Wolf…


  • Tell me, What have you been dreaming about lately? Do you believe in spirit animals and what would your animal be? Tell me, What is sparking your inspiration?


Winter | Refresh

The sun is setting earlier and rising later. The skies are a crisp clear ice-blue. The air outside is fresh against my skin. Winter is here in the Southern Hemisphere. Winter makes everything feel fresh, crisp and clear. So I thought, what better time to refresh the look of my website…

Refresh

  • refresh | rɪˈfrɛʃ/ [verb]
  • verb: refresh; 3rd person present: refreshes; past tense: refreshed; past participle: refreshed; gerund or present participle: refreshing
  • give new strength or energy to; reinvigorate.
  • “the shower had refreshed her”
  • synonyms: reinvigorate, revitalize, revive, restore, brace, fortify, strengthen, give new strength to, enliven, perk up, stimulate, freshen, energize, exhilarate, reanimate, wake up, resuscitate, revivify, rejuvenate, regenerate, renew, breathe new life into; More blow away the cobwebs; informal | buck up, pep up; rare in spirit
  • “the cool air will refresh me”



It’s been about 3 years since I refreshed the look of my digital home. Which meant it was high time to change things up. So I opted for a new theme and a new look. I’m loving the fresh, clean look of this Refresh. It symbolises the refreshing that is taking place in my life, both fictionally and personally. I’m feeling crisp, clear and refreshed. Excited about what the future holds…


Tell me, which is your favourite season to refresh, reset and change things up?



I leave you with one of my favourite songs presented in one of the most beautiful visuals. 

Suspense with Spice | The Girl Who Was Taken | #KimsKaffeeKlatsch

How has your reading month been? Feel like a suspense mystery with a twist or two in its tale? Buckle up, because Charlie Donlea’s The Girl Who Was Taken is going to take you on a tale full of blind corners, unexpected twists, red herring detours and an ending that you won’t see coming. Make yourself your favourite beverage – I recommend my Perfect Pairing of Moroccan Spiced Coffee *recipe at the bottom of this post* – curl up in your favourite reading corner and start reading The Girl Who Was Taken.


About The Girl Who Was Taken

Two women – one, the sister of a missing girl; the other, a victim who escaped – come together to unmask a killer in this heart-stopping thriller. 

Her truth is only half the story . . . 

Megan McDonald is a high school senior when she disappears from the small town of Emerson Bay. Hope for her safe return is nearly lost until, after two weeks held captive, she escapes from a bunker hidden deep in the woods.

Now, one year later, the bestselling account of her ordeal – Missing – has turned Megan from local hero to national celebrity. It’s an inspiring story, except for one inconvenient detail. A second girl went missing that night. Her classmate, Nicole Cutty.

Dr. Livia Cutty is a fellow in forensic pathology, training at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in North Carolina. Her sister, Nicole, has been missing a year when the body of a young man – an apparent suicide – shows up in the morgue and offers Livia the first clue to Nicole’s fate. Livia reaches out to Megan for help, hoping to learn more about the night the two were taken. Others girls have gone missing, and Livia is increasingly certain the cases are connected.

But Megan is reluctant. She knows more than she has revealed. As flashes of memory continue to return, she realizes her blockbuster book is filled with lies, and that digging too deeply into the night she escaped from that bunker might reveal something darker and more monstrous than anything her chilling memoir describes.

The truth is only half the story…

Just when you think you have the answers to this suspense mystery, Charlie Donlea leads you down another twisted forest path that veers you off the road. 

This is a story about a girl who was taken and her sister who cannot move on with her life without getting answers to her questions. But this is only the surface of a story that will keep on leading you down dark, twisted pathways never knowing when you’ll finally find your way out of this maze of mystery. This is also a story about how dangerous curiosity can be when taken too far. 

I thoroughly enjoyed The Girl Who Was Taken. I adore mysteries that are true mysteries, the ones that keep you guessing and wondering if the bread crumb the author just dropped is a clue or a red herring. Charlie Donlea successfully keeps up the mystery in this taughtly crafted suspense. The characters in this story are multi-layered and the story told through multiple view points and two parallel timelines keeps you guessing in a well plotted maze of an arc that will surprise you with its sharp curtain-drop ending.

The premise of this story is more than just a missing persons case. This is a story about how well you know, or think you know those around you whether it is your sibling, your child, your parent, your friend or your co-worker. It is a story about secrets. The secrets we keep from ourselves, the secrets we keep from others and the secrets that threaten our very foundations. This is a story that anyone can relate to. How far would you go to find a missing loved one? What questions would you be willing to ask? What answers are you willing to face? 

If you like your mysteries spiced with more than a few red herrings, and you love a good maze then The Girl Who Was Taken will be the book that will lead you down twisted paths deeper and deeper into the heart of a story that will keep you turning the pages wondering if you even have the right map. 

Charlie Donlea surprised me with his strong debut but he has delighted me with The Girl Who Was Taken. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.

The Girl Who Was Taken has all the right ingredients and just enough surprising spices in a well crafted mystery suspense to get a solid 5 star Coffee rating from me.

☕️       ☕️       ☕️       ☕️       ☕️

[I would like to thank Netgalley, the Publisher and the Author for this ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.]

Author/Book

Author Website

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Author Facebook

Publisher Website

Buy The Book

Check out the Blog Tour

What is a good book without coffee?? What is a Kaffeeklatsch without the Kaffee…

For “The Girl Who Was Taken” I recommend a carafe of Moroccan Spiced Coffee. This is a story that at first glance seems like a standard mystery but as you turn each page the story twists your original judgement on its head and then twists it again. This coffee appears like a standard coffee, only the exotic aroma tempts you closer to draw in more of that aroma. So make yourself a carafe of this exotic deliciousness and sit down in your favourite reading corner with “The Girl Who Was Taken”.

Tell me, What book/s + coffee (Or Preferred Poison) is keeping you up at night?

On the Run… | April | #KimsKaffeeklatsch

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be someone else? Have you ever wanted to switch lives with someone else? Have you ever wished you could just start over? It seems like an innocent enough wish but identity is more than just a name. Identity is a story we tell ourselves. But what happens when that story is more fiction than fact… How do you separate the truth of who you are from the lie of who others think you are? Today’s book The Passenger explores these intriguing questions. So sit back, get comfortable, make yourself a strong beverage (I suggest my recommended Kaffee Pairing), keep your wits about you and let’s go on the run with…

In case you were wondering, I didn’t do it. I didn’t have anything to do with Frank’s death. I don’t have an alibi, so you’ll have to take my word for it . . . .

From the author of the New York Times bestselling Spellman Files series, Lisa Lutz’s latest blistering thriller is about a woman who creates and sheds new identities as she crisscrosses the country to escape her past: you’ll want to buckle up for the ride!

Forty-eight hours after leaving her husband’s body at the base of the stairs, Tanya Dubois cashes in her credit cards, dyes her hair brown, demands a new name from a shadowy voice over the phone, and flees town. It’s not the first time.
She meets Blue, a female bartender who recognizes the hunted look in a fugitive’s eyes and offers her a place to stay. With dwindling choices, Tanya-now-Amelia accepts. An uneasy―and dangerous―alliance is born.

It’s almost impossible to live off the grid today, but Amelia-now-Debra and Blue have the courage, the ingenuity, and the desperation, to try. Hopscotching from city to city, Debra especially is chased by a very dark secret . . . can she outrun her past?

With heart-stopping escapes and devious deceptions, The Passenger is an amazing psychological thriller about defining yourself while you pursue your path to survival. One thing is certain: the ride will leave you breathless.

Let’s Klatsch about this Book

From the first line in this book I was intrigued. As the story developed, I kept on wanting to turn the pages to have my questions answered. Who was this protagonist really? What had she done to make her run? Was she someone I should sympathise with or did her story hold more lie than truth? Was she a reliable narrator of her story or was her story just another smokescreen? 

Haven’t we all, at one point or another, fantasised what it would be like to switch lives with someone else, even if for just a day? But the decision would be a very different one if you were forced to switch identities because you were on the run. 

This is what the protagonist in this story is forced to do. Most of the story will have you guessing, hypothising and constantly asking questions. You’re not told the truth or the reasons until the very end of this story. You won’t necessarily agree with every choice the Protagonist makes but if you put yourself in her shoes, you’ll understand that when you’re truly on the run – not out of desire but out of necessity – sometimes you have to go with the decision that is the quickest and not necessarily the best. 

Lisa Lutz is a new author to me and this is her first book in the “thriller” genre. In The Passenger she has crafted an intriguing premise of a story and she takes you on a journey of twists and turns, both literally as her main character crisscrosses the country and psychologically as the character’s real story is hidden between tricks of mirrors and smoke screens. 

I read this book through in one sitting. I give it a 4 stars/coffees rating because for me this was a mystery suspense and not a thriller. It also rates 4 stars because the story with its intriguing premise will keep you turning the pages. You won’t always like the protagonist and often her choices and decisions will frustrate you but you’ll want to keep turning the pages to see if she will redeem herself and if you’ll finally get to the truth of her story. Intrigued? You’ll have to just read The Passenger for yourself.

☕️ ☕️ ☕️ ☕️

Author|Book

Buy the Book

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[I would like to thank Netgalley, the Publisher and the Author for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.]

Time for the Kaffee to our Klatsch

This story calls for a clear head with an extra jolt of keep-alert caffeine as the protagonist goes on the run constantly switching identities in The Passenger. It’s going to take a few red eyes to keep all the stories straight. 

The Red Eye (Also known as “Shot in the Dark” or “Eye Opener”) is the perfect coffee pairing for The Passenger.


Tell me, What book/s and coffee (or other preferred poison) is keeping you up at night?