Monthly Archives: October 2013

Introducing… me!

Hello-my-name-isCharles Dickens. Stephen King. Dr. Seuss. All three of the Bronte sisters. What do all these writers have in common? At some point during their careers, they wrote under a pen name.

And now, I’ll be joining them. Because as I move into the next step of my writing journey, I will be morphing into Kimberly S. Belle, Author.

Taking on a pen name is not a decision I made lightly. I’m a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of gal, so at first, the idea of writing under a name that wasn’t “mine” felt phony. How would I introduce myself at writing conferences? What would my friends and family think? But when I sat down to think through the pros and cons, the answer became obvious. Here are my biggest reasons:

  1. Spelling and pronunciation. As a writer, I want to make it as easy as possible for readers to remember me, and to find and buy my books. I’ve lived with Kimberle Swaak long enough to know both are uncommon, and even worse, could be a barrier to readers finding me on Google and Amazon.
  2. Market and genre. Writing is a business, and my name should reflect my brand. I write women’s fiction with heart and humor, but the subjects tend to be serious. Kimberle feels light and fluffy, Kimberly not so much. And though Swaak is certainly unique, it’s too much of a distraction. Ditto for my maiden name, Maleski. Neither of them scream women’s fiction. When it comes to readers, I’d rather conversations center on the types of stories I write, not the complexities of my name.
  3. Staying “me.” I wanted to choose a name that felt natural, and that meant something to me personally. Changing Kimberle to Kimberly was a no-brainer. The initial S is a not-so-subtle reference to Swaak. And Belle is one of my daughter’s nicknames–and bonus! I get the E from Kimberle back. Et voila, Kimberly S. Belle. C’est moi.

It may take me a bit to change everything over on my website and social media, and I’m still figuring out how, exactly, I’ll merge my two identities. Will I develop a split personality? Will I accidentally introduce myself as Kimberly Belle at parties? Will I ever learn to type Kimberly with a Y? These are all questions I’ve yet to answer.

But I can tell you this: you won’t have to look very hard to find Kimberle Swaak pulling the levers behind Kimberly S. Belle’s curtain. I have no desire for my writing to remain anonymous, and I have nothing to hide. And when my books hit the shelves, Kimberle Swaak will be holding them up and screaming, “I WROTE THIS, Y’ALL!”

Two Years Later



Before this week is done, time will mark two years since the day I stood in court and was granted a dissolution of marriage. I could feel my heart in my ears, my neck was red and splotchy. I had never wanted something so badly, and my spirit had never needed anything more.

Two years. Calendar-wise I know that’s nothing. A blip when compared against the fullness of life. But when I think about what I’ve gained in these twenty-four months, I am humbled. And so thankful.

Perspective. Acceptance. Peace. Self-confidence. Clarity. Growth. Responsibility. Beginnings. Independence. Release. Courage. Strength. Freedom.

I have leaned on family and friends. Immersed myself in resources like Since My Divorce and Divorced Moms. Relived the marriage, analyzed why it failed, and why I needed out for my own health, and my daughters’ sakes. I have let go of regret, guilt, judgment.



I have transitioned from stay-at-home mom and wife to single mom who works full-time. I’ve learned what it means to be in charge of everything. How to rely on Janna, listen to that inner voice, trust myself.

I have talked to and casually dated men, each of whom has played a role in this process of mine. Through them I’ve learned more about who I am, about what I deserve, and what I both want and need in a romantic future. And I have found faith in what will be. Nevermind what was.

I have embraced my single status. I do things for myself, relish the quiet, make the most of my “me time.”

What I’m most proud of, what I’m most grateful for, is the strength of my relationship with my two girls. We have been through a lot, but have held on tight. If I’d done all I mentioned above and lost sight of my girls and their needs, I’d have failed. But I haven’t failed. I have graduated from victim and divorcee to healthy woman and mom. I’m happy. I feel like I should celebrate!

And I wonder what awaits me in the two years ahead. I can hardly wait to see.

Christmas Is Here – WHAT?


I am not a Scrooge. Not even close. Never.

I love the holidays. I enjoy driving around, looking at all the decorated houses. I do most of my shopping on the internet and a bit inside the stores. This saves me from getting  too overwhelmed with the crowds as well as decrease the need for buying unnecessary items and impulse purchases.


But when I enter Costco and Kohl’s in August and see Christmas trees and shiny ornaments, I absolutely cringe. Who feels in the Holiday Spirit when it’s 80 degrees outside and you’re wearing shorts?

It actually makes me sad because it SCREAMS, “Hand over your money!”  Big time. It irks me to no end that the American people are bombarded with publicity both in the stores and on the television, forcing us into thinking we have to get our shopping done the summer before December 25th in order to “do it right”.


Terms of Surrender Released!

Terms of Surrender by Sheila SeabrookTerms of Surrender is finally here. This is book 2 in my Rocky Mountain Romance series and I’m already hard at work on book 3.

As the mother of two boys, I always thought my youthful secondary characters would mirror my children. I mean, I love the male species, whether they be young, old, or anywhere in-between. I love writing from their point-of-view, and with two wonderful boys and a loving husband, I have plenty of opportunity to delve into the male psych.

But then my youngest sister gave birth to a couple of sweet little girls, and I fell in love with my two precious—and precocious—nieces. Naturally when I began to write Terms of Surrender, and Laura and Lisa slipped onto the pages, their personalities picked up many of my nieces’ traits.

It seems I’m destined to write about manly men who are surrounded by females of all ages.

Here’s the back cover blurb. Enjoy!

A woman in need…
ER nurse Harley Jane Davis has dedicated her life to helping others. Now she’s the one in trouble, and the only person she can rely on is Gage Toryn—the man she’s secretly been in love with for years.

A man on the edge…
Gage would do anything for Harley, except give in to the hungry passion that sparks between them. He’s hiding a terrible secret, one guaranteed to destroy any chance at a relationship. And even though Harley haunts his dreams and makes him want to be a better man, he knows she could never love him if she learned about his ugly past.

Family, future, forever…
When a situation with Gage’s brother endangers Harley and his nieces, Gage offers them refuge in his home—and the battered pieces of his heart. But can he overcome his fear of commitment and open up about the past? Or will his secret destroy his last chance to have a relationship—and a real family—with the only woman he’s ever loved?

To read an excerpt, click here.

While Terms of Surrender is still rolling out to all of the major online bookstores, it’s currently available at the following:

Ebook: Amazon USAmazon CAAmazon UKSmashwords
Paperback: Amazon USAmazon UK

My Ageless Search for Beauty

Most days, I look in the mirror and sigh. I’m getting old and it shows. I have crows feet, a definitive line between my brows, and sharp indents around my mouth—living proof that I laugh, smile, and scowl on a regular basis. Good news—I’m alive and kicking even as I celebrate my forty-fourth birthday. rose hip oil

I’ve never had a perfect complexion. I’ve always battled hormonal breakouts (that’s right, folks, acne is not just for kids) and an annoying allergy to many products for treating said hormonal breakouts. I’m a marketer’s best friend—a sucker looking for the magic potion to cure my maladies and shrink my pores.

I’ve tried any number of things over the years. A Seventeen magazine article espousing the benefits of a homemade mask of honey and corn starch left the teenaged me with an embarrassing breakout. After a trip to the dermatologist, turns out I’m allergic to honey. He tried treating me with benzoyl peroxide, but shock of all shocks, I’m allergic to that, too.

I keep trying. Recently, I read a blog post from the always-entertaining Julie Glover, followed a link, and tried using a mixture of caster oil and olive oil to cleanse my face. Go on, read the blog and tell me you’re not tempted to try it.

A little over a week later, the breakout began, but thankfully not as bad as in high school. I’m pretty sure it was the olive oil, so I decided to search for a less harsh oil to use as a substitute. This search led me to either TJ Maxx or Marshalls (I can’t remember which) where I picked up a bottle of rose hip oil. While I have yet to mix it with the caster oil, I did try a few drops in my nighttime moisturizer and have so far suffered no ill effects. In fact, I believe I really like this product.

As I turn another page on the calendar of my life, I’m trying to embrace this rare show of optimism. For those of you who know me well, you know optimism isn’t always in my wheelhouse. My unending belief that the magic cure to old age exists and is still out there waiting for me to discover is a powerful motivator to keep trying new things with an acute understanding that my results may vary from the norm.

If anyone has any helpful recommendations that won’t break the bank (I’m a bit of a tightwad), please let me know. I’ll be a willing sucker.

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