Author Archives: Kimberly S. Belle
I write this from a hotel room in NYC, where I’m visiting colleges with my daughter. One minute she was a toddler, playing with Barbies and clomping through the living room in my heels. Now she’s about to head off to a new, exciting life…without me.
I keep telling myself that it’s not an ending, but a new beginning. For her, for me and her father, for our family. And as scary as new beginnings can be, moving on to something new and exciting is also an adventure.
So, too, for Women Unplugged. We Women are moving on, but at the same time, we’re not going anywhere. You’ll still find us on social media and our websites. We’ll still be sitting pretty on bookshelves in your local stores. We’ll be in lots of places, just not here.
It’s not an ending, but a new beginning.
Thanks for reading all these years. We sure hope to see you again.
Back when my kids were little, my biggest worry was that they’d choke on a marble. Then they started walking to school, and every time I watched them disappear around the corner, a not-so-tiny part of me worried they wouldn’t come back. Then came bikes, then cars, then airplanes and who knows what else when I’m not looking. The worries only get bigger, all the bad things that could happen scarier.
This is not a post about how to handle those fears. In fact, if you know the answer, please tell me, because my best solution is to try not to think of all the ways things can take a turn for the worst. One thing I do know for sure is that, if you think about them too much, your fears will make you crazy.
But fears aren’t reality, and physical safety isn’t the only danger kids face. What about bullies? What about injustice and intolerance? What about heartbreak?
Without throwing my daughter’s business into the big, wide world, let me just say that someone in a position of authority disappointed her. Big time. And it broke my heart to see how much this person’s careless actions broke hers.
I can teach my kids to keep their fingers out of the sockets. I can teach them to not run into traffic and about stranger danger. But I can’t unbreak my daughter’s heart, and that kills me. The only thing I can do is help her deal with this disappointment, because here’s another thing I know for sure: this won’t be the first time.
It’s three weeks until Christmas, y’all, and I’ve not put a single decoration out. Not one. There are no lights on my house, no tree in my living room, no wreaths on my door, and let’s not even talk about the pumpkins rotting on my front porch. I know, I know. I need to get busy, but honestly, the idea exhausts me.
When the kids were little, I used to go all out. I hung stockings and made my own table arrangements and put trees in every room and draped everything in greenery. I cooked and even baked.
But now that the kids are older, I can’t talk myself into lugging a couple of boxes up from the basement. When did the holidays get to be such a chore?
If I step back and consider things rationally, it’s not the decorating that’s made Christmas lose it’s sparkle for me, but the keeping-up-with-the-Joneses mentality that pushes me to do it. Because here’s the thing. I’m done keeping up. I have nothing to prove to anyone, the Joneses or otherwise. The Joneses can suck it.
So maybe this year, any lights I put up should be because I think they’re pretty. Any tree I put up should be so that I can admire my favorite ornaments. And any food I make should be because my family and I want to eat — oh, who am I kidding? I’ll probably order the food, but the point is, I don’t have to do anything. The only people I care to please are the ones under my own roof.
And when I think about it that way, the holidays suddenly don’t seem so exhausting.
About a month or so ago, I wrote ‘The End’ on book number three, The Marriage Lie, and sent it on to my editor. It didn’t take me all that long to write the book — only five months, which in the fiction-writing world, is pretty zippy, actually — but those months were beyond stressful. I’d just walked away from a manuscript after 70,000 hard-earned words, and without pausing to breathe or process, jumped right into the next story. I desperately needed a break.
So break I did. I called my mom and had long lunches with all the friends I’d been neglecting. I went to to the spa and signed up for a 30-day challenge at my yoga studio. I lounged on the couch and read books in the middle of the day. I did a lot of nothing.
After a couple of weeks, I caught myself staring out the window, daydreaming of characters and settings and plot lines. I started hearing snippets of dialogue and seeing bits of scenes play out across my mind. After only a couple of weeks, I was already tired of doing nothing, restless to start a new story.
But I’m also kind of terrified.
When you’re writing, you’re pretty much married to your story. You think about it in the shower, when you’re cooking, when you’re out with friends and one of them says the perfect line. Even when you’re not thinking about your story, your subconscious is still chugging along, and I can tell you from experience, it’s as exhausting as it is rewarding when you get it right.
So while five months is a short time to write a whole story, it’s also a hella long time to spend with characters you don’t love, plugging up a plot full of holes. Do I love these new imaginary people enough to spend a good part of a year with them? Do I think they have something valuable to say, a compelling story to tell? Yes. No. Who the heck knows? Not me, that’s for sure; I’ve been so wrong before.
Lots of people think ‘The End’ are the hardest words to write because of all the words that come before. Ask any author, and they’ll tell you the opposite is true. By the time you’re closing in on the end, the words often flow faster than you can type them. It’s the blank page that’s the most daunting, that first sentence that cramps up the fingers. One of my writer friends compared starting a new story to jumping off a cliff with your eyes closed. You don’t know what will happen or where you’ll land.
You just have to trust the process.
Good news! Five signed copies of my second novel, The Ones We Trust, are up for grabs on Goodreads! Click here to enter.