Keeping Office Hours – Balancing Life and Writing by K.D. Grace – guest blog and giveaway

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Keeping Office Hours – Balancing Life and Writing
First of all, I’d like to thank Long and Short Reviews for inviting me over to their lovely site to talk about balancing life and writing. I’m trying not to snigger out loud at the very thought. There are lots of writers who are far better at being balanced than I am, but here’s my version of balancing writing and life. As a writer, I wouldn’t exactly say I’m an efficiency expert, but I do have short cuts, lots of short cuts, and I’m always making more. My biggest Suzie Homemaker tip: if at all possible, ignore it. My biggest shopping tip: if at all possible, don’t. My biggest cooking tip: always cook fresh and if it takes more than thirty minutes, don’t make it.

I’m the master of the three-minute shower and the no-fuss hair style. Having said that, I’m not opposed to lingering in the bathtub when I need a little extra inspiration. I can fly through the necessary ironing while my brain is planning the next chapter. I can disengage completely with the outside world anytime, anyplace, anyhow if it’ll give me just five extra minutes of writing time, and I can write a bunch in five minutes.

Writers are efficiency experts when it comes to eeking out just a few more minutes on the laptop, just a couple more seconds editing, just a little more time promoting. Most have day jobs and families who demand attention. Those of us lucky enough to be able to write full time learned a long time ago that nine-to-five doesn’t cut it for a writer. I downed tools last night at 11:15. Then I thought about what I’d written and what I had to do the next day for another hour before I finally drifted off.

Don’t get me wrong, I make time to play and spend quality time with my husband, but even then my mind is always aware that the Muse may poke me in the ribs at any time with another idea for a great story. Being a writer involves squeezing out a little more time, all the time. We write on the bus, in the tube, on the train. We write before the other people we live with have gotten out of bed, and we write into the night long after they’ve gone to sleep. Some of us even get up in the middle of the night and write when the Muse nudges us out of our comfy dreams. Some of us write while we’re eating, some of us write while we’re waiting for the dinner to cook, and we very well may write on our smart phones in the queue at the grocery store.

With writers, it’s not just office hours that are very flexible and greatly extended whenever possible, but, at least for me, the office itself is a permeable space. When I’m home, my office is a recliner with a buried stack of nesting tables next to it for tea, coffee, books, paper, pens, sandwiches, BlackBerry and other essentials. Though I agree whole-heartedly with Virginia Woolf about the need for a room of one’s own, the only room where I can look out and see the birds and admire my veggie garden is the living room, and the recliner is, well … comfy.

Though lots of writers write in coffee shops to limit distractions, since modern bag-lady might best describe my ‘dress for success’ look, I like to keep the creativity at home whenever possible. Fuzzy slippers and a sloppy sweat suit in a posh Surrey coffee shop might cause the other customers unnecessary distress. However in my mind’s eye, I’m always dressed up in stilettos and a power suit with a sexy pencil skirt. And in my mind’s eye, I actually pull off the look with grace and aplomb. Did I tell you I have a fertile imagination?

My office is very portable and the dress code is very loose. I can write sitting in the grass looking out over the lovely English countryside of the North Downs Way. I can even write while I’m walking — okay, maybe not in the physical sense of writing, but the creative process goes on with every step I take. I’ve been known to walk whole stories before I ever get my hands on the laptop.

Some writers write in the bath, some writers write on the kitchen counter. I read about one young mother who takes a legal pad into the loo and lingers on the throne because the bathroom is her only private place. Extreme writing? Perhaps, but then writing is very much an extreme sport and, besides, the Muse really doesn’t care about creature comforts or silly physical needs like sleeping and eating. The Muse only cares about getting the story down and making it shine.

But the shopping has to be done, the house has to get cleaned, meals have to be made, and we writers do have to make the occasional social appearance so that no one thinks our significant other killed us and buried us in the back garden. (Oh, sorry, that’s another genre.) Though most of us are convinced we’re special snowflakes, we can usually pass as ordinary if we have to, and most people will never know the difference. But even when we’re shopping or having dinner with our friends or taking the kids on the school run, we’re really in our office, and we’re really working away planning and scheming and preparing for those unexpected drop-ins of our boss, the Muse, who is actually quite a slave driver — in a yummy BDSM-ish sort of way. 🙂

Read an excerpt from The Initiation of Ms Holly:

He practically fell on top of Rita, his hand grazing her left breast in the complete darkness. She yelped and grabbed him to keep from losing her balance.

“God, I’m sorry!” He gasped. “Bloody nuisance, this, isn’t it?” His voice was warm, melodious, by far the most pleasant thing that had happened to Rita since she left Paris. “Oh dear. You’re trembling. Are you all right?”

“I’m claustrophobic” her words were thin and shaky, as though she didn’t fully trust herself to let them out. “It wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t know where we are.” For an embarrassing moment, she realized she was still clinging to him, but the embarrassment passed, and suddenly she didn’t care. If they were going to die trapped in a train in the Eurostar tunnel, buried beneath a gazillion gallons of water, she’d just as soon not do it alone.

He either understood, or was too polite to leave her in such distress. He wrapped his arms around her engulfing her in a muscular embrace, the scent of which was maleness barely masked by deodorant and some spicy cologne, both fading at the end of a day much longer than either of them had anticipated. “Don’t worry.” In the darkness, he misjudged the distance between them and his lips brushed her earlobe. “It’s just an electrical malfunction. Anyway we’re better off down here than in the snowstorm up above. Sounds like all of London is shut down. Who’d have expected snow this late in the spring? Never mind that, where else do you get the chance to cuddle strangers in the dark?”

He pressed a little closer to her, and she was relieved to find other thoughts, thoughts more welcome than those of their predicament, pushing their way into her head. He felt good, broad-shouldered and tall, easy to lean on.

“Why are you huddled here in the corner rather than hunkered down in your seat?”

She concentrated on his warm breath pressing against the top of her ear. “I was on my way back from the loo when the lights went out and…”

“And this is as far as you got.”

She nodded against his chest, homing in on the reassuring sound of his heartbeat.

“Shall I help you back to your seat then?”

The train lurched forward, and she yelped again, tightening her grip around his neck. “No, please. It’s better if I just don’t move.”

There was a long pause. “Do you want me to stay with you?”

She realized the poor man had little choice clenched in her strangle hold, as he was. “I don’t want to be any trouble,” she lied.

He readjusted his stance and tightened his embrace. “No trouble at all. I can’t think of a better way to pass the time than in the arms of a beautiful woman. You are beautiful, aren’t you?”

In spite of the stress she felt, she forced a laugh. “Gorgeous, actually. Too bad you can’t see for yourself.”

He ran a hand down the contour of her spine to rest low on the small of her back. “I don’t have to see you to admire you.”

The thought that the man was rather cheeky barely crossed her mind before he lifted her fingers to his lips and planted a warm kiss across the back of her knuckles. “I’m Edward. I’m from London. Clearly you’re not.”

“Rita,’ she replied. ‘I’m from Seattle, but I live in London now.”

“Well Rita, from Seattle, we’ve established that you’re an exotic beauty. Perhaps you’d like to return the favour.” He lifted her hand to his face and guided it gently over the slight stubble of his cheek. As her hand cupped his well-formed chin, he pulled her middle finger into his mouth and nibbled it, teasing the pad of it with his tongue. Suddenly her struggle to breathe had nothing to do with being claustrophobic.

“Well?” He asked pulling her hand away to massage her fingers. “What do you think? Am I acceptable?”
If he was cheeky, she was downright brazen. She stopped his words with her mouth, amazed at how easily she had found the mark in total darkness. Perhaps it was the darkness that made her so bold, but whatever it was, he didn’t disappoint. His mouth was warm, opening eagerly to the probing of her tongue, responding in kind, caressing her hard pallet, nipping at the fullness of her lower lip before pulling away just enough to speak.

“There, you see? It’s not so bad being in the dark, is it? The other senses are too often overlooked, which is very sad, since they offer such exquisite delights.” His hand moved up to cup her cheek, and he raked a thumb across her still parted lips. “Taste, for example. Few pleasures exceed that of the tongue.”

She heard him fumbling in the darkness, then she heard the rattling of foil. ‘Open your mouth,’ he whispered. “I have something that’ll make you feel better, guaranteed. Oh don’t worry, it’s nothing illegal.”

Reluctantly she opened her mouth, which he primed with a wet kiss, then slipped a chocolate truffle between her lips. It was covered liberally in cocoa and warmed exquisitely almost, but not quite to the steamy melting point of his body temperature, which only enhanced the sharp, edgy flavor that separates expensive chocolate from the cheap stuff.

She gasped her surprise, then moaned softly at the intensity of the taste.

“Don’t bite,” he kissed her jaw, then her throat. “Savour it, roll it around in your mouth. There are places on the tongue that taste only sweet and places that taste only bitter or salt, or sour. Chocolate can have all those flavors. Caress it in your mouth like you’re making love to it, and you’ll be amazed at what you taste.”

She cheeked the truffle, slurring her words as she spoke. “I thought I was tasting you.”

He chuckled softly. “Everything tastes better with chocolate.” Without another word, he took her mouth, plunging his tongue deep against the melting truffle, whirling it, lapping at it, sighing with the pleasure of it. The more liquid and heated the truffle became, the more liquid and heated Rita became.

About the Author: K D Grace believes Freud was right. In the end, it really IS all about sex, well sex and love. And nobody’s happier about that than she, because otherwise, what would she write about? She lives in South England with her husband and the growing gang of hooligan birds who frequent their bird feeders. When K D isn’t busy writing, she’s busy digging in her ever-expanding veg garden or taking long walks in the British countryside. She finds inspiration outdoors in nature, and most of her best story ideas come to her while she’s walking or gardening.

http://kdgrace.co.uk/
https://twitter.com/KD_Grace
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http://kdgrace.co.uk/books/the-initiation-of-ms-holly/

2_17 grace book coverShe had no idea membership would be this exclusive.

Will she succeed in her lengthy and lusty initiation? Sex with a mysterious stranger aboard a train leads Rita Holly to an initiation into the exclusive and secretive Mount club. Sophisticated and erotic rituals await Rita, as do the endless intrigues and power struggles within the organization. Rita learns that club membership is not for the sexually repressed. During her initiation, sex with her lover from the train, Edward, is forbidden, but Alex and Leo are happy to step in. With more and more titillating punishments in store and the club’s leader intent on her failing, will Rita pass her lengthy and lusty initiation?

Comments

  1. Thanks for having me over to talk about Holly! Always a pleasure to be here.

  2. Do you have a favorite place to write?

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  3. I definitely recommend this book! You can never go wrong with a Kd Grace book. She is a very talented writer and she writes one hell of a Sexy story.

  4. Love the excerpt! I can not imagine having my mind going constantly, thinking about all of the plots, characters, twists and turns. Sometimes I wish I had that skill. 🙂
    Thank you for sharing and for the opportunity to read one of your stories.
    trb0917 at gmail dot com

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