Category Archives: August 2015 Blog Challenge

(Blog Challenge, Day 24) The five favorite moments in Lotus.

  1. The first flashback of Lotus and Gabe in his college apartment.  I could envision it clearly. I felt her anxiety as if I was there, eavesdropping on his living room couch with a bowl of popcorn.  I loved every moment of it.
  2. The first conversation between Lotus, Lola and Dakota at Lola’s house.  Even if the conversation was fictional, I’ve had it 1,000 times before in real life.
  3. THE KISS.
  4. The argument between Nick and Lotus in the hospital lobby because the depth of their issues finally began to be revealed.  
  5. The entire Third Trimester.

 

Kay

 

Kay’s debut novel, Lotus, is now available on Amazon.com, iBooks, and BarnesandNoble.com.

 

FACEBOOK:  HTTPS://WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/KAYWSMITHAUTHOR

TWITTER:  HTTPS://TWITTER.COM/KAYWILLSMITH

INSTAGRAM: HTTPS://INSTAGRAM.COM/KAY.W.SMITH/

PINTEREST: HTTPS://WWW.PINTEREST.COM/KAYWSMITHAUTHOR/

 

Please excuse any grammatical or syntax errors in this post.  Take them as a sign that I consider you a friend.

(Blog Challenge, Day 21): The thing I am least afraid of after writing Lotus…

The first time I believed Lotus was finished on May 27, 2013, I felt a sense of bittersweet pride.

The second time I believed it was finished on December 26, 2013, I felt anxiety, excitement, and relief.

The third, fourth, fifth and sixth times I believed it was finished, I felt confident, yet mildly insecure.

The seven and (final) time I believed it was finished, I was just plain old exhausted..

Despite the 187 years that it took me to complete Lotus, my gratitude for it being out there for consumption continues to trump my fear of it not being well-received.  Believing that it was truly my best effort has been an award in and of itself.  Even after rereading the last five chapters of the book today, I noted things that I wish I would have added and things that probably would have served the book better if they were left out.  Yet somehow, none of that seems to keep me up at night, which is an astonishing feat for someone like me.  In a strange sense, my illogical lack of anxiety forces me to believe that writing this story is exactly what I am supposed to be doing at this point in my life.  So whatever comes from this path is much easier to accept than if I never tried at all..

 

-Kay

Kay’s debut novel, Lotus, is now available on Amazon.com, iBooks, and BarnesandNoble.com.

FACEBOOK:  HTTPS://WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/KAYWSMITHAUTHOR

TWITTER:  HTTPS://TWITTER.COM/KAYWILLSMITH

INSTAGRAM: HTTPS://INSTAGRAM.COM/KAY.W.SMITH/

PINTEREST: HTTPS://WWW.PINTEREST.COM/KAYWSMITHAUTHOR/

Please excuse any grammatical or syntax errors in this post.  Take them as a sign that I consider you a friend.

(Blog Challenge, Day 20) My biggest fear after writing Lotus…

I love God.

The bio on most of my social media accounts begins with that statement.  The only other things to come close to capturing my emotions for God are my family and all-butter chocolate chip cookies. That being said, my secret fear once I finished Lotus was that some Christians – yes, those type of Christians – will read it with it’s love triangle and PG-13 love scenes and will label me as a trouble-making, marriage-defiling, unsanctimonious heathen.

I’m sure those people are out there, and I’m not going to lie, when I think of being kicked off of Team Jesus by anybody it’s makes me really sad. However, as the creator of this story, I know the long term trajectory of this tale, and am excited to peel back the layers of life, love, loss, friendships and second chances that will come from it.   So don’t fret, just like you and I, Lotus might be a heathen but her whole story hasn’t been written yet.

Like any creative piece, I think that Lotus’ story will be open to interpretation.  For some it will be a fun tale, for others it will be a sad one, for some it will be a fantastical story and for a few, some aspects will hit close to home.  For me, Lotus is simply a story about a woman who finds herself at a point in her life where the crap hits the fan.  At some point in life, no matter how many times any of us go to church, mass or the synagogue, we will all find ourselves in a situation where everything seems to fall apart.  While sometimes these things are caused by forces beyond our control, I wanted to write this story because every now and then, our life-shattering catastrophes are predicated upon the decisions that we have made. These decisions are not necessarily bad decisions, they are simply choices that secretly whisper our inner desires to the universe (read: God) until the universe (read: God) decides to answer back.

It is in these times that we – like Lotus – must decide how to move forward. That’s usually when life get’s most interesting.

 

-Kay

 

Kay’s debut novel, Lotus, is now available on Amazon.com, iBooks, and BarnesandNoble.com.

 

FACEBOOK:  HTTPS://WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/KAYWSMITHAUTHOR

TWITTER:  HTTPS://TWITTER.COM/KAYWILLSMITH

INSTAGRAM: HTTPS://INSTAGRAM.COM/KAY.W.SMITH/

PINTEREST: HTTPS://WWW.PINTEREST.COM/KAYWSMITHAUTHOR/

 

Please excuse any grammatical or syntax errors in this post.  Take them as a sign that I consider you a friend.

 

(Blog Challenge, Day 19) Reviews, manfans, wandering eyes and wandering thoughts

Last week, a good friend she asked me, “You know that your book is really good, right?  Seriously, it’s okay to say that you know that it’s good, okay?”

I hesitated in responding because I didn’t want her to mistake my response for faux humility.  The complete truth is that while I thought “Lotus” was my best effort at writing my first novel, I never ever ever ever EVA assume that any given person will necessarily like it.  Again, it’s not a confidence thing, it’s understanding that people look for different things in what they read.  It’s also understanding that where a person is in their life may greatly impact how they perceive or interpret the book (in the same way that you may not want to listen to a sad song on a sunny, warm and perfectly breezy summer day).

But I had my assumptions on who MIGHT like the book.

Women.

Women in their twenties, thirties or forties.

Women who are traveling for the summer.

Women who don’t mind a little drama because drama=passion and passion=emotions and what woman doesn’t like talking about her emotions?

Yet, of the many types of people who I assumed MIGHT like the book, I’m most surprised at the male response to “Lotus”.

My husband and my friend were the first men to begin and finish the book. Believing that was far too fantastical and emotional for the male species, I cautiously listened to their initial opinions.

As married men, it was no surprise that they both hated Gabe and that they both wanted to see greater depth in Nick’s character moving forward.  My husband would have completely changed the last chapter, but in effort to not spoil the end of the book for anyone, I will keep his critique for much later.  Surprisingly, their perspective and insight has greatly colored the way that I look at both of the male characters and I look forward to understanding them more as this story evolves.

However, there was one area where men and women seem to have drastically different opinions and that is on the topic of the main character, Lotus.

For men, Lotus is a cautionary tale of a woman who should have never gotten married, the type of woman who makes men get secret video cameras in their homes.  She committed the ultimate sin of having second thoughts about her marriage and sealed that indiscretion with the lending of her emotions to someone else.  In short, Lotus should be burned at the stake.

For women, Lotus is a fantastical story about a woman who finds herself stuck between her past and her future.  Up until the point where we meet her, she has been a bystander in her own life.  Her insecurities make her relatable, even if her decisions do not. While she has made mistakes, they are understandable, and for that reason you want to know whether this story will ultimately end with her happiness.

A debate that has developed in various coed circles of readers is whether a women’s wandering thoughts are worse than a man’s wandering eyes.  I have my own opinion on that topic but I’ll leave that to you to consider.

As for me, by the end of the book, I was ultimately left with the following unanswered questions:

What does happiness look like to a woman like Lotus, a woman who dared to peek into her past? Can that happiness be found in either Nick or Gabe, or is she the type of person to always seek something beyond her grasp?  We don’t know enough about Lotus to answer this question yet but I look forward to finding out.

Another, and equally important, question is, what really motivates the men in the book?  Both men have virtues and flaws, and it is difficult to paint one of them as the good guy versus the bad guy with a broad brush. Do we know everything about their relationships with Lotus?  Is there something (or someone) from their collective pasts who might reveal something to Lotus that she doesn’t know?  (Men have pasts too.)

I also wonder if any of the characters fought hard enough for what they said that they wanted. For better for worse, I think Lotus was the only one who put it all on the line by the end of the book, I wonder if she will be rewarded for that decision or whether she will come to regret it for the rest of her life.

Finally, I am a deep believer in second chances and the importance of timing in relationships.  My relationship with my own husband had a part one and a part two.  Given the decisions that were made, I wonder if Lotus’ heart will allow itself to begin yet another chapter with either man or will she choose to close the chapter on both men, once and for all?  

Hmmm….I guess we will all have to wait to find out! ;-D

second chances
True for many people. Could this be true for Lotus and Nick? Lotus and Gabe?

 

 

-Kay

Kay’s debut novel, Lotus, is now available on Amazon.com, iBooks, and BarnesandNoble.com.

FACEBOOK:  HTTPS://WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/KAYWSMITHAUTHOR

TWITTER:  HTTPS://TWITTER.COM/KAYWILLSMITH

INSTAGRAM: HTTPS://INSTAGRAM.COM/KAY.W.SMITH/

PINTEREST: HTTPS://WWW.PINTEREST.COM/KAYWSMITHAUTHOR/

Please excuse any grammatical or syntax errors in this post.  Take them as a sign that I consider you a friend.

 

(Blog Challenge, Day 17) Upcoming Events Schedule

The way I feel about public speaking is the way most people feel about colonic treatments:  I dislike the idea of it even though I know it’s good for me.  Small groups of people are great, especially when there is coffee or wine.  But the idea of traveling to talk about Lotus is already giving me bubble guts.

A writer has to do what a writer has to do, right?  It’s still weird when I hear people refer to me as such, even though that’s all I’ve been striving towards for the past few years.  Perhaps it’s because I secretly feel like I’m just playing the role of a writer until someone challenges my street credibility?  And by street credibility I clearly mean my ability to put together an error-free sentence past 10:00 am.

But if you have made it this far into this post then you are probably looking for information about upcoming events.  (And yes, even that feels weird to write).  Starting tonight, I am challenging myself to say, “I am a writer. I am a writer,” everyday, throughout the day, until I believe it myself (or until my last event, whichever comes first).  If you live in Maryland, Atlanta or Sacramento, California, please check me out!

September 1, 2015 – Virtual book club discussion on Facebook  

October 3, 2015 – “Love is complicated, spin it out” event at CYCLED in Silver Springs, Maryland

October 10, 2015 – Book’s Ink Writer’s Conference at Carter G. Woodson Library

October 17, 2015 – TBA event in Chicago, Illinois

October 24, 2015 – TBA event in Atlanta, Georgia

January 16, 2016 – Book reading and discussion – Sacramento, California

 

Kay’s debut novel, Lotus, is now available on Amazon.com, iBooks, and BarnesandNoble.com.

 

FACEBOOK:  HTTPS://WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/KAYWSMITHAUTHOR

TWITTER:  HTTPS://TWITTER.COM/KAYWILLSMITH

INSTAGRAM: HTTPS://INSTAGRAM.COM/KAY.W.SMITH/

PINTEREST: HTTPS://WWW.PINTEREST.COM/KAYWSMITHAUTHOR/

(Blog Challenge, Day 15) My post book launch Oscars speech

 

I know that I’m behind on this blog challenge but don’t worry! THE BOOK has officially been launched out into the stratosphere and now lives among the interwebs alongside gossip websites, adult entertainment, and NETFLIX (in case you were wondering).  It will go down as one of the most nerve-wrecking and magical days in my life, primarily because I didn’t expect it to evolve into what it became.  The honest truth, the truth that will probably reveal the extent in which I need to see a shrink one day is this…I really didn’t expect many people who I know personally to buy the book.  I mean, I expected my mother and her bible study crew to purchase it, my older sister’s friends, my brother’s girlfriend, a few cousins in Mississippi and my in-laws in Louisiana to support it, but that was pretty much the extent of my expectations.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe in my book.  It was a joy and delight to write Lotus and I think it’s awesome in the way that awesome things sometimes can make you cry, reflect, and eat chocolate cookies.  It’s just that I also figure that people get sick of being “sold to”, especially when they aren’t looking to buy something.  So I spent weeks deciding to focus my marketing efforts outside of my own networks and that almost proved to be a mistake of epic proportions.

It is only because of the people who I know, that Lotus has already been propelled much farther than I could have ever imagined. It turns out that people around me, physically and virtually, just won’t allow me to be mediocre.  This book has been loved on and supported and passed on by people who have known me before I was born and by people who I have never met.  Whenever I try to do the math to figure out why so many people have been willing to carry this book further than I can see, I still come up short.

So I am only left to thank God.

But before I drop the mic in Jesus’ name, I also think it’s only fair for me to thank a lot of people whose support I couldn’t acknowledge in my book, but who I would like to thank now.  My husband, kids, parents, siblings and best friends have already gotten their shine, so now, my heartfelt thanks go to…

Brooke Martin, who after reading the first version of my first chapter (which was pretty bad) convinced me that my book was going to be made into a movie…

Margaret Diel, for showing me how to give my readers something to see, taste, feel and smell…

Marty Dryk, for the 10 line edits and for allowing me to challenge your use of the Oxford comma…

Julie Vassilatos, for that one conversation you probably don’t remember which encouraged me to go back and rewrite that first bad chapter…

Jimmy Greenfield, for allowing me to win Best Blog Post back in 2012, when I needed desperately to win something…

Akeya for being one of the first people to tell me that I had some writing chops and for connecting me with people time and time again over the years…

To Kim for being one of my many animal spirits (as I am yours)…

To people like Syreta for knowing the power of her “shares”…

To Mia for your love, support and for reminding me to breathe…

Thank you to all the Spelman “Moms” and alumni who literally didn’t think twice before buying the book…

And to my Eta Kappa Sorors who have passed this on in the same way you would for a daughter or sister…

Thank you for the words of encouragement from the phenomenal lineage of BOSSES who have come out of Whitney M. Young High School and Beasley Academic Center…

Thank you to Stradford Stone for designing this very website and to Khalil for taking pictures of me when it was 45 degrees outside…

Thank you to Nisha and Karla for both saying you can’t believe that someone you know wrote Lotus.  That makes me feel pretty official…

Thank you to William for ALWAYS always always always supporting the things that I write…

Thank you to Eddie for your advice on book two and for “debriefing” with me for 30 minutes about book one (#manfan)…

Thank you to my Harris School classmates who have likely eyed my book with great suspicion, but who have purchased it anyway!

Thank you to my Aunt Marilyn in Mississippi who has already purchased four copies to pass around…

Thank you to long, lost friends who picked up their copy too…

Thank you to anybody and everybody who has purchased this book. From the bottom of my heart, I hope you enjoy it.

 

-K

 

Kay’s debut novel, Lotus, is now available on Amazon.com, iBooks, and BarnesandNoble.com.

 

FACEBOOK:  HTTPS://WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/KAYWSMITHAUTHOR

TWITTER:  HTTPS://TWITTER.COM/KAYWILLSMITH

INSTAGRAM: HTTPS://INSTAGRAM.COM/KAY.W.SMITH/

PINTEREST: HTTPS://WWW.PINTEREST.COM/KAYWSMITHAUTHOR/

 

Please excuse any grammatical or syntax errors in this post.  Take them as a sign that I consider you a friend.

(Blog Challenge, Day 13) Is Lotus too crazy to be likeable?

I struggled with this question for a long time.  The truth of the matter is that Lotus IS a bit crazy (but in a very common way). While you get fleeting glimpses of her confidence, you see more of her neurotic and insecure side in the first book.  I feared that her neurosis would make her unlikable, but I decided not to change her overall persona because I think that the contradictions between her inner insecurities and her outer self-confidence is manifested in most women who I know.

Women, more than any other creature alive, have to wear the mask of perpetual confidence.  To be seen as anything other than completely self-assured is to mark you as undesirable. We are often put against each other to compete for everything, including respect, jobs, men, and even who is the better mother. Being inside the mind of Lotus, I wanted readers to see the fullness of her fragility first, in order to appreciate her evolution once her inner self more appropriately matches that facade that she has become well adapted in putting on.

I wanted the reader to get annoyed with her.  One of the very issues that I have with shows like Scandal (and no shade towards my boo thang Shonda Rhymes) is that just once, I want the heroine to go call a shrink and talk through their issues.  Mental health is not a river in Egypt.  Television is full of women with unresolved issues who stay dysfunctional.  I want my girl Lotus to have everything that she wants, but I also believe that it is important for her to deal with her issues first.  So if you find yourself wanting to yell at Lotus, know that I wanted to give her a piece of my mind as well.

– Kay

 

Kay’s debut novel, Lotus, is now available on Amazon.com, iBooks, and BarnesandNoble.com.

 

FACEBOOK:  HTTPS://WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/KAYWSMITHAUTHOR

TWITTER:  HTTPS://TWITTER.COM/KAYWILLSMITH

INSTAGRAM: HTTPS://INSTAGRAM.COM/KAY.W.SMITH/

PINTEREST: HTTPS://WWW.PINTEREST.COM/KAYWSMITHAUTHOR/

 

Please excuse any grammatical or syntax errors in this post.  Take them as a sign that I consider you a friend.

(Blog Challenge, Day 12) From quarter-mile to eight mile: How running became my best friend

What you should know before I go any further is that I dropped off of the track team in high school because my coach told me that I had to run the quarter-mile.

Yes, the quarter-mile.

As someone who had been a sprinter, the mere thought of having to run 400 meters at full speed made my butt hurt.  Miffed that he didn’t recognize me to be the future Florence Griffith Joyner that I was, I eventually left the team.  I was a lot of things but a quarter-miler was not one of them.  That belief wasn’t substantiated by anything other than what I convinced myself was true.  For fifteen years, I held onto the belief that I couldn’t run more than 200 meters without dying.

The desire to get back in shape began with a picture. Last December, one of my girlfriends (who is a photographer) came to my house just before Christmas to take family photos.  We hadn’t seen each other in a year, but as soon as I laid eyes on her, I knew that I was out of shape.  It was impossible to miss her toned physique, even through her winter parka.

The pictures would confirm my suspicions.  Though I was sitting, I could see the back of arms jiggling through the picture. Something had to change.  Before she left she told that that she had began to run again.  Still unable to see myself as a runner, I dismissed her words as something insignificant to my existence.

January came and I seized the opportunity to start spinning. It took five months, but my “baby belly” finally looked less filled with chips and cookies.   Looking to change up my workout routine, the perfect opportunity came when my sister gifted me with a Fitbit for my birthday, and I decided to see how far I could run without someone calling an ambulance.

My first day on Chicago’s lakefront path, I was a far cry from the high school girl who doubted her ability to endure anything.  With earbuds looping my head and Jay Z and Kanye blasting through my ears, I dared myself to run 3 miles (and I did it).  After the past few years that I had experienced, the thought of something being difficult didn’t make me think twice.

I make dinner with children hanging off of my body, while I fold clothes and assist with homework.  Difficult is my middle name.

Soon, I was in the zone.  Two weeks later, I went to 5 miles.  A month later, I went to 6.5 miles until I eventually transitioned to 8.5 miles a run.

The little girl who thought she couldn’t, COULD.

Fifteen years after dropping out of the track team, I was shocked to realize how much I love running.  It is the closest thing to consistent meditation that I will probably ever achieve.  For an hour and a half, it’s just God and I and the Kanye Pandora Radio Station. People may pass me on my left and my right, their pace might be twice as fast as mine, but that’s okay.  For once, the outside world doesn’t matter.  Other people don’t matter.  It’s my race.  

Running it for anyone else is the only thing that will keep me from my goal.

(Blog Challenge, Day 10) On closed doors and forks in the road…

“If you must try to map out your future, but do so with a pencil.  But know that God is still laughing at you,”

said somebody.

If there is one thing I’ve learned over the past few years it is to remain open.  At first this understanding was forced upon me, but then it become a reality that I warmly embraced. Just like every other human, I liked the illusion of complete control, but I have learned that I love the slow, surprising, methodical interweaving and unveiling of God’s hand in my life, much, much better.

When any of us look back over our lives, no matter who long or short the time that we have been here, it usually becomes apparent how we are the sum total of our experiences. Yet, in our desperate need to understand where we fit into the grand scheme of the universe (and our microwave-length patience), most of us confuse resting stops in our journey with the ultimate destination.

If you find yourself feeling that way, don’t be fooled!

Since I launched this blog I have received several emails from people who find themselves, somewhere between “here” and “there”.  For anyone else who happens upon this blog and find themselves in a similar position, please trust that even when it feels like nothing is happening, SOMETHING is happening.

Even in silence, there is a hand which silently guides us, even though we are the ones who ultimately choose where we will go.  It took a long time for me to realize that in during these times, God had not gone on sabbatical, he was waiting to see if I had been listening all along.

So keep swimming.  

Keep swimming. Keep swimming. Keep swimming.  Believe and trust that one day you will thank God, the universe and L. Ron Hubbard for every closed doors and for every sealed window. Everything happens for a reason and the Jesus-freak in me even believes that everything happens for our ultimate good. Know that no matter what, there is another side of the enormous mountain that you find yourself trying to conquer.  And if God doesn’t move it all together, then you can be sure that you will be stronger than you ever fathomed once you get on the other side.

 

-Kay

 

Looking for your next book? Kay’s debut novel, Lotus, is now available on Amazon.com, iBooks, and BarnesandNoble.com.

 

FACEBOOK:  HTTPS://WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/KAYWSMITHAUTHOR

TWITTER:  HTTPS://TWITTER.COM/KAYWILLSMITH

INSTAGRAM: HTTPS://INSTAGRAM.COM/KAY.W.SMITH/

PINTEREST: HTTPS://WWW.PINTEREST.COM/KAYWSMITHAUTHOR/

 

Please excuse any grammatical or syntax errors in this post.  Take them as a sign that I consider you to be a friend.