Month: April 2018

Jetlagged and mind-blown

Writing the last blog post, I sat at the airport waiting to check in on my flight bound for Seattle. Writing this post, I’m back in Sweden. Ten days’ passed and in the midst of a heavy jetlag, I’m trying to wrap my head around my experience.

There are three dimensions of this trip, and since I’m feeling completely overwhelmed, I figure the easiest way is to just work them through one by one. Here it goes.

1. The trip was my way of celebrating my 30th birthday.

I’ve always loved to travel, and what better way to celebrate my entrance into this world thirty years ago than doing what makes me feel most alive? Thinking about time and getting older, you can’t escape contemplating what you actually accomplish in life. As days fly by, it’s easy to forget all you actually go through. Turning thirty, I attempted to sum up the past ten years of my life, and looking at the list below I realized the immense growth I’ve made as a person – even though it felt as if the years just flew by. During the past ten years of my life, I have;

  • Traveled. Egypt, Thailand, Greece, France (seven times), Spain (eight times), Great Britain, USA (three times), Monaco.
  • Moved. I’ve moved five times, one of them to Gran Canaria (Spain).
  • Loved. I’ve spent five years single and five years split on two different relationships.
  • Studied. I’ve gotten myself a BSc. in Political Science and a MSc. in Global Studies.
  • Worked. I’ve worked with assembling wheelchairs, as a bartender, waitress, credit manager, saleswoman, cashier, environmental coordinator, international project coordinator, project manager, counselor at the Red Cross and with housing support at the Salvation Army.

People have gone in and out of my life, teaching me things both about myself, other people and life in general. I’ve lost people who I thought would always be there, and I’ve gotten to know people who’s stood by me when the sea was at its roughest.

The core of what I’ve come to learn so far is that change is the only constant, and the more you fight it, the more unhappy you will feel. Life is scary but it’s also magical. Reflecting on the past ten years, I get humbled by the endless possibilities and yet unknown turns my life will take in the next ten to come.

2. I’ve had a faraway crush on Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula.

I wanted to experience the area and boy – did I experience the area. In ten days, this is what we managed to check off the list:

  • Line dancing at the country bar Little Red Hen.
  • Jogging along the Elliott Bay Trail.
  • Lunch at the Goldfinch Tavern (book detail).
  • The Elliott Bay Book Company.
  • The Nest (rooftop bar at the Thompson Hotel overlooking Elliott Bay).
  • University of Washington.
  • Kerry Park.
  • The Amazon Spheres.
  • Italian food and live jazz music at Vito’s.
  • Staying at Hotel Sorrento (book detail).
  • Tasting and tour at the Bainbridge Organic Distillers, Bainbridge Island.
  • The Nordic Heritage Museum (book detail).
  • The fish ladder at the Ballard Locks in the Scandinavian neighborhood Ballard, Seattle.
  • Salsa at Century Ballroom.
  • Gambling (and winning 200 bucks) at the Quinault Beach Resort.
  • Ocean Shores.
  • Quinault Rain Forest.
  • Ruby Beach.
  • Forks.
  • Port Angeles.

Besides experiencing all these amazing places, we’ve met so many humble, kind and funny people. Our Scandinavian spirits had no problem connecting with people through the alleged Seattle Freeze, it might actually have been the reason we felt right at home.

All the mouthwatering food, countless pints of beer and Gin & Tonics were just icing on the cake.

3. The better part of my paranormal romance novel Kilonova Blues takes place in Seattle.

Coming to Seattle for the first time, I had a number of places I needed to go to verify the feeling I’m trying to convey in Kilonova Blues. There’s an important scene at the Goldfinch Tavern; the Nordic Heritage Museum’s important in regards to Alexandra Johnson’s reason for being in the city; Alexandra stays at Hotel Sorrento; I already knew the location of Marcus Meyers’ apartment which I had to check out in reality, and so on.

The funny thing with us writers is that our imagination is so alive and vivid that sometimes it’s difficult to separate the real world from what plays out in our heads. Needless to say, I had to look over my shoulder more than once attempting to catch a glimpse of Marcus…

All in all, Seattle and its surroundings blew my mind. I’m overwhelmed and struggle to digest and sort all impressions. One thing I can say for sure – Seattle, I’ll be back.

That’s all for now,
hej så länge!

champagne

seattle downtown

elliott bay

kerry park

beer

ocean shores

nordic heritage museum

quinault

ruby beach

port angeles

Seattle and turning thirty

Writing this post, it’s two o’clock Monday morning in Scandinavia, and I’m sitting at the airport waiting to check in.

Nine years ago, I sat through the night at the very same airport, waiting for a flight to New York, and worked some time away by watching Twilight for the very first time. I remember sitting crawled up in a corner, mesmerized by Bella and Edward’s strange love story, and I couldn’t decide whether I thought the movie was crap or fantastic – but I fell in love with the story.

After watching the movie, my mind ate the books like cotton candy. I just couldn’t put them down. A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then, but strangely, I fell in love with yet another story not too long ago; that of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey. What was strange was that these two stories both played out in northwest Washington; Forks and Seattle. Something about that area felt magic to me, and when I began writing Kilonova Blues I just knew that Marcus Meyers had to come from Seattle. When I discovered the Nordic Heritage Museum (covering the Scandinavian emigration to the U.S. during the 19th century) was located in Seattle, I knew why Alexandra Johnson had to go there.

Writing Kilonova Blues, I’ve spent a lot of time in Seattle over the last year, but apart from Google Street View, I’ve never actually been there.

This week I’m turning thirty, so I figured that reason is as good as any to make it happen. So at the moment, I’m counting the hours to get my butt on that flight and see if my love for the Emerald City is real or only a product of my imagination.

And the best part of it all? In a couple of days, my brother’s joining me.

I’m ready to get Seattleited. Bring it on 

That’s all for now,
hej så länge!

oslo 5

oslo 3

oslo 4

oslo 2

oslo 1

Steamy scenes and cheat days

How do you get in the right mindset for writing or editing steamy scenes? Mine is spelled WINE and NUTELLA.

Can not get enough.

Most of you will gasp in horror and shake your head at my ignorance, but I do actually prefer a glass of cold, crispy white wine over that favorite rich red one of yours. I need to grow up, I know, but I’m not turning thirty until next week so give me a break and let me stall it for a little while longer.

My current favorite is the organic “Crudo” from Sicily (Italy). The taste’s described as “fruity, youthful, flowery with slight sweetness, notes of pear, peach, mandarin, honeydew melon and elder berry”. As you can see – a complete winner (for your tastebuds, not your editor).

Crudo White Wine

I’ve mentioned in an earlier blog post that one of my best tips for writing steamy scenes is to become the characters, to feel what they feel (check it out here). I’ve also suggested that you throw all thoughts of who’s going to read what you’re writing straight out the window. Thinking about your mother-in-law will kill your creative process. No, in a matter of fact, it’ll slaughter it, cut it to pieces and feed it to the pigs. You get what I’m trying to say.

Become the characters. Period.

But I do have a few other suggestions:

  • Do have some wine. It’s Monday afternoon, so what? At one time in history, someone joked “write drunk, edit sober” (often wrongly cited to Hemingway; he was known to have a drink or two, but no researchers have ever found him writing or saying this), but there’s some wisdom to it. If your mind’s spinning with everyday tasks, children, finances, relationships etc., it can be difficult to tune in to that more sensual side. Apart from that it’s so darned delicious, a glass of wine can also help you relax a bit and ease you into that sensuality.
  • Snack it up! Sure, we want to be healthy and get all of that right nutrition and everything, but while you’re having a glass of wine anyway – why not pair it with your favorite snack? Mine happen to be as sinful as Nutella, but I don’t know, for someone it might be a piece of celery……..
  • Music, people. Music. Let me share what’s on in the background as I’m setting my mind right for the task:
    TiO – ZAYN
    I Got You (I Feel Good) – Jessie J
    Dusk till Dawn (Luca Lush Remix) – ZAYN
    I Put a Spell on You (Fifty Shades of Grey) – Annie Lennox
    Ride (feat. Macy Maloy) – Chase Rice
    Te Siento – Wisin & Yandel
    Bad Things – Machine Gun Kelly
    Strip it Down – Luke Bryan
    Slow Hands – Niall Horan
    All Night Long – Gabriel Antonio

Good luck – and keep it steamy.

That’s all for now,
hej så länge!

front nutella wine

side Nutella wine

up Nutella wine

nutella

Weekdays and Writing Routine

What does a writer have to do to get work done?

Well, I’d say the answer to that question highly varies depending on who you ask. Most people would simply say WRITE.

And I agree.

But you know how your bicycle runs so much easier after you’ve pumped new air into the tires? Low air pressure can cause flats and damage both the tires and rims, not to mention how it slows you down and forces you to pedal so much harder.

After being close to hit the wall on two occasions within four years, I’ve been forced to find a routine which includes small breaks, the right nutrition and time to refuel my soul. Of course, this is so much easier now as I’m writing full time and can plan my days as I see fit, but with small adjustments, I’m sure it could work just about anywhere.

There are five cornerstones to my writing routine which helps keep my brain, body and soul on track:

  1. Good food
  2. Writing
  3. Scheduled breaks
  4. Physical exercise
  5. Rest

Let’s start with the food.

  • I start every day with a glass of lukewarm lemon/ginger water. Why? I want to stay healthy and keep the colds off. Ginger suppresses inflammation and lemon boosts the immune system. Why lukewarm? It’s kinder to the stomach. Our body enzymes work best at a temperature of 37–42⁰C, and when we drink cold water, the process of warming up the cold liquid uses unnecessary energy.
    .
  • A light breakfast’s accompanied with a maximum of two cups of coffee (that’s IT for the day – we don’t want too much of that caffeine) and some vitamins. Which vitamins you take should be based on what your body lacks. What nutrition do you get through your food? What do YOU eat? Always look at the food first and see if there’s a way to change that before taking extra vitamins.
    .
    – I’m taking Omega-3. Why? I hardly eat any fish, I don’t like it, and I need that fat. The membrane surrounding the braincells use it to make connections between braincells as smooth as possible. With bad connection, it’s harder for us to remember stuff. A deficit of Omega-3 forces the brain to use other fats, lowering the brain’s overall performance. And you wouldn’t want that now, would you writer?- I’m also taking Zink. Why? Zink is an antagonist to cortisol (known as the stress hormone). Cortisol is naturally high in the mornings, which by the way is why you don’t want to exercise this time of day and trigger the exudation even more. High levels of cortisol during a long period of time is one big, physical factor for people crashing into that famous wall.- D-vitamin. YES! Do you know how little the sun is shining in Sweden? And that even when it shines, we’re so far away from it that it’s almost impossible for our skin to produce D-vitamin? We do get enough sun during the summer months, but even though the body stores D-vitamin, our stocks are usually empty right before Christmas.
    But why do we need it? It’s easier to say why we don’t need it – there is no reason why we don’t need it. It does everything from strengthening the skeleton and teeth to helping us avoid depression. Aim for at least 50 μg per day, even if most public recommendations are considerably lower.

    B-vitamins. Why? A deficit of B-vitamins can cause memory disturbances and depression. Especially important for your mood is B6.

    Magnesium. Why? It’s a mineral that fights inflammation in your body, and studies have found there’s a correlation between inflammation and depression. It also helps the muscles relax and assists a good sleep, which is why I take it right before bed in the evening.

  • I eat six times a day. Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack. HEALTHY SNACKS (smoothies, carrots, crispbread). Lunch and dinner are often different lentil soups or variations of woks on quorn or oumph.

Let me hand you the recipe of my favorite smoothie, packed with energy and good nutrition. Easy as a pancake and quick to make.

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 3 dl pomegranate juice
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of chia seeds
  • 1 dl frozen berries (such as blueberries or raspberries)

ingredients

close up berries

close up avocado

mixer

smoothie

Moving on to writing. When I write, I write. Simple as that. I’m completely focused on the task ahead of me.

Next, scheduled breaks. I begin working at 9 in the morning. My first 15 minute break comes at 10:30 (then I make the lovely smoothie above!). Lunch at 13:00 (roughly 30 minutes). Next 15 minute break at 15:30. At 18:00 I wrap it up for the day. Errrrrdamnday from Monday-Friday.

Physical exercise! Yes! I jog four times a week, 3-6 km depending on the mood. I need this. Everybody needs this. Maybe not jogging, but anything which gets the blood pumping FOR ANOTHER REASON THAN THOSE STEAMY SCENES YOU’RE WRITING. Just saying.

The final part of my writing routine is REST. I don’t write on the weekends. Saturdays and Sundays are days off for me. Well, to tell the truth my mind is spinning with ideas and things I need to do anyway, but I stay away from the computer. I try to focus on other stuff, experiencing life in all its simplicity and wonders, to gather inspiration and plant seeds for next week’s work. I’m also strict on sleeping eight hours per night. Any less leaves my head like a mushroom for the entire next day.

Oh my God this girl has such a boring life, can she even write romance? If this thought’s popped up in your mind, I invite you to take a closer look at Kilonova Blues eventually, and see for yourself… 😉

That’s all for now,
hej så länge!

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