Busy days and 19th century gender roles

Hi darlings,

Life progresses in a steady pace for most people but for me it feels like I’m just rushing at the moment. My days are filled with “musts”, everything from work to keeping up with the household to social activities. This season is often the slowest, but I can’t help but wonder how it became the busiest I’ve had in years. Hence, I’m not at all able to spend as much time as I’d like on the final revision of Kilonova Blues. There simply is not enough hours in my day right now. While I’m focusing on trying not to spread myself too thin, I stumbled across this description of the male vs. female gender roles during the 19th century as I was studying my evening class in gender. As if my mind wasn’t spinning enough already, it got me thinking about my next project, The Heritage.

For men it was about cultivating their intensity, endurance and solid character, and in popular medicine depictions of male biology, the hardness of the muscles, the body’s rough edges and general focus on movement and activity were emphasized. The links between the man and the emerging public life were in the beginning of the 19th century perceived as given, on a biological level. For example, doctors could argue that men’s bones were more massive than women’s, and that hardness even separated men from women at a mental level. Men’s alleged ability to keep their own self intact, to maintain their independence and to fulfill their individual endeavors, in the long run, seemed to be natural enough to withstand the stress and alienating work that characterized the modern market community. Intense competition for success demanded men with strong self-interest and a rationally calculating intellect. For the middle class women, there was another regulatory framework in place. They contributed materially to the establishment of the bourgeoisie’s prosperity and political power but tended to be associated with morals and feelings. The woman was expected to nurture her fertile body with the aim of producing a healthy offspring and was perceived as opposed to the man as soft, compassionate and dependent on her surroundings. The contours of the female body, the softness of the skin and the sensitivity of the nervous system showed signs that women should be ruled by others rather than controlling their own lives. Not least the ability for pregnancy and breastfeeding seemed to indicate that women were permeated by sex life and, contrary to the constantly advancing men, were intended for reproduction, repetition and conservation. Periods, sensitive nerves, pregnancies and general fragility claimed to make women of the higher classes of society unable to gain employment, but at the same time gave them a unique role to play as mothers, guardians, and breeders within the private sphere.

Lennerhed, Lena. 2006. Från Sapfo till cyborg: idéer om kön och sexualitet i historien.
(No English title available unfortunately, but it translates to “From Sapfo to cyborg:
ideas of gender and sexuality through history”.)

Is it normal to be almost done with a manuscript yet long to start with your next idea? I’ve heard many writers have trouble parting from their manuscripts, that they become like their babies. I on the other hand feel more like dumping Kilonova Blues on you guys any day now and just get your response already!

That’s all for now,
hej så länge!

Busy days and 19th century gender roles Read More »

Beta-reader feedback and darker days

Hello darlings,

This week I’ve begun working through the feedback I got as a result from the beta-readings of Kilonova Blues. I’ve gotten a lot of love for the story but also some solid things to work through in terms of overused words, show-not-tell, what motivates the characters etc. Since we all want to initially focus on the positive to keep our spirits high, I’ll share some completely biased feedback with you 😉

  • A strong start – captivating and makes me want to read on!
  • Love the way that you release information; the text messages, the conversation with the receptionist and the mirror – no info dumping which is great.
  • You have an amazing way with words.
  • Did I emotionally connect with them: Alexandra – definitely. I liked her “voice” quite a bit. You do a really good job of getting Alex’s thoughts across.
  • Overall the plot makes sense. I’m very intrigued by how it ended.
  • The story is fantastic – I love the twists.

This right here is more than enough to motivate me to improve all weaker parts of the story which were brought to my attention. This is how we learn. We do something, we ask for others’ opinions, we improve and the circle goes on and on. When this story hits the bookstores, my absolute goal is that it will either touch your soul, your memory of something or your hope for the future. For what is the world without love and the challenges we fight to overcome when we believe in something, but a cold and dark place without meaning. We can’t have that now, can we? That is why we write. We write for all sorts of reasons, but that sure is a strong one.

A tip along the way as fall is making its way into our lives: make sure to bring a lot of fresh flowers into your home and to light a lot of candles. Candles and flowers. All the time. It will help, I promise.

That’s all for now,
hej så länge!

Beta-reader feedback and darker days Read More »

Fall plans and gender studies

Hi there lovebirds,

Fall has (almost) come and I’m back in business! The Swedish summer’s been remarkably wonderful in regards to the weather, and even though I’ve been working my way through it, I’ve also had many magical moments to cherish as we’re now moving toward darker times.

At the moment I’m awaiting the last feedback from my adorable beta-readers who have been reading Kilonova Blues during summer. YOU GUYS ROCK and I’m forever grateful <3 This means that I’m about to head into a phase of working through their comments and adding/removing pieces to the story to enhance its flow. I’m expecting it to be a great deal of work but I’m by no means intimidated by it, since I know this is the final step before I start approaching agents. This whole process is so challenging, educative and rewarding in all its forms and I’m beyond excited that I actually decided to take a leap of faith and embark on this journey.

Fall 2018 will hold a lot of work for me. I’ve decided to prolong my employment at the warehouse where I spent this summer till the end of January to get cash flowing in while simultaneously saving my mental capacity for Kilonova Blues, which I will continue working on during my spare time. I also signed up for an evening class in “Religion, history and sexuality in a gender perspective” which begins today and I’m a little bit too excited for. We’ll study how religion has affected our views on sexuality and the relationship between male and female and how this in turn has shaped Western societies. Let me give you a quote from the literature describing Aristotele’s view of gender;

Anatomically women were described as men turned inside out. The vagina was looked upon as an introverted penis, the ovaries as introverted testicles.

Somewhere around there is where we’ll take off, and you guys can only imagine how this will get the brain juices flowing of a romance writer with academic background. No one yet knows what will come out of this!

You’ll have to bare with me when it comes to blog posts during the coming months. I might not be able to post once a week as usual due to tough competition on my priority list, but don’t worry, I’ll make sure to keep you up to date on what’s going down.

That’s all for now,
hej så länge!

Fall plans and gender studies Read More »

Summer plans and what you sacrifice for your dreams

This week I’d like to talk about the cost of working for your dreams. I also want to highlight that this will be the last blogpost before I take eight weeks off the blog. To know why, continue reading.

To have gigantic goals and the drive to work for them is one thing, but what about when the going gets tough; when your savings are running short; when you struggle with how to split your time fairly between all that matters to you; when you don’t meet the expectations of others and their support weakens–what then?

Let me begin with telling you a short story. Let’s see if you can figure out who it’s about.

Once upon a time there was a young man. This man had a big dream of becoming an actor, but it just never seemed to happen for him. After struggling for some time, he moved to the city of angels and dreams–Los Angeles. Even though he was brave and did all he found necessary to succeed, there was still no luck. He was running out of money, twisting and turning every penny, finally forced to sell his best friend–his dog. It was either that, or his closest companion would have to starve. After finding inspiration in a boxing fight, he went home and wrote a movie script of ninety pages in three days. As he was leaving yet another failed audition, he told the producers about his own idea. He gained interest for the script, but since he wasn’t particularly successful himself, they wanted to give the lead role to someone else. He was offered $360,000 for the script on the condition that he wouldn’t do the main character. At this time, he had sold his dog to pay the bills and was left with $106 in his bank account. He believed in his script so much that he decided to take a leap of faith. He refused to accept the offer unless he got to play the main character himself. Eventually, he got a million dollars to make the movie, an extremely low budget for a movie even though this was some years ago. He made the movie. He played the main character. The movie was “Rocky” and it won three Oscar’s, grossing over $200 million. The man was Sylvester Stallone. The rest is history. (Forbes 2017)

My point is; no success comes easy. No success comes without putting in the work. Hard work. No success comes without dedication. No success comes from not doing what others won’t, but from DOING what others won’t. When you reach the end of the road, you have to find a way to go around the obstacle in front of you. You have to keep walking alone, on a road, path or track which you might be the first to walk. Maybe you’ll just have to walk a short distance alone, then you’ll meet someone else who’s walking alone too, and you can help carry and support each other. Eventually, you will get where you want to go. Don’t give up.

I haven’t yet been forced to sell my dog (I don’t have one), and not much else either for that matter. But I’ve had to struggle. I’ve had to make sacrifices. And I suspect more is to come before I reach my destination.

I’m a political scientist with a M.Sc. in Global Studies. I saved my money all last year to be able to take six months off and finish the manuscript of my first romance novel. Politics and romance, what a match, right? Six months have passed, and I’ve still got some money left, but I have to start thinking ahead. As I still want to use my brain for writing, I don’t want to work a job which exhausts my mind so I won’t have any energy left for my passion. Hence, I took a more practical job for a couple of months. During summer, I will work as Warehouse Co-worker at IKEA, driving orderpicker trucks.

Where is the sacrifice in this?

  • Money. I use all my savings to enable my writing, working to reach my goal of publishing Kilonova Blues.
  • Living. Since I use all savings for another purpose, I have to put aside what many others prioritize, such as travels, concerts, buying my own apartment, having a car, having pets etc.
  • Pride. I’ve got five years of studies from the university but take jobs below my competence level so I can keep my mind fresh for planning, writing and editing to reach my dream of becoming a published romance writer. Many people are impressed by the bravery to follow my heart’s desire, but many also see it as a naive waste of time which will never result in anything worthwhile, that I should be working within my field of study. It’s easy to get caught up in that way of thinking, that there’s something else one really should be doing, that one is shaped/formed/educated/whatever to do something else and therefore one cannot do what is best in that moment. No one is above anyone and as long as you don’t hurt nobody, there’s no wrong path as you work toward your goal.

I will continue to push forward. The third draft of Kilonova Blues is done, and today I’m sending it to my much appreciated beta-readers, who will get to keep it during the coming eight weeks while I’m working. By mid-August, I’ll return to the manuscript to work through their feedback, and by that time I’ll also return to writing blogposts. The next step is then to begin reaching out to agents and work to find a great partnership to approach publishers.

I wish you all a wonderful summer and you can keep up with me through Instagram for the coming weeks.

Remember–what’s worth having doesn’t come easy.

That’s all for now,
hej så länge!

Summer plans and what you sacrifice for your dreams Read More »

Kilonova Blues Chapter One

All right, lovelies. I always keep my promises. I said I’d post the first chapter of Kilonova Blues, and in honor of that I’m sending the full manuscript to my beta-readers on Monday, I’m dedicating this week’s blogpost to publishing what I said I’d do.

It’s the third draft and no professionals have looked at it yet, but here it is in its raw core. I hope you’ll enjoy it.


Chapter one

With a determined jerk, I pull the burgundy curtains apart and open the door to the French balcony. All buzzing sounds from the newly awakened city rush into the room. Cars. Bicycle bells. People laughing. Dogs barking.

A broad smile spreads across my face and I close my eyes to embrace the refreshing sense of freedom which begins somewhere in my stomach and travels through my veins to my heart, filling all its chambers before pulsating out again, straight up through the chest to my head. Sure, I could probably have found a hotel in a bit more authentic area of the city, but considering the stressful period I just left behind at work, I deem myself free to let this one slip and surrender to being a cheesy tourist for once.

I stretch my body and mentally check yesterday’s excursions to Parc Güell, La Sagrada Familia and Camp Nou off my to-do-list. I sure am quite the tourist . . . but by the look of my swollen feet, today might be slightly less active. I glance up and spot the clear, blue sky lure promising above the rooftops and set my mind to the goal of the day–the beach. My phone buzzes and I turn to walk back to the night stand.

today 08:11

Alex! When are you coming back from

Barcelona?! I know you told me but you

know me, if I don’t write it down . . . ha ha.

It feels like you’ve been away forever, I

have so much to tell you! Talk to you soon,

love you <3

Emma. My best friend. She’s so close we’re practically family. Her wild, optimistic, impulsive and energetic personality is straight the opposite of mine, but somehow we complement each other in the weirdest way. What could possibly have happened since I left? I’ve only been away for a couple of days and nothing exciting was coming up that I know of . . . Well, there’s always something when it comes to Emma, I guess.

Hey! Wow, you’re unbelievable . . .

I’m coming back tomorrow, late

afternoon probably. I’ll call you when

I’m on my way. Can you pick me up

at the train station? Looking forward

to hear about the latest news! <3


So, it’s like eight fifteen . . . That’s not too bad. Even though my body felt heavy as a truck when I first cracked my eyes open, now I’m actually feeling rather well rested. It’s just something about that sun and blue sky that energizes the body in a way we’re just not used to back north. Eleven percent. That’ll never last for a full day at the beach. I connect the phone to the charger before heading toward the bathroom.

It’s a beautiful hotel actually, considering the lack of effort I put in while booking it. And it sure meets the requirements of something central with easy access to the most attractive sights in the city.

Well, what do I know about that really. First time in Barcelona and all. Actually it’s kind of weird, since I love to travel and traveling is rather cheap and easy in Europe. I sweep my hands through my hair, collecting it in a pony tail as I enter the bright bathroom. The chilly stone floor soothes my weary feet. I chuckle at their funny appearance and glance at the flip-flops by the door, guess that’ll be the only option today.

I open the tap and cup my hands under the running water, before bending over to splash it upon my face. I refill the palms and douche my face once more, rubbing the eyelids gently. The water awakens my skin and sends tingly sensations toward my scalp, leaving me alert and clear-minded. I reach for one of the fresh and meticulously folded towels, glancing at myself in the mirror as I dry the drops of water off my face. There, some new life to these Scandinavian cheeks. I smirk at my reflection and my large, gray eyes stare at me from their sockets, creating a rather dull impression in combination with the pale skin. I sure could do well with some sun. With the toothbrush working on my teeth, I direct my steps toward the wardrobe and pull out a simple dress in bright-yellow linen. Maybe it’s too short for breakfast? Nah, it’ll do.

The toothbrush slips out of my mouth, painting my entire left cheek with toothpaste. Shit! I quickly return to the bathroom to wash it off while chuckling at the result of my wandering thoughts.


An old couple’s waiting by the elevator, holding each other’s hands. I nod and smile politely as I approach. That’s what everyone secretly longs for . . . isn’t it? They speak English, talking about the weather and some museum they’re planning on visiting.

The elevator arrives with a ping, and the old man presses the button that will take us down to ground level. We travel the five floors down in silence. I’ve never been much of a morning person, more like those who need a cup of coffee to function.

The couple exits the elevator and leads the way toward the hotel restaurant, and my mind wanders back to the office as I place myself in line for the buffet. Did I send that e-mail to Lisa before I left? I hope so. It would be so embarrassing if I forgot. If not, maybe they could access the information through our common files. Hope I saved it there. . .

I gently rub my temple and take a deep breath. Ah, there’s so much on my mind with the trip coming up and everything. And I have to write that report, prepare the interviews and finish the research . . .

No! Stop. This is vacation! Holiday. Free time.

I try to shake the thoughts of work out of my head while filling the plate with fresh fruits. Sweet scents of coffee, freshly baked bread and chocolate find their way to my nostrils and my stomach growls in response.

The restaurant’s bright and airy with white walls, large windows on both sides facing the streets surrounding the building and a lot of mellow plants placed out everywhere, creating a leafy atmosphere. People wander back and forth between their tables and the breakfast buffet. At the far end of the dining area, I spot a free table by the large windows toward the street and stroll over. A strong wave of satisfaction swells through my entire body as I take the first bite of a freshly baked pain au chocolat. I wash it down with a large sip of coffee, suddenly aware that all thoughts of work have tracelessly disappeared from my mind. I alter the pastry with some scrambled eggs and freshly squeezed orange juice. Mmm, nothing like a hotel breakfast.

The city pulse beats through the busy morning on the other side of the window. The sidewalk’s filled with all sorts of people; businessmen in suits with elegant and professional portfolios; families in beach wear heading toward a full day of ocean and sun; dog-walkers; skaters with sunglasses and big headphones; people on their phones with take-away cups from Starbucks.

I love big cities, to melt in with the crowd and be anonymous. I take another sip of coffee as my mind drifts off to the whereabouts of the people outside, but an awkward feeling of not being alone seeps up from my unconscious. Or that I’m being watched, I’m not sure which.

My eyes scan the restaurant, sweeping the dining area. People are keeping busy at the buffet, moving in a slow pace through the restaurant, chatting at their tables. Then my eyes get caught in the gaze of a man sitting a few tables away, staring directly at me.

The oxygen’s knocked out of my lungs.

A man with improbable beauty and elegance has locked his eyes on mine, and they’re the most unique I’ve ever seen, square formed and ice-blue. The intensity of his gaze is so strong it’s almost unnerving, but at the same time it enchants me completely. I can’t take my eyes off him. He has deep-brown hair, almost black, just like mine. His countenance is hard, with a sharp-lined jaw and straight chin, no beard. He’s in a dark suit with a white shirt beneath the jacket. He’s pushed the cutlery to the side, and his clasped hands rest on some document in front of him, sharing the space with just a cup of coffee. Or maybe it’s tea? He’s accompanied by a man and a woman, both of them also in suits. I force myself out of the weird, visual lock-down and lower my eyes to the table, wrapping my hands around the coffee cup and turn my head toward the activity outside.

Oh. My. God. This is the most gorgeous man I have ever seen.

Butterflies rage my stomach and my heart is thumping, leaving me slightly light-headed. I shift uncomfortably in my seat as my mind all of a sudden wants my body to straighten itself from its relaxed position. I can’t sit here like a bag of rice with a man like that staring at me!

After attempting to fight the fact that I desperately want to take another look at him, I fail and surrender to the urge. My eyes gaze back in the direction of the table where the gorgeous man is sitting and find him engaged in a discussion with the man and the woman.

Great, a chance to observe him undisturbed for a moment.

His white teeth glimmers occasionally as his lips form around the words he’s articulating. He gesticulates modestly with his hands as he speaks and lays out some documents in front of the man and the woman, who are giving him their full attention.

What are they talking about?

Mr. Gorgeous appears collected, like he knows what he’s doing. The man and the woman nod their heads and Mr. Gorgeous listens with full focus to their response. As he begins talking again, he points to specific parts of the documents, to which the woman nods and the man lowers his shoulders as though he relaxes a bit.

The woman signs one of the documents before passing it to the man, who signs as well and returns it to Mr. Gorgeous. He signs them too and fires off a smile that punches me straight in the solar-plexus, and I hasten to collect my jaw who unannounced just dropped open.

Is that smile even legal?

Polite small talk takes place as all three of them gracefully rise from the table, collecting their things. They’re obviously done with whatever they were doing.

I quickly turn my face toward the safe area that my overly organized brain now has categorized as The Sidewalk Outside, so Mr. Gorgeous won’t catch me staring. My heart is racing.

After what seems like an eternity, but probably really is something like thirty seconds in the real world, I shoot a glance back in the direction of Mr. Gorgeous’ table.

He’s gone.

My eyes scan the entire dining area but there’s no trace of him. In a weird way, the restaurant suddenly appears empty. Hm.

The butterflies in my stomach land one by one, making me return to reality.

Who was that? It’s as though someone just ran into me, making me lose my balance. But mentally. Who was he?

I jerk out of my paralyzed state and smile at my own ridiculousness. I really need to get a grip of myself and get my ass outside. I’m in Barcelona for heavens sake! I take another sip of coffee to clear my mind. Ouff! It’s cold. That’s it, there’s my cue. I’m out of here.


With the beach bag on my shoulder and the map in my hand, I approach the receptionist who greets me with a friendly smile.

Good morning! How can I help you?”

Hi! I’m on my way to the beach, but I’m not sure quite how far it is and which is the best way to get there.”

All right. Well, it’s not far at all. I see you have a map there, let me show you.”

I spread it upon the counter while the receptionist gets a pen and returns to position the map in an angle which makes it easy for me to follow.

This is where we are,” he begins and marks the hotel. “This road outside, right here on the map, is La Rambla. But I’m sure you know this,” he smiles. “When you come out of the hotel entrance, you turn right and follow La Rambla to the very end. There you’ll cross the road and turn left. Walk along the harbor and then make a soft right as you get here,” he explains as he draws on the map. “Then just follow this road straight ahead for five or ten minutes and you’ll arrive at Barceloneta. You can’t miss it.”

Thank you so much Mr.,” my eyes search his suit to find the name tag, “de León.”

De nada,” he beams. “And if you don’t feel like walking in the lovely weather we’re blessed with today, I could get you a taxi?”

Ah, no thanks, I’d love to walk.”

Mr. de León nods politely.

Can I leave my key here?” I’m not sure it’s a good idea to bring it to the beach. My wandering thoughts might betray me and I might end up back here with no clue where it has gone.

Sure, what’s your name and room number?”
“Alexandra Johnson, 524.”

Vale Señorita, it’ll be here waiting for your return,” he smiles and wiggles the card in front of him before placing it in an overly organized drawer with different compartments.

Muchas gracias Señor,” I articulate, proud to conduct my first full Spanish sentence since I got here. Then I turn toward the large glass entrance, framed by marble and shiny brass, and soon I find myself being just one of all the people on my way somewhere on The Sidewalk Outside.


The sun warms my entire body, caresses it, soothes it, providing new life to my skin and energy to my soul. This is heaven. I dig my feet deeper into the sand and enjoy the cool sensation beneath my toes, creating sharp contrasts to the August sun radiating mercilessly over the rest of my body.

Mojito, mojito! Cola, Fanta, Sprite! Mojito, mojito,” an old salesman persistently repeats as he passes behind me, but I give him no more attention than what I can master from peering through my lashes.

Children are playing right at the water brow where the Mediterranean Sea breaks upon the yellow sand grains, mixing the rumbling waves with laughter. The beach is crowded but I’ve sunken into my own, sacred space, relaxing every single muscle.

A sudden lump makes itself known in my stomach and I twist slightly in discomfort, trying to fend off the vicious thought responsible for the unwelcome interruption.

No, I don’t need anyone. I’m completely fine being single. I don’t need to have a man by my side to feel complete. No men, no heartbreaks. I’m doing perfectly fine. I’ve got amazing friends, a loving mom, a wonderful home and a great job. Everything’s just fine. Nothing could be better. This is an amazing trip and I’m an awesome, strong, independent young woman. Better to be alone than to be with any shallow-minded man who hasn’t yet figured out how to do his own laundry. Who’d want to settle for less anyway?

The lump slowly fades away in response to my familiar inner chanting. I take a deep breath and fill my lungs with new, fresh oxygen.

Without warning, the memory of the ice-blue gaze I encountered earlier resurfaces in my mind and my eyes flash open.

Mr. Gorgeous . . . What was the deal with him? Such intensity, almost as if he could see straight through me and uncover every inch of imperfection, flaw, fear and dream that’s ever run through my mind. And he didn’t falter, it was I who turned my eyes away, startled and overtaken by his energy.

I want to see him again . . . Maybe tomorrow, at breakfast. What time was he there today? It must have been around eight forty or something . . .

No, stop! What am I doing?

I moan in frustration, annoyed by the fact that the brain isn’t a muscle I can tell to relax. I’m on holiday in Barcelona, for Christ’s sake! I’m supposed to chill out, take time to catch up with myself, be gentle with my over-worked brain. I am not supposed to be laying here, on this amazing beach, thinking about men!

I mutter at my stupidity and turn to my stomach, reaching into the bag to pull out a book in an attempt to interrupt my strain of thought. Argh, nothing is as tiring and exhausting as my own brain. I gulp some water from the bottle, put the sun glasses on and place myself in a comfortable reading position. After separating the covers, it doesn’t take long until I’m deep into the adventures of young Santiago.


A bright, female voice pulls me up from the depths of my book, forcing me to look up. My eyes land upon a young woman, sitting on her towel about six feet in front of me. I estimate she’s somewhere in her mid-twenties. She’s got long, thick, blonde hair, of which wet strands are covering her shoulders. Her body’s still dripping of the ocean, glistening in the sun’s reflection.


You’re reading Paulo Coelho,” she nods at my book. “I don’t want to disturb you, but I just have to say that I love his books! I haven’t read The Alchemist yet and just wanted to ask what you think of it?” she continues.

Sure,” I smile. “Coelho is one of my favorite authors and this one’s my absolute favorite. It’s my fifth time reading it actually.”

Wow, really?” she replies, eyes flashing wide open.

Yeah, if you like his other books, you won’t be disappointed when you read this.”

That sounds promising! I’m Eliza by the way.”

Alexandra,” I smile.

Are you alone?” she asks, scanning the people around us.

Yes. Just taking a couple of days off work.”

So you’re not only alone at the beach, you’re traveling alone as well?”


Cool, so am I,” she smiles. “Where are you from?”

Sweden. You?”

I’m from the U.S.”

Yeah? From where?”

Seattle. Or I’m originally from San Francisco, but I’m studying in Seattle so I’ve been living there for a few years now. Have you ever been?”

No, not yet. But that’s quite funny actually, I’m going to Seattle for work in a few weeks,” I chuckle.

Oh, really? How exciting! What do you do?”

I’m a project manager at the Historical Museum at Lund University. I’m actually a journalist, but this opportunity popped up and I couldn’t say no.”

Ah. So Lund, that’s a city in Sweden or something?”

Yeah. In the southern part of the country. It’s not big, but it’s quite beautiful.”

What will you be doing in Seattle, then? Sorry, I’m attacking you with like a thousand questions,” she laughs.

No worries,” I smile. It’s actually quite nice to have a conversation with someone. Alone time in all its splendor, sure, but not for too long. “I’m leading a project to set up an exhibition about the lives of all the Swedish people who migrated to the U.S. during the nineteenth century. I’m attending a workshop at the Nordic Heritage Museum on how to create interactive exhibitions.”

How interesting!”

Yes, I’m really excited.” Eliza’s bubbly personality reminds me of Emma. “So, what are you studying?”

Criminal Justice at Seattle University.”

Wow, that’s something completely different.”

It is.” She nods her head affirmatively, raising her eyebrows.

And now you’re in-between semesters?”

Yep. Decided to finally go on this Euro-trip I’ve always dreamt of,” she beams.

Good for you. Where are you going?”

I’ve been to London, Paris, Rome, Cannes . . .”

And now Barcelona? Impressive.”

Yeah, it’s been amazing. Barcelona is my last stop.”

Eliza’s vibrant and outgoing, and we lose ourselves in conversations about all possible aspects of life, love, work, friends, family and dreams. It’s as though I’ve known her for a long time.We have the exact same humor and I can’t remember the last time I laughed this much. I spend the entire day with my newfound friend, and we take turns watching our stuff as we enjoy the warm, welcoming Mediterranean Sea.

You know, it’s actually my last evening tonight before I return to the States,” Eliza says after we’ve laid in silence for a while, drying our bodies in the caressing rays of the afternoon sun. “Do you have any plans for tonight?”

That’s so weird,” I chuckle, “I’m also leaving tomorrow, around noon.”

You’re kidding? That’s so funny!” What a coincidence. “Would you like to go out tonight? I mean, I really enjoy your company and it would be so much fun to have a girls’ night out with some cocktails and dancing,” she continues. The excitement in her voice is contagious.

Sure, why not?” I smile. I’m genuinely glad she asked. I haven’t had the time nor the energy to go clubbing in a very long time. “Did you have something special in mind?”

I don’t know what type of music you’re into, but I was thinking maybe we could go to Hotel W?” she says and points across the beach.

At the far end, located right at the brink of the ocean, is a tall skyscraper with a large W on the top of the building. It’s built in the shape of a sail and its glass facade mirrors the sun all over.

Wow, it’s beautiful” I sigh in admiration. “But doesn’t it look more like a hotel?”

It is. The nightclub is on the ground floor and partly out on the terrace. During summer they have this special event called ʽWet Deck Summer Series’ and it’s the season finale tonight.”

Finale? Tonight? It doesn’t seem like the season’s over to me,” I say, peering lovingly toward the sun.

Me neither,” she chuckles.

But sure, let’s go! I just need to get back to the hotel and chill for a while. Maybe we could meet up to get something to eat before we head over there?”

That’ll be perfect. More tapas for the people!” she grins.

Do you know what time it is?” I ask. “I forgot my phone at the hotel.”

Sure. No wonder you were a bit absent-minded this morning.”

At least it’ll be fully loaded,” I mutter in response to her teasing of what I told her about my encounter with Mr. Gorgeous.

It’s ten past four.”

Really? Wow, time flies.” I sit up and try to rub the sun out of my eyes. “Well, I’ll just head back to the hotel and take a quick nap and a shower, then I’m good to go again.”

Sure, Alexandra. How about we meet up for dinner at eight?”

Eight’ll be perfect. And call me Alex.”


I actually was at this amazing tapas restaurant yesterday, which shouldn’t be too far from here. I wouldn’t mind going tonight again if you don’t have any other suggestion? It’s called Segons Mercat.”

Segons Mercat it is,” she exclaims.

Okay,” I smile. “Are you staying a while longer or what are your plans?”

Yeah, I think I’m staying, at least half an hour or so. I love the beach.” Eliza’s green eyes beam of contentment. “Maybe I’ll try to finish my book, only have a few chapters left.”

All right, you do that. And you have to put The Alchemist next on your reading list,” I urge and collect the few things I brought with me.

For sure,” Eliza replies. I’m folding my bath towel, observing her writing a note at the corner of my eye. “Here. My number. Just text or call if something comes up or if you get another idea or anything, otherwise I’ll meet you at the restaurant.”


Oh! Right, maybe you could just text me the address?”

Of course, and thanks for today! I’ll see you in a little while,” I say and reach down to hug her.

Hey, the day isn’t over! Tonight’s going to be so much fun. I’m really glad you want to go,” she smiles friendly.

True. I’m glad you asked!” I smile back and wipe off some sand from my legs. “I’ll text you the address as soon as I get back. See you later!”

See ya!” Eliza shouts at my back as I tiptoe across the beach, desperately trying to avoid the hot sand burning my soles.


A rough jerk pulls me out of my sleep and the darkness outside the window instantly alerts me. I reach for my phone and press the home button. 19:06.

I exhale deeply and fall back on my pillow in relief. It could’ve been worse. But I still need to get this party started if I’m going to pull off being at the restaurant at eight. So much for a quick nap, why does it never work? I sit up and scroll through my playlist. Nothing’s more mood-setting for a Spanish August evening than some reggaeton. The bass and rhythm is so comforting and embracing somehow, while yet passionate and intense. The music flows out of my phone and I get on my feet.

Standing in front of the bathroom mirror, I contemplate what to do with myself. My skin has gotten some new life from the earlier caress of the sun, very different from my reflection this morning. Gazing at my sun-kissed face, framed by thick, dark, newly washed hair, I guess I’m actually rather . . . beautiful. I frown at the unfamiliar thought and examine my skin, running both hands along my cheeks, down toward my pointy chin. My gray eyes are glistening. This holiday’s doing me good.

Maybe I should just go for a natural look tonight? I reach for the bronzer and brush it lightly upon my skin, leaving a golden shimmer. With skilled fingers, I apply two thin lines of eyeliner and some mascara. Luckily, the eyeliner doesn’t mess with me today. Even skilled fingers can’t save an escaped wing out on the corner of the eye if it’s decided to be uncooperative. Finally, I apply an orange-red, matte lipstick to seal the deal. I judge the overall result in the mirror. Hm, this will do. I brush my hair quickly and head back for the phone to check the clock. 19:32.

Okay, clothes.

I pull the two dresses suitable for a night on the town out of the wardrobe and hold them in front of my body to compare them in the mirror. Nah, this’ll be too much. I hang back the red one and quickly pull the black up over my hips. I step into the matching pumps and twist back and forth in front of the mirror to examine how the tight dress hugs my body from every angle. Hm, not too bad. All right, let’s go. I turn the music off, grab the keycard and throw it into the clutch before heading out to catch a taxi.


Oh my God,” I pant after our giggle attack due to both of us practically falling into the taxi. “Eliza, I’m so glad you came up with this idea.”

Me too,” she replies, still giggling. The sangria we had at the restaurant has left me light-headed and happy in the most satisfying way. Eliza calms her giggling and directs her attention up front to the driver who’s thoroughly entertained by his new customers, judged by the wide grin on his face.

Hotel W, por favor,” she instructs him.

Vale,” he replies and takes off into the busy traffic.

Do you know what time it is?” I ask Eliza. “No wait, I actually brought my phone.” I open my clutch and press the home button. 23:02. “Eleven? Really?” I burst out in shock by the fact that three hours just flew by.

It’s amazing what a couple of cans of sangria and good company can do, right?” she giggles while opening her window, letting the warm summer breeze into the car. The soft wind plays with a wisp of my hair and reaches in behind my neck, caressing the skin, providing refreshing clarity.

Right here, right now, everything is perfect. Life is perfect. Maybe it’s the better part of the sangria that’s getting to me but frankly, I don’t care.

My chest’s light and released from all the burdens of hard work and anxiety of what the future may hold. So far, my short holiday has been nothing but wonderful. And today I’ve met a new friend. We’ve just had some delicious food and drinks. I’m staying at a great hotel in the heart of Barcelona. And now I’m on my way to a season finale at some fancy nightclub at the brink of the Mediterranean Sea. On top of that, my favorite reggaeton song pours out of the radio into the taxi. I lean forward as the driver comes to a stop by a red light.

Could you turn the volume up, please?”

Qué?” he replies, shooting me a puzzled glance in the rearview mirror.

La radio, up, por favor,” I say and point to the ceiling with my index finger.

He smiles and turns the volume up as he accelerates, his eyes back on the road. I lean back and open the window on my side as well, and as the wind rushes toward me, I close my eyes and surrender to life.


Look at this place!” Eliza exclaims as the taxi comes to a stop. She pays the driver and we both get out of the car. As he takes off, Eliza walks up next to me. She’s dressed in a loose fit, light-gray dress with spaghetti straps, falling beautifully over her slim body. She’s matched it with a pair of silver pumps and put her hair in a lose bun at the back of her head.

You look stunning, do you know that?”

Come on, Alex,” she chuckles and grabs my arm. We walk together toward the line leading to the terrace entrance, and the heavy bass of house music fills the warm air of the late summer evening. We take our place at the end of the line and I scan the great mass of people in front of us. Just as I turn back to Eliza I spot a security guard with a microphone taped to his cheek tap her on her shoulder. As she turns he makes a waving gesture, encouraging us to step out of the line.

Come,” he commands.

Eliza stares at me with raised eyebrows and I simply nod in the direction of the man to encourage her to go with him. We try to keep up with him as we patter past all the people waiting. Heading toward the entrance, he checks back on us once in a while to make sure we’re still with him. He comes to a stop and calls on the attention of a young man, holding a black folder and a pen in his hands. The younger man eyes us from top to bottom and directs a discrete nod to the security guard who brought us here. The situation’s a bit awkward, as if we’re up for some sort of test. Then just like that, he releases a white rope from a steal pole behind him and welcomes us in with a sweeping arm gesture and a smile. Eliza takes my hand, nods politely and passes him confidently, dragging me behind her. Once we’re inside she turns giggling toward me.

What just happened?” I ask, astonished.

I guess we put the right dresses on tonight,” she murmurs and shrugs her shoulders with a smile, letting her eyes sweep the club.

As much as I get she’s probably right, I can’t help to despise the fact that my dress would be the reason we just skipped the entire line. It leaves a bitter, cheap taste in my mouth.

I try to shake it off and absorb the amazing atmosphere we’ve gotten ourselves into. We’re standing in the corner of a summer night paradise, beneath the open night sky of Barcelona. House remixes of popular summer tracks beat through the club, tuning out everything else. To my right there’s a long, white bar with three guys behind it, working fast and focused to serve the waiting guests. Straight ahead is a large pool, with big balloons in various metal colors floating in it. A large, white figure of the letter W is majestically placed in the center of the pool, excluding any misconceptions of where we are. The pool area’s framed with candle-decorated, white tables, coupled with matching leather couches, already crowded with people.

I thought we were early?” I say to Eliza, who shrugs her shoulders apologetically in response. My eyes get caught upon one of the dancers on a podium at the short end of the pool. She moves rhythmically to the beat, dressed in glimmering stone adorned underwear and a wide, purple, translucent fabric hanging from the back of her neck, swaying in the wind. Her face is glistening by all the glitter of her make-up, and her hair’s pulled back into a tight bun at the back of her head.

This place is amazing,” I conclude as I let me eyes continue sweeping through the vibrant atmosphere.

Isn’t it?” Eliza beams.

I put my hand on her shoulder and nod in the direction of the other side of the pool and start walking. She accompanies me as we zigzag through the crowd of people to get across. I lean my underarms upon the waist-high plexiglass, looking out over the beach. Right below the terrace, palm trees are lining up as the only thing separating us from the Mediterranean. The entire Barceloneta is laid out before us as we stand gazing out at the landscape.

Can you imagine we met just a few hours ago right over there?” Eliza asks and points toward a spot further away at the beach.

No. But I’m so glad we’re here,” I smile back.

I turn and my gaze travels to the opposite side of the pool from where we’re standing. The club extends inside beneath the hotel, onto a large dance floor which is also full with people. Blue and purple lights are decoratively illuminating both the interior and the guests. I tilt my head back and let my gaze sweep up over what appears as a never ending, shiny facade, reaching for the sky. The lights and life of the nightclub is reflected in the lowest part of the building and then the dark, star-filled sky takes over. The new moon accompanies the stars in the sky this evening, promising new beginnings.

Let’s head for the bar,” Eliza suggests close to my ear.

Sure,” I articulate through the loud music.

We slowly make our way back through the crowd of people, and as we approach the bar, a couple of guys conveniently leave and open up a spot for us.

Isn’t this place amazing?” Eliza beams and leans on the counter.

It’s so beautiful. It’s pulsating with summer vibes,” I smile.

Oh, look! There’s Rachel and Jessica,” Eliza exclaims. “Rachel! Hi!” She waves energetically toward a couple of girls who are standing a few tables away. “I shared a room with them at a hostel in Paris,” she explains briefly, “I can’t believe they’re here!” Rachel acknowledges Eliza with a wide smile and waves back. “I’ll just go and say hi quickly, then I’ll bring them over. Can you get me a Margherita if I’m not back when the bartender comes to take our order?”

Sure! Got it,” I beam as she turns around, heading for Rachel and Jessica.

I turn toward the counter, observing the organized chaos on display in front of me. The bar is full of people waiting either for their drinks or to place their order. The bartenders work methodologically with sharp multi-tasking skills, preparing and completing several drinks simultaneously. This really is a handcraft.

Then I get that awkward feeling again. I know it from earlier this morning. Someone’s watching me. I glance back over my shoulder, only seeing people chatting and drinking, taking no notice of me. I uncomfortably shift my weight from one foot to the other, eyes scanning around me, and gasp when discovering the reason for my uneasiness. Over at the short end of the bar, there they are. The one of a kind, ice-blue, square formed eyes. Staring straight into mine.


AAAAAH. There you have it. There are seventeen more chapters making up the Kilonova Blues-manuscript, and I hope you’re just as excited to read them as I am to share them with you.

That’s all for now,
hej så länge!

Kilonova Blues Chapter One Read More »

Affirmations and aspirations

Affirmations shall not be underrated in one’s life. Below I share the ones I do my best to live by since years back. I saved the list from somewhere a long time ago, and now I cannot find or remember who wrote it originally. If you know, please enlighten me so I can give credit.

Find inspiration in this or write your own list to provide guidance in your life.

  1. There are people in this world that would die for me.
  2. There are people in this world I would die for.
  3. The truth will set me free. I will never lie.
  4. People are not mind readers. I must never hesitate to tell someone how I feel.
  5. Mistakes happen. I must learn from my mistakes and the mistakes of others.
  6. Life is short and people are not perfect. I will forgive myself. I will forgive others.
  7. My smile brings happiness to the world around me.
  8. There is nobody else exactly like me, with my exact abilities, talents, and ideas.
  9. I can help myself by helping those around me first.
  10. The people I care about deserve to know it. I will show them how much they mean to me on a regular basis.
  11. I will accept compliments and criticism openly and make educated decisions based on a weighted sum of the two.
  12. Information is infinite. There are ideas, products and cultures I do not yet understand. I will always keep an open mind to new formulas.
  13. I am in competition with one person, and one person only… myself. I am competing to be the best I can be.
  14. True wisdom is the byproduct of life experience. I will seek as many real world experiences as possible.
  15. Education involves self-imposed discipline. I can only learn if I want to learn. I want to learn.
  16. I will treat everyone with the same level of respect I would give to my grandfather and the same level of patience I would have with my baby brother.
  17. I am what I eat. My body is a machine that must be fueled properly if I intend to make it last.
  18. I will think before I act, but I will always act.
  19. I will try new things for the sake of broadening my horizons.
  20. I will never be reckless with another person’s feelings.
  21. I will never let someone persist on being reckless with my feelings.
  22. The three most important things in my life are my health, my family and friends, and my education. Everything else is secondary.
  23. I will celebrate my successes. I deserve it.
  24. Money will only make my life easier if it is mine free and clear.
  25. If I wake up several mornings in a row and hate what I am about to do with my day, I will make a change. Life is too short.
  26. I will never be jealous. Jealously only deteriorates possibility.
  27. My attitude can change my reality.
  28. If I want to remember it, I will write it down in a trusted location.
  29. I will never spend more than I have.
  30. I will thank the people who have helped me, and I will return the favor as soon as I am able.
  31. I will never complain about a problem. I will supply a solution instead.
  32. I will listen more than I speak.
  33. If I don’t know, I will ask questions.
  34. Everything is nothing without happiness. I must do what makes me happy.
  35. I will never succumb to greed. Enough is enough.
  36. Time is precious. I will manage my time effectively.
  37. Right now is the only guaranteed moment in my life. I will make the best of it.
  38. I will stand firm by my values without senselessly promoting them.
  39. I will never over-promise. I will over-deliver on everything I commit to.
  40. I will always assess the situation and provide value where needed.
  41. I cannot make someone love me. I can only be someone who can be loved.
  42. I will always strive to be the best I can be, but I will never try to be someone I’m not.
  43. I will always articulate my words so people understand me.
  44. I will slow down and become conscious of life’s simple pleasures.
  45. Everything I do is by choice. There is always another option.
  46. Less is more. I will get rid of the stuff I do not use.
  47. If I never try, I will never know.
  48. I will face my fears. I will not cower.
  49. My habits define my life.
  50. I will always take ownership of my actions, or my actions will own me.
  51. I will never make decisions in a state of emotional haste.
  52. If I don’t finish what I start, my success rate will always be zero.

That’s all for now,
hej så länge!

Affirmations and aspirations Read More »

Glorious sun and deceitful word counts

The weather we’re currently blessed with in Sweden is out of this world. I’m profoundly impressed by my ability to time this with working from home, not being locked up in an office. Being able to work on my dream while enjoying cloud-free skies day in and day out surely makes for a smoooth life! (Let’s discuss financials another day.)

Last week I finished another round of editing, currently sitting with the third draft of Kilonova Blues beneath my fingertips. The manuscript’s really evolved during the past months and even though many of you surely can relate to never feeling “finished” editing, I’m still happy with where it’s at right now. Most major changes have been done, and for what grammar and language’s concerned, I’ve come as far as I can on my own and it’s definitely time to get some fresh eyes on the text.

The first draft came in on 111 390 words. Working with the second draft, I cut 3 436 words. Yay! I felt like a samurai warrior, ignoring my emotional ties, slicing the manuscript with my sword as though it was a simple cake. I wanted to cut down on some text to make it leaner and felt I was good underway.

Today I checked the current word count… 110 950! I’ve obviously added a shitload of new text and am only down 440 words from where I began. Ah! I just smashed my forehead and laughed before getting up to fetch a new cup of coffee. What to do?

I know this is not the final draft though, so I’ll just leave it as it is for now. In about two weeks I’ll send it to five competent and highly appreciated beta-readers, and I’ll await their reflections and feedback before making any other major changes to the text. Up till then, I’ll focus on formatting and minor changes, deleting an extra space here and there, maybe swap that word for this word and so on, you know the drill. AND – I’ll try to read the entire thing from a reader’s perspective without changing ANYTHING.

Dear Lord, give me strength.

That’s all for now,
hej så länge!

computer sun

workstation sun

notebooks sun

editing sun

beverages sun


Glorious sun and deceitful word counts Read More »

Self-Defense and Krav Maga

Last weekend I attended a two-day workshop in self-defense. Thirty-five women from all across the country, with various backgrounds, gathered outside Stockholm for forty-eight hours of authentic assault simulations. I can say that it is by far one of the most intense things I’ve ever done, both physically and mentally.

In Sweden, women between the ages 16-24 are overrepresented in the statistics regarding victims of sexual assaults (reported assaults of 2017). Half of the reported assaults occurred in public spaces, and in sixty percent of the total number of reports, the perpetrator was previously unknown to the woman. Ninety-eight percent of the perpetrators were men.

If these numbers weren’t enough to convince me that I have to learn how to defend myself, then the stories of some of the women I met this weekend definitely were.

This workshop was not like many others, where you mark your strikes and avoid impact. No, we struck to hit. During the warm-up Saturday morning we slapped each other’s faces without defending ourselves, just to get into the right spirit and build motivation.

Sounds too tough? Well, I’d lie if I didn’t say it’s not for the faint-hearted. But let me tell you something; we’re not made of porcelain. We can take it. And in the case you’re faced with a perpetrator, he won’t be gentle. The sooner you pull up the blinders and realize that, the better prepared you will be if the situation would present itself.

I urge all women to check the opportunities to learn self-defense in their local communities. The worst (read BEST) thing that could happen is that you’ll never have to use it, but then you’ve still gotten yourself a hell of a workout. The methods I learned were based on Krav Maga, which I can strongly recommend. I trained with The Swedish School of Self-Defense (Självförsvarsskolan), which in my opinion is the best alternative in Sweden, focused on keeping the exercises as close to real-life situations as possible. They’re based in Stockholm but do workshops all over the country.

This post’s been written from the perspective of being a woman, but my writer-self whispers from deep within that I’ve also gained a whole new file of fighting-experiences to use in my writing.

Take care of yourself and don’t worry you’re being paranoid, you’re just taking reasonable precautions.

That’s all for now,
hej så länge!

Self-defense group

Self-defense in action

Self-defense t-shirt

Self-defense strikes

Self-defense bonfire

(Credit: The rights of all images belong to Självförsvarsskolan)

Self-Defense and Krav Maga Read More »

Defining fantasy and rhetoric strategies

Yesterday, I attended a seminar for grasping the complexity of the fantasy genre, led by Malin Alkestrand (PhD in literature, Linnaeus University). We discussed fantasy vs. the fantastic literature, how we can truly define fantasy literature, what ingredients make up a fantasy novel and much more.

But you’re a romance writer, how come you’re interested in this?

Two answers to that;

  1. As a writer you READ. A lot. You read both within your own genre and – I know, take a deep breath – you read other genres too.
  2. My work in progress Kilonova Blues is a paranormal romance, mainly built around elements of the religious myth of fallen angels.

I’d like to share some insights I got at this seminar and begin with what characterizes fantasy literature:

  • The writer introduces magic in some form.
  • There’s a comic rather than tragic structure to the story, most importantly a bright and happy ending, in contrast to the tragedy where most people die (think Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet).
  • The readers get to experience a distance from the real world in which they live.
  • The Myth Pot – the writer gathers inspiration from various myths, tales, sagas, legends etc. and creates a story with a new twist.

We also discussed four rhetoric strategies for fantasy, originally elaborated by Farah Mendlesohn, which the writer can choose from while building a fantasy story:

  1. Portal-quest fantasy
    – The protagonist enters a portal, taking her/him to a magic world.
    – This magic world can be either physical or mental, i.e. the protagonist can either enter a physical portal or undertake some sort of mental transportation from the known to the unknown. This transition can occur from a world with no magic to a world with magic OR – from a world with magic to another world with magic built upon another set of rules.
    – The reader gets to know the world parallel with the protagonist.
    – The protagonist sets out on a quest.
    Writing tip: Let the protagonist discover the new world together with the reader, and present the new and exciting from an astonished and at times critical point of view.
  2. Intrusive fantasy
    – Magic penetrates the normal world where the protagonist has lived hers/his whole life under “normal” circumstances until he/she comes in contact with the supernatural.
    – Neither the protagonist nor the readers ever get comfortable with the story’s supernatural features.
    Writing tip: Keep a clear distance to the magic, it can never feel safe and comfy. Keep the mystery of the supernatural alive.
  3. Immersive fantasy
    – There is only ONE world, the magic one, and the protagonist is born and raised there.
    – The protagonist is comfortable with her/his environment and hence there is not much detailed explanation of the supernatural.
    – The readers are placed on the protagonist’s shoulder, experiencing the magic through the eyes of the protagonist.
    Writing tip: Avoid explaining the magic to the readers. Do you have to explain something? Let an older character explain it to a younger who doesn’t fully understand which rules applies.
  4. Liminal fantasy
    – Balances the thin line of what is possible/impossible in our world.
    – The protagonist sees something (whatever it is, e.g. a man seemingly unaffected by the axe placed in the back of his head) as completely normal, played out in what’s described as the normal world, while the reader sees it as supernatural.
    – The writer doesn’t elaborate on whether it’s supernatural or not, but simply leaves it to the readers to decide and come to their own conclusions.
    Writing tip: Explain absolutely nothing. Do not categorize events as natural/supernatural. Leave everything open for interpretation.

Interesting, right? I love to learn new stuff.

Now I’m off to let my beloved cousin know I’m attending her wedding in South Africa this December, then I’m headed for a weekend in the Stockholm archipelago.

Nice and lovely, huh?

Not so much. I’m attending a three-day workshop, day and night, in self-defense (Krav Maga) to learn how to fight off rapists alongside forty other women. It’ll be intense not only physically, but mentally, and I’ve tried to prepare for weeks. I’ll tell you all about it in next week’s blog post.

That’s all for now,
hej så länge!

Defining fantasy and rhetoric strategies Read More »

Early summer and touching the reader

I can’t even begin to describe the beautiful past few days we’ve had in Sweden! All I can say is we skipped spring and jumped straight into summer. I don’t mind. I’ve moved my work station to the balcony and there I sit, editing with soft reggae in the background, the warm sunrays caressing my skin.

This week I’ve been working on apostrophes, quotation marks and switching out frequently recurring words. Today I’ll standardize the e-mails, time and dates, and tomorrow I’ll begin rephrasing sentences containing filter words. It’s no walk in the park to write a book! But how lovely it is to see it grow and evolve.

One thing I’m anxious and concerned about, writing my debut novel and all, is my ability to make the reader connect with the characters. They live in my heart, therefore I know them, but how do I know if you as a reader will too? I suppose this is a question all writers struggle with at one point or another.

This week I thought I’d share five tips on how to make the reader identify with your characters. It’s taken from a Swedish handbook in writing released last year, called “Fängsla dina läsare – väck spänning och berör på djupet” (Captivate your readers – evoke suspense and touch in-depth), written by Catrine Tollström.

Here it goes:

  1. Everyone can relate to existential problems. Sooner or later, we’re faced with issues of freedom vs. dependency, life’s perishability and the existential loneliness of the human.
  2. Who doesn’t want to dream away and be the hero or heroine once in a while? Most people enjoy looking up to main characters. However, don’t forget that even your super cool role model needs to be vulnerable. A person who’s only rich and good-looking can easily appear rather empty and become difficult to relate to. Which demons, fears and sorrows does the person carry inside? Do you want to depict the unhappiness masked behind the upper-class family’s shiny facade? Then you might have to work harder to gain sympathy.
  3. Move your readers through evoking vicarious feelings. Maybe the heroine in your humor manuscript is making such a fool of herself that the reader will want to hold a pillow in front of the book. The heroine herself won’t notice. In this case, it’s the character’s way of acting that moves the reader.
  4. It’s easy to keep your fingers crossed for the underdog. Of course we want the car enthusiast who’s fought the hardest to win the desert rally in the novel we’re reading. Especially since she doesn’t have the financial assets needed to get herself the equipment her competitors have. When they laugh at her, we find ourselves even more on her side.
  5. Touch through characteristics easy to relate to. Your super hero might be good at most things, but terrible at saying no. Of course, this results in a series of fun or serious consequences in the plot.

(Tollström 2017, p. 39-40)

Hope this gave you a new idea or two!

That’s all for now,
hej så länge!

Early summer and touching the reader Read More »

error: This content is protected.
Scroll to Top