Four Fantastic Females for #InternationalWomensDay

I love collecting stories. My bookshelves are overflowing with powerful characters and twisting plots, but nothing captures my imagination better than real-life figures with extraordinary tales. To celebrate #InternationalWomensDay, I spent the day with my sister and nieces discussing awe-inspiring historical female figures.

Here are our four favourites!


IRENA SENDLER (1910-2008)


Irena_Sendlerowa_24_grudnia_1944Irena Sendler was a Polish social worker and activist who rescued 2,500 Jewish children from the Holocaust, by providing them with fake passports and smuggling them out of the Warsaw Ghetto. Eventually, Nazi agents grew suspicious of Sendler’s activities and arrested her, brutally beating her and breaking both her arms and legs in an attempt to get her to reveal the details of the children she’d smuggled out of the country. Sendler never revealed anything about her work or the children she had helped, and was sentenced to death. She escaped on the day of her execution, thanks to friends and co-workers bribing her guards, and continued her work until the end of the war.

You can read more about her here >>


KHUTULUN (1260-1306)


khutulunKhutulun was an ancient noblewoman, warrior and wrestler, and the great-great-granddaughter of Gengis Khan. She was the favourite child and advisor of her father, Kaidu, and she often accompanied him on campaigns. It was from her that he sought most of his battle strategy and political advice, and she was his choice of successor when he died. She was denied the throne by her male relatives and spent the rest of her life resisting the succession of her brother and cousin.

She is described by Marco Polo as: a superb warrior, one who could ride into enemy ranks and snatch a captive as easily as a hawk snatches a chicken… so strong and brave that in all her father’s realm there was no man who could outdo her in feats of strength.

Khutulun insisted that any man who wanted to marry her would have to beat her in a wrestling match. However, if she beat him, he would have to give up his horse. She amassed 10,000 horses.

You can read more about her here >>


QUEEN ARAWELO (C. 15th Century)


Queen araweloArawelo was the first-born daughter of a Somalian king. He died without a male heir and so Arawelo took over the kingdom herself. Her first act as queen was dismissing the traditional gender roles and filling her government with women.

When the men in Somalia protested the prominence of women under Arawelo’s rule, the women staged a kingdom-wide walkout, abandoning their homes for a day to prove just how valuable they were.

Under Arawelo’s rule, Somalia enjoyed a long period of prosperity and her history is now shrouded in legend. A variation of her name is now the Somalian term for a girl or woman who is assertive and independent.


CORNELIA SORABJI (1866-1945)


Cornelia-Sorabji-437x590Cornelia Sorabji was the first woman to practice law in Britain and India.

Her mother was devoted to the cause of women’s education, and established several girls’ schools in Puna. It was through her mother’s contacts that Cornelia was able to become the first woman to take the Bachelor of Civil Laws exam at Oxford University in 1892.

Two years later, Cornelia returned to India and dedicated her time to the rights and education of women and children. Over her twenty year career, it is estimated that she helped over 600 women and orphans fight legal battles, often for no fee.

You can read more about her here >>



If anyone is looking for a book on historical women, I highly recommend ‘Bygone Badass Broads’ by Mackenzie Lee or ‘Rejected Princesses’ by Jason Porath. They’re full of enlightening and entertaining tales of amazing (and often little-known) women in history. They are both well worth the read!



Who is your favourite woman in history and what’s her story?

 

 

The hobbit lives! | An update

It has been an absolute age since I posted on this blog. I don’t even have a good reason for my absence, beyond concentrating on Acres of Ink, my wedding, my book, and training. So, here’s a quick update on my life and what you can expect from me in the next few months!


ACRES OF INK

Acres of InkFor those of you who don’t know, Acres of Ink is my developmental editing service. I work exclusively on fiction novels and offer a ‘free sample’ editing service of up to 3,000 words for new clients – check it out!

I’m very pleased to announce I had a successful first quarter, testing the waters and getting glowing feedback from my clients. I’m now stepping things up a bit by adding an editing blog to enhance my services. This will be similar to the ‘Writing Is Hard‘ section that used to be on here and will focus on Character Development, Plot Development, World Building, plus some editing tips and tricks. My first blog series will be about the amazing advice I recently received during a workshop in Bloomsbury (home of Harry Potter). If that  sounds up your street, make sure follow the blog so you don’t miss anything!

Ron


MY WEDDING

CountdownI’m getting married in 106 days! I’m not sure how I got to this stage in my life but I’m suddenly 30 years’ old and have impending nuptials to organise. Most of the ‘big things’ have been done already but I’m sure I’m forgetting something… the to-do list is loooooong. On the plus side, I get to try on my chosen dress for the first time next Thursday. [Cue stereotypically girly squealing].


MY BOOK

The main event! So, as I mentioned earlier, I attended a Bloomsbury workshop that focused on YA and Middle Grade novels (my special interest genres). The day was utterly amazing and full of excellent advice. I’ll be sharing most of this advice on the Acres of Ink Blog in coming weeks, but it also inspired me to change my first three chapters ever so slightly. The impact of the opening chapters has now increased tenfold and I’m now readying my query letter! 2019 will be my year.


MY TRAINING

EyeammakingadifferenceTraining for what, you may ask. Well, in my infinite wisdom, I decided that 2019 was the year to give back to charities that have helped me become who I am today. So, on Sunday 10th March, I will be walking 14 miles (22.5km) to raise money for Moorfields’ Eye Charity. Moorfields saved my sight when I was 10 and their care and expertise is the reason I can still read and write (and edit) today. My sight is so integral to everything that brings me joy in my life, so I thought I’d take the time to support the amazing work they do.

If you’d like to find out more about my story or what Moorfields does – or if you’d like to donate some pennies to the cause! – then you can do that here >>

Aaaaand… if you fancy seeing a very tired, very red-faced hobbit, you can follow my updates on Instagram (@kfgooodacre.writing).


ONE MORE THING

I’m bringing back my book reviews! I’ll be starting with Circe by Madeline Miller and The Near Witch by V.E. Schwab. Watch this space!

 

2019 | My year of… why not?

 

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It’s that time of year again when everyone makes promises they keep for two weeks before reverting back to form. I won’t lie, I am one of those people too, although 2018 was slightly more successful because I managed one resolution (to update my blog every week) for a grand total of FORTY-ONE WEEKS.

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Then life got in the way and I failed spectacularly but never mind! I’ll finish off the Acres of Ink Challenge next year and I’d be delighted if you’d join me. I’ll be hosting the retweets over at @AcresofInk in 2019, so feel free to follow and get to know me over there.

Right. Recaps.


2018 was a rollercoaster of a year for me. Here’s a short rundown.

  • Jan 1st: I propose to my partner. He says yes!

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  • Feb 16th: Fiancé gets knocked down in a hit-and-run on our way to see Hamilton, breaks his leg in three places and nearly loses his foot. We get a lot of ‘in sickness and in health’ practice in as he then spends six months on the sofa.
  • July 20th: We finally have an engagement party and I start seriously thinking about my future. Where do I want to be in ten years? I’ve been collecting editing qualifications (not to mention editing stories for free) for years but haven’t taken the leap from my day job to full-time editor yet… will I ever?
  • August 1st: Fiancé can now walk again(ish) as long as he has his crutches. Progress!
    giphy
  • August 26th: Two good friends get married in the pouring rain, courtesy of the British summertime. It’s romantic as hell. I realise that we need to actually plan our own wedding because we haven’t done anything since fiancé got smacked by a car.
  • September 16th: Still haven’t seen Hamilton, but some wedding things are sorted.
  • September 26th: After several long talks with my fiancé, I decide that the time is now. I hand in my notice and set up Acres of Ink – my developmental editing service for fiction books. The world of publishing, here I come!
  • November 15th: Complete the edits for my first ‘official’ Acres of Ink client. They’re pretty chuffed, honestly, which means I am too. #jobwelldone #Icandothis

    giphy

  • November 22nd: Still haven’t seen Hamilton.
  • November 23rd: Annual writing retreat with @SEBerrow! Will I finally complete my second draft of The Winter Court?
  • November 30th: No. I did write 44k words of it, though.

    giphy-downsized-large

  • December 1st: Acres of Ink editing work begins in earnest. (Btw, there’s a promotion going on until end of January if anyone’s up for it). I discover that my doddery old cat Minerva is actually a lunatic during the day.
  • December 8th: My brother gets married. Meet screenwriter Charlie Covell (The End of the F**king World) at the wedding and successfully hide immense level of shock that my brother knows someone so cool. I get very excited about her next project.
  • December 21st: Finish my third official client and book a few more jobs in for the new year. Pause to wipe sweat off brow. Start thinking long-term…
  • December 28th: Still haven’t seen Hamilton.
  • December 29th: See a panto instead. It’s not quite the same.
  • December 31st: New Year’s Eve… start writing resolutions.


2019 New Year Resolutions


So, the one thing I learned from 2018 is to not settle for ordinary and that – if I try – I stand a really good chance of achieving what I want. Obviously, sometimes things don’t pan out (I have no idea when I’ll see Hamilton, for example) but you can only deal with what life throws at you in the best way you can.

SO.

To that end, I have five ‘Must Do’ Resolutions for the new year.

**dramatic drum roll**

  1. Exercise three times a week (Difficult to keep)
  2. Get married (Hopefully easy)
  3. Enhance Acres of Ink editing service by taking on experience roles etc. in publishing, to ensure my knowledge remains up-to-date. (Medium)
  4. Query The Elder Throne (Easy to send out; Difficult to get the result I long for)
  5. Finish The Winter Court once and for all (Medium)

What are your resolutions?


Have a lovely New Year’s Eve and a very happy 2019!

The importance of following your dreams | You are invited to the Acres of Ink Launch Party!

OK, OK, I know. It’s been ages since I posted on here and I’m sorry. The reason is because I’ve been preparing for a career change. A major career change. 

As some of you know, I’ve been slowly but surely gathering editing qualifications over the past few years. This is to complement my English and American Literature degree (and eight years of professional proofreading experience) so I can pursue my dreams of working in the publishing industry. 

So, after years of hard work and countless hours of practice, it is with great pride (and not a little apprehension) that I present…


Acres of Ink Editing Services

Helping fictional worlds grow, one sentence at a time

Acres of Ink is an independent service that provides proofreading and developmental editing for fiction manuscripts.


For those of you who don’t know, Developmental Editing is about seeing the potential of a novel as well as what is already written, and helping the author build upon the new world they’ve created. It isn’t just about making sure your manuscript is grammatically correct – although, of course, that is a large part of it. Developmental Editing focuses on the minutiae and the bigger picture; turning words into emotions and making every sentence pulse with life. Characters, plot, theme, structure, dialogue… everything that makes a novel work comes under the magnifying glass during a Developmental Edit, with the aim of helping every author write the best book they can.


I can’t express how excited I am to finally be able to offer my services. Having already delivered a number of developmental edits to some very satisfied customers, I’m thrilled to work in such a fulfilling capacity.

As a card-carrying Hufflepuff, I want to spread that joy. So, to celebrate the launch of Acres of Ink (and because it’s nearly December and I’m feeling festive), I’m offering an exclusive 50% discount on developmental editing and proofreading services for the participants of NaNoWriMo. 

launch-party-promotion

Offer is valid from 1st December 2018 to 31st January 2019. The novel you submit for editing does not have to be your current NaNoWriMo project, but you do have to have a current / active NaNoWriMo18 profile. 

Note: I’m not actually in affiliation with NaNoWriMo but, after years of participating in the event, I have a great fondness for it and its participants. I also know from experience that projects written in 30 days sometimes need a little extra help!

Please, check out the brand new Acres of Ink website (www.acresofink.com) for more details – and follow me on Twitter (@acresofink)!


“Kim has been helping me rework the first draft of my fictional novel with confidence, skill and tact. Her insightful commentary, constructive criticisms and enthusiastic suggestions for the future have been enormously helpful. I am now excited to work on my book again. I would 100% recommend her services.”

– S.E. Berrow


“I’m stupidly happy! I can’t stress enough how helpful you’ve been and how much your comments as well as suggestions have improved everything. Thank you so much!”

– Harli V. Park


Normal blog services (posts about faeries, goblins and Celtic folklore) will resume shortly.

Week 41 | Favourite sub-plot

Part of the Acres of Ink 52 Week Writing Challenge >>

Week 41


My second favourite sub-plot in The Elder Throne is the relationship between Madam Sage Begonia and Spindle Larkspur.

Madam Begonia is the Head of the Knowledge Circle and Spindle is her very enthusiastic – but incredibly messy – student there. Spindle is well known for jumping from one research topic to another without first clearing away previous work, and it drives Madam Begonia absolutely nuts. There is a constant war going on between them and it actually leads to an important discovery that relates to the main plot.

My favourite sub-plot is one I can’t share as it contains too many spoilers for The Elder Throne and for future books but I will say that it also involves Madam Begonia.

World Sight Day | Living with sight loss, trauma and decline

WSD-2018-Slider

I was the only six-year-old I knew who could spell ‘haemorrhage’ correctly. It was a word I learned from the dictionary, reading it aloud to my mum as she wrote a letter excusing me from P.E. lessons.


For those of you who don’t know, I was born with a condition called Incontinentia Pigmenti. The condition can affect many parts of someone’s body but, for me, it most prominently affects my eyes.

It is my experience with IP and resulting symptoms that prompted me to write this post today, as well as urge everyone to regularly have their eyes checked. The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) states that 80% of the world’s blind are avoidably so. This is a frightening statistic and one that we can change.

To find out more about what you can do to lower this number, please visit their website.


Bright lights and dark shadows


When I was six, I went into my mum’s bedroom, complaining of ‘lights in my eyes’. Continue reading

Week 40 |A day in the life of your villain

Part of the Acres of Ink 52 Week Writing Challenge >>

Week 40

As I’ve mentioned, the main villain of The Elder Throne is the UnSeelie Commander Janus Atropa. Now, there are things I can’t say about her daily routine for spoiler reasons but here’s a general glimpse of how she spends her time!


Dawn Get up, bathe in icy spring water
Before breakfast Private sparring session with one of the following – Val Talloak (air magic), Moloch Penwith (earth magic), Glendunn Sludge (fire magic).

Breakfast

After breakfast Inspection of the troops; observation of training sessions, followed by a sparring demonstration with a squad leader picked at random – keeps everyone on their toes and emphasises her strength to new recruits.
Mid-morning Bathe and change. Reading – border patrol reports, missives from other UnSeelie cities, political updates.

Lunch

After lunch Continuation of political updates; meting out justice / hearing cases
Mid-afternoon Punishments and executions from the aforementioned cases
Before dinner [redacted for spoilers]
Dinner If a public dinner – habitually taken with one of the heads of the Three Families or their heirs: Mire Blackwood; Val Talloak (of the Vale line), Arum Vale. If a ‘private’ dinner – with [redacted] or [redacted].
Before bed Private research on one of three topics: war tactics, blood magic or the New Moon legends.

There is a secondary – almost tertiary – villain mentioned above, by the name of Arum Vale. His daily routine is simple and constant, and can be summed up in two words: “plot revenge.”