Traveling with Kim Fielding

I love traveling … would do it all the time if money were no object. I’ve got a dream travel list as long as my arm. There is something about seeing a new place for the first time and imagining what treasures you’ll find around every corner. And some of those places will become much more than just a stop-over on the way through, they become little pockets of home and hope that you can revisit as many times as you want.

Here is Kim Fielding to talk about her recent trip and how a similar trip gave her confidence to push her writing career in gear.

Right this moment I’m sitting in a hotel room in Zagreb, listening to the accordionist beneath my window sing “If You’re Happy and You Know It” in Croatian.

I’m having one of those moments when I say to myself, Wow, I can’t believe I’m really here doing this! The really fantastic thing is that I’ve been having a lot of those moments lately.

The accordionist, playing to tram passengers. And me.

So I’ve had an average and boring life with a house in a part of California that people generally just zoom through on the freeway (quickly), an unthrilling job as an academic, and a truly wonderful husband who is… an accountant. Yawn. (I also have 2 kids who are neither boring nor average, but then whose kids are?) And all along there were these voices in my head. A lot of them were good voices, telling me stories about wizards and werewolves and handsome men. I like those voices. But there were the bad voices too, the ones who whispered, You can’t and You’ll never be able to….

I don’t know why, but I used to listen to the bad voices. (Okay, now I’m sounding like I need medication. Please, just bear with me.)

A couple years back, I started tuning those voices out sometimes.

Three years ago I stopped listening to the voices say I couldn’t write a novel. I did write a novel—in 30 days, for NaNoWriMo—and self-published it, and people liked it. That’s Stasis, and it’s sold thousands of copies. It’ll be available in audio version sometime in the next year. I wrote a sequel the following year—Flux—and then finished the trilogy with Equipoise. Not only that, but I donate all my trilogy royalties to Doctors Without Borders; I’ve been able to donate some fairly hefty sums.

Flux, my second novel.

Then last year I ended up living in Zagreb for 5 months—in a country I’d visited only once before, and only for a week—and I took my older daughter with me (she was 11). Neither of us speak Croatian, and I’d never lived without another adult in the household. You know what? We had an amazing time. We dragged ourselves all over Europe (to all sorts of other places where I don’t understand the language, like Scotland), met wonderful people, and just generally enjoyed ourselves. I homeschooled pre-algebra, which I’d last used when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Never experienced a single disaster (wonky water heaters and temperamental furnaces, yes. But no disasters). Zagreb became a second home to me—and I’m delighted to be visiting it again for a few days now.

And shortly after we returned to the US, I decided to submit my first works for professional publication. Even after my self-published books sold well, I’d lacked confidence. But you know what? In the past 10 months I’ve had 3 novels, 1 novella, and 6 short stories accepted by publishers. Think of what my publications list would have looked at if I’d started long ago!

My novella.

Now I’m pushing myself more, because who knows what else those voices were lying to me about. When I was in Paris last week, and with the help of a friend, I pimped my books at a gay bookstore. May not seem like a big deal, but the thought of doing this even in the US had previously filled me with anxiety. But the clerk was very nice and seemed interested and maybe I’ll even collect some French fans.

I also discovered anatomically correct baked goods in Paris. The brioche was yummy. Also, I took this through airport security and nobody there said a word.

And the next new thing? GRL. I’ve never attended a writing conference as a reader, let alone as a writer. I’ve never done an author Q&A. I’m hoping I’ll be terrifically impressive—or at least manage not to completely embarrass myself. But if you see me standing there and frowning, please come over and say hello. I’m not frowning at you—I’m just telling those voices to shut the hell up.

Kim Fielding’s blog:
On Facebook:
On Goodreads:
At Amazon:
At Dreamspinner Press:

I’d like to give away one 1 e-copy of any of my books (winner’s choice). To enter, please leave a comment about a time you’ve done something you thought you never could. Also leave your email address so I can contact you if you win.

Open until Thursday, October 4th at 11:59 pm (PST). Winner will be selected and notified on Friday.


28 thoughts on “Traveling with Kim Fielding

  1. Bill Gay October 2, 2012 / 10:28 am

    I’ve enjoyed running since I was a kid. In high school, I was on the cross country track team. As an adult, I’ve enjoyed a few 5K races w/one of my best friends since childhood, for some fun. In 2010, I was in ICU for 6 weeks due to complete liver failure, and doc’s had my family come in a few times to say “good bye” to me. Obviously, I lived (thank God. and my great medical care givers!) – I tried doing some running since I was released from the hospital, but not able to go to far – too much leg pain from either the damage to my body, or as a result of the side effects of all my meds. I’ve had one goal since just before I knew I was sick and my subsequent hospitalization, and that was to run a 10K w/my friend. I’d been training by myself, and on Sept 15, 2012, she and I did The Big Gay 10K!!! Was an SF AIDS Foundation fundraiser (ran from Ft. Mason, through the Marina Dist, to the base of the GG Bridge and back) – took me over an hour, but, I (we) did it (and for a great cause)!! My friend, family and all other friends were greatly surprised I did it!! (To be honest, I surprised myself!!) Next up, a 5K on Oct 14!!! That’s when this 50 year old will race on his 2 year anniversary of “life”!!

    • Karen October 2, 2012 / 11:26 am

      Great story, Bill! I wish you a very happy two-year anniversary (and many more).

    • Kim Fielding October 5, 2012 / 5:36 pm

      The last time I ran anywhere close to 5k was back in junior high, so I especially admire your achievement. Congratulations!

  2. Karen October 2, 2012 / 11:24 am

    I’m one of the *many* people who are terrified of public speaking. I’m also an introvert, and it is an understatement to say that I tend not to be an organizer. However, when my oldest was in high school, there were some problems with racial conflicts: individual black kids (who were in the minority at the school) being ganged up on by small groups of white kids. It made me mad, and I didn’t want my (white) son to think I condoned racist behavior. So I ended up allying with some of the black parents, succumbed to pressure to be their spokesperson (only because they thought a white parent would, sadly, have more credibility), and ended up speaking to a large turnout of parents and teens, and later meeting with the district superintendent. Did it cure me of my public speaking fear? No way, no how. It was terrifying! But at least I know that if the issue is important to me and no one else is speaking out, I can scrape up the courage as needed.

    • Kim Fielding October 5, 2012 / 5:37 pm

      I’m so glad you were able to face this really big fear for something important.

  3. Bk_rdr October 2, 2012 / 12:38 pm

    While growing up and as an adult, I have some type of speech/language deficiency where sounds in my head & ears don’t connect at times, and words can be off, e.g. such as volley would be valley, when I speak. Thankfully, I’ve improved after many years by consciously working at it and listening/thinking to myself carefully when I speak at times. About five years ago, I volunteered to teach a tiny English as Second Language class to some new immigrants. It was challenging since I had never taught and because they were depending on me for the correct pronunciation of words, etc.
    html-2(at) hotmail (dot) com

    • Kim Fielding October 5, 2012 / 5:40 pm

      Wow! I bet you could be very understanding of your students’ struggles because of your own. And I bet the attention you’ve paid to your own speech made you a good language teacher.

  4. Juliana October 2, 2012 / 1:24 pm

    I love your post! I am in my last semester of college and over the summer I studied abroad. I never thought I would have the money or confidence to go on a program like that but I did! I spent a month in Italy with a great group of students and a wonderful teacher studying art history. It was beautiful and wonderful. As I was waiting to board my first international flight I almost had a panic attack but my fellow students calmed me down and I got on the plane! There I was living in Florence and knowing about 10 words in Italian! But the whole experience was great and I came back with goodies, art, jewelry, knick knacks, and thousands (literally) of pictures!
    OceanAkers @

    • Kim Fielding October 5, 2012 / 5:41 pm

      Thank you! Traveling abroad–and especially living abroad–changes your whole life, in a very good way.

  5. Renee October 2, 2012 / 9:04 pm

    Lol, I love the pastery 😉
    Well, when I first finished Uni I took a job that travelled for weeks at a time out of the state, to lots of different places. It was my first big trip, by my self away from family and partner. I was quite proud of my self and I wouldn’t swap the experience, but I would prefer to travel with my partner 🙂

    • Kim Fielding October 5, 2012 / 5:42 pm

      The brioche was also very tasty. 🙂
      I like traveling with my partner too, but it’s so great to have the confidence to know I can do it alone.

  6. Michelle (MiMi) October 3, 2012 / 12:36 am

    I am in the process of doing something I never thought I would…getting healthy and taking up hiking. chellebee66(at)gmail(dot)com

    • Kim Fielding October 5, 2012 / 5:43 pm

      Oh, I need to do that!

  7. Yvonne October 3, 2012 / 7:20 am

    I have listened way too many times to the voices that tell me that I can’t do something. Now I’m a single mom, age 37, with no job and not many chances to find one that will support us without needing any additional help from social services. BUT I finally decided to make use of my talent for languages and started school so I can be a certified translator. That’s something I wanted to do since I finished school but always allowed other people or the voices in my head to talk me out of. I don’t know if it will get me a good job when I’m done, I have no idea how well I will be doing – but if I don’t try it now, I’ll never know and will live forever with the huge ‘what if?’ of doubt inside of me.

    • Kim Fielding October 5, 2012 / 5:45 pm

      That’s excellent! And I bet you can find a good job–translators are so badly needed!

  8. Giselle October 3, 2012 / 8:01 am

    I did ride a camel once! Lots of fun!!!

    • Kim Fielding October 5, 2012 / 5:47 pm

      That does sound like fun! I rose an elephant once when I was a little kid, but never a camel.

  9. Joan October 3, 2012 / 2:27 pm

    Some of the stories here are really impressive and wonderful. My achievement doesn’t sounds so big, but for me it was something. When I was barely 18, in the summertime before uni, I worked as a volunteer in UK. It all started when I read an article in newspaper about some British charity that organized holidays for disable people. There was an address there and I sent a letter, where I introduced myself and expressed a desire to help and to improve my English at the same time. I got an invitation (at that time you could travel from my country to UK without invitation) and I went. Then after a few weeks there I saw a message on the message board that some disable person was looking for a personal assistant to go on holidays to Ireland. I had phone interview and got the position. It was a beginning of my summer activity for the next few years – working in different charities in UK.


    • Kim Fielding October 5, 2012 / 5:50 pm

      I think your achievement is very impressive. To go to another country at such a young age, and to help others while you’re at it–that’s fantastic!

  10. arella3173 October 3, 2012 / 10:41 pm

    Wonderful post! I truly enjoyed it!
    Heh, Well, The one thing that I guess forever changed how I saw myself was when in high school, they were holding auditions for a small… little concert thingy for the holiday season and well I sang at home and with my friends with Karaoke and I told my friend that I wanted to do it But I sound like a Bear (probably) so I’d rather not embarrass myself.
    She laughed of course, but said, no, no, you’re good! you should do it! It was a week of open auditions and after a few days of nagging she convinced me to do it and I went to the music room to audition with the Chorus teacher…..
    And imagine my surprise when I’m summoned a day later saying I got a part of the chorus! ha.. I mean… really? I NEVER, EVER thought this was something I could do. Even if it’s a small school event… It was, one of the best things that ever happened to me. 🙂
    The performance was SOoooooo nerve racking… but in the end… I was so happy I cried, it was just one of those… awe moments for me. I’ll never forget it.


    • Kim Fielding October 5, 2012 / 5:51 pm

      Thank you! I’m a terrible singer and don’t think I could ever have the nerve to sing in front of an audience.

  11. Trix October 4, 2012 / 9:57 pm

    (Weird that the bakery would stud the pastry with raisins…reminds me of those STD photo slides we used to look at in health class that scared the bejesus out of me.) Anyway, people are always surprised that I’m willing to travel alone a lot…but I think I’ve actually come to prefer it, since if something goes wrong I don’t worry that I’m wrecking my friend’s good time, and by the same token I feel I don’t have to run activities by anyone. I’m part Croatian myself, and I imagine the words to “If You’re Happy And You Know It” must be pretty tongue-twisty. (It’s impossible at times, and I’ve mostly stopped trying to learn at this point, but there’s no better language for swearing…)


    • Kim Fielding October 5, 2012 / 5:54 pm

      That’s actually chocolate in the brioche–which still makes it look like an STD!
      Maybe you should teach me some Croatian swear words. 🙂 So far I can mostly just say Croatian food words (I do have my priorities). The tongue does tend to trip over the lack of vowels!

  12. mantasticfiction October 5, 2012 / 9:22 am

    Congratulations Bill … you won! I will be contacting you directly about claiming your prize.

  13. Trix October 5, 2012 / 8:04 pm

    Ah, Croatian cussing…it’s complicated, since they usually eschew the nice, simple, short words of our Anglo-Saxon-derived obscenities and opt instead for very picturesque, usually extremely blasphemous phrases. (The things I said for years before people finally translated them for me! I shudder to think. Yeah, I still say them, but at least now I *know*.) If I only knew how to spell anything…they were always just things I’ve heard, I’ve never read them. Hmm.

    • Kim Fielding October 6, 2012 / 10:44 am

      Picturesque cussing is the best kind!
      My grandmother used to say this word in Hungarian when she got very angry. A few years back I learned what that word really meant. Wow!

  14. Shira Anthony May 8, 2013 / 6:57 pm

    Great post, Kim! My biggest “can’t believe I did it” moment was last summer, when my husband and I got our scuba open water certification. I was scared to death, but once I started to get a bit of confidence, it was an amazing feeling and experience!

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