I recently did a blog post series, My Unbreakable Heart, that chronicled a very painful period in my life. Talking about abuse is never easy, and I thank you all who walked through that 10-part series with me and shared your stories, love and support.
For those who were touched by that series, if you’d like more essays and poetry, you might enjoy my very first book, Bits of You & Pieces of Me. You can click on it on the right if you’d like to check it out.
For the next several weeks, I’ll be posting a new series, Our Epic Love Story. This chronicles my epic love with my soon-to-be-husband (July 2nd!!!!) and writing partner, Dmytry Karpov. (Aka my sexy Russian Prince!)
This is a story of hope, unconditional (and unconventional) love and family. I hope you enjoy it. Some of these posts appeared first in a blog Dmytry and I used to write, Writing in Love. A few of you might remember that! We weren’t able to maintain so many sites, so we’ll be blogging here and also on his blog, eventually.
For those who haven’t heard, Dmytry and I are co-writing a whole new series together, Blood of the Fallen, and will be giving away copies of our Novella Duology, Sunrise & Nightfall FREE to those who are subscribed to our newsletters. So read on and enjoy an epic love story!
How We Met and Fell In Love
by Kimberly Kinrade and Dmytry Karpov
It seems fitting that our first post should be the “How We Met and Fell In Love” story. Because we are totally convinced this is knowledge each of you secretly in your heart of hearts really can’t live without.
D: Technically, they probably can live without it honey. I mean, they won’t actually die if they don’t read this post.
K: Yes, I’m aware. But it would be a zombie life of the walking dead. We are saving them from this cruel fate.
D: Well, when you put it that way, it does seem we are doing the whole of humanity a real service.
K: We are, aren’t we? Think they’ll build a shrine for us with a statue?
D: I would build a shrine for you, my love, and worship at the feet of your eternal beauty.
K: OMG, See? We don’t even need this post now; everyone can see why I feel in love with you!
D: And anyone who’s gazed upon your beauty or read the brilliance of your words knows why I fell in love with you.
Wow, ok, we’ll be back after this short bedroom break.
Just kidding. It’s not THAT kind of blog. No need to rush to change the setting on your computer or anything. We’re family friendly–mostly! *evil grins*
So this is how it happened. We started as writing partners.
That is how we fell in love.
It started with a tweet.
That’s right, 140 characters and I’d changed the course of my destiny.
I was new to Twitter back in 2010. I’d just signed up and had no idea what it was for. Dmytry found me online and asked me how I was liking it. I told him it was like being at a cocktail party. I’d made some small talk but no real connections.
And then he said… (this is a true story)
“Well. You have me. I don’t know if I’m the best connection. But maybe I will be.”
His exact words. (I saved the tweet!) You know what? He was THE BEST connection ever.
But there were problems. He was a college student on the east coast of Canada. I was a single mom of three kids in California. We were years and miles apart.
So how did we fall in love?
Through story. Through the power of language and the beauty of the soul’s ability to shine through words.
The question posed to us both:
We have each been given an assignment. Write your first impression and how that led to falling in love. We have not discussed what we will say. We will post as is, with minor grammatical corrections. Any correlations in our story are the astonishing result of our deep soul love and freaky mind-reading ability. (Seriously, we can actually, literally read each other’s mind. It’s creepy, but really useful at times.)
When Dmytry Met Kimberly
Impressions of Nothing
The first writing by Kimberly that I read was titled “The Nothing.”
It wasn’t about nothing. No. It was an intriguing look at virtual realities and life online. The great prose and poetic style impressed me. The idea intrigued me. I wanted to read more.
Kimberly sent me the synopsis for her first novel, a YA fantasy filled with magic and heart, “Death by Destiny.” Her mastery of the genre and its tropes made her a perfect fit for “The Writers of the Future Competition.” (The best competition for fiction writers,) and I suggested that she enter.
She began writing “The Reluctant Familiar.” Writing fast. Really fast. I have never seen anyone write 2000 words in an hour while simultaneously chatting online. (Chatting with me in this case.) I was impressed. Even more impressed when I saw the quality of her rough work.
It wasn’t rough. No. More like polished work from people who have been writing for years. The characters were distinct, the settings vivid, the voice beautiful. The pacing was off for like, what was it honey, one paragraph? Yeah. One. She fixed it before I finished pointing it out.
I gave Kimberly her “WAS” advice: how you should avoid using the word in fiction whenever possible. (You end up with more active verbs and effective descriptions.) She understood it right away–most people don’t. Once again, I was impressed.
I asked Kimberly to look over my work, help me with edits. She did. And she did wonderfully. She understood the voice I was going for, the mood, the effect of every line.
Often, writers disregard the intention of the author when suggesting edits. Not Kimberly. She knew where I wanted to go. And she helped me get there.
Honestly, I have never met a writer who understood my work so deeply. Who understood me so deeply. Kimberly wasn’t only looking at my style and technique, she was looking at me as a person.
That was it. I had to have her as a writing partner. I had to establish a friendship and partnership with her that would last forever.
All creative works grow into something more. Take on a life of their own.
But this one.
This one grew into something even more.
This one grew into love.
When Kimberly Met Dmytry
Ok, I’ll admit it. I was worried. You know how it is. When someone you’ve recently met offers to let you read their work, or you ask to read their work, or whatever. I think I asked him for his work. I like reading new authors. But. BUT. There’s that secret little fear.
What if he SUCKS? Then what?
He seemed a nice guy. I am a former entertainment critic for an LA-based daily newspaper.
I don’t do subtle.
I’m not a horrid person. Honest. I’m just…well…honest. Too honest.
Most people who ask for feedback are really asking for a pat on the back.
But with me, you need to be CLEAR about this.
I don’t want to kick you in the butt if you really just wanted to be coddled. And honestly, if you want that, I’m not really your girl.
So. I was nervous.
The first story I read of his was a Halloween flash for a competition.
I LOVED it! Honestly. And boy was I relieved. ‘Cuz I liked this guy, even if at this point I had NO inkling I would spend my life with him.
Then he sent me another short story. This time he wanted an editing critique.
Uh oh. Really? You sure about this? Last chance! Ok. You asked for it.
I LOVED this one too. And by now was seeing his style. His twisty, dark, delightful style.
I gave a critique. We talked about word choice and voice and how awesome the twist was. He listened. He learned. His story was better.
Then. THEN. I wrote a story. For a competition he introduced me to.
And he LOVED it. And. And he gave awesome feedback.
I used the word “was” too many times. We looked at word choice. Story flow. Characters.
I listened. I learned. And my story was better.
I realized something in that moment.
I’d met my match. My writerly match. (Yes, this is a new word, in the vein of literarily but for writers, and as a writer, I get to make up words so shoosh about it.)
He had a unique brilliance at seeing the flow and structure of a story. Catching the stumbly parts. (mmhmm, I did it again with the new word thing.) Seeing the ways in which it could be strengthened.
Most of my college professors were less helpful in my writing. Less astute and in tune with my style and vision.
I wasn’t in love yet. But damn I was in something!
And so it went. We wrote. We talked. We grew as writers. We grew as friends.
And then. We crossed the line. You know, that one moment you use clever words to tumble into something more than friendship, something, mainly because of our age difference, neither of us had even felt was possible.
But the words kept coming. We love words. Love playing with words. And we loved the feel of these words on our lips. We couldn’t stop. And so here we are. So merrily in love as to induce vomiting and eye rolling in many.
We’d made a rule. At the beginning. Never fall in love with me, I told him. He told me the same. Sacred oath. We shalt never fall in love with thy other. Or whatever. I never did understand Old English English.
Of course, as any woman knows, the fastest way to make a guy fall in love with you is to tell him not to. I guess maybe this really doesn’t have anything at all to do with our writing or deeper connections. I simply uttered those magic words.
This was just the beginning. Our story has many layers, many challenges we had to overcome to be together. Stay tuned for more our epic love story. (pst, you can also get email updates for new posts if you don’t want to miss anything!)