D&D: You’re A Bard? I Play A Cleric!

“But you do see the way people look at you, devil’s child.”

Dungeons and Dragons. D&D. That nerdy thing some people play on weekends or watch on Geek & Sundry. Yes, it’s a thing. Yes, it does have a troubled past. Yes, it is having a resurgence of sorts now.

And yes, I do play D&D. Why? It’s fun! It’s a communal storytelling experience where the players get to weave together competing goals and motivations. I get to hang out with some old and new friends, AND I get to do some badass things!

Plus, it opened up a new community for me, too. Just the other day, I struck up a conversation with a stranger because of it. The woman was talking about boardgames, and I randomly mentioned D&D. Turns out, she played a bard! Instant connection! So we chatted for a bit about our campaign and characters. It was a lovely, geeky conversation.

In my campaign, we play nearly every Sunday. I play a cleric tiefling named Nevara. Clerics are healers of the group and tieflings have an infernal heritage so they have curved horns, red/blue/purple colored skin, and devil-like tails. My girl Nevara worships an evil goddess named Auril, so she tends to use cold and necrotic magic in Auril’s honor. And, of course, she has a troubled past and is looking for revenge. It’s a fun campaign, full of danger and adventure, cheese wheels and laughter.

If you’re at all interested in theater or roll-playing games, consider giving D&D a try! Those who have played D&D, what did you play?

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!
Warm regards,
Kellie

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A Rush Edit: Musings of a Madwoman

Early last month Desert Palm Press contacted me asking if I could do a rush edit on Musings of a Madwoman. A rush edit means I have a shortened turnaround time. In this case since the pub date was insanely close, I gave myself five days to do the developmental edit and two days to do the copyediting. Seven days total to do two rounds of editing.

It was an exhilarating, tiring, amazing experience!

Why? Well, I also work full-time as an office assistant for the State of Alaska. It’s a hectic job with lots of moving parts. So after waking up at 6:30 a.m., going a mile a minute for my full-time job, and then getting back to the house at 5 p.m., settling down to do a rush edit was an interesting experience. I always do freelance magazine editing for Tiger Oak after work, though, so it wasn’t unusual for me to do some editing at night.

What was unusual was how long the editing took me per night. I normally edit for one-two hours for Tiger Oak, but this DPP edit took me four-five hours per night! So for that whole week, I edited until 11 p.m. trying to get the first round of edits complete by Friday. I did it, of course. Thankfully I had the weekend off while the author Jazzy Mitchell did her round. By the following Tuesday, I had completed my second round, sent the manuscript back to Jazzy, and my rush-edit was complete!

It was some seriously long nights. I got a small cold because of it. I was crazy tired. I didn’t work on any Tiger Oak editing that first week and very minimal the second week since I was kinda burnt-out. But I was also really happy with how both rounds of editing turned out.

​Musings just came out and though my part was a small one overall, I am so proud of its publication. Here’s a little bit about the book:

As if navigating life and love aren’t hard enough, throw in a meteorite, and watch what happens. Physical changes and mental abilities make it hard for Marcia to ignore the effects of an extraterrestrial rock. Kiernan has her own challenges when she hears voices and realizes they are not her own. Could the changes they experience be related to their close encounter with a meteorite?

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Jazzy is a lovely writer, the plot is intense and twisted, and the characters are relatable. I had a great (if super tiring) time editing her story! You should definitely go check it out.

Hope you have a lovely week!
Warm regards,
Kellie

 

Social Media Tips: For Readers

Social media can be a scary place, a dark ocean just waiting to swallow you whole. But it can also be a connection, a connection to your friends, your family. A connection to your local writing groups, extended writing community, and your fans. It’s scary, but it doesn’t have to be! Here are some quick tips for the lovers of books.

If you’re just starting out and social media is a terrifying, churning sea:

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  • If you love a book, search for it on whatever social media site you want to use! Doing so will let you make instant connections through book chats, social media groups, and fellow lovers of the book you also love. You may also find some folks who have a differing opinion than you about said book, which can spark some interesting conversations.
  • If you don’t see anyone talking about this book that you love, start up a conversation! It can even be a simple as a short tweet about what you like or a longer blogpost examining the pros/cons of it that you share in your social media circles. Chances are, other folks like the book, too, and if they haven’t started talking about it, they will now.


If you’ve waded into the social media depths before and are more confident:

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  • Join in on a few hashtags for readers: #FridayReads is a popular one. #WeNeedDiverseBooks is a good conversation starter.
  • Create images with quotes from your favorite book or by your favorite author. Crafting these are fun and let your book-lover followers which books are near and dear to your heart.


If you wear a trident on your back and can swim in any social media waters, no matter how rough:

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  • Try creating a social media hashtag game about your preferred genre. It’s a lot of work and takes some foresight and a bunch of planning, but it’s pretty fun. Not only will you gain a lot of interesting insights to your favorite genre, you’ll also be able to start many different conversations, too, depending on what kinds of questions you ask in the hashtag game itself. Plus, hashtag games are simply a fun way to meet new people and chat about how books are awesome.

No matter your comfort level, social media is about having fun and making connections, so dive deep and have a good time!

Happy Sunday!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Creative Without A Community

As many of you know, I recently moved back to Eagle River, Alaska. Okay…so “recently” might not be the best term, as it was over six months ago. But with the holidays and my new job at the State and my freelance editing and some recent celebrations (my sister graduated with her master’s degree, y’all, pretty effing amazing!), it seems like time flew by. Like, it’s been over six months already, how the heck did that happen??

(Which reminds me of time when I was a kid and my best friend Mer and I had this brilliant idea that since time seemed to fly by when we were having fun, we decided to “not have any fun”…needless to say, it didn’t work out so well. But I digress.)

So I’ve been back in Alaska for a while and I’ve discovered something a bit…troubling. I don’t go out much. Now, it’s not like I went out much in the past, as I’ve always been kind-of a homebody, but I did do things. I volunteered for some local organizations, went to writing groups, helped organize a literary reading here in Eagle River. I did things. Now, though, I haven’t really made the time.

Why? Well, I have a day-job that spans from 6:30 a.m. when I wake up to about 5 p.m. when I get back home, and then after that I have my freelance editing job which consists of a really amazing nonfiction editing gig with Tiger Oak Media that I have to do each night for about one or two hours and (a bit more sporadically) my equally as amazing fiction editing gig with Desert Palm Press with a time commitment that really depends on the project, haha! So I’ve been lucky enough to secure two interesting jobs that I get to do each week, and I’m quite proud and happy about it.

However, I’m kinda tired when I’m done with my evening freelancing job, so I haven’t really made time to do anything after that aside from eating dinner, watching something funny on the TV, and then going to sleep. The weekend is my time to recharge, so I usually spend it writing, hanging out with family, and playing games, as well as doing chores and getting prepped for the following week.

It’s worked okay for the past six months, but I’ve come to realize that my system isn’t really the best. This system doesn’t leave much time for me to socialize or rebuild my writing/creative community. I have my online community that I’ve been slowly building in my random tiny snippets of spare time, but in-person connections are super important, too. (Says the introverted person who’d rather pet a stray cat than talk to a stranger. *nervous laughter*)

So, stemmed from that realization, I’ve decided that I need to do better. I don’t really have much time to spare during the week, but maybe once a week I can attend a literary event, like a book reading! I also put my name in the hat to volunteer at 49 Writers, so here’s hoping they get back to me. I’ll be helping the Alaska Writer’s Guild with their conference program like usual sometime later this summer, too. I was also thinking about becoming a member of one of those groups, or maybe the Alaska Romance Writers  of America, since that’ll help support the local writing community. I used to volunteer for Cirque pretty regularly, so maybe they still need some help with things? And maybe I’ll go to the Jitters Critters meeting on Monday nights like I used to? I don’t have any writing to show them right now, but I can help critique.

Hmmm…or maybe I should just try one or two of these things right now, because all of that is kind of overwhelming.

Annnnnd I should also chat with my friends more often, but that’s another story entirely, hahaha…ha…ha… *waves feebly at Alaska friends and whispers, Sorry!*

TLDR: I would like to be more active in my creative community and have lots of random thoughts on how to do that.

What kinds of things do you do to stay involved with your creative communities?

Wish me luck!
Warm regards,
Kellie

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Writing Update: Fantasy Series, Book One!

I AM DONE WITH MY FANTASY MANUSCRIPT!

Or…so I thought when I first penned this blogpost A DAY AGO. Yes, you read that right. On Thursday at 2:30pm I was doing a little mini dance at work because I was finished with my fantasy manuscript, I started writing this blogpost on Thursday evening around 5pm, and then LATER ON Thursday night at 11:30 pm I had an idea for it, got out of bed, and typed it into my computer notes.

Such is the life of a writer.

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BUT I am almost done with it. Before moving forward, I’d like to solidify my character/story arcs for the following books. I have a really good grasp on Book Two, with lots of character ideas, a synopsis, and plotpoints I’d like to hit and I’ve even plotted some chapters out already. The other three books? More like vague ideas. So, I’m going to craft a synopsis for each of those three books by mid-April before I submit Book One to publishers.

I wanted to do this anyway for this particular series—since they’re basically standalones in the same world but do have overlapping characters—but I honestly think I had to finish this first book to really grasp how important it is to know where the story is headed and how the characters will get there. (For my own sanity more than anything else, ha!) And that’s not to say the characters and the story won’t surprise me. There were a couple of places in this first book where the story took a turn I wasn’t expecting and I just had to go with the flow and see if it worked. (Spoiler: It did!) But it would be great to have a synopsis of each book for myself…and then also to show the publishers if they ask where I’m headed with the story. Overall, though, I’m pretty excited.

Have a lovely weekend, my fellow nerds!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Read An Ebook Week: FINAL DAY of Sales!

Good morning, fellow readers and writers and creatives of all types,

If you didn’t know, this past week has named Read An Ebook Week by Smashwords, the largest distributor for indie books! (Desert Palm Press, too.) In celebration, their ebooks are 25-50% off and today is the last day for this sale. Because of that, both my books Finding Hekate and Losing Hold are 50% off, too!

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Here’s a little bit about Finding Hekate:

Mia Foley is running away from the attack that changed her life. She’s captain of a new spaceship when the Acedians find her and try blasting her peaceful crew from the black. Staying with them will jeopardize their safety, but she’s grown fond of this crew, particularly Cassidy Gates. Mia’s time is running out.

And here’s a bit about Losing Hold:

Escaping Donavin’s grasp, Mia and her crew crash on a prison planet and must deal with its inhabitants, beast and criminals alike. Mia hears Donavin in her mind again and knows the transformation into one of his drones isn’t far off. Trapped in her own body, lashing against Donavin each chance she gets, and fearful that she’ll lose it all, Mia has to rely on her crew and Cassidy to save her.

Intrigued? Good! Get them both (as well as a lot of other amazing reads) today and blast off on your next great adventure!

Have a wonderful weekend!
Warm regards,
Kellie

 

EVEN MORE Writing Tips: Monday Night Madness

It’s Monday evening. I just submitted to two pieces – a science fiction short story and a true-story Alaskan-based poem – and I’m pretty happy with them so I’m looking forward to see if they enjoy the submissions, too. It’s already 11pm, and I should be in bed. I’m not, obviously, but I’m also too tired to work on my own writing…SO INSTEAD here are three more writing tips for my fellow creatives:

  1. Keep it simmering. It’s something Hank Green said on Twitter about his new novel that really stuck with me. He worked on the novel for years, but when he wasn’t “actively working on it” he kept it simmering in his mind anyway. Thinking about it in the shower and such. It’s a good idea for all writers, and one I really connected with. So, keep it simmering, everyone!
  2. Realize that you can’t write all the time and be okay with it. Know your limits. Know your boundaries. (For example, one of my limits is I refuse to work on revisions when I’m tired, so on Wednesday night, even though I planned on working on revisions, I was sleepy. I know I’m bound to make mistakes when I’m sleepy and get more annoyed at the manuscript when I’m sleepy, so I didn’t work on it.
  3. Don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t been able to write or brainstorm or edit or read in a while. Other priorities take precedence and that’s okay. If you’re really busy, though, try scheduling it in, an hour or so at a time, or less if necessary! Friday evening can be a reading time, Saturday morning can be a brainstorming session for your new story, etc.

What kinds of advice do you have for creative folks?

Happy Monday, everyone!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Nine Writing Goals for 2018

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

So as the new year comes in with a bang, I’m reflecting on how 2017 turned out and what I’d like to do different for 2018. Honestly, 2017 was a rough year for me in many ways, but in my writing world it was pretty good. Here were some writing successes:

  1. Losing Hold was published in April AND nominated for two Golden Crown Literary Awards: a 2018 Goldie Award in the Tee Corinne Award for Outstanding Cover Design category and a 2018 Goldie Award in the Science Fiction / Fantasy category.
  2. Finding Hekate was nominated for an award: a 2017 James Tiptree Jr. Award.
  3. I finished the first draft of the Severed Ties and got some insightful comments back from my beta readers!
  4. I successfully wrote some holiday gifts for my followers: two flash fiction pieces for my newsletter subscribers, a poem for my Instagram peeps, and a short story for everyone else! The short story, A Desert Welcome, is posted on my website under the Prompt Plot 2017 Holiday Gift, so go check it out!

I want my this year to be EVEN BETTER. Here are nine writing goals to strive for:

  1. clean up Severed Ties early this year, come up with a different title, and submit to publishers in March/April
  2. write first draft of the second book of fantasy series, submit to beta readers by end of the year (shoot for October)
  3. plot the third book
  4. have a daily writing goal, depending on what I’m working on
    1. For revising my first novel – 1/2 chapter per night
    2. For plotting out my second novel – figure out at least one plot point/character/interesting per night, WritingSnippet
    3. For writing anything – 250 words per night
  5. submit to at least five literary magazines (short stories/flash fiction/poetry)
    1. related: get published in at least one literary magazine
  6. go to one writing/geeky conference as a vendor to promote my Cicatrix Duology/other writings
  7. go to one writing conference as a writer, to learn more things
  8. work on making my newsletter more exciting/engaging and build my newsletter subscribers
  9. Amp up my social media presence some more; have fun with it!
    1. do some more stuff on my website, too

SO MANY THINGS. And I’m excited for all of them. Now, time to play some games with my family and have another cup of tea. I hope your 2018 is amazing!

Happy First Day of 2018!
Warm regards,
Kellie

 

 

 

Geeky Gift Ideas

The holidays are upon us once again, and it’s time to buy those last-minute gifts. Instead of screaming internally at your insanely-long GiftToDo List, take a look at these ideas and see if they’re right for that geeky friend of yours!

For the Star Lover: Solar Orbit Necklace

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For the (Harry Potter) Book/Movie Lover: Harry Potter House Comforter

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For the Trinket Lover: Potion bottle

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For the Board Game Lover: Pandemic

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For the Steampunk Child: Mechanical DIY 20-Minute Timer

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For the Critical Role Lover: Chronicles of Exandria Art Book

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For the Cat Lover: Cat’s Meow Stationary Set

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For the Scientist: Ethanol Stemless Wine Glass

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For the Star Trek Lover: Star Trek Logo Mug

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For the Book Lover: The Book is Better mug

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SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT: For the Science Fiction Lover: Finding Hekate and Losing Hold
(f/f scifi romance; perfect for Firefly lovers, too!)

FINDING HEKATE COVER WEB VIEW 72dpi   losingholdebookcover300dpi

Hope this gift list has paired yours down a little, and happy hunting for the rest!

Warm regards,
Kellie

IT’S FREAKIN’ DECEMBER 7TH

It’s December.

December.

DECEMBER.

And not only is it December, it’s freaking December 7th! We just celebrated Thanksgiving a few weeks ago and Jess’ birthday a couple of days ago. We celebrate Mom’s birthday in a few days. Two weeks after that, it’s Dad’s birthday AND THEN CHRISTMAS, New Year’s Eve/Day, AND THEN MY BIRTHDAY.

As you can see, December is a whirlwind of birthday cake, presents, shopping, prepping, and celebrating, and I don’t mind one bit. I love this time of year, with the fairy lights and the Christmas music and the giving of gifts. It’s hectic, but it’s a fun kind of hectic and I’m happy to be home for the magic of the season.

(Now, if only it would stop raining here – you read that right, RAIN in ALASKA in DECEMBER – and give me some fluffy white snow, that’ll be perfect.)

I wish you the best and brightest December, and even if you celebrate a different holiday or no holiday at all, I hope you feel a little bit of the magic, too.

Until next time,
Kellie