A Random Wednesday Post Appears: December Madness

December is a hectic month for the Doherty household, starting with Thanksgiving in late November and blazing through until January 4. We’ve already celebrated a few, but our holidays include the following:

  • Thanksgiving – end of November
  • Jess’ birthday – Dec. 5
  • Mom’s birthday – Dec. 10
  • Dad’s birthday – Dec. 24
  • Christmas – Dec. 25
  • New Years Eve/Day – Dec. 31/Jan. 2
  • My birthday – Jan. 4

So the month is literally full of cake and ice cream and presents.

I T ‘ S W O N D E R F U L

But it also goes by SO FAST that sometimes I forget to celebrate the smaller things that happen, too, like how Sox learned a new trick (she can high five!) and how both my cats ~ Raven and Cinder ~ curl up on me at night after work and while work might be stressful I know I’m helping a lot of people right now and that should be highlighted too.

Oh yeah, and I’m also SHOUTING ABOUT MY NEW ADULT F/F FANTASY BOOK – Curling Vines & Crimson Trades – because that came out too!!! You can purchase the book in lots of online retailers like Desert Palm Press, Barnes & Noble, Bella Books, Amazon (ebook and paperback), Smashwords, Bookshop.org, and other bookstores soon! You can even add the book to your Goodreads and check it out on Scribd.com! (Books make good gifts, so if you know of a fantasy lover, or someone who wants to see badass swordswomen, or your fabulous queer friend needs a queer read, get them a copy too!)

CV&CT’s book birthday is on November 30th so I’ll have to add that into the December madness month next year and all the years after. And, friends and fellow adventurers that means I’ll have YET ANOTHER cake (or probably a cookie) this month. Plus, it’s pretty awesome that I have my second fantasy book out (and fourth book published). It’s a lot to celebrate in one month!

How are YOU celebrating this month?

Happy holidays!
Warm regards,
Kellie

All About CV&CT Preorder Gifts

Hi there and Happy Saturday!

This week has been a whirlwind of Thanksgiving prep ~ planning, purchasing, cooking, cleaning, EATING which is the best part, chatting with extended family which is also pretty cool ~ and that’s not even talking about my dayjob. Work has been really busy, friends.

And on top of all that, I’ve been shouting about my preorder campaign for CURLING VINES & CRIMSON TRADES.

The crazy thing, my preorder campaign closes at 11:59 Sunday night ~ TOMORROW NIGHT ~ in preparation for the launch of CV&CT on Monday, November 30! WHICH IS SO CLOSE I COULD LITERALLY START DANCING RIGHT NOW!

And you should be dancing too, because you still have two whole days to purchase your ebook version during my preorder campaign. The ebook is at a discounted price right now and if you follow my preorder campaign instructions, you can get the following gifts mailed right to your house!

And you know what the best part of this is? I DESIGNED ALL OF THIS STUFF. My master’s degree in book publishing is shining through, eh? Eh?

For the bookmark, I used Rachel George Illustration’s cover design. I modeled it off of the SUNKISSED FEATHERS & SEVERED TIES bookmark from last year so they’re consistent. I’m thrilled with how the colors came out.

For the bookplate, I used Adobe Illustrator to create the vine image at the bottom (which took like three hours), created a super simple crescent shape, and then found a typeface that looked nice with everything.

For the character card, I used character artwork I had commissioned from Jhoanne Castro to feature Orenda Silverstone. She’s my main character for CV&CT so I wanted to highlight her.

A CV&CT Bookmark, designed from the cover by Rachel George Illustrations!
A CV&CT-inspired Bookplate!
A Character Card, artwork designed by Jhoanne Castro!

Pretty cool, right? HELL YES! There’s also a grand prize for one lucky winner.

One funny thing is that I’ve been shouting about the preorder campaign, and I brainstormed the gifts and designed them and got them shipped here…but I didn’t realize until this weekend that I’d also need to get envelopes to ship the prizes out.

Envelopes!!

THAT’S what I forgot. So…yeah, I need to get some of those. Wish me luck, eh? Oh, and remember books make lovely gifts, too! Preorder for an ebook or wait until November 30th for a physical copy.

TWO MORE DAYS!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Curling Vines & Crimson Trades HYPE

Curling Vines & Crimson Trades comes out on November 30!!

YOU READ THAT RIGHT.

THIS MONTH.

20 DAYS AWAY!

I’m pretty much this guy:

Soooo yeah, that’s happening and I’m thrilled and nervous and excited and hoping that people will enjoy the story that I worked really hard on and am so damn proud of.

In case you didn’t know, Curling Vines & Crimson Trades is a queer adult fantasy centered on a rare goods trader named Orenda whose wife gets kidnapped and she has to complete some nearly impossible tasks and trades in order to get her back. The problem is, her best friend also has a list, and her final job is to kill Orenda.

The story features a swordswoman with broken magic, thieving twins who steal more than trinkets, and best friends who try to kill one another. It has themes of trust, reconnecting with something once lost, and learning how to speak when others want to silence you.

Keep an eye on my social media for more cool updates about the upcoming launch. Exciting things will be happening.

In fact, some of the exciting things are happening RIGHT NOW.

You can now read a sneak peek of Chapter One on my website!!

And I’m doing a Cobalt Celebration over on my Instagram in honor of Orenda’s crafting color so be sure to check that out, too.

AWESOME, RIGHT? Hell yeah!

(See how I did that.)

And hey, if you’re interested in receiving an electronic ARC in exchange for an honest review, would like to interview me, or want me to write a guest post for your blog, please fill out this Google form. I’d love to chat.

Thanks!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Book Recommendation: Writing Aid Edition

Book Recommendation:Writing Aid Edition
Save the Cat! Writes A Novel

Novelist Jessica Brody presents a comprehensive story-structure guide for novelists that applies the famed Save the Cat! screenwriting methodology to the world of novel writing. Revealing the 15 “beats” (plot points) that comprise a successful story–from the opening image to the finale–this book lays out the Ten Story Genres (Monster in the House; Whydunit; Dude with a Problem) alongside quirky, original insights (Save the Cat; Shard of Glass) to help novelists craft a plot that will captivate–and a novel that will sell.

This book is often recommended for fixing plots and I was struggling with my new work-in-progress so I decided to try it out. While it had some issues and I couldn’t connect with every Brody suggested, I really appreciated the examples in the second half of the book that clearly detailed what was talked about in the first half. Give it a try!

Hope you have a fabulous week!
Warm regards,
Kellie

ALL THE CONFERENCES

Hi everyone! Conference season is upon us here, and I happen to be in three this September and October. Two happen NEXT WEEK! (Because it’s nearly the end of September and I probably should have posted about it here sooner.) On to the wonderful world of conferences!

Imaginarium 2020 Virtual Conference – September 21-27
Come one, come all to the Imaginarium 2020 Virtual Conference and Convention! I’m thrilled to announce that I’m going to be a panelist at this amazing event. Here are all the cool panels I’m doing:

  • Importance of Cover Art – Tuesday, 9/22 5-6pm AKT
    • Learn how to make the right choices when choosing the perfect cover art, from the artists and authors.
  • Writing Through a Pandemic – Friday, 9/25, 7-8am AKT
    • Keeping the juices flowing through these difficult times.
  • Foundational Fantasy – Saturday, 9/26, 6-7am
    • Tips on the art of writing a fantastic fantasy. 

The event will be entirely virtual and boasts many amazing panels, workshops, and conversations around literature, gaming, film, music, and cosplay. Read about all the panels and workshops and register. Get an entire weeks worth of programming for $125!


PNWA 2020 Virtual Conference – September 24-27
PNWA is having a virtual conference this year and I’m a speaker. I’m actually presenting three different workshops on Saturday, Sept. 26:

  • And We’re Walking: How to Break Up the Monotony of Travel in Fantasy Stories – 7-7:20am AKT, Virtual Room B
    • Do your characters need to travel a lot in your fantasy world? In this workshop, learn some tricks to break up the monotony that is travel in your fantasy world. Leave with suggestions on how to add some spice to your stroll so your characters don’t dawdle into the land of dullness.
  • Welcome to the Eclipse, our Spaceship Crew (of Voices) – 8-8:20am AKT, Virtual Room B
    • A tiny spaceship with a motley crew of four. At least one of them is an alien. The problem? They all sound the same and you know, as a writer, that’s not good. So how do you make those four voices unique? In this light-speed workshop, discover some easy ways to make each character sound distinctive without being too cheesy.
  • Flash Fiction in a Flash – 1-1:20pm AKT, Virtual Room A
    • In this bite-sized workshop learn what flash fiction is, how to choose the correct scene to make the most impact for your readers, and how to utilize titles to their fullest extent. Participants will come away with tools for writing these tiny stories and will discover how to conquer the blank page.

My workshops are all pre-recorded and each participant gets a handout centered on the workshop they attend. I’m also going to be online for the whole day on Saturday to answer any questions the viewers might have. Be sure to register for the conference soon; it’ll be a wonderful event! Read all about the program here. Discover how to register for the conference here, both full and single day options available.

P.S. I am SO DAMN PROUD of how the workshops turned out. Seriously, it was a lot of work under a tight deadline. I pulled it off and I am so, so happy with them.


FIYAHCON – October 17-18
BIPOC readers: FIYAHCON is a really cool speculative fiction literary event just for you! There are so many cool panels and workshops to take part in. I’m super excited that I get to be one of the editors/authors involved in the Office Hours over that fabulous weekend. Sign up today for one of my Q&A or critique slots! 


Pretty cool, right?? HELL YES! I am so excited about these upcoming events, and I hope you’re able to attend at least one of these amazing opportunities. All these conferences are chock-full of creative and talented people so even if you can’t make my events, you should still check out the other panels and workshops the Imaginarium, PNWA, and FIYAHCON have to offer.

Hope you have a lovely weekend!
Warm regards,
Kellie

The Publishing Process: Curling Vines & Crimson Trades

SO MANY THINGS ARE HAPPENING FOR MY UPCOMING NOVEL!

Last month I finally came up with the title for the second book in my adult fantasy series I’ve just been calling “Orenda’s story:” Curling Vines & Crimson Trades.

The first Thursday of this month (July 2) I turned in Curling Vines & Crimson Trades to Desert Palm Press and now I’m a ball of excitement. I celebrated with some wine and cookies, like you do. 🙂

So now that the manuscript has been turned in to the publishing house, a couple of things gets set in motion. Every publisher is different, of course, but here are some things we need to start working on.

  1. Editing: The manuscript sits the editor for the first round of edits for the big overarching changes (also known as developmental editing) and then it comes back to me to incorporate those edits. It goes back to the editor for a second round of edits for the line-level changes like grammar and spelling and punctuation (also known as copyediting) and then it comes back to me again to incorporate them again. After that second round of edits, it goes back to the publisher to get the interior designed. Once the interior design is finished, I get to see a printed version and give it one more pass through. So right now for Curling Vines & Crimson Trades, it’s in the editor’s hands.
  2. Cover Design: There’s a cover design brief that I need to work on right now. It’s a document where I write out a synopsis for the cover designer to give them a feel of the book and work on the blurb for the back cover. I add in keywords and themes and any kinds of cover ideas I have so the designer can read through it and create the artwork. I’ve been doing a whole lot of work on that this week. After I turn that in, the designer creates mockups for me and Desert Palm Press to review (trying out different fonts and scenes and such). Then we pick the one that best suits the book!
  3. Marketing: This is such a huge thing that Desert Palm Press and that I work on. And I really have to actually start working on it. On my side of things, I’ll have a giant Word document where I put all my links and ideas about marketing. I have a list of possible places for reviews, interview/articles/press releases, podcasts, newsletters, guest posts, etc. Then I have another document that has drafts of each of those asks (so, for example, I’ll have an email draft where I ask someone to review Curling Vines & Crimson Trades, another draft where I ask if someone would be willing to interview me, etc). I’ll prep Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram posts. I’ll figure out events and brainstorm some other unique ideas to push the book out into the world. (Virtually, because COVID is still a huge deal.) Anyway, I still need to work on this quite a lot. If you run a blog, a newspaper, or a podcast and would like to feature me and my book, let me know! I’m always open for new ideas.

So…yeah, SO MANY THINGS ARE HAPPENING and I am so incredibly excited for all of it. Just so you know, I’ll have way more announcements once I know more: once the cover design is finalized, some marketing ideas, the pub date, etc. (Also: If you want to keep more up-to-date on writing stuff, consider signing up to my newsletter ~ Synergy Newsletter ~ which is Only Good News these days since the world is on fire. It goes out twice a month.)

Hope you’re having a lovely weekend thus far!
Warm regards,
Kellie

When Authors Fall

With all the fervor surrounding J.K. Rowling and as part of the queer community, I felt like I have to speak up.

Firstly, if any of my readers are trans (or if anyone seeing this is trans), let me tell you this: trans women are women, trans men are men, and trans lives matter. Non-binary people matter. I see you all, I respect you all, and I believe we should all live and love without judgment. ❤

So here’s the thing, I grew up with the Harry Potter books. It’s safe to say ~ and I always do~ that reading Harry Potter inspired me to become a writer and to create magical (and tech-riddle and fabulous) worlds of my own. With all the flaws I can see looking back at Harry Potter, I still really do love the series. It’s nostalgic, like a warm blanket that takes me back into my childhood and reminds me that magic still exists. I own all the books, I have a bunch of merch, I’ve watched all the movies, and I went to the opening day of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and happily waited seven hours to get inside. The series will hold a special place in my heart.

That being said, what Rowling said in her blogpost – and has said in the past concerning *waves her hand at all the problematic and transphobic Tweets* all of this – is wrong and hurtful to a large group, and as a longtime fan, I am honestly so disappointed in her. I will no longer support any future books written by her. I unfollowed her on her social media platforms. She’s a fallen author in my eyes, and I hope she sincerely apologizes for her hurtful words.

However, I think this is where we can separate the work from the author, especially since Harry Potter is a backlist title. I believe that once the book is published, it’s out there in the world and out there for the readers. The author can’t really do much about it. (As much as the author would desperately want to, see Rowlings “additions” via random Tweets…or actually, don’t.) Now perhaps this is my nostalgic glasses sliding down my nose because I can’t bear to let Harry Potter go, but to be honest, I think we – the Harry Potter fandom – can keep the series. Can hold the beloved books close to our chest. Can even keep our houses if it makes us happy. (Though it’s clear on the Twitterverse that perhaps we should stop sorting into houses? There are some super fun other sorts – like D&D alignments, elements, even other books!) It’s not a perfect series by any means, but it is quite special to me.

So I think even though the author has fallen and let her fans down, we, as the fandom, can keep that Harry Potter magic inside of us. For as long as we want to.

Don’t forget to love each other!
Warm regards,
Kellie

 

A Wild Monday Night Post Appears

*blows off the dust that’s been gathering at the corners of the blog, dusts some cobwebs away*

Oh, hello there! It’s been quite a while, hasn’t it? Yes, yes, it looks like the last time I posted was *checks last post* all the way back in January 2020. Wow!

Is anyone surprised that this blog was pushed to the corner of my mind once again? Well, if you’ve been one of my readers, you really shouldn’t be.

Why? you may ask.

BECAUSE I HAVE TOO MANY THINGS TO DO

…but honestly…

I don’t make enough time for this blog.

There, I said it. I don’t make enough time for blogging. I don’t know why that is either. I like writing. I like chatting about my grand adventures (none of which have been happening of late because…well…you know). I like posting writing advice and cute cat photos and publishing news and the like.

I just don’t carve enough time out of my week to do so.

I’ve tried calendar reminders. I’ve tried phone notifications. I’ve tried to write many posts at once so I could schedule them. I even have a Word doc on my desktop titled “cool things to blog about!”

I just…don’t.

*shrugs*

And it can’t be because I’m “too busy” because I just started to create a fantasy map on a new program called Inkarnate because I think that’ll be fun and interesting and quite frankly, way better than the one I drafted in Adobe Illustrator. I have “time” for that. (I think.)

I have been writing, too. I joined Fantasy Faction last year so I’ve been doing monthly posts for them, the most recent one: Feb 2019 about the new Firefly comic.(I’ve submitted others since then but they have a bit of a backlog.)

I’ve also been working on my adult fantasy series, book two, Orenda’s story. I still have to come up with a better name for it though. I’m nearly complete with my round of revisions and will be shipping it off to my publisher in July of this year. That’s right: JULY OF THIS YEAR. So crazy.

And of course I’ve been working at my day job and freelance editing and playing D&D and reading some fabulous books and doing all the nerdy stuff you know and love me for.

So why not this?

Honestly, I don’t know.

I’ll try to be better. I’ll try to blog more often…once a month sounds doable, right?

Right.

Well…we’ll see.

Until then, wash your hands, tell someone you love them…you know the drill by now. ❤
Warm regards,
The Never-Blogger (aka: Kellie)

2019 Ended SO FAST

The end of 2019 passed by in a blur of holidays, events, and so, so many cool things.

Here are a few cool things

  • Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties won a Rainbow Award in the Fantasy genre! I’m super honored and excited that my first dip into fantasy earned such a great award from the queer community.
  • I had an amazing interview with BiCast, a bi+-centered podcast that focuses on all things geeky and bi+! I had a lovely time chatting with Elizabeth and Mick so be sure to listen to it when you get the chance.
  • I participated in three more events—the Alaska Writer’s Guild diversity panel on September 21, Bosco’s Small Press Expo on October 12, and the Chugiak-Eagle River Library NaNoWriMoPrep panel on October 26. I had such a great time at all these events, and I’m excited to participate in more in the future!
  • We visited our extended family over Thanksgiving—took a trip to Albany, NY, and then played tourist in New York, NY. The Rockefeller Tree lighting was seriously amazing (though standing for six hours was intense), the Strand bookstore gave me serious Powell’s vibes, and Cher sang beautifully. We also celebrated Jess’ birthday while in the city!
  • ALL THE BIRTHDAYS—My sister Jess kicks off the birthday season on December 5, then Mom on December 10, then Dad on December 24, and then me on January 4. Squeeze in Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, and it’s a seriously busy time for the Doherty family.

One HUGE Milestone for Me (aside from the awesomeness that is Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties, ha!): Author Events

  • I never really saw myself doing events (things like speaking in conferences, sitting on panels, doing book signings) because those types of things are so far out of my comfort zone. Back in 2019, I pushed myself and did nine events for Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties. NINE! I honestly never thought I’d do so many, but here’s a freaking list (for my reference later on):
    • May 11 – Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties author party
    • June 20 – Mosquito Books Signing
    • June 29 – PrideFestival vendor
    • July 12 – UAA Bookstore author panel
    • July 20 – Black Birch Books signing
    • September 21 – Alaska Writer’s Guild diversity panel
    • October 12 – Bosco’s Small Press Expo vendor
    • October 26 – Chugiak-Eagle River Library NaNoWriMoPrep panel
    • December 14 – BiCast Podcast interview

I hope to do more events this year, so if you know of any cool happenings in the fantasy, queer, or writing world, hit me up!

2020 goals?
I have two main goals this year. Finish my current fantasy WIP (Book Two in my Broken Chronicles fantasy series) and get a full-time job in the publishing industry. Wish me luck!

I hope the start of the New Year is treating you amazingly, friends! What kinds of goals are you reaching for this year?

Warm regards,
Kellie

Mythological Beasts for Friday the 13th

Today is Friday the 13th and I thought I’d celebrate this spooky holiday by sharing some interesting mythological beasts from around the world. As a fantasy writer, one of the best places to find creature-inspiration is doing a deep dive into mythological beasts.

Here are my favorites thus far.

Enenra

enenra

Enenra is a yōkai made up of wisps of smoke, which rise up into the sky from a fires, such as the takibi bonfires which farmers light to dispose of the remains of their harvests. As the smoke rises, human-like faces appear and disappear in its form.

Seems pretty scary, right? Wrong! In the Japanese mythos, it’s thought that this creature is actually not smoke but rather spirits of the dead, and it only shows itself to the pure of heart and calm. This creature isn’t intentionally scary, just the dead trying to communicate.

(I drew inspiration from this creature for book one of the Broken Chronicles: Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties. My fantasy smoke-like eneeraa was based off of the Japanese yokai named enenra. I pulled from the common description of the enenra but made it my own by making my eneeara smaller, faster, and not tied down to flames/campfires. I  decided to make it kind of creepy so my characters wouldn’t really like being around it. Misti, for one, is really skittish when she’s around Stee’s eneeraa.)
 

Qalupalik
qalupalik-concept-art

The myth of the Qalupalik was a frightening story that kept children from playing on the hazardous sea ice. lay waiting for them. The Qalupalik was ocean creatures with a human form; green scaly skin; long hair; and long, sharp fingernails. 

A deep thrumming noise would also accompany this terrifying Inuit myth. The creature would snatch children who got too close to the ocean with its long, sharp fingernails and drown them under the icy depths. As if that wasn’t scary enough, apparently it also had the face of a woman which had turned bloated and green from the ocean waters! What a thing to see in your last moments.

Nian
nian.jpg

According to tales and legends, the beginning of Chinese New Year started with the fight against a mythical beast called Nian, who had the body of a bull and the head of a lion. It was said to be a ferocious animal that lived in the mountains and hunted for a living. Towards the end of Winter when there was nothing to eat, Nian would come on the first day of New Year to the villages to eat livestock, crops, and even villagers, especially children. 

This ferocious Nian wreaked havoc on the little village in China (and probably many others). It would eat kids, for goodness sake! The villagers would put out food offerings in hopes to lure the creature away, but the Nian’s appetite was too great. They eventually discovered that fire, loud noises, and the color red scares the Nian and so that’s why they celebrate the Chinese New Year with fireworks and red-colored decorations, even to this day! (Super cool history fact right there.)

Wendigo
Wendigo1-211x300.jpg

Roughly translated, the word ‘Wendigo’ (also spelt Windigo and Windego) means ‘the evil spirit that devours mankind’. … This hunger is reflected in their appearance, which, according to some, is extremely thin. 

This Native American beast is quite scary. With glowing eyes, long tongues, and yellow fangs, and a penchant for human flesh, you wouldn’t want to meet on of these in a dark forest. Or become one! This creature is also native to the northern forests of Nova Scotia, the Atlantic Coast, and Great Lakes Region of Canada. (It’s interesting how many cultures can come up with similar myths over the generations.)

(I drew inspiration from this creature, too, when I wrote the flash fiction piece: The Curse. It’s on The Regal Fox’s website if you’d like to be scared this lovely Friday the 13th!)

Grootslang
groot.jpg

The story is that the original Grootslang was found to be too powerful, so the gods subdivided the animal into two species: the elephant and the snake. However, a Grootslang or two escaped this fate and reproduced. The monster can grow up to 60 feet long. (this website will show you a bunch of cool African legendary monsters)

This African monster was a legendary snake-creature and one of the first the gods created. It crushes its victims with its body and can eat elephants whole! The legend goes that the gods themselves recognized the error of creating such a powerful creature and tried to kill the Grootslang but it managed to survive and has spawned many since. Much like a European dragon, the Grootslang likes glittering objects and commonly hoards over diamonds.

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Scared yet? I am. But I’m inspired, too! I’ve always loved the mythological creatures and legends that surround them, as well as the historical aspects and traditions that come into play because of such beasts. As a writer, it really helps me to pull from all of these amazing myths to create the creatures of my fantasy world.

But there are so many others! Readers, what kinds of mythological beasts inspire or fascinate you? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Friday the 13!
Warm regards,
Kellie