Holy Effing Crap | A 7.0 Earthquake Update

Well, it finally happened, a big earthquake hit Anchorage, Alaska. We’ve been due for a big earthquake for a while, and while this one might not be “the Big One” it certainly did a bunch of damage in it’s own right.

I was at work when it happened, getting a poppyseed muffin with my coworkers like our usual Friday-morning routine. I chatted about weekend plans and what kind of coffee they were getting and how of course I was getting a poppyseed muffin because I wanted to freeze it later. (Poppyseed muffins are amazing frozen, just FYI. You’re welcome.)

The earthquake hit and my whole day changed. The earthquake felt like a normal one, an everyday little earthquake we get here in Alaska, but then it didn’t stop…and the building groaned…and we held on until it ended. (It’s really unnerving when the ground shakes, you know? Makes you realize how small you really are.) When it was done, coffee flavor syrups littered the floor. (Luckily they were plastic containers.) My officemates went up to the third floor and our suite to figure out what to do next. Was everyone okay? Should we stay? Was the building safe? We all got on their phones to text loved ones and that’s when the images of the destruction outside flew onto our screens, and an idea of what hit came into focus.

It was a 7.0 earthquake that lasted for ~20 seconds and hit ~10 miles from Anchorage. The ground rumbled, the buildings shook, and buildings cracked. Roads literally disintegrated. Electricity shuddered to a stop. Water lines broke. Drop ceilings fell, glass shattered, and what was once on the shelves now littered the floor.

My building, the Frontier building, suffered some damage as well, cracks in the walls on the stairwell and such. We were forced to evacuate just in case, so my sister and I made the long trip home to Eagle River. Keep in mind, there’s one road to the Valley, to Eagle River, and when a disaster happens…well, that road becomes congested really quick. When the disaster breaks one of our bridges…it takes a long time to get home. A really long time. Six hours in fact!

It was a long drive, but we knew our family and our pets were healthy and safe, so that was all that mattered in a time like this.

At home, we faced shattered glass and broken tech, books and knick-knacks strewn on the floor, pickle juice pooling in random places from a cracked jar, and four very scared cats. Plus some cracks in the walls that were deemed as “cosmetic.” *phew* Luckily we had heat and power that first night so that was good, though we’ve had to boil water for a couple of days. (That boil-water order was just lifted a few hours ago!)

Mom and Dad didn’t have heat that first night, but they were okay. Their house was a wreak, though. Bookshelves were broken, books and DVDs and plants and boardgames were just ~everywhere~ and my goodness, the kitchen was a mess. Every room seemed worse off. We couldn’t get some doors open because of the amount of stuff that fell down! Crazy. Cleaning will take forever, but we’ll help M&D. (And we have!)

The aftershocks came in waves, too, so it was really hard to sleep that first night. There has been 1,400 aftershocks thus far. According to the Anchorage Daily News, 593 were recorded at magnitude 2.0 or greater; 17 registered at least 4.0; and five were at least 5.0. (Source) I went from worrying that we’d have another big earthquake to being super annoyed whenever one hit. The cats would scatter each time.

Anyway, three days out and we have heat, power, and water. The condo is pretty much back to normal, much to the cats’ joy, and M&D’s house is looking…better. The State of Alaska is closed tomorrow (Monday) so we have an extra day to help clean! I’m not looking forward to the commute into Anchorage on Tuesday since the Valley folks will be routed through Eagle River until the bridges are fixed and the Glenn Highway will be an ongoing problem…we’ll see how it goes.

Earthquakes happen but the city and state did a good job at responding to it, and while things look kinda shaky right now, it’ll only get better.

Warm regards,
Kellie

P.S. – AND the stores are opening up again, so we were able to get emergency weekend supplies! If you want to see more photos, check out my Facebook or Twitter.

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Really it was comfort foods, but who’d blame us. 🙂

 

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Life (as it) Happens

In undergrad, I spent one semester at the University of Missoula, MT. I took the usual classwork for an English Lit major, including a creative writing poetry course, but had also decided to take a criminology class on a whim. (Why not, right?) The criminology class turned out to be one of my favorite classes. It was interesting to learn about the “why” behind the crimes, and the coursework inspired the poem I titled The Criminality of Love. I had gotten the prompt “love” from our professor and didn’t know what to write, but the night before the love poem was due, I got the idea for The Criminality of Love. It was a middle-of-the-night, words-pouring-out-like-water kind of idea that happened in 30 minutes, chock full of all the criminality jargon I learned in class. (I also accidentally knocked over a can of soda when I showed the poem to one of my roommates. Oops.) I really loved how that poem turned out, and since then, I’ve been looking for a good place for it.

The perfect place turned up over six years later.

I’ve followed the Vlogbrothers – Hank and John Green – for years, so when the first ever Nerdfighter Poetry Book was accepting submissions, I knew I had to try for it. Plus, they announced that all the proceeds would go to the Foundation to Decrease World Suck, which was a great cause. (More on that later.) I decided to submit my criminology poem and it got accepted!

*does a little dance*

So here’s where the announcement portion of my blogpost comes into play:

The Nerdfighter Poetry Book, titled Life (as it) Happens, launched just last week! JUST LAST WEEK. Go check it out!

Poetry is a lovely form of expression, and I’m honored my late night, criminality inspired jargon-filled poem is among them. So, do need a cool gift for a poetry lover? Consider Life (as it) Happens and help support other non-profits while you do.

Oh! And here’s some information about the Foundation to Decrease World Suck, according to their website:

“The Foundation to Decrease World Suck, Inc is 100% volunteer operated and exists solely for the purpose of raising funds to be donated to other non-profit organizations. The majority of fundraising is through and during the annual Project for Awesome. The small operating expenses of the Foundation, including tax return preparation, are paid for by donations to the Foundation by the Directors of the Foundation. Money donated to the Foundation to Decrease World Suck will be distributed to non-profits selected by Nerdfighteria and the YouTube Community through the Project for Awesome.”

Okay, that’s it for me right now. Have a lovely Sunday!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Winter Melody

The snow crunches underfoot, studded tires rumble over ice, and the air seems to hold its breath, muffled by the snow and the dark.

Even tea pots whistle more often (in my home at least).

Winter is here. Arrived suddenly, frost on the cars, the windows, the road.

Arrived with its own melody in tow.

Am I happy? When I’m sipping hot tea and looking at the falling snow, yes. When I’m walking outside all bundled up and enjoying the crisp winter air, yes.

But when the car slides over a patch of ice? Not so much.

It’s then I remember the winter melody isn’t all sweet notes, there are some dour ones, too. Bitter cold, black ice, gloomy moods. Sometimes I can’t even get out of my parking lot! It’s an adventure for sure.

The good times always outweigh the bad, though, the upswings conquer the down. And sometimes the air even sparkles!

So be happy with this icy winter melody of ours, I know I will be…for the most part anyway.

Happy Friday!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Publishing Timelines: Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties Update!

Publishing, like any creative field, is fluid. Things change all the time. Covers are tweaked, and novels are often ripped to shreds to build better versions. Change is expected.

Timelines change, too.

When I originally signed on with my publisher Desert Palm Press back in May we were shooting for a November pub date, which at the time seemed doable. (If you’re thinking even that’s fast…yeah, it is! DPP has a pretty quick turnaround time for publishing books.)

After I signed, we immediately launched into the editing phase of Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties and…it took longer than it was scheduled to take. Why? Well, I went on vacation mid-Round One so I took two extra weeks to get my book back to my editor, and then in Round Two my editor took an extra two weeks on their end for personal reasons. My book is now in the copyediting and formatting stage, so it’s a waiting game until I get to review it again. However, the dual delays in Round One and Round Two caused my book to be a month off schedule.

While working on the cover design phase, brainstorming ideas and such, my designer also had personal issue that cropped up AND we actually had a lot of ideas to pick from. So it turns out this design phase is taking a little bit longer, too. We’ve finally narrowed it down to two gorgeous covers but haven’t yet decided on a final. (Because it’s HARD, and I love them both.)

Anyway, we were getting a bit close to the original publication date so I spoke to my publisher last week about it. Because of these delays, the publication date has been pushed back a month…which brings me to the real reason for this Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties update blogpost:


Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties
is now going to be published mid-December!


Like I said in the beginning, publishing is a fluid process and timelines change, too. I hope you don’t mind the modification, and if you want to read a snippet of Sunkissed Feathers ahead of time, I’m going to post a sneak peek on my website in November!

Now time for me to update my social media profiles.

Happy Saturday!
Warm regards,
Kellie

P.S. – If you’d like more updates about my writings, check out my Twitter and Facebook pages!

 

 

Geeky Roundup

Writing is hard, so I’m distracting myself. Need some extra geeky stuff in your life? I got you covered.

  • Rocks can be super cool, yo. Check out these glowing rocks found on the shores of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Hilariously called “yooperlites” these plain rocks can look kinda dreary under sunlight, but under UV light, they glow ORANGE. Pretty cool.
  • Wanna laugh? Look at these Greek mythological jokes! (Spoiler: The first one is freaking adorable.)
  • Becky Chambers, author of The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, released a new book called Record of a Spaceborn Few and I am SO HERE FOR IT.
  • V.E. Schwab did an amazing lecture on J.R.R. Tolkien’s work (and how she hasn’t read it!) and if you have time, you should read it.
  • The Try Guys recently left Buzzfeed to start their own Try Guys channel and it’s hilarious. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying it, and you might, too!
  • Need some more SFF chatter in your life (and seriously, who doesn’t?). This SFF Yeah podcast by BookRiot might be just what you need!
  • Worldbuilding is really fun, but this Twitter thread gets super philosophical about it. (Shoutout to Book Riot for introducing me to this thread!)
  • Ever want to know about some of the best hunters in the animal kingdom? SciShow chats about the Top Six! 

Now, have fun and be geeky!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Mega Lesfic Sale ~ Sept. 10-14

Hello fellow science fiction f/f lovers!

Have you ever wanted to read Finding Hekate or Losing Hold? Well, now you can, without breaking the bank! I’m participating in a Mega Lesfic Sale over at I Heart Lesfic THIS WEEK ONLY. The sale runs from September 10th through September 14th, and the I Heart Lesfic has some amazing deals on over 100 books from over 60 authors, including me!

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My Cicatrix Duology is up for grabs. Here’s a bit about each:

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. She must sever her bonds in order to run, again. But she’s grown fond of this crew, particularly Cassidy Gates. Staying with them will jeopardize their safety, and they have much closer fears than the Acedian hunters. Mia’s time is running out. She’s becoming one of them.

LOSING HOLD:
In the sequel to Finding Hekate, after escaping Donavin’s grasp, Mia Foley and her crew crash on a prison planet and need to deal with its inhabitants, beast and criminals alike. Mia hears Donavin in her mind once 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—on Cassidy—to save her. But she’s not the only one transforming in her little group, and things never go as smoothly as they could out in the black.

So head on over to I Heart Lesfic today and get the Cicatrix Duology, yeah? Blast off into the stars with my crew, and maybe snatch up some other books, too!

Happy Monday!
Warm regards,
Kellie

How To Deal With A ~Very Long~ ToDo

Soooooo, I realized recently that I may have said “yes” to a bit too many things. I have a full-time job and three part-time jobs (freelance editing, AWG program designer, and author). For freelance editing, I have it broken down to two types—fiction and non-fiction—and I have ongoing clients in both. I do Tiger Oak editing every night, and this month I’m reading through a Desert Palm Press author’s first book in order to get ready to edit the second one. For the AWG program gig, I’m in the final stages of it, just tweaking things to make the program just right for the conference in September, but I’ve done a ton of work for it over the last month. For my author job, I’m currently in the middle of Round Two edits and trying to prep things for marketing, as well as writing random snippets in book two.

So my ToDo list is…long. Some might say ~Too Long.~ So what do I do when I’ve bitten off more than I can chew?

First of all, I prioritize my work. Week nights are for my freelance editing gig, plain and simple. If I get to work on the AWG program, that’s great! If I get to work on writing stuff, I’m freaking amazed at myself. During the weekend, I switch gears to work on the AWG program and being an author, but I don’t do a single thing freelance-editing wise just because it takes up a ton of my time during the week. I cherish my weekends, when I have more time to work on the program and work on Round Two of edits, as well as brainstorm marketing techniques and write some random snippets here and there.

Secondly, routine is key for me. Since I have a day-job, I already have a pretty solid week-day routine: get up, make breakfast, feed the cats, go to work, work, and then come home. Once I come home sometimes I’m super happy to edit and other times I really don’t want to. Either way, I say hi to my parents and my pets, I change out of my work clothes and into something more comfy…usually pajamas—Don’t judge; they’re fuzzy pants and a sweatshirt!—I make a cup of tea since it’s been raining lately, and then I sit down to edit. I sink into that world for an hour or two. Routine helps me! Plus, routine helps me shake that mindset of “I don’t wanna edit” and actually do the damn job.

Lastly, if I feel burnt out, I take a night off. Simple as that. I have a lot of work to do, but I know myself well enough that if I need a night off, I take a night off. (For me, taking the night off means I watch funny YouTube videos, play games with my family, read a book while sitting with my cats, chat with friends, etc. but it can ~ and should ~ look different for everyone.)

So that’s my remedy for having Too Long a ToDo. What’s yours?
Warm regards,
Kellie

P.S. – If you like my blogposts, go check out my Author Facebook Page where I chat about lots of random things like where I get my writing inspiration, share funny posts I find to ease your week days, and share pictures of my most recent ~life adventures~ and if you *really* want to know more, sign up for my Author Newsletter!

Freelancing FTW: A Whole Year

This weekend I renewed my freelance editing contract with Tiger Oak Media to edit for them for another year, signing and dating the contract TODAY and accomplishing one thing on my ToDo. (I accomplished other things, but signing the freelance contract was a big one.) I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since I first started working with them. So much has happened and so much has changed that I don’t even recognize my life anymore.

Last year at this time I was still hunting for a full-time job, I lived alone in Portland, and I was still drafting Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties. A friend of mine who works at Tiger Oak Media reached out to me because she knew I was looking for a job and they had some freelance positions at her company. I applied for the position and got it, landing a part-time freelancing editing gig with them for a whole year! (On top of my freelance editing I do for Desert Palm Press, a part-time job I’ve held for many years now.) I was, of course, thrilled to be editing more!

Now, a whole year after signing that first contract, my life is vastly different. I have a full-time job now too, I live with my sister in Eagle River, and Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties will be out in November…with a book contract for the following four books already signed. I still freelance edit, though, proving that some things never change.

It’s just crazy how much can happen in a year, so here’s to another year full of adventure and opportunities…and freelance editing, too!

Happy Saturday.
Warm regards,
Kellie

New Twitter Game – #AfterHoursWIP

Ever since I did my last Twitter hashtag game (#SciFiCircle for Losing Hold last year), I really wanted to do another one. It’s a fun way to meet other writers, chat about whatever you’re currently working on, and dig into some interesting topics. So, for the month of August I’m going to dip my feet into the Twitter hashtag game world once again with my newest endeavor: #AfterHoursWIP.

Here are some details:

  • When: THIS MONDAY (8/6/18), 9pm Alaska Time
  • How Often: Weekly on Mondays
  • Where: Twitter
  • Hashtag: #AfterHoursWIP
  • Who Can Join?: All writers!
  • Sneak Peek at the Questions: “Where does your MC work?”
  • Possible Tagline: Worldbuilding after hours…

Eh? EH? Yeah, I’m excited about it and also kinda nervous. What if people don’t join in? I want to test it out for this month, just to see how it fares.

Fingers crossed it goes well, and if you’re on Twitter, join me Monday night!
Warm regards,
Kellie

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