A Second Glance Interview: M.R. Polish

Hello my wonderful readers!

I can’t believe that it’s already the LAST DAY OF APRIL. What the hell happened to April?? It went by faster than a Japanese bullet train. Anyway, I’m continuing my A Second Glance series with another fabulous fantasy and paranormal romance author M.R. Polish. As always, my comments will be in brackets and italicized. Enjoy!

Tell me a little bit about yourself!
Well, where to start? I mostly grew up in Idaho, but call Nevada home as I moved here almost 20 years ago. I am married to a great guy and we have four kids. The oldest is an adult and moved out, and our youngest just turned eleven, with two teens in the middle. We have one cat named Dancer. I have been writing since I was ten, but my first published book was in 2012. {Sounds like a busy life thus far. Love it!}

What got you into writing?
I have always had a story in my mind. As far back as I can remember I told stories to anyone who would listen. But, in the 5th grade, I had a teacher who could see more and told me to enter a Halloween Short Story Contest. I was hesitant, but I won! She told me I would be a great writer one day. I didn’t know then, but she was right. It took many years before I truly understood I was a writer and pursued it as a career. {Yasss! That’s awesome. Shoutout to all the teachers who encourage their students to pursue their creative hobbies!!}

What genres do you write in?
My favorite is Fantasy Romance. I do write Paranormal Romance as well. {A fellow fantasy nerd, love it!}

Do you write standalones or series?
I have three standalones. Ash and Scale (Urban Fantasy Romance with dragons), Savage Vengeance (Paranormal Romance with shifter), and Change of Possession (My one and only Romantic Suspense with no paranormal or fantasy aspects lol).

How many books do you have out right now? Tell me about them!
Right now I have 21 published with the 22 released on April 29th, 2022!
My older series are mostly Paranormal Romance. The Wolf Series (Series has 4 books and has witches), Ageless Series (Series has 3 books and has mermaids and greek gods), Saddles and Spells Series (Series has 6 novellas and is a sweet romance each book is its own story with witches and cowboys), Sandman Saga (There are 3 books and it is a soulmate romance with the king of night and the queen of day), and… the new series getting ready to release is the Ash Kingdom Series (Fantasy Romance with vampires). {All of these sound amazing.}

Which book did you have the hardest time trying to write? The best time?
I think the hardest one for me personally was Savage Vengeance because it was my first shared world and the idea behind the world was already there and I had to create a story that fit in that world. 
The best? I have to say the one I’m working on right now. Crown of Blood and Wings, which is book one in the Ash Kingdom Series. But really, none of them have really been HARD. {Ooo, a shared world is a cool idea. Kind of like fanfiction but you know…not fanfiction, ha!}

Why do you keep writing?
Because I love it. I am so deep inside the worlds with my characters that they are family to me. I couldn’t imagine a world where I couldn’t write. 

Which character of yours is your favorite?
Hahahaha… those side characters get me every time! It’s hard to pick just one. But like I said before, I think I’d have to pick either Layke or Caitin from the Ash Kingdom. However Kade from Sandman Saga gets a close second. {Side characters can be the most fun to write.}

What are your favorite tropes? Hated tropes?
I’m a Fantasy Romance lover and have to say… the one bed trope. Gets me every time. LOVE IT.
However, I LOATHE the pregnancy trope. That’s a hard no from me. I’ll pass on every one.

What kind of hobbies do you have outside of writing?
Oh! I love to crochet and cook. But not at the same time hahaha. {The “not at the same time” comment immediately brought to my mind crocheting spaghetti. It probably wouldn’t work but it was a fun thought.}

What is your writing process like?
Ideas that sit in my mind and marinate for months to years then… they take off running and I have no choice but to follow. I have found that plotting out and writing a rough draft, even if I need to use some bullet points, helps me write faster and more efficiently. While writing, I send to a few chosen readers to give me feedback as a reader how the story is flowing. After that is done, I do a self edit then it’s off to the editor. After edits, I send to ARC readers and the proof editors (I use 2). After it’s cleaned up, it is formatted and ready for publication. This of course doesn’t include all the behind the scenes things that happen to get this far, like marketing, covers, custom art work, etc… {DO ALL THE THINGS. I love this behind-the-scenes look at your process. So awesome.}

Have you ever traveled as research for your writing?
I have never traveled to research, but have researched WHILE I was traveling. 

Last question, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?
To just do it. Go for it. (Mrs. Presely, 5th grade) {Such good advice!}

Find M.R. Polish Online!
https://poplme.co/mrpolish

Annnnd that’s a wrap for this author Q&A! Thanks to M.R. Polish for this wonderful conversation about wondrous worlds. I hope you enjoyed the interview as well, readers, and be sure to check out her work!

Until next time, Happy Saturday!
Warm regards,
Kellie

P.S. – If you have two or more books out and would like to be part of A Second Glance, fill out this form and I’ll contact you!

A Second Glance: Interview with Elayna Gallea

Hello there my fabulous readers,

I hope you’re having a lovely Saturday. Today is sunny and warm-adjacent and I can finally see hints of spring around me. I hope it’s a sunny day for you as well, and if not, grab a cup of hot chocolate by a roaring fire instead and join me in welcoming my next A Second Glance interviewee, Young Adult and New Adult author Elayna Gallea. As always, I’ll sprinkle in my own thoughts in brackets and italics. Enjoy!

Tell me a little bit about yourself!
I live in New Brunswick, Canada and I’m a born and raised Canadian. I’m bilingual and I actually teach French online as my “full-time” job. (I’m blessed and I only work about 20 online hours a week). This gives me lots of time for my family, reading and writing. {Being bilingual is so cool, and awesome that you teach French!!}

What got you into writing?
Like most authors, I’ve always been a voracious reader. I’m pretty introverted (let me put it this way. Between working from home and being an introvert, lockdown wasn’t much different from my regular life), so books have always been a companion of mine. It might sound cliché, but when I turned 30 I just decided I didn’t want to let my dreams slip through my fingers anymore. So I dove in and started to write. I haven’t stopped since. {Fellow introvert here, I relate so hard to the lockdown comment, ha! I love that you decided to capture your dreams; way to go.}

What genres do you write in?
I write in 2 genres. My books that I author myself are Young Adult dystopian romance (The Sequencing Chronicles). I also co-author New Adult urban fantasy/paranormal romance (Romancing Aranthium). 

Do you write standalones or series?
I have a YA trilogy (well, book 1 is out now, book 2 will be out on Feb. 22 and book 3 on April 12). Our New Adult series are standalone but set in the same world. 

How many books do you have out right now? Tell me about them!
At this moment (early February 2022), I have 2 full books out right now and one novella. 

Sequenced is the first book in The Sequencing Chronicles, which follows Nellie as she finds out that life in Tiarny is nothing like she was taught. It’s a dystopian romance with fantasy elements that really come into play in the second and third books. There is a companion novella to Sequenced that can be read before or after the main trilogy. The Runaway Healer follows Solange and Rafael, a pair of side characters we meet in Sequenced. 

My third book is Opposite Ends of the Sea. This is my NA book and is a Romeo and Juliet retelling with a better ending (read: happily ever after). It is a paranormal urban fantasy romance that follows Elva and Nathan, a Winter Fae and Summer Fae as they fight against all the odds to be together.  {These books sound fascinating; I love the fae retelling of Romeo and Juliet.}

Which book did you have the hardest time trying to write? The best time?
Sequenced was the hardest to write because it was my first book. I essentially had to rewrite the entire thing from scratch after my first draft, and editing was a beast. Opposite Ends of the Sea basically wrote itself. My co-author and I wrote the initial draft in 3 weeks. {THREE WEEKS? I am both amazed and jealous.}

Why do you keep writing?
It gives me an outlet that I never knew I needed. Writing really has opened so many doors and the mental health benefits for me have been astounding. 

Which character of yours is your favorite?
Goodness. This is hard. Bronywyn is a character in Sequenced who was initially just meant to be a throwaway character. The problem was, she grew on me (and the readers too). I love her so much, she’s getting her own book (or trilogy?). I’m a hardcore pantser, so we will see what happens. I also really love the character I am writing in the second book of Romancing Aranthium with my co-author. But since we haven’t shared about that project yet, it’s still a secret. 

What are your favorite tropes? Hated tropes?
My most favourite trope is enemies-to-lovers. We have this one in our next collab book! I also am a fan of the one bed and chosen one tropes. I’m not a huge fan of the miscommunication trope. {Yes! I like all three tropes as well, enemies-to-lovers is amaaaaazing.}

What kind of hobbies do you have outside of writing?
I love to read, knit and crochet. True crime podcasts are my favourite things to listen to when I’m not writing. 

What is your writing process like?
I am 100% a pantser. I have been trying to at least map out my books, but they end up as basically a 12 point outline (for example, one says: battle). I’m not very strict, and I definitely follow the writing. If something flows, I just go with it. I admire plotters but don’t know that that would work for me. 

Have you ever traveled as research for your writing?
Not yet! My books are set in imaginary worlds, so they all take place in my head. 

Last question, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?
Write every day. Just get it out. I find that once the writing begins to flow, it gets easier. {Very good advice!}

Find Elayna online!
TikTok: @authorelaynargallea
Instagram: @authorelaynargallea
Facebook: @authorelaynargallea

Thanks so much to Elayna for sharing these wonderful thoughts about herself, her books, and her writing process. I had a grand time learning about her and I hope you did too!

Until next time, Happy Saturday!
Warm regards,
Kellie

A Second Glance: Interview with Ashley Scheller

Hello there and welcome to another A Second Glance interview. As you know this interview series is exclusively for authors with two or more published works. It’s a place to celebrate their books and the wonderful world of writing. For this interview, I spoke with high fantasy author Ashley Scheller. She had some fun answers; I especially like answer to “why do you keep writing.” I’ve inserted some thoughts as well, in italics and brackets. Enjoy!

Tell me a little bit about yourself!
Ashley Scheller is an Iowa author who lives with her husband of 10 years and three cats. She graduated from Iowa State with a B.S. in Education. Her day job is working as a substitute in her school district. Furthermore, if she isn’t writing her next tale she is creating art. Her recent creative ventures include a sticker store on Ko-Fi and digital pieces featuring other authors and readers in the BookTok community on Tiktok called ‘Chibi Readers’. “There are a lot of talented people out there and this is my way of giving back to an awesome and supportive community.”

What got you into writing?
“School. The long and short of it, to be honest. I feel very blessed to have had inspiring teachers in my life.”

What genres do you write in?
Scheller primarily writes fantasy.

Do you write standalones or series?
She is currently working on her first series.

How many books do you have out right now? Tell me about them!
The Wielder Diaries ‘My Crystal’ and ‘Shattered’ are books one and two out right now as Scheller is writing her third as we speak. This series is a multi-POV high fantasy featuring strong female characters, found family, and shapeshifting animals. This story, also, includes a heavy dose of mystery and magic. An exciting read for those looking for a clean adventure with dragons. [Dragons are always fun!]

Which book did you have the hardest time trying to write? The best time?
“Each book had come with its individual challenges, but out of the two books, so far, I feel the second was harder as major rewrites spurred a delay in publication.”

Why do you keep writing?
“Every story and reader deserves an ending.” [Yess, I love this!]

Which character of yours is your favorite?
“That’s hard as The Wielder Diaries has a sizeable cast. I’d have to say Lute Gibe is my favorite. He can come across as insensitive or stubborn at times, but I enjoyed writing a character who is ultimately caring and funny.”

What are your favorite tropes? Hated tropes?
“I’m up for pretty much any trope or genre that doesn’t involve trigger warnings, kink, or a ton of spice. I’m sort of a mood reader but a sucker for fairytales.”

What kind of hobbies do you have outside of writing?
“Art. Any art, crafty thing that can grab my attention I am *bam* there and present.” [This is an awesome outlook; give her all the crafty things!]

What is your writing process like?
Scheller shared her writing process includes brainstorming followed by organized chaos, rounds of edits, beta reading (taking their feedback to polish the manuscript) and finishing with a final run through before publishing via Draft2Digital.

Have you ever traveled as research for your writing?
“The closest thing to traveling to see what my character’s castle may look like is Google, hehe.” [Google is an excellent source of inspiration!]

Last question, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“The best advice I’ve been given, so far, also served as a reminder. ‘My book won’t be for everyone and that’s okay.’ I’d like to add to that and remind other authors their books will mean something to someone someday and all it takes is one person, so keep going.”

Find Ashley online!
Website: https://aschellerbooks.carrd.co 

Thank you to Ashley for this lovely interview! I had a blast learning more about her and her writing, and I hope you did as well.

Happy Saturday!
Warm regards,
Kellie

A Second Glance: Interview with Amy Campbell

Hello again! This week has flown by. FLOWN BY. I’m back again with another fabulous interview, this time with author Amy Campbell. As always, my comments are in brackets and italics. Enjoy!

Tell me a little bit about yourself!
I’m a mom, librarian, and author. I live in Texas with my husband, our two busy boys, and our dog. One of my passions as a librarian is to help bring more visibility to indie authors. [Shout-out to you and to all librarians! Such an integral part of the book business. So awesome.]

What got you into writing?
From the age of 7, I always wanted to be an author. One of the very first stories I wrote was a Black Stallion rip-off. I wrote all through my teen years, but I never had the knowledge to persevere with a story. And that was a time when self-publishing didn’t exist even as a dream, so I never thought I’d have a shot getting published. I stopped writing around 2005. Life got busy and I had other pursuits. But then when the pandemic hit in 2020, I needed something I could control. I dove back into writing in April 2020 and I haven’t stopped since.

What genres do you write in?
Fantasy. Will I ever write other genres? Maybe! But for now, fantasy. [Yasss, fellow fantasy author here. I LOVE fantasy!]

Do you write standalones or series?
I write in series. Once I get to know my characters, I enjoy them too much to leave them alone.

How many books do you have out right now? Tell me about them!
I currently have 2 out: Breaker and Effigest, with Dreamer coming out in June. 

Which book did you have the hardest time trying to write? The best time?
Breaker was the hardest because I was coming off that 15 year period of not writing. Getting my brain trained to write again has been a task. I’m also not a planner – at all – and I desperately wanted some sort of outline that I could use as guidance because I was relearning this skill. That ended up doing more harm than good as I learned that I am very much a discovery writer. I’m just as surprised by what happens in my books as my readers!

I’ve had the best time writing Dreamer. Once I learned to let myself go, write that chaotic, awful first draft and go from there, it’s been a smoother process. And now I’m at the point where most of these characters are like best friends to me, so it’s fun to write about them. [I love this chaotic writing; it must be so freeing to write whatever! ]

Why do you keep writing?
It’s fun! And because of the particular types of characters I wrote about, it’s incredibly gratifying. Blaise is asexual, and it’s pretty rare to see an ace character in fiction. Or if you do it tends to be something more literary, focused on their aceness. Being ace is just a fragment of who he is, and I’ve received a lot of emails from readers who are really touched to see someone like them not only in a book, but being normalized in literature. [A fragment of who he is, love that statement.]

Which character of yours is your favorite?
This is like asking which of my children I love more. I have a special place in my heart for Blaise, though. Of the characters in my series, he and Emrys (his pegasus) have been in my head the longest. I first began writing about him (in a very different iteration) around 2000 or so. I stopped writing for more than a decade, but he simply slept in my subconscious and I was really happy to breathe new life into him!

What are your favorite tropes? Hated tropes?
I have so many favorite tropes. Found family, reluctant hero, masquerade, fantastic creatures, morally grey, unlikely friends, heroic last stand, from zero to hero – probably more I’m forgetting!

I don’t know that I hate any tropes per se. I would dislike a trope that’s not done well, or that is done in such a cookie-cutter way that it’s indiscernible from other books.

What kind of hobbies do you have outside of writing?
I don’t have a ton of time for hobbies outside writing at the moment. I work full-time as a librarian and I have 2 young children, so I’m pretty busy! I collect model horses, so they’re something that brings me a lot of joy. I used to play World of Warcraft, but I haven’t lately since I don’t have as much time to devote to it. [Phew, sounds like a busy household indeed. Model horses are cool, I bet you used one as inspiration for Emrys.]

What is your writing process like?
Chaos! As I said, I’m a discovery writer and I’ve had to learn my own particular crazy method. I tried outlines for my first two books and that just doesn’t work for me. Now I write a messy first draft where I only have a general idea of the things I’d like to see happen. (Sometimes they don’t happen!) Then I do a read-through where I only take notes and think about what needs to be added or changed. After that, I head back into the draft and add the missing parts and remove the things that don’t work. Then I do an edit in ProWritingAid and another read-through before it goes to my betas.

Have you ever traveled as research for your writing?
Sort of! I went on a Momcation with some other moms from my online Moms group in September 2021. We went to Breckenridge, Colorado and some of the tours I went on were things I can incorporate into my writing. We went on a horseback ride, which was so amazing since I hadn’t ridden a horse in years (despite how much I write about equines). I also went on a tour that covered some of the spooky historical aspects of the town and a tour of the historic saloons. [That sounds like a lovely time! I do love a good walking ghost tour.]

Last question, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?
To just keep writing. I was really rusty when I started writing Breaker, and by the time I got to Dreamer I felt much more in the swing of things! Writing is like anything else – you can only improve the more you do it.

Find Amy Campbell on social media:
Facebook
Instagram
TikTok
Bookbub

Thanks to Amy for chatting with me; her books sound like such an adventure! I hope you all enjoyed learning about her and her work as well.

Warm regards,
Kellie

P.S. – If you have two or more books out and would like to be part of A Second Glance, fill out this form and I’ll contact you!

A Second Glance: Interview with Claudia Blood

Hello again,

I’m back with another A Second Glance interview, this time featuring science-fantasy mash-up author Claudia Blood. All her answers were a joy to read, but I especially like her response to the “best piece of advice” question. As usual, I’ve inserted some of my thoughts, in italics and brackets. Enjoy!

Tell me a little bit about yourself!
Hi, I am an introverted, D&D playing, science geek, renaissance faire lover, military mom who happens to like making stuff up. [Yasss, D&D nerd myself here, so awesome to meet a fellow player!]

What got you into writing?
I read to escape (even now). I loved how I could experience things that were not possible in the here and now. I could be anyone and do anything.  I wanted to do that for someone.  There are some crazy adventures going on in my head. I wanted to help a reader live someone else’s life for a bit.  

What genres do you write in?
I tend to do mash-ups. Science Fantasy – which is like Jim Butcher and Anne Macafferty (aka Dresden with Dragon Riders of Pern). Supernatural suspense – which is D&D and mystery/thriller/suspense. Urban fantasy, post-apocalyptic and some dystopia all mashed up.

Do you write standalones or series?
Mostly series.  

How many books do you have out right now? Tell me about them!
Three books in the Relic Trilogy. This is my science fantasy series about time coming apart at the seams.

  • Company Assassin: He’s an orphan recruited by assassins facing tech-eating demons. Can he uncover the truth before it claims his life?
  • Horizon Found: He saved the orphanage. But his enemies are circling. One wrong move and everything he loves will disintegrate.
  • Time Rift: With time coming apart at the seams, they have to sacrifice the impossible. Will they destroy innocence to save the world?

A spin-off quartet is coming called Renegades Rising which is about the bad guys in the Relic trilogy.  I’m hoping late 2022 the first book will come out.

Two books and a short story set in the Merged world. This is my Urban fantasy and post-apocalyptic and (some) dystopia series.

  • Book of Secrets:  He protects humans. A deadly artifact. Can he prevent the Great UnMerging?
  • Thorn of the Rose: She’s undead. Town magic protections gone awry. Can she uncover the truth before it kills them all?
  • Marked: A lost sister. A terrible secret. Can she control her magic before she kills again?
  • Feather of Prophecy – later 2022 (fingers crossed) which is about Wren and his sister.

The first book in the Supernatural Detective Agency, At the Cabin, is my supernatural suspense.  I also have the next book in this series for late 2022. Strangers set-up to die; an arsonist on the loose; can an ex-FBI agent and dog rescuer survive the supernatural threat? [I love, love how imaginative and badass these stories sound!!]

Which book did you have the hardest time trying to write? The best time?
Book of Secrets was the hardest to write.  It started out as pure romance.  I figured out I can’t write romance to save my life. I love romantic subplot, but what I wrote didn’t have the correct beats. This one was rewritten a lot and I resist the urge to rewrite it again.

The best time was At the Cabin.  It was the first book I finished and then I rewrote it to add in the supernatural elements.

Why do you keep writing?
I just had a conversation with a fellow writer wondering why we write. My life would be a whole lot simpler if I could give it up. 🙂 The way the market, social media, and the state of the world makes everything even harder. I missed out on the days of just writing a book and someone else does everything else required.  The short answer is I feel compelled to.  

Which character of yours is your favorite?
I have a soft spot for Joshua Lighthouse from the Merged Series.  I understand feeling lonely and very different from everyone else. My second favorite is Ravenne, the bad gal from the Relic Trilogy.  I found it fascinating how far she was willing to go to “save” her daughter. 

What are your favorite tropes? Hated tropes?
I both love and hate “chosen one” trope.   [It’s a love-hate relationship, yeah.]

What kind of hobbies do you have outside of writing?
I play D&D and read as my main hobbies.  The day job and kiddos take time, so I had to focus my energy.  I used to make jewelry and I’ve dabbled in different art mediums.  I was not a good artist, but I liked doing it.  [Focusing energy is so important!]

What is your writing process like?
I also almost always have a series of cheater stories going on in my head at the same time I am writing. What generally happens is I get a line of dialog or a scene.  I’ll explore all around it unearthing the story.  So many times I’ve started a series in the middle and had to dig my way back.  In writing that’s called pantsing.

For example, for the Relic trilogy I had this scenelet of a jungle with an ancient relic.  A band of explorers opened it up and turned on the alien machine inside.  When the electricity cleared, there was an 80’s aerobic instructor blinking up from the platform.  It took me a book and a half to figure out what was going on.

Book of Secrets started with a machine that was used to tell if you were human.  There was a man being tested that everyone thought was going to fail the test.  He had no clue why they thought he was going to fail.  This was halfway through the book.

At the Cabin started with a “scene” with mistaken identity.  The woman did NOT expect the man she found tied to her bed. Nope, not at all! 

Have you ever traveled as research for your writing?
I have not.  I wish I could.  Hubby works overnight rotating shifts, Day job and young kids make travel hard.  

Last question, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?
The concept of “Not your cookie.”  So picture you make the perfect chocolate chip cookie.  It has the right mix of chips and cookie and is baked to golden brown perfection.  If the person eating the cookie doesn’t like chocolate chip cookies, there is literally nothing you can do to make them like it.   It’s just not their cookie.  The same thing applies with books.  I can’t read anti-hero journeys or unreliable narrators.  Every reader has their own set of expectations and likes.  You have to find your readers.  The ones who like the cookies you bake.  [This! This is awesome.]

Find Claudia online!
Website: claudiablood.com
Linktree: https://linktr.ee/AuthorClaudiaBlood
TikTok: @claudiabloodauthor
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00M6HN9IK
Facebook: @claudiasadventurers

Thanks to Claudia for this fabulous interview! It was lovely chatting with her, and I hope you enjoyed the interview too.

Warm regards,
Kellie

P.S. – If you have two or more books out and would like to be part of A Second Glance, fill out this form and I’ll contact you!

A Second Glance: Interview with Kova Killian

Hello there my lovely readers,

As you know I’ve created a new interview series called A Second Glance, exclusively for authors with two or more published works. It’s a place to celebrate their books and the wonderful world of writing. For this first interview, I spoke with dark fantasy author Kova Killian. She had some amazing answers; I especially like answer to “which character is your favorite.” I’ve inserted some thoughts as well, in italics and brackets. Enjoy!

Tell me a little bit about yourself! 
I’m a mom of a 2-year-old and a 10-year-old.  I’ve been a total fantasy and mythology nerd since I was really, really young. Xena was and still is my favorite show and my dad always had mythology or fantasy books he was reading, so I picked them up when he was done. Nothing else really about me lol I’m just a weird mom with a super active imagination. [Just a mom, my left ankle! That’s a really, really big job. Way to go!!]

What got you into writing? 
I’ve always been a storyteller. Made up stories for acorn families or squirrels that lived in our tree, but I didn’t catch the writing bug until I was 8 and the class was assigned a Halloween story to write. There were no rules that I remember, so I wrote about parents being murdered and their four daughters had to try to solve it, they ended up figuring out that it was a shadow creature and they were witches. I got in trouble, but the responses I got made me want to write more. [Gotta love the acorn family stories and oof, a scary tale for an 8 year old but also crazy good imagination!]

What genres do you write in? 
I write in Dark Fantasy as an umbrella but I have mythology, romance, paranormal, adventure and urban fantasy mixed in.

Do you write standalones or series? 
I write both.

How many books do you have out right now? Tell me about them! 
I have 2 books out right now, a standalone Dark Fantasy Mythology Romance about a Greek Demigod (who doesn’t belong to Zeus) being match made to an Egyptian god that she despises. [Title: Lycoris in Moonlight] And I have the first book in my paranormal adventure series published. It’s about a Hybrid Monster trying to break a curse on her Amarok lover so they can be together again after he has been hunting her for a year. [Title: The Scent of Dragon’s Blood] I’m hoping to get the rest of this series out by October this year, but new glasses are a priority so the timeline might push back a little.

Which book did you have the hardest time trying to write? The best time? 
The hardest time would be my series. I’ve been working on it since 2016 and I get burnt out so easily writing it. It emotionally drains me. The best time would be a current work in progress. I’m having so much fun writing this goofy bodyguard character. She is crazy strong but doesn’t want to hurt people unless they are a threat to the Demon Emperor who rescued her when she was seventeen. [I really love the strong-but-goofy character idea.]

Why do you keep writing?  
I just love it, I want to be able to hold my books in my hands and have them on my shelves so when my kids bring their friends home they can say that the shelf on the bookcase is all of my work and they can be proud of it.

Which character of yours is your favorite? 
That’s so hard. In every book, I have a favorite. Right now I would have to say my favorite characters are Evin from the third book in my series, and Elvi, my Feral bodyguard from my work in progress.

What are your favorite tropes? Hated tropes? 
I like flipping tropes. The first book in my series has the soulmate/fated mate trope, but the main character is running from her mate in order to keep them both alive but she’s trying to find a spell to break a curse on him so they can be together again. And not too much a hated trope cuz I don’t like hating those, but a theme that annoys me is creating characters and giving them weapons that are much too heavy for their frame. All of my character’s strength and body framing matches their weapons. For example, my main character in the first book of my series fights with a double bladed axe and a longbow and her muscle tone shows that. [Ooo, fascinating theme to hate, I like how you manage the heavy weapon idea by giving your girl the muscles to match!]

What kind of hobbies do you have outside of writing? 
I love going to renaissance fairs. I’ve been going for over 20 years at this point and it’s the place where I feel most comfortable. My husband and I also collect vip badges from concerts and we try to go camping often. [Oo, the atmosphere of ren fairs are so fun. And don’t even get me started on the giant turkey legs.]

What is your writing process like? 
I am an avid Pantser. I create a basic character in my head and run with it. By the end of the story, I know the characters and the world better and then can go back and add in more details. It’s a lot of editing, but I love doing it this way. It’s fun for me.

Have you ever traveled as research for your writing? 
The only place I have traveled to for research is Death Valley, for the third book in my series. But we camp there all the time so it wasn’t really research. It was just a camping trip lol [Camping is awesome and being outside is great for inspiration!]

Last question, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten? 
Your first draft is going to suck. Don’t dwell on editing as you go (easier said than done, I know) and don’t fret about having others read it. Gather a close circle of trusted readers you know will give quality feedback but don’t be afraid of the dreaded “red marks” on the page. Those are there to guide you to better scenes.

Find Kova online!
Website: KovaKillian.com
twitter: @Kova_The_Author
Tiktok: @Author_Kova_Killian
Instagram: @KovaKillian

Thanks so much to Kova for being the first author for my interview series. I learned so much about her and her work, and I hope you did too.

Happy Saturday!
Warm regards,
Kellie

P.S. – If you have two or more books out and would like to be part of A Second Glance, fill out this form and I’ll contact you!

Writing Inspiration

Inspiration can come from many different sources, and one of my favorite sources is nature. It’s very cliche, I know, but it’s just… true! And I don’t mean just going for walks. I mean doing deep dives into some really cool nature topics.

I’ve been researching deep sea animals for my new book, trying to find an interesting companion animal for one of my secondary characters and wow, there are some amazing creatures under the ocean. For example, did you know that a cuttlefish is a master of camouflage?

Beyond The Water Surface
Beyond The Water Surface

Also, ctenophora emit a blue or green light. They secrete ink that luminesces most brightly in the smaller bodies of young comb jellies. A rainbow effect is created when light scatters through the distinctive comb-like tentacles of the ctenophore.

Isn’t that so cool?

H E L L Y E A H

Inspiration can come from anywhere. Currently, mine’s coming from deep sea creatures. Where does yours come from? I’d love to know in the comments.

Warm regards,
Kellie

A Second Glance, new interview series

Hello there and Happy 2022! New year, new adventures, and new posts for this blog of mine. As a fellow creative, I’m always up to highlighting other authors. I feel like the debuts get lots of love (which hell yeah because debuting is hard and exciting and scary and everything in between, and new authors should get recognition) but other kinds of authors might not… so I aim to highlight those! The series is called A Second Glance, and I’m accepting authors right now. I’m not going to get genre specific right now, but if I get multiple interview requests from similar genres maybe I’ll make a sub genre celebration out of it. Speculative Fiction Celebration, maybe? Horror Highlights. Adventures in Young Adult! I’ll workshop the categories if that happens.

How will it work?
Basically, you sign up on the form below. I’ll need your name and your email address, plus how many books you have out right now. I’ll send you a list of interview questions, which you’ll answer and return to me. Then, I’ll create a blogpost to highlight you and your books! I don’t know how often I’ll update the series, as that depends on how many replies I get, but it should be fun. I’m really looking forward to it.

So, do you have a second, third, or fourth book out that you want to shout about? I’d love to interview you. {A Second Glance sign up sheet}

Thanks!
Warm regards,
Kellie

CV&CT Honorable Mention in Rainbow Awards!

Curling Vines & Crimson Trades got an honorable mention in the 2020-2021 Rainbow Award! An honorable mention is at least a rate of 36 or more out of 40. Judges had this to say about my story:

This was an interesting book, it offered a solid series with a good and interesting plot, but I feel like it could have been developed a bit better to make the whole world created brighter and a bit more vivid. The characters were well developed and easy to distinguish, even during dialogue parts I didn’t have problems following who is who. Good solid read!

I’m also working on the next installment, Adaris’ story; the setting is really exciting for me (think black sand beaches, rock columns, sun goddess worshippers) so I hope I’ve done it justice. I’m working on revising right the story right now; my critique group has some amazing suggestions and I know the story will be stronger because of it. Annnnnd I have to also think of a title because calling it Adaris’ story just isn’t exactly the vibe I’m looking for, ha!

If you need a last-minute gift for a friend or want to treat yourself, check out Curling Vines & Crimson Trades. This adult fantasy story features a badass swordswoman with broken magic, thieving twins who steal more than trinkets, and friends who try to kill each other. (Quest trope, queer love, magic, action and more!)

Also a HUGE shoutout to all the Desert Palm Press author awards and honorable mentions:

Award-winners:
Lesbian Fantasy: The Road to Kalazad by K.L. Mitchel
Lesbian Mystery runner up: The Crystal Curse by Jane Alden
Lesbian Speculative Fiction runner up: Lucky 8 by Rae D. Magdon
Best Lesbian Book runner up: The Road to Kalazad, Lucky 8, Safe Haven by Ellen Hoil

Honorable mentions:
The Life in Death by Ann & Michelle Modtland
Murder on Leisure Lake by BJ Phillips
Redemption Road by CJ Murphy
Safe Haven by Ellen Hoil
The Crystal Curse by Jane Alden
The Road to Kalazad by K.L. Mitchell
Lucky 8 by Rae D. Magdon
Taming the Wind by S.L. Kassidy
Find Your Heart by Susan Stocker

Happy holidays, everyone!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Series Workshop Success!

A little while ago I put some workshop suggestions in for the Pacific Northwest Writing Conference (PNWA). I participated in PNWA last year, recording three 20-minute workshops, and it was a lot of fun so I wanted to do it again. Well this year PNWA changed the way they were putting the conference on, no longer doing pre-recorded videos instead only live 60-minute ones. The conference organizer floated the ida to me…and I actually said yes!

I had never done this before (organized and put on a live, interactive, virtual workshop) but I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone and see what I could do.

So, last month I created a workshop on How to Write a Series. I had to come up with an agenda, a PowerPoint, notes for myself, a handout, do Zoom tech checks, and do some run throughs with my family. It was a lot of work. I figured the first half would be mostly me chatting (what a sequel is, what a series is, tricks on how to write series, and tips on how to make the stakes higher, etc.) with some audience participation sprinkled in in the form of questions they can answer in the chat box or via reactions. The second part would be a chance for the audience members to use what I taught them and think about how to incorporate those aspects into their series. After about 10 minutes, we would share our thoughts with the group and then go into a Q&A. There was also also an additional 30 minutes at the end of the 60-minute workshop where I could do a short reading, so I had to prepare for that too.

Well, PNWA kicked off this past week and my workshop happened just yesterday. And, friends, my Tips for Writing a Series workshop was a resounding success!!

I did it.

I ran a LIVE virtual 60-minute workshop. I was a little worried because I had some tech issues in the very beginning; my internet actually stopped working and dropped the Zoom call during my chat with my fabulous moderator Jen Nielson. That got me panicking slightly but after that there were no more tech hiccups at all. SO MANY PEOPLE CAME TO MY WORKSHOP! I did my presentation portion (running the PowerPoint while also looking at my notes and interacting with the attendees) pretty easily and there were some great interactions throughout the presentation, too, which was wonderful. The brainstorming session went well, and the attendees had such great ideas for their series that they felt comfortable sharing, AND there were some good questions during the Q&A too. I even had that 30 minute optional reading/chat after that some attendees stuck around for so that was fun! 

The attendees said some really kind things after the workshop had ended, so I’m pretty damn proud of myself. And a bunch of attendees said they gleaned a lot of inspiration for their series too so yay! Here are some behind-the-scenes photos of what it looked like on my side of the screen.

I DID IT!

And people actually came and they learned and it was just really, really cool. Come to think of it, I may do another one in the future.

Happy Saturday, everyone!

Until next time,
Kellie

{*shoves a few dust bunnies into the corner and wipes some cobwebs away* As many of you know, I used to be very consistent concerning this whole blogging thing, but it’s not on the top of my ToDo list anymore so thanks for all those who stick around for my random posts!}