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

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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

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

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

 

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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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

I’ve Moved Back to Alaska!

Hello everyone!

Last month was crazy busy with ~life stuff~ and because of that, I didn’t get the chance to write blogposts. (I should really write these things in advance and schedule them. *shakes fists at Past Self*)

Why was it so crazy, you ask? Well, the lease on my Portland apartment was going to run out in mid-October and I had decided earlier in the year that I’d move back to Alaska when that happened. I just didn’t realize how much stuff actually went into the “moving back to Alaska” part. It was intense! It felt like the whole month of September I was trying to figure out moving stuff, what to do and how to do it and how long it would take. Even though we had a lovely moving company, it still seemed like Mom and I had to pack up a lot of things. And then there were little details I had to do: removing the internet from my apartment, canceling my safety deposit box at the bank, figuring out who was going to take all of the liquid foodstuff that couldn’t actually be shipped, how the hell I was going to fly with two cats, etc. Suffice it to say, I had a ToDo list of things to get done and amazingly we were able to finish it all.

The airplane ride was a bit of a crazy piece of the puzzle just because of all the luggage (five pieces), our two carryons, and then the two cats/carriers. Mom had to drop me off at the airport in order to return the car and the luggage bit was pretty easy because I just had to wait in line, but the security checkpoint was a doozy. We had to take the cats out of their carriers to walk through the metal detectors, and they were UNHAPPY with that. Very unhappy. Like, scared, meowing, shaking, nervous unhappy. It was probably because of the people, and the loud machines, and the general stress that airports usually provide. (Keep in mind, Mom and I hadn’t slept the night before and it was 5am.) The flight was okay; Raven mostly slept, Cinder meowed a bit, and neither of them wanted water. *sighs* Traveling with pets is just…different than traveling alone.

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BUT we managed to meet up with Dad and Jess, pack all the stuff into the car, and then got back to Mom and Dad’s house at a reasonable hour. Jack (our dog) and my cats get along fine, but Spock and Kirk (Jess’ cats) and my cats are having some trouble adjusting so that’ll take a bit more time.

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Overall, though, the move was successful, and I’m back in Alaska! Now, time to adjust back to the darkness and cold, BUT SOON THERE WILL BE SNOW!

Hope you had a great September and happy October!
Warm regards,
Kellie

 

Two Best Books With Two Best Wines

Happy National Wine Day!

That’s right. It’s National Wine Day, and how should we all celebrate this lovely holiday? By reading books, of course! Here’s two of my favorite wine/book pairings you should consider:

51MUF7bj-lL._SY346_For The Red Wine Lover
PAIR
Cabernet Sauvignon: full-bodied, gripping, blackcurrant notes, good with red meats
WITH
The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss: high fantasy, bold characters, twisting plot
WHY
With the bold taste of the wine and some nice red meat, you’ll really feel like you’re adventuring in a fantasy world with Kvothe and the others. While Kvothe’s stealing some poor chap’s coin, you’ll be stealing a lovely evening.

 

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For The White Wine Lover

PAIR
Riesling: light, fresh, apple notes, good with chicken and fish
WITH
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, Becky Chambers: fun scifi, character-driven plot, great worldbuilding
WHY
With the refreshing taste of the wine and perhaps some fish, you’ll be simply swept away by the wacky characters and fun storyline of the Wayfarer crew. While they’re off having adventures in the black, you’ll be adventuring right there with them.
Eh? EH? It’s a brilliant idea. So after work, stop by the wine shop and grab a bottle, stop by the bookshop and grab a book, and then head home to relax! I hope you enjoy the night off with a good book and a good glass of wine.

Until next time!
Warm regards,
Kellie

A Reflection

I just finished applying to a job and that got me thinking. It’s amazing how much things can change in a year. Last year I had just completed the button-making party for Write to Publish 2016. I was nervous because I’d been working on this day since March 2015 and Chels and I wanted it to go well. (Spoiler Alert: It went well.) I had written a blogpost with the same title as this one and in it, I mused how things were different than the year prior and about how things would be different next year, too. I mused that I’d be graduated, that I’d find a job, and that I might even move to a new location. (While knocking on allll the wood, of course.)

Well, it is “next year” and yes, things are different. I did graduate last year. It was an amazing weekend and I’m so happy I got to share it with my family and friends. Turns out the wood knocking didn’t quite help as quickly as I would’ve liked because I haven’t gotten a job, yet. This fact is honestly the most disappointing thing thus far but I have to keep my hopes up that’ll it happen for me. I also haven’t moved, yet, which makes sense because I would’ve moved for a job. Even if I do get a job in Portland, I was thinking about moving from this location to elsewhere. I love this apartment and it’s been a good home for the past two and a half years, but it’s quite expensive and I don’t need to be near the university any longer.

Next year? Well things will change again, of course. I’ll have a job, I’d moved, and I’ll be facing another challenge that life will unexpectedly throw at me. It’ll be different, but I know I’ll be able to handle it.

For now, though, I have to be focused on finding a full-time job, something that’s been my obsession since I graduated. It’s getting harder with each month, honestly, harder to push on and apply to yet another position even though I’ve applied (and lost) so many before. But I’ll do it, of course, I have to. I’ll write all the cover letters, re-do all the resumes, and participate in all the interviews until I land a position.

Wish me luck!

I hope you’re having a lovely Tuesday!
Warm regards,
Kellie

LifeGoals in 2017

Well, here we are. There are only two more days in 2016, and as this year comes to a close, I’m left to wonder what my goals are for the new one. To that end, I’ve complied a list of goals I’d like to complete in 2017:

Secure a Job
This one’s a no-brainer for me. It’s been my goal since I graduated PSU, but since 2016 was a little harsh, this one has to be the first one on the list. Here’s hoping 2017 will bring more opportunities!

Create and Stick To a Fitness Plan
Note how I didn’t say, “go on a diet.” Diets are tricky and they have a bad connotation in my mind because they remove food that I enjoy. Don’t get me wrong, my fitness plan will still cut back on the unhealthy foods—cookies, I’m looking at you most of all—but it won’t remove them entirely. (I hope to create healthier versions of the unhealthy food.) My plan will also include finding workouts I enjoy—like zumba, step, or swimming—and doing them more often in order to lose weight and become stronger.

Write More/Launch Losing Hold
I’m currently working on the first book of my fantasy series! It’s the first draft so it’s just me getting the story on the page at the moment, but I plan to have the draft done by end of March/beginning of April. Why? Losing Hold is slated to launch in April and that was the perfect deadline for me. Launching Losing Hold is also a goal for this spring, so I’ll be working on a marketing plan and then initiating it, too. I also plan on writing more in this blog, as I seemed to have fallen off the wagon a bit.

Do More Activities
I sway to being a homebody more than anything else. This isn’t exactly a new discovery; I’ve always liked hanging out at home. After all, I have tea, a computer with internet access, food I can cook into something yummy, and my two cats…it’s a cozy and comfortable space. Plus, since I don’t have a job, going out and paying for things I don’t really need—like a drink or a book or a meal or a movie ticket, etc.—seems unwise. I do take walks and go to free things, but I hope to do more activities in the coming year. Meetups come to mind! And wherever I get a job I hope to engage in after-work activities and really try to put myself out there more often. It’s something I always want to do, but don’t do nearly enough.

Make New Friends
This one goes hand-in-hand with the “Do More Activities” idea. Since graduating from PSU, my friend circle has diminished quite a bit. A lot of my friends moved away to bigger and better things (namely: jobs) and I’m quite happy for them, of course! But it means I don’t hang out with friends nearly as often as I probably should. Because of that, I plan on making some new friends this year!

Annnnnd that’s all the goals I’ve formulated thus far! I might add more as time goes on, of course, but I like how the list is shaping up. They all seem like accomplishable goals for me, and I’m excited to learn what opportunities 2017 has in store.

What are some of your life goals for the new year? I’d love it know in the comments.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday this weekend!
Warm regards,
Kellie