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

 

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Writing Update: Fantasy Series, Book One!

I AM DONE WITH MY FANTASY MANUSCRIPT!

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

Such is the life of a writer.

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

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

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

Read An Ebook Week: FINAL DAY of Sales!

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

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

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Here’s a little bit about Finding Hekate:

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

And here’s a bit about Losing Hold:

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

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

Have a wonderful weekend!
Warm regards,
Kellie

 

Nine Writing Goals for 2018

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

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

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

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

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

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

Happy First Day of 2018!
Warm regards,
Kellie

 

 

 

A Writer’s How-To: Memorable Settings

I find the easiest way to create a memorable setting is to make it unique. If your story is set in the mountains, give the mountains a cool name with some weird creatures living in it. If the story is set in space, make the spaceship feel like home and add some quirks to it. (After all, we all have that ONE FREAKING FLOORBOARD that creeks like some horror story bad guy is coming to kill you in the middle of the night.) If your story is a romance, make the setting cozy by adding in something that means the world to the main character or something that brings up some unfinished memories.

If you give the setting something specific, something unique to itself, some defining character, readers will remember it better. (It’s the same with making memorable characters!)

Three of my favorite settings are, in no particular order: Hogwarts, because of the ghosts and the moving staircase and trick doors; Serenity, because even though it fell apart ALL THE TIME it became a home and sanctuary to the crew; the Arenas in the first and second Hunger Games books, because it seriously messed with the tributes in unique and challenging ways.

Why do I like them most? They all offered something unexpected and added dimensions to the story, as well as pushed the story along. Doing so with your settings will help your readers remember them!

Readers: what are your favorite settings and why?
Writers: what are some ways you make your settings believable?

Happy Friday, and until next time!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Book Giveaway Announcement!

Hello fellow nerds!

Would you like to win a free book? (Of course, you would. I mean, really, who wouldn’t want to win a free book? Crazy people, that’s who. Are you crazy? I think not.) Well, my non-crazy fellow nerds, you’re in luck!

I’m hosting a six-book giveaway of Losing Hold over on my author Facebook page! I’m going to sign them, too, so you get to see my pretty scrawl. How do you enter? Simply Like and Comment on this pinned post about who your favorite scifi protagonist is! I did something similar with Finding Hekate and folks really loved it, so I’m hoping my readers like this opportunity, too!

Here are the official specs.

Rules/Eligibility Requirements:
– To Enter: Like and Comment about who your favorite scifi protagonist is
– Giveaway starts on May 16th and ends on May 30th, midnight PST
– US participants only, no international fans (sorry!)
– Adults only (18+)
– SIX winners will be randomly drawn from the entries and announced on May 31st
– No purchase necessary, but feel free to share if you’d like!

About The Book You Could Win:

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In this sequel to Finding Hekate and 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 go like and comment today! It’s super easy, and you could win a free book!

I hope you have a lovely Saturday.
Until next time,
Kellie

Inspiration: Where Do Stories Come From?

Stories. Where do they come from? What is that one spark that makes you traverse the long, windy road that is a completed story, whether it’s a poem, flash fiction, short fiction, or series of novels? That idea has to come from somewhere, right? It’s a question that authors get all the time during interviews and to be completely honest, that one “aha” moment can come from anything, anywhere, anytime.

Sometimes it’s a location that jogs the creativity. Or that couple walking down the street hand-in-hand. Sometimes it’s as simple as a sense-memory from your childhood or a dream or another book. Sometimes you have a really great one-liner that you just can’t stop thinking about. Sometimes—like in the case for Suzanne Collins—it came come from simply flipping through TV channels. Sometimes—like in the case for J.K. Rowling—a fully fleshed character walks into your mind like they’ve been there for years.

So, really, that spark of inspiration can come from anything, anywhere, anytime, and that’s the excitement of being a writer. You never know when an idea will smack you across the face and demand you pay attention. It can be the littlest of things that makes your creativity churn.

Case in point, here’s where the spark for the entire Cicatrix Duology came from. I had a short story due for my undergraduate writing club and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what to write about. Completely stumped. Then, these three simple lines popped into my head:

“We have come to collect you, Mia.” Her left hand twitched. “We have come.”

That’s it. Not the scifi aspect. Not the plotline. Not even Mia herself. Just those three little lines. But those were enough to spiral my creativity into overdrive and start asking questions. Who wanted her? What’s with her left hand? How long had she been running? Why was she running? After that, the scifi aspect clicked into place, then the scar, then the character, then…well…everything else.

So here’s a little tip: Pay Attention. Write those things down. Even if you can’t get to the idea right now, put it in a ToWrite folder and save it for later. You never know when you’ll want to come back to it.

If you’d like to read the Cicatrix Duology, you can get Finding Hekate here and the (newly published!!) Losing Hold here.

Until next time!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Happy Launch Day for LOSING HOLD

It’s out! Losing Hold is out! *does a little dance* It’s been launched into the world, and I hope people enjoy it. I so, so, so, so look forward to reading what folks have to say!

Here are some things about the book, in case you didn’t know:

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What It’s About:
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.

What Folks Are Saying About It:

“I have to admit I kept forgetting I was reading it for a purpose, and kept getting lost in the words—in a good way! It flows well, I don’t have any lingering questions (other than wondering how I can live in your mind—I want to hang out with Mia and Cassidy now!), and it fits nicely after the first one.” ~ Becky Wright, beta reader

Where You Can Buy It:
Amazon: Digital and Print
Createspace: Print
Smashwords: Digital
You’ll soon be able to get it through Bella Books, too!

Celebration!
I can’t believe Losing Hold is out. It’s the completion of the duology, the wrap-up of Mia and Cassidy’s story, the end of this grand adventure! It’s a pretty big deal. So, in celebration of the book release, I’ve decided to make myself a lovely dinner of baked salmon, veggies, and a glass of wine. Plus cookies for dessert! It’s going to be a yummy night indeed.

I’m off to start cooking! If you have any questions about the book, please do let me know in the comments! And, if you buy my book, I hope you enjoy the adventure! (I certainly did.)
Until next time,
Kellie

 

How The Heck Do You Name Your MC?

So, you have a great story. A plot that’ll throw readers out of their seats. A main set of characters that are relatable and funny and unique. A twisted villain that straddles the line between true darkness and having a reason why they’re doing their evil deeds. You might even have a title for this masterpiece. But then you stop and realize: you don’t have a name for your main characters. What are you supposed to call them? What name would hold the mantle of the story? What should the minor characters shout as they claim victory?

Some authors have no issues finding the right name for their characters. Some authors spend days or months trying to find the right one. I belong in the “days or months” category. It takes me ages to figure out a name that I like, but because of that I’ve developed a set of tools that helps me. Maybe you could use those tools, too? Here are three ways I discover my character names like the ones in my Cicatrix Duology:

Try To Determine What They Represent In The Story
This is an old technique but I use it all the freaking time. Is your character brave? Strong? Shifty? Honorable? Scary, maybe? I used this for both my Across the Stars business owner Cassidy Gates and the big baddies Acedians (not a single character but are important enough they are a single big-bad entity). I knew Cassidy would be smart and independent and more clever than Mia, she’d be able to see through Mia’s ruse in a way no one else could, so I researched those traits and found her name. For the Acedians, I wanted to reflect their last stage, where the human part of them is taken away and they’re basically a shell for Donavin’s use. Adecia means “apathetic” and worked perfectly.

Pick Them Because Of An Inside Joke
Now don’t walk away from this or scoff. It’s a weird way of thinking, but my spaceship captain Mia Foley falls into this category. I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to name her, and originally it had been Maria but then I kept on thinking of the song from Sound of Music and kept humming “How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria” in my head whenever her name came up. (Spoiler: In the two books, her name comes up a lot.) It wasn’t working out. So I thought about her story, about her past, her capture, her running, her always trying to stay one step ahead. And then it hit me, she literally tried to be M.I.A. (missing in action) after blowing up every ship. I realize it’s not the standard military way of using it (where it explains a missing person after a battle) but she tried to disappear. It made me chuckle and when I wrote her name in the story, it just worked.

Try One Of Those Name Generators
I really enjoy combing through the random name generators to find unique names for my characters – like Nin, who you’ll meet in Losing Hold. I never use the actual names that pop up but I like combining certain vowel sounds I see and figure out if it works, especially for last names or fantasy names.

Those are my tricks of the trade. What are some of yours? Leave a comment!

Hope you’re having a lovely Easter (if you celebrate) and a lovely Sunday (if you don’t)!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Join Me For #SciFiCircle!

Hello fellow nerds,

I’ve been wanting to do a Twitter hashtag game for a while now, ever since I found out that it was a thing last year. It’s such a cool idea, bringing fellow creatives together to celebrate something (writing, fandoms, events, etc.) so I decided to start one too!

In honor of my book Losing Hold coming out in April, I’m hosting a #SciFiCircle hashtag game on Twitter, starting tomorrow and going through the entire month!

There will be one question per day, posted from my Twitter account @Kellie_Doherty between 9–10am PST. Folks who want to join in can answer the questions (using the hashtag) and hopefully connect with other science fiction lovers. I’ll be answering the questions, too!

Here’s a little preview of the questions:
What’s your favorite classic science fiction book?
What’s your favorite recent scifi book?
Who’s your favorite scifi character?
Who’s your favorite scifi villain?

I’m excited to start this game and I look forward to connecting with other scifi lovers!

If you’re on Twitter and you enjoy science fiction, you should join in!
Warm regards,
Kellie