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

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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

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

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!

Social Media Tips: For Readers

Social media can be a scary place, a dark ocean just waiting to swallow you whole. But it can also be a connection, a connection to your friends, your family. A connection to your local writing groups, extended writing community, and your fans. It’s scary, but it doesn’t have to be! Here are some quick tips for the lovers of books.

If you’re just starting out and social media is a terrifying, churning sea:

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  • If you love a book, search for it on whatever social media site you want to use! Doing so will let you make instant connections through book chats, social media groups, and fellow lovers of the book you also love. You may also find some folks who have a differing opinion than you about said book, which can spark some interesting conversations.
  • If you don’t see anyone talking about this book that you love, start up a conversation! It can even be a simple as a short tweet about what you like or a longer blogpost examining the pros/cons of it that you share in your social media circles. Chances are, other folks like the book, too, and if they haven’t started talking about it, they will now.


If you’ve waded into the social media depths before and are more confident:

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  • Join in on a few hashtags for readers: #FridayReads is a popular one. #WeNeedDiverseBooks is a good conversation starter.
  • Create images with quotes from your favorite book or by your favorite author. Crafting these are fun and let your book-lover followers which books are near and dear to your heart.


If you wear a trident on your back and can swim in any social media waters, no matter how rough:

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  • Try creating a social media hashtag game about your preferred genre. It’s a lot of work and takes some foresight and a bunch of planning, but it’s pretty fun. Not only will you gain a lot of interesting insights to your favorite genre, you’ll also be able to start many different conversations, too, depending on what kinds of questions you ask in the hashtag game itself. Plus, hashtag games are simply a fun way to meet new people and chat about how books are awesome.

No matter your comfort level, social media is about having fun and making connections, so dive deep and have a good time!

Happy Sunday!
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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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

Geeky Gift Ideas

The holidays are upon us once again, and it’s time to buy those last-minute gifts. Instead of screaming internally at your insanely-long GiftToDo List, take a look at these ideas and see if they’re right for that geeky friend of yours!

For the Star Lover: Solar Orbit Necklace

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For the (Harry Potter) Book/Movie Lover: Harry Potter House Comforter

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For the Trinket Lover: Potion bottle

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For the Board Game Lover: Pandemic

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For the Steampunk Child: Mechanical DIY 20-Minute Timer

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For the Critical Role Lover: Chronicles of Exandria Art Book

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For the Cat Lover: Cat’s Meow Stationary Set

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For the Scientist: Ethanol Stemless Wine Glass

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For the Star Trek Lover: Star Trek Logo Mug

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For the Book Lover: The Book is Better mug

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SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT: For the Science Fiction Lover: Finding Hekate and Losing Hold
(f/f scifi romance; perfect for Firefly lovers, too!)

FINDING HEKATE COVER WEB VIEW 72dpi   losingholdebookcover300dpi

Hope this gift list has paired yours down a little, and happy hunting for the rest!

Warm regards,
Kellie

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

Five More Writing Tips

Hello my fellow writing nerds!

Sooo, I recently realized that I haven’t posted on here in over a month. It’s been a trying month for me, but that’s no excuse! Maybe I should try to write a bunch of posts and then schedule them? Annnnnnyway, what better way to start this little blog back up again than some more Writing Tips I enjoy:

1.) This writing tip comes from Jack London and I may or may not have used it here before but it’s one of my favorites: “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” (Spoiler: It’s true for life, too.)

2.) Set your work aside for a little bit before diving back into it again for another read through. Coming back to the work with a fresh eyes helps to catch the little things you may have missed if you went straight into editing mode. It might also help you get some new ideas for the work, too!

3.) Your characters don’t have to be likable (like villains), but they do have to be believable and compelling. Add in some faults to the character. Some good things, too, maybe. Definitely some motivation for why they’re doing this terrible thing.

4). The first draft, or second draft, or third draft doesn’t have to be perfect. Keep writing, put that story on paper, and then flesh it out and mold it into something beautiful later on.

5.) Sometimes characters have to walk through fire and come out better for it on the other side. (I’m paraphrasing a favorite quote of mine from Critical Role here, said by none other than Patrick Rothfuss.) But seriously, it’s true. Make your characters go through hard things and see what happens to them while they do and see how they fair on the other side. Did they crack under pressure? Did they embrace the flames? Did they get stronger or weaker once it was over? Did they learn anything? The truth is, we never really learn things unless we make mistakes and overcome them. Get better because of them. The characters have to go through a similar transformation. (Granted, the characters could crack, too, could feel weaker, could feel sad instead of empowered and that’s good, too, because some folks do crack under pressure or don’t learn the thing after one or two mistakes.) Put them through the fire and see what comes out the other side.

Well, that’s all for now. I hope everyone is having a lovely Labor Day weekend!
Warm regards,
Kellie