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

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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

Losing Hold Update: Cover and Synopsis

Hello all! So last Friday I tried something a little different and had a Facebook event for my cover reveal. It went well, and I’m so excited to show off the cover to Losing Hold, the second book in my Cicatrix Duology!

losingholdebookcover300dpi

I’m thrilled with how it turned out. The colors are super vibrant, it meshes amazingly with the first cover, and it works well with a lot of different aspects of the story. I want to thank Rachel from Rachel George Illustrations for her lovely work on this cover. She does amazing art, and I’m so blessed to have her talents once again. I also want to thank Desert Palm Press for publishing my book! They’re a great company to work with.

Here’s the synopsis for Losing Hold:
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.

This book will be published in April – NEXT MONTH! – and I couldn’t be happier. I’ll post more about it the closer we get to the pub date! (Getting more and more excited as it gets closer.)

Hope you’re having a wonderful Wednesday!
Warm regards,
Kellie

 

Fantasy Inspiration (A Song You May Find Familiar)

Inspiration can come from anywhere, as we all know, and I’m inspired by a lot of things when I’m walking around or just going my daily business. (Like trees and people and flowers and conversations. You know, the usual.)  I scribble things down in a notepad or the Notes section in my iPhone and go about the rest of my day, thanking myself for jotting down the gem to use later on because I KNOW I won’t remember it.

But when it comes to actually sitting down and writing the story? Well, that’s a bit different. I tend to gravitate towards certain things…okay, one certain thing…

And it’s probably because my current WIP is a fantasy and this is a fantasy-based song (obviously) and lets just admit that I love the LOTR soundtrack, but honestly, it’s so much easier to write when I have this on in the background. I dunno why, it just is. So I go with it.

What kinds of songs do you listen to while writing?

I hope you’re having a lovely Sunday night!
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

#IndieAuthorDay

Today is #IndieAuthorDay. It’s a day where publishing professionals (writers, agents, librarians, etc.) gather together and celebrate independent authors. It’s a day where folks talk about the hardships and successes of being an independent author. It’s a day that shines a light on them and their community, while also celebrating local libraries in North America.

And it’s a day that I didn’t hear about until today.

Granted it’s brand new (today was the inaugural launch) and I’ve admittedly been entrenched in following the political pulse of the nation this past week instead of the writing pulse (which is a fault of my own).

But I’m a bit sad that I didn’t hear about it until today.

I would’ve wanted to join in on this celebration and conversation. And I did, a little bit. While I missed the local event here at the Portland library, I was able to catch the presentations on YouTube and retweet some key messages from others. And there’s always next year! (On that note: Mark Oct. 8th on your writing calendar, guys, because its something we should all celebrate!)

It seems like a great idea, though, and with all the other stuff happening in the world right now (and not just political stuff, but also Hurricane Matthew and various amazing cons that I’m currently not at), I’m happy to have heard about it at all. It appears like the inaugural event was a success, too, which is awesome, and I’m quite glad it was trending on Twitter so I can take part in it, in my own small way. (Social media connectivity, FTW!)

Good luck, indie authors, and keep on writing!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Ten Things That Make Me Happy

Hello everyone!

So job hunting is tough. I’ve been looking for two months now and gotten very little leads. Plus it’s been super hot here in Portland, my body is freaking out, and I’m getting more and more annoyed about everything as the weeks go by. So, in order to cheer myself up, I’ve decided to list ten things that make me happy.

  1. chatting or hanging out with my friends and family
  2. whenever my cats do something silly/stupid/funny
  3. talking about my book and/or seeing a new review about Finding Hekate
  4. working on my new fantasy series – I’m up to magic now!
  5. watching (and being inspired by) Critical Role
  6. reading a new book (The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss is turning out okay, but more on that in another post!)
  7. listening to the rain while drinking tea/hot chocolate
  8. swimming
  9. crossing off things on my ToDo list
  10. getting hooked on a new cool TV show

I do this every now and then, write down things that makes me happy or say things that I’m grateful for. It helps to put me in a better mindset. I know I’ll eventually find a job, I know the summer will wind down into fall, and I know my body will stop freaking out. Until then, I just have to be patient and be happy about the good things I have right now.

So, what makes you happy? I’d love to know!
Warm regards,
Kellie

 

Working on Fantasy Races [Help!]

So, now that Losing Hold is in the beta readers hands I have some free time to work on my next series—a five-book fantasy! I’m in the process of worldbuilding right now.

One thing I’m struggling with, though, is creating fantasy races, and I’d love some feedback on the basics I added in this post below. Originally I wanted to have the common races—elves, nymphs, humans, were-people—living in my world, but then I got to thinking how they’re done so much at this point it’s hard to transform them into something different. (And that’s coming from a person who absolutely adores those races.) So I developed a history of my world where there had been those ancient races—elves, nymphs, humans, were-people— and all four races had every type of magic—nature, spirit/religious, animal, and energy—because they were blessed by the goddesses. Something terrible happened (of which I’m still working on) and those races were destroyed. A new generation of races appeared in their place, each one remembering their old race and having some qualities of their old races, but each race can only use one type of magic. Essentially, the magic was splintered.

I like this idea, but now I need to come up with the different races and it’s a bit of a challenge. Thus far I’ve come up with the following:

Race: Nemoras, descendants of the Nymphs
Magic Type: Nature
History: The Nemoras were born of the ashes of nature after the (whatever I’m calling the Big Bad Event). They are powerful folk, grove-dwellers, curators and protectors of all the natural resources, save the animals. In order to get any resource—trees, stone, water, fruits, vegetables, metals—the other races must come to the Nemoras. Because of this, the Nemoras have a good working relationship with the other races, save for one, the Divus. Each grove—regardless of its type—has at least three, if not more, Nemoras.
Physical Traits: Nox (they alternate between change genders as they age); Multi-colored skin representing the grove they protect (poison grove = purple skin, tree grove = green skin, stone grove = gray skin); Narrow eyes; Short hair
Characteristics: They are generally gentle creatures who deal (relatively) fairly, but they can become fierce when needed, especially when trading and protecting their groves.Their gender changes through a connection with their groves and they have no control over it until they turn a certain age when they can choose which gender they would like to have. They are able to come and go as they please, wandering as far away from their grove as they wish. They tend to be a bit haughty, because they feel like they have a lot of power holding the resources (and they do). The power gets to their heads, sometimes.
How they are similar to the Nymphs: They protect certain places in nature, and are associated in some way with that location.
How they are different from the Nymphs: They are not deities; they age with their particular grove; they can transfer from grove to grove (as long as it’s in the same type); they do not sing/dance (because they don’t have time for that kind of nonsense); they can choose to be male.

Race: Divus, descendants of the Humans
Magic Type: Spiritual/Religious
History: Originally from the islands where the ancient Humans lived peaceful lives dealing fairly with everyone and always asking for less than they needed, the Divus are explorers. They are seafarers and land roamers, always on the move, always staying in the darkness. (The daylight is dangerous after all, but they are seen as cowardly.) They rarely trade with the Nemoras because they can harvest food from the sea and are the only race that can do so. (Though they do feel like the Nemoras are greedy and the groves should be equally shared with everyone.)
Physical Traits: Male and Female; Very thin-skinned (get cuts easily); Nearly translucent; Overly bright eyes that seem to glow in the dark; Thin hair of varying colors; Thin build
Characteristics: Divus always wears armor (of some kind) so they don’t get cut. They worship the moon goddess. They will steal from the towns to get better food, weapons, clothing, but they are the traders of the world, who have tenuous deals with each major city and transport major goods back and forth.
How they are similar to the Humans: The roaming aspects are very human-like and the resourcefulness of getting things from the sea.
How they are different from the Humans: They have translucent, thin skin and overly bright, glowing eyes.

Race: Elu, descendants from the Elves
Magic Type: Energy
History: The Elu want to regain their place in the high towers like their ancestors. They are seen as lower class, hard workers, and do the grunt work of the towns and cities. They are the famers and the cleaners. They are out in the daylight doing the dangerous job of transporting minor resources to and from the groves. They want to move up in the world, but because of how they look it’s hard for them (which makes them annoyed).
Physical Traits: Male and Female; Dark-skinned; Tall; Very muscular; Tiny ears; Wide eyes (differently colored); Bushy hair (usually black or brown)
Characteristics: They are usually happy folk, getting joy from the friends and family around them, but they tend to grow sour when working. They learn quickly and are well known for their hard work ethic. They are very smart. They have a great relationship with the Nemoras and tend to protect them from the Divus. Their voices are light. Only a few have ascended to power.
How they are similar to the Elves: Their voices are similar, they are tall and smart, and they like working with nature.
How they are different from the Elves: They have dark skin and bushy hair, and are usually in the working class.

Race: Vagari, descendants of the Venators (were-people)
Magic Type: Animal
History: The Vagari are beast-tamers, held in high regard since the beasts of this world are highly dangerous (dragons, wyverns, basilisks) and usually hold high positions of authority in the cities. They cannot transform into the beasts like their ancient races could, but they do have characteristics of the beasts (strength, speed, scaled skin, tail, claws). Because of this, they also choose the path of guardians and warriors.
Physical Traits: Male and female; Light brown skin; Varying beast attributes
Characteristics: Even though they can be dangerous, they are usually friendly, loyal, and smart. They treat everyone fairly, even in battle. They like being around people.
How they are similar to the Venators: They have animalistic characteristics and can talk to animals. They also like being in “packs” or around a bunch of people.
How they are different from the Venators: They cannot turn into the beasts; they are not “wild” but are in positions of power and are at home in the city.

So…yeah. That’s what I have thus far. It’ll probably change as I write the characters and the story, but I wanted to get the basics down so I can see how they work together, where conflict would arise, and what kinds of plotlines could work.

I’d really love some feedback and some help in fleshing these out. What do you think of these races? What works and what could be changed? Comments, critiques, helpful suggestions are all welcome!

Let me know in the comments!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Blogpost Giveaway Starts Today!

Hello everyone!

As promised I’m going to give away a signed copy of Finding Hekate this week to a fellow blogger. Here’s how it works: I’m going to ask a specific question below; you, my lovely readers, will answer that question in the comments; and then on Monday, May 9th, I’ll announce the winner! And, yes, new readers can enter, too, just make sure to subscribe to my blog first!

(This is a fast turn-around, I know, but this box of books is burning a hole through my table. Plus my cat keeps chewing on the cardboard, and I want all the books to be out before she gets in.)

GIVEAWAY QUESTION:
What makes you fall in love with a book?

I’m also announcing the Newsletter Giveaway winner tomorrow! I’ll be picking a winner first thing tomorrow morning, so there’s still time to enter. If you’d like to, head on over to my website and subscribe. Additionally, I’m going to be doing some social media-specific giveaways next week, so keep an eye on my Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts.

I look forward to reading your answers, and I hope you have a lovely weekend!
Warm regards,
Kellie