Into The Thick Of It

It’s been a pretty crazy past few weeks. Good crazy, fun crazy, that excited crazy that happens over the holidays. I had a lovely time with my family and friends. (I hope you did, too, by the way!)

This was my first week of my second to last term in grad school. Monday, the first day of my second to last term in grad school, was a snow day. It was also my birthday. After that random day off from work, I was back in the thick of it: classes, projects, syllabi, new teams, new ToDo lists, new blogposts to be written, new articles to edit, new schedules, and all new things to freak out about.

The first week is historically pretty relaxed in class, with the random icebreakers, the quick introduction to the syllabi, the even faster overview of the main points of class. And in Business of Book Publishing class, that was pretty true.

But at Ooligan Press? Heck no.

Chelsea and I emailed back and forth that Sunday and Monday, we had Exec, met our new team, and had PrOps on Wednesday, and then Chels and I met again on today. Just for Write to Publish stuff.

Because as of right now, it’s three weeks away.

THREE WEEKS AWAY, PEOPLE!

We’ve had our downs—a vendor dropped out—and ups—we got a new one!—over the holiday and during this first week, but overall I think we’re in a good spot. We have a pretty big team and a comprehensive January ToDo.

I’m excited about Write to Publish. I’m going to be a bundle of nerves until after the closing speech, but I’m excited, too. Everything I’ve been working towards since March of last year will come to fruition on January 30th. And I can’t wait to see how it all pans out.

How did your first week of classes go? Have anything exciting happening this month? Let me know in the comments!

Warm regards,
Kellie

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Eight Reasons Why I Write

Hello all!

This week I’ve been doing things like getting ready for Write to Publish 2016—brainstorming cool ideas to pursue in January—and thinking about my novel Finding Hekate more—brainstorming marketing ideas and review places—and napping. There’s been a lot of napping. And watching Critical Role. It’s the week after finals, don’t judge!

I meant to write more this week, but I didn’t. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I wrote a 20-page (double-spaced) paper on fanfiction for finals week. Maybe it’s because I wrote a 9-page (single-spaced) transmedia marketing plan for a digital teen scavenger hunt for finals week. Maybe it’s because I didn’t plan time per day to write. I just know I didn’t write.

But, because of Suddenly Jamie’s post last week, I did wonder why I write. Here are some reasons:

  1. Because I love characterization.
    • I’ve always loved creating the characters. Ever since I was little I always wanted to figure characters out, their names, eye color, hair color, backgrounds, family, friends, who they are, what they want. It was fun to create them, to put a part of myself into them or to be something I could never be. Now, I know from all those motivational posters that I can be anyone I want to be. But a dragon hunter? Technically, I can’t be that. A woman who had to kill to survive? I really don’t wanna be that. But I do want to write about it.
  2. Because I love worldbuilding.
    • Worldbuilding, like characterization, is another one of my favorites. Creating a whole new world, crafting the rules, the customs, the cultures of these new peoples. Of these new races. The history and lore of the world is in my mind (or in my notes) even if the readers never know about it.
  3. Because it makes me feel powerful, in a weird, strange, awkward kind of way.
    • It may (or may not?) be apparent, but I like creating things. Crafting worlds and characters out of nothing. It makes me feel powerful, in a way. I’ve created numerous worlds and characters, for short stories, flash fictions, poems, novels. The readers may never know it all, and probably shouldn’t know it all, but I know it. And that’s a cool feeling.
  4. Because I want to get better at it.
    • Writing is…overly romanticized in some ways. When you say “writer” we all get this image of a figure hunched over a computer in the midst of a creative breakthrough surrounded by coffee and stacks of paper and cats. (Okay, I added the cats part.) In other ways, the romance is spot on, like when you get a burst of creativity. When you write all night long (or all day). When you get that flash of a character or of a world or of some badass weapon this or that character really should use. But it’s not easy by any means. It takes work. And a good portion of why I write is so I can become a better writer.
  5. Because I want to get better at it.
    • I need to get better at it. I need to hone my craft! Practice makes perfect, you know? The way I figure it, the best is yet to come.
  6. Because I want to get better at it.
    • Yes, I know. Three times. But it bears repeating. I want to—no, I will get better at this craft of mine.
  7. Because becoming an author is a dream of mine.
    • It’s a dream of mine to be published. And right now, that dream is coming true! But I don’t want to be a one-hit-wonder. I want to publish a bunch of books. This duology is just the start!
  8. Because it’s fun!
    • Some people build things. Some people compose music. Some people teach kids. There is a whole world of things people can have fun doing. For me, it’s writing!

There are many other reasons why I write, but these are some pretty good ones! So, why do you write? Or, why do you do the thing you’re most passionate about? Let me know in the comments!

Have a safe and happy holiday season!
Warm regards,
Kellie

The Wax Bullet War

One of the assignments I was given in Ooligan Press lab was to read one of our backlist books and post the review on two review sites, like Amazon and Goodreads. I did just that, but I also wanted to share it here, too, since the book is a powerful one indeed. The book I read is called The Wax Bullet War, written by Sean Davis and published in April of 2014.

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The Wax Bullet War

Wax Bullet War is a compelling narrative, one that speaks to the horrors a soldier faces in war and to the struggles he faces at home. It is a powerful read, an emotional rollercoaster through death of comrades in arms and friends, to lost lovers, to ethics of war and the world, and beyond. Sean’s voice is perfect, crisp, clear, and straight to the point, filled with a dark humor that keeps the momentum of the story moving forward. His tale of PTSD when he returns home is a chilling reminder of how powerful war is and how it affects our soldiers on the ground and at home. If you’ve never been to war (or had friends or family who’ve been to war), read this book. It’s true description of what goes over there and how the men and women deal with it is an insightful read. I would highly recommend this book to my friends and family.

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So why, since I posted this review to Amazon and Goodreads, am I sharing it on here, too?

Because it’s important. Because this book is one of the select non-fiction books I’ve read that struck me as something deeper. And because I’m recommending it to all of you. It’s a one-of-a-kind read, and I’m proud that I work for the press that published it.

Have a great Halloween, folks! Keep it spooky (and safe) out there!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Grad School Class Presentations

So, it’s currently the end of Week Three here at PSU, which means everything is gearing up to be busy for the rest of the term. It means we have big assignments due for class pretty soon. What’s up next for my classes? Presentations.

Yup. Presentations.

*shudders*

I’m still not used to getting up and talking in front of a class. I don’t know why. I participated in toastmasters, did drama, and co-created a reading event back in my hometown which I MCed every now and then. And I’ve also had previous classes have me to present. I also was a moderator for the Willamette Writers conference over the summer! So I don’t know why this freaks me out so much, it just does.

To combat that freak out, I prepare.

There are many different ways of preparing for a presentation. Some people go over the material once or twice. Some people look at bullet points. Some people just simply know everything and are perfectly find rambling for a few minutes. Some people don’t prepare at all.

I am none of those people.

In order to prepare for my presentations, I memorize. And by memorize, I do mean the whole entire thing.

Now, it might be a catch from my drama days when standing in front an audience forced you to memorize all your lines and spout them out perfectly each time. It might be something from my toastmasters group that had a “no notes at all” policy. Or it could just be a weird little quirk of mine.

I dunno.

Either way, that’s what I’m doing this weekend. Memorizing a presentation. And what am I doing next weekend? Memorizing another one.

Yup, that’s my life nowadays. (And, by the way, this persistent cough is really not making this process any easier.)

How do you prepare for a presentation? Any tips and tricks you can give me?

Warm regards,
Kellie

Postscript – I have a new goal for this school year. I’m not going to memorize a presentation. Not these upcoming ones…or the Write to Publish 2016 stuff…but by the end of the school year in June I’ll try it out. See what happens. Maybe I’ll burst into flames of endless embarrassment. But maybe I won’t. You never really do know, do you?

Let the Freaking Out Commence: School Is Starting

PSU starts on Monday. This Monday. Two days from now. And to say I’m unprepared for my second (and final) year of graduate school would be an understatement.

Things I Don’t Have Prepared (followed by my internal screaming):

  • Class Locations (WHERE ARE MY CLASSES?)
  • Class Schedule (WHEN ARE MY CLASSES?)
  • Notebooks (WHERE ARE MY NOTEBOOKS?)
  • Calendar Dates (WHEN IS EVERYTHING?)
  • Internship Research (WHAT DO THEY DO?)
  • Vanguard Copyediting (WHY HAVEN’T I PUT IT ON MY SCHEDULE?)
  • Chronicle Blogging (WHAT AM I DOING FOR BLOG POSTS AND WHEN?)
  • This Blogging Schedule (SAME AS ABOVE!)
  • DPP Author Stuff (WHAT AM I DOING FOR MARKETING?)

So. Many. Things.

So, to that end, this weekend I’m going to be preparing for school.

Thankfully I had a meeting with Chelsea, my co-manager for Write to Publish today, so we have that pretty much covered. And, to be fair, I am having coffee with Ripple Grove Press (my internship place) on Monday, so we’ll figure stuff out then.

I’m just much more prepared by now, you know? It’s awkward. And oddly stressful. But I have my tea with milk and honey and I have a plan of attack for getting everything done, so I’ll be good.

Are you prepared for school to start? Or were you, when it did? (Surely I can’t be the only one, right? Right?)

Warm regards,
Kellie