Flight Anthology Pubbed Today!

front-coverHello everyone!

Guess what? The 2016 Queer Sci Fi Flash Fiction anthology Flight is here, and I have a story in it! My scifi piece is entitled “A Sub Mechanic’s Panic.” It’s surrounded by some other amazing stories; I’m so happy to be included!

Here’s a bit about the competition:

A 300-word story should be easy, right? Many of our entrants say it’s the hardest thing they’ve ever written.

Queer Sci Fi’s Annual Flash Fiction Contest challenges authors to write a complete LGBTQ speculative fiction micro-story on a specific theme. “Flight” leaves much for the authors to interpret—winged creatures, flight and space vehicles, or fleeing from dire circumstances.

Some astonishing stories were submitted—from horrific, bloodcurdling pieces to sweet, contemplative ones—and all LGBTQ speculative fiction. The stories in this anthology include AI’s and angels, winged lions, and wayward aliens. Smart, snappy slice of life pieces written for entertainment or for social commentary. Join us for brief and often surprising trips into 110 speculative fiction authors’ minds.

Other important details and links:

The book is available in eBook form (4.99), and will soon be available in paperback with b/w illustrations inside (12.99) and in a special collector’s edition with color illustrations (24.99).
Publisher (info only, no buy link yet)
Amazon
ARe
Kobo
Goodreads
Goodreads Series Page
Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and Apple: Coming soon

If you like speculative fiction in the LGBT sphere, check out this anthology! I said it earlier but I’ll say it again, there are some amazing stories in this book, and I’m so happy to be among them.

(Also, writing a 300-word story is tough; fellow writers, you should try it sometime.)

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

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Blogpost Giveaway – Winner Announcement!

Hello everyone,

My Finding Hekate Blogpost Giveaway officially ended today, and the winner is: Crazy Grad Mama.

Congratulations, Crazy Grad Mama!!

The winner was chosen randomly, but I got some amazing responses to my question of What makes you fall in love with a book? Here’s what Crazy Grad Mama said:

“Hmm, good question. It depends on the type of book (fiction vs. non-fiction, etc.), but I’d say the one constant that really appeals to me in a book is good pacing. Not too slow or with too many extraneous details. It doesn’t have to be full of cliffhangers or anything, but I love it when I’m always excited to turn the page.”

I wanted to thank everyone who participated, too! I loved reading through all the comments. If you would like the chance to win some free signed copies of Finding Hekate, there are still two more giveaways going on over on my social media accounts:

  • A Twitter/Facebook Giveaway: Follow @Kellie_Doherty and retweet my Giveaway post today to be entered into my #bookgiveaway! You can also enter on Facebook by Liking my Facebook Giveaway post and Author Page. Two of my followers will win signed copies! I’ll announce those winners on Thursday, May 12th.
  • An Instagram Giveaway: Everyone who follows me and Likes my Giveaway post on Instagram will be entered to win a free book! This post also went live on today, and the winner of this one will be announced on Thursday, May 12th, too.

Good luck to everyone and again, congrats, Crazy Grad Mama! I look forward to sending you your signed copy of Finding Hekate!
Warm regards,
Kellie

 

Write to Publish 2016 Writing Contests!

I can’t believe it’s already October!

Submissions for the Write to Publish 2016 writing contests close on the 30th of this month, so if you have any marvelous Flash Fiction or PNW Poetry pieces, be sure to submit them! I’ve included some of the basic information below, but you can find the rest of the submission guidelines here.


Write to Publish, Ooligan Press’s annual publishing conference, in partnership with the Timberline Review, a literary journal from the Willamette Writers publishing a wide variety of content, and Cirque, a literary journal publishing Alaskan and Pacific Northwest writing, are excited to offer a flash fiction contest and a Pacific Northwest poetry contest this year. Submission for both contests open September 8 and close October 30, 2015.

Entries for the Pacific Northwest poetry contest may be original, unpublished works in any style of poetry up to 40 lines and should be centered on a Pacific Northwest theme. The winning poet will be notified in the first week of December and will win a cash prize of $100, a reading at the conference, and publication in the Timberline Review

Entries for the flash fiction contest must be 700 words or fewer, original, unpublished, and double spaced. The winning writer will be notified the first week of December and will win a cash prize of $100, a reading at the conference, and publication with Cirque.

The contest fee is $10, and only one story or poem may be submitted per person, per contest. Please send submissions via email to w2p@ooliganpress.pdx.edu with “Flash Fiction Contest Submission” or “PNW Poetry Contest Submission” as the subject line.


We’ve been getting some wonderful submissions thus far, but we want more! I’d love to read some from my writing friends here in the blogosphere. And, if you know of any writers, pass the word onto them, too!

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.
Warm regards,
Kellie

Taking Criticism

One of the hardest things about writing (aside from the blank page, of course) is showing your work to others and taking criticism for it. Some people don’t handle it well. I’ve had people get angry and defensive, or flat out leave the group because they can’t handle criticism. They can’t handle other people picking apart scenes that don’t make sense, analyzing characters for a weird action done, or even commenting on strange dialogue.

And I’m not talking about the YUR DUM kind of criticism. The ones who are just there to make others feel badly about themselves, who sit around typing away on the keyboard the most insulting thing they can imagine, and don’t help the writer at all. Those people are useless to the writing craft.

I’m talking about the ones who are actively trying to help make your writing better. Constructive criticism, is the term.

But even constructive criticism, in its nicest form, can be hard to swallow sometimes.

For example, I recently got my comments back from the 2014 Sandy Writing Contest for the first chapter or so of my novel, FINDING HEKATE (unpublished as of yet). I got an extremely good score from one judge, but then scored so low on my second that they produced a third to critique the work. The third judge also gave me a lower score than I would’ve liked.

At first, I was disappointed.

I didn’t want to read anything bad about the work. I had already thrown it through the incinerator, bellowed the ashes away, and polished the remains so much already, after all. How could so much be wrong with it?

But then I sucked up all the damn courage I could muster and read the comments. Maybe something would ring true, after all. Maybe I’d get something out of it.

And, you know what? I did. I actually agree with (most of) them! Yes, some comments are truly off the wall, but others I can see how it would be confusing to a first-time reader. It made me look at my work differently.

And so, into the incinerator once more! It’s sad to rip apart a work, to cut certain scenes out and insert new ones… but it’s also exciting. I can re-visit the world, tweak the characters, and start off with a better bang. Granted it’s only the first chapters, but that’s where you really hook the reader, so I’m glad to re-visit it.

I feel like that’s how you should approach constructive criticism. It’s okay to be disappointed at first. But then look again. Maybe something they say will make you look at your work in a whole different light. I did, and I’m happier for it.

Random Aside: The Living Room is hosting another event tonight – 7pm at Jitters in Eagle River.  If you have some free time on your Friday night, you should come! It’s a different experience every time.

Another Random Aside: Things might be changing around this little blog… you’ve been warned. (And, also, I have to make a final decision.)

Have a lovely weekend!
Warm regards,
Kellie

What’s in a Name?

Everything, apparently.

So much so I’m finished with the second installment of my duology (the first draft at least), but I cannot for the life of me come up with a title for it. What if I pick the wrong one? What if it doesn’t suit the novel? What if it’s totally bizarre? (Some of my writer friends can attest to some of my… odder of choices.)

And I’m agonizing over it!

So my question to all of you… how do you decide on a name?

Warm regards,
Kellie

Post Script – And, on a completely unrelated note, I completed the Sledgehammer Writing Contest last week (36 hours, 6 prompts, 1 story) and readers get a say in who wins – everyone gets three votes! Check out mine, “A Chance Encounter”, and vote for me if you like it! Go to this website: http://sledgehammercontest.com/.

Oh Horror, Why Do You Haunt Me?

So I’m thinking about writing a new short story for an upcoming contest (A Sword and Laser Anthology, if you haven’t heard of it, you should check it out! Here’s their website – http://swordandlaser.com/) and as I’m attempting to come up with new characters and new plotlines I find I always seem to fall back on my standard…

Horror.

Now, it’s not like I love horror. It’s not like I love frightening scenes and scary creatures but it seems to be the genre I gravitate towards when writing. I can write other things, of course – my NaNoNovel was biopunk, my poems are often about love, my flashes are about dragons – but when I first think of a story I think of horror first. (It took me awhile to get out of that mindset when writing my current sci-fi novel, and even then I’m basically writing about an antihero anyway.)

What’s odd is I don’t like watching horror films. Yes, I sometimes do watch them but my overactive imagination tends to have me up at night wondering if that tiny creaking on the stairs is an ax-murderer coming to get me or that shadow is a poltergeist hovering over my bed. Not good things to think about when trying to sleep. (I do, however, watch The Walking Dead every Sunday. Zombies aren’t that scary to me. Weird, right?)

Why do I write horror then?

Well, I like writing bad characters. I like writing that sexy temptress who will kill you if you get too close, that jaded lover who will get revenge, the misunderstood nymph whose job it is to destroy the forest. I enjoy writing about characters that belong in those dark empty alleyways. I like writing that… and I like to think that I’m good at writing that too. (Ask my writer friends, they’ll tell you how often I end things ‘badly’ for my characters.)

And it’s not like I would ever want to meet these people but the psychopaths you hear about roaming the streets right now, for all their terrifying attitudes, are fascinating to me. How did they get that way? Why are they doing these terrible things? I ask, and poof, a story.

So it’s no surprise that I’m slowly heading that direction when coming up with a new short for this contest. Even now I can see a character in my mind discussing his origin with his latest kill while eating a limb. See? Creepy. And yet, intriguing.

Sometimes I think the genre is misunderstood. When I, as a 5’5” 24-year-old woman wearing glasses and sporting short hair say I write horror, people get a look of shock on their faces and, more often than not, disgust plays on their features as well. I have to go on to explain that I don’t write the slasher-type pieces, the lets just write to torture the reader’s scenes, or the age-old-and-yet-not-a-classic teenagers-lost-in-the-woods-who-come-upon-a-horrible-insane-person stories. (And for the record, there is nothing wrong with writing those types of stories; it’s just not my style.) For me, though, it’s not all about blood and gore and showers of red, it’s about the mindset of the person (or creature) that’s doing it, the reason why he or she or it is terrorizing people.

Now I don’t know if I will actually write a horror slant for this contest. I may try my hand at a romance piece or a coming-of-age tale. All I know is that it has to be in the science fiction or fantasy realm because that’s one of the stipulations of the contest… after that, it’s the writer’s fancy. Scary, huh?

Have a lovely weekend!
Warm regards,
Kellie

AWS Spring 2013 Issue

I did it – I entered into the AWS (Alaska Women Speak) competition for the Spring 2013 period and I got in. I’m going to be published in the next issue!

Honestly, I didn’t think there’d be a chance … since I was picked for one of the previous issues I never thought I’d be chosen for this one as well. But I liked the prompt so much – Chambered Nautillus by Oliver Wendell Holmes – I decided to give it a go and see what would happen. I wrote the poem, submitted it and, by the end of that week, the congratulatory note was sent to my email!

As you can tell, I’m rather excited about it… I’ve submitted into many different contests these past few months and, well, I’m just happy to have gotten into one of them, you know?

But that’s what you have to do sometimes – when you see a contest that fits in with your genre or style of writing, go for it!

Yes, most contests have a monetary requirement – usually $10-$20 – but isn’t spending that worth what you could get in return – publication? Besides, most of the contests that have requirements give out monetary prizes.

If you don’t put yourself out there, submit to contests and really see how you stack up against the crowd, how will you know if your writing is actually pleasing your intended audience?

I’m not saying every writer needs to submit all the time, but every writer should try when the opportunity arises. At least once! It really is good practice and you could be published by the end of it! Sometimes if you get 2nd or 3rd place they mention your name and it’s always good to have exposure in the writing community, however slight.

I submitted to the Lucky Agent contest with the Writer’s Digest and I plan to submit to the Radical Arts for Women contest coming up in March because both of those contests appeal to me and seem to be the right fit for what I’m currently writing.

But if you don’t know where to find writing contests, never fear! Like everything else these days, just look it up online – Poets and Writers is a good place to start, as is Writer’s Digest – but you could always type in ‘creative writing contests’ and still come up with a  whole slew of opportunities to pick from. You can even tailor your query with ‘poetry contests’, ‘flash fiction contests’, ‘non-fiction essay contests’ or whatever your fancy and still get a bunch of submission chances.

Go for it! What’s there to lose?

Warm regards,
Kellie

This is the Last Day for Entry!!

Welcome to the 13th (free!) “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest on the GLA blog. This is a recurring online contest with agent judges and super-cool prizes. Here’s the deal: With every contest, the details are essentially the same, but the niche itself changes—meaning each contest is focused around a specific category or two. So if you’re writing either a science fiction novel (adults or teens) or any kind of young adult novel, this 13th contest is for you! (The contest is live through January 31, 2013.)

WHY YOU SHOULD GET EXCITED

After a previous “Dear Lucky Agent” contest, the agent judge, Tamar Rydzinski (The Laura Dail Literary Agency), signed one of the three contest winners. After Tamar signed the writer, she went on to sell two of that writer’s books! How cool! That’s why these contests are not to missed if you have an eligible submission.

HOW TO SUBMIT

E-mail entries to dearluckyagent13@gmail.com. Please paste everything. No attachments.

WHAT TO SUBMIT

The first 150-200 words of your unpublished, book-length work of your sci-fi novel or young adult novel. You must include a contact e-mail address with your entry and use your real name. Also, submit the title of the work and a logline (one-sentence description of the work) with each entry.

Please note: To be eligible to submit, you must mention this contest twice through any social media. Please provide a social media link or Twitter handle or screenshot or blog post URL, etc., with your offical e-mailed entry so the judge and I can verify eligibility. Some previous entrants could not be considered because they skipped this step! Simply spread the word twice through any means and give us a way to verify you did; a tinyURL for this link/contest for you to easily use is http://tinyurl.com/a8msdw2. An easy way to notify me of your sharing is to include my Twitter handle @chucksambuchino somewhere in your mention(s) if using Twitter. And if you are going to solely use Twitter as your 2 times, please wait 1 day between mentions to spread out the notices, rather than simply tweeting twice back to back. Thanks.

WHAT IS ELIGIBLE?

Science fiction novels of any kind, as well as young adult novels of any kind.

CONTEST DETAILS

  1. This contest will be live for approximately 14 days—from Jan. 17, 2013 through the end of Jan. 31, 2013, PST. Winners notified by e-mail within three weeks of end of contest. Winners announced on the blog thereafter.
  2. To enter, submit the first 150-200 words of your book. Shorter or longer entries will not be considered. Keep it within word count range please.
  3. You can submit as many times as you wish. You can submit even if you submitted to other contests in the past, but please note that past winners cannot win again. All that said, you are urged to only submit your best work.
  4. The contest is open to everyone of all ages, save those employees, officers and directors of GLA’s publisher, F+W Media, Inc.
  5. By e-mailing your entry, you are submitting an entry for consideration in this contest and thereby agreeing to the terms written here as well as any terms possibly added by me in the “Comments” section of this blog post. (If you have questions or concerns, write me personally at chuck.sambuchino (at) fwmedia.com. The Gmail account above is for submissions, not questions.)

PRIZES!!!

Top 3 winners all get: 1) A critique of the first 10 double-spaced pages of your work, by your agent judge. 2) A free one-year subscription to WritersMarket.com ($50 value)!

MEET YOUR (AWESOME) AGENT JUDGE!

Victoria Marini is an associate literary agent with the Gelfman Schneider Literary Agency, and an assistant to the boss-ladies: Jane Gelfman, Deborah Schneider, and Heather Mitchell. Gelfman Schneider has been in business for over 30 years. They passionately represent a wide range of authors including American Academy of Arts, Edgar Awards and Pushcart Prize winners, as well as severalNew York Times bestselling authors. Victoria began taking on clients in 2010. Currently, she is building her list and hungry for more.

Here are some books that she has represented:

The Dangers of Proximal Alphabets by Kathleen Alcott (Adult General/Other)
Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin (YA)
OCD Love Story by Corey Haydu (YA; July 2013)
forthcoming: Loop by Karen Akins (YA sci-fi)”

******

Today’s the last day to enter so if you have two social networks – a blog, a twitter account, a facebook or myspace (old school, I know!) – and have written a sci-fi and/or a YA story, then go for it and good luck!!

=)

Warm regards,
Kellie 

Do Writers Write Alone?

Firstly, I wanted to apologize for not posting last Friday – the end of my week went sideways and Friday was no exclusion to the insanity. I did, however, manage to scrape a third place in a local contest. It was not a perfect work – I should have spent more time on it, actually, if I do say so myself – but I’m glad to have gotten third. One of my friends, however, got first! And rightly so, her work was beautiful, as always. If I actually wore a hat, I would tip it to her. “Next time, though, I’ll get first, danggit!” (So shouts my inner muse.) I won a $10 gift card to Barnes and Noble for my efforts!

I have, however, had some time to think during the past week and, as they often do, my thoughts wandered to the craft of writing. What makes a person a writer? Well, many things. People tend to have this fantastical idea of the writing folk. They assume we are a conglomeration of solitary strangers locked up in rooms for hours on end, typing on a keyboard or scribbling on paper, only to emerge, amid crumpled-up ideas and ink-stained coffee cups, with a completed – and best-selling – novel. People who do not write believe that people who do, do so alone. And, sometimes, that’s true. For some people, the writing process is a solitary creature, waiting to capture authors in its lonely gaping jaws and, sometimes, only death can relieve them of this existence.

But, for most, is writing truly a solitary process? Do writers truly write alone? I doubt it. Truthfully, writing can’t be a single-person process. We may believe we’re alone, but our friends and family support us as we type or scribble every word. The things we have learned in school guide us. We may come up with our own characters, but our fellow writer help flesh them out, give them meaning, and add new perspectives. (Especially if you belong to a writer’s group, which I highly suggest you try!) Even as we sit in the stillness of our rooms “locked away from the world,” the world is still with us, inspiring us. The blade of grass, that falling leaf, the certain look a stranger gave another are all with us. The books we have read linger in our minds, the characters we’ve loved and hated, the plotlines we’ve adored, the descriptions we’ve aspired to try, the authors of these works help us. And don’t think that odd quirk of an old friend won’t come back in some form or another. Even in the solitary place of our minds we are not alone, our inspiration is with us. Not in a physical form (although muses can be physical) but in the sense that our inspiration is there, our muses push us onward.

The act of writing may be done in a solitary place, but we are never alone, not in the true sense of the word. We have help from a myriad of places, of people, and of things. Sometimes, in the emptiness of our rooms, when the only sound comes from our fingers pounding the keyboard, it’s hard to remember the help we actually have. Writing isn’t a one-person process. We have too much outside help to believe it actually is.

So I return to my original question – what makes a person a writer? Well, a lot of things – dedication to the craft, a willingness to read and learn, and the ability to write is always a plus – but there is one other detail some people tend to overlook… help.

Till next time.
Warm regards,
Kellie

PostScript – I completed a rough outline for Book Two! This story just started a year ago with a single paragraph portraying a single emotion. Now, Book One is in the editing process and will soon be queried out and Book Two has a completed outline! Will the wonders never cease?