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:

losingholdebookcover300dpi

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

 

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

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

 

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

Book Giveaway Brainstorming Day

So, I want to do a book giveaway. Last week a box of Finding Hekate books got shipped to me, ten total. Four of them are already claimed, so really there’s six. (I could always get more, though.) I left the box on my table where I can see it everyday, but it’s been a whole week and I haven’t figured out what kind of giveaway I’d like to do. (I’ve been working on my graduate thesis and trying really hard not to get sick, tbh.)

BUT I REALLY WANT TO DO A BOOK GIVEAWAY! AND WHO DOESN’T LOVE A FREE BOOK SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR?

IMG_3451
Look at all the books I can sign and give away!

To that end, I’ve decided that today is my Giveaway Brainstorming Day. Here’s what I’ve come up with thus far:

  • Fanart giveaway – where I give a character description/scene and give folks one (or two) weeks to complete it and pick the best one to get a free book
  • Newsletter giveaway – where someone at random from my newsletter subscribers gets a free book (if you want to join my newsletter, you can do so here! Burst go out on Saturdays!)
  • Social Media giveaway – where one of my followers on social media (on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, or Instagram) who likes/shares/comments on a specific post about my book gets a free book
  • Blogpost giveaway – where I give a book to a follower on here who answers a specific question I post on this blog in the comment section

I’d like to come up with a few more and then pick the ones I like best.

To that end, my fellow authors, bloggers, and readers, I ask you: What kinds of giveaways do you do for your books/merch or partake in as a fan? And, if they were contests (like the fanart), did you receive many submissions or submit your own work?

Please leave a comment. I’d love to get some more ideas!

I hope you have a lovely Friday!
Warm regards,
Kellie

OMG EVERYTHING IS DUE ON FRIDAY

Not really. Just one major deadline is fast approaching on Friday. One of two major deadlines in my graduate program at Portland State University concerning actually graduating from this program. What is this major deadline? Well, it’s twofold: 1) the professional portfolio in the form of a website to my grad committee, and 2) the final grad research thesis question.

I’m pretty much freaking out on all cylinders. The professional website is live, but I keep fiddling with it, adding and deleting things. You can see it here. I’m pretty happy with how it’s turned out for now. For tonight. I’ll look at it again tomorrow and see how I feel. (Blerg.) I plan on turning it in first thing Friday morning.

As for the thesis question, I like the one I have about #WeNeedDiverseBooks, but getting the information is proving more difficult that I originally thought. If I ever write a research paper again, I won’t rely on interviews for most of my info. (ProTip: Don’t do that. Alternatively, if you do need to rely on interviews, do it way in advance.) I’m in a holding pattern to see if anyone gets back to me so I can add them to the question before turning it in.

All the things are due on Friday by 5pm. ALL THE THINGS! And this is just one of the two major deadlines, the next one happens when I turn in the final research paper at the end of the sixth or seventh week. (You can tell I’m only really focused on this one.)

In significantly less stressful news, my science fiction book—Finding Hekate—was published last Friday by Desert Palm Press! You can find it in numerous places, like here and here and here. It’s about a spaceship captain who’s being hunted and has to make a choice: kill her crew and run like she’s done many times before or stick with her crew and fight. The problem is, her time as herself is running out. It’s mostly an action story from the POV of a badass anti-hero of sorts, but there is some lesbian romance tucked away in between those pages. (I’ll do another post later talking about the process in more detail.) If you like it, leave a review and let me know! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Okay, I have to work on more grad prep stuff now.
Because everything’s due on Friday.

Have a lovely rest of the week guys, and if you have anything due really soon, good luck!
Warm regards,
Kellie

April 8th

Finding Hekate, my science fiction book, will be set into the wild on April 8th. NEXT MONTH! I had a lovely chat with my publisher about the logistics of things on Wednesday night and we went over a bunch of marketing ideas I brainstormed. Since Desert Palm Press is a small publisher, I will be doing 90% of the marketing ideas I thought up. Authors are the Number One Champion of their book, though, so I’m more than happy to do it! Plus, this allows me to utilize the skills I’ve learned in my book publishing classes in the real world. (I admit, it’s different doing these things as an author rather than a publisher, but quite a few things transfer over.)

I’ve included my plan of attack for the next few weeks:
March Week 13th-19th
Content Creation Phase

  • Social Media posts: Continuing the awareness posts, generating more, while also crafting ones to post during the launch phase
  • Media Artifacts: Creating new ones, based on images or quotes from the manuscript, continuing to post the ones I created already
  • Press Release
  • Cool interesting ideas I could guest blog about

Writing Drafts (of Letters and stuff)

  • Pitch letters to influencers: Including Facebook/Twitter posts they could share/repost, tiers of engagement
  • Pitch letters to request interviews/articles
  • Pitch letters to request a spot in newsletters: Accompanying newsletter blurb they can just cut/paste into their own
  • (Do the work for them for influencers and newsletter peeps!)

Finishing Up The Manuscript – One Last Pass

  • My publisher will get the manuscript to me on Monday, I have to go through it and double/triple check the edits
  • Due back Friday at the latest
  • Will try to get through it quickly so the proofreaders have more time with it

Wonder About a Launch

  • Should I do a book launch or gathering? If so, where? If so, how?
  • If yes: Order more paper books.

Print Bookmarks

  • PRINT THESE!

March Week 20th-26th
Social Media Posts

  • Continue posting things on social media relating to or about the manuscript
    • Including media artifacts!

Guest Blog

  • Approach bloggers to see if I can guest blog

Interviews/Articles

  • Approach scifi and LGBT sites to see if they’d like to do an interview or article about me

Refine Drafts

  • all the things written last week (letters and such)

Newsletter

  • Write the draft for my first newsletter
  • Post about it on social media sites (“If you want to know more, sign up!”)

March Week 27th-2nd

Continue:

  • Social Media Posts
  • Guest Blogs (followup, writing them)
  • Interviews/Articles (followup)
  • Newsletters burst (followup)

Refine Newsletter, Gain More People

  • Wanna know more? Check out my newsletter!
  • Or something like that

AWP

  • Go to AWP for Ooligan Press stuff
  • Also promote myself!

April Week 3rd-9th

Continue:

  • Social Media Posts
  • Guest Blogs (any other opportunities)

Send first newsletter

  • Yay!
  • My book!
  • Other cool space things.

Send influencer emails

  • Send pitch letter and tweet/FB post
  • Make sure the posts have a link to buy!
    • will I have the link by then?
    • If not, move this to Week 10th-16th

April 8th 

  • Celebrate!
  • Update website with real date/link to buy!

April Week 10th-16th

Launch? Reading? Gathering?

  • If I am doing this, this is the week I’d probably get it done.

Send influencer emails (for sure)

  • Link to buy!

 

So, yeah, this is my plan of attack for the next few weeks concerning Finding Hekate. I have so much to do, but I have to remind myself to stop and enjoy this process, too. I tend to get single-minded when my ToDo list is in front of me, but this is a huge deal for me – a dream come true! – and I have to sit with it for a bit, process it, and celebrate.

What kinds of things did you do when your book was published? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time!
Warm regards,
Kellie

 

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

Being an Exhibitor at Literary Arts Wordstock

Wordstock. A one-day celebration of books. Panels, workshops, readings, LitCrawl, food trucks, beer garden, and books, books, books galore. Packed with so many activities, this event was just up every publishing professional, bookseller, author, writer, and reader in the Portland area and beyond. It was packed!

Being an exhibitor was a lovely experience. There were swells of people, sometimes super crowded, sometimes less so. From 12-2-ish, the place was literally packed. Like claustrophobic packed. And it was great! Having Ripple Grove Press‘ books in front of the eyes of so many people was marvelous. Plus, a bunch of people came over to talk to us and bought our books!

The signings we had went well – I met two of our authors! – and I even got to check on the Ooligan Press table for a little bit to see how they were doing. Ooligan seemed to have a really great day, too, so that made me happy. (Gotta keep tabs on both of my publishing companies, you know? Now, how’s Desert Palm Press doing? *checks their social media accounts* They’re doing good, too! Happiness all around!)

I found that if you wave and smile at people, they’ll come over. I found that some people only want to read the books and move on and some people really love chatting. I found that some people just want a bookmark, which is cool because the bookmarks were beautiful.

We got asked a bunch of questions about the publishing house: how we run things, if we take submissions, what publishers do in the grand scheme of publishing. It was nice that I could answer most of the questions and, if I couldn’t, I directed them to the real publishers Rob and Amanda. (After all, I’m the intern! <- I used that a little bit when I didn’t know the answer, too.) I had a little speal – because, come on, it’s me – but I didn’t use it as much as I expected.

It was a good day overall. I got some valuable experience in the publishing world, met a bunch of people (including some for Write to Publish 2016!), and got to talk about books all day. I call that a win.

Did anyone in the lovely blogosphere go to Wordstock this weekend?
Warm regards,
Kellie