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:

IMG_6379
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

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

 

How The Heck Do You Name Your MC?

So, you have a great story. A plot that’ll throw readers out of their seats. A main set of characters that are relatable and funny and unique. A twisted villain that straddles the line between true darkness and having a reason why they’re doing their evil deeds. You might even have a title for this masterpiece. But then you stop and realize: you don’t have a name for your main characters. What are you supposed to call them? What name would hold the mantle of the story? What should the minor characters shout as they claim victory?

Some authors have no issues finding the right name for their characters. Some authors spend days or months trying to find the right one. I belong in the “days or months” category. It takes me ages to figure out a name that I like, but because of that I’ve developed a set of tools that helps me. Maybe you could use those tools, too? Here are three ways I discover my character names like the ones in my Cicatrix Duology:

Try To Determine What They Represent In The Story
This is an old technique but I use it all the freaking time. Is your character brave? Strong? Shifty? Honorable? Scary, maybe? I used this for both my Across the Stars business owner Cassidy Gates and the big baddies Acedians (not a single character but are important enough they are a single big-bad entity). I knew Cassidy would be smart and independent and more clever than Mia, she’d be able to see through Mia’s ruse in a way no one else could, so I researched those traits and found her name. For the Acedians, I wanted to reflect their last stage, where the human part of them is taken away and they’re basically a shell for Donavin’s use. Adecia means “apathetic” and worked perfectly.

Pick Them Because Of An Inside Joke
Now don’t walk away from this or scoff. It’s a weird way of thinking, but my spaceship captain Mia Foley falls into this category. I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to name her, and originally it had been Maria but then I kept on thinking of the song from Sound of Music and kept humming “How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria” in my head whenever her name came up. (Spoiler: In the two books, her name comes up a lot.) It wasn’t working out. So I thought about her story, about her past, her capture, her running, her always trying to stay one step ahead. And then it hit me, she literally tried to be M.I.A. (missing in action) after blowing up every ship. I realize it’s not the standard military way of using it (where it explains a missing person after a battle) but she tried to disappear. It made me chuckle and when I wrote her name in the story, it just worked.

Try One Of Those Name Generators
I really enjoy combing through the random name generators to find unique names for my characters – like Nin, who you’ll meet in Losing Hold. I never use the actual names that pop up but I like combining certain vowel sounds I see and figure out if it works, especially for last names or fantasy names.

Those are my tricks of the trade. What are some of yours? Leave a comment!

Hope you’re having a lovely Easter (if you celebrate) and a lovely Sunday (if you don’t)!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Losing Hold Cover Reveal!

Hey everyone! I’ll be hosting a live Facebook Event this Friday to reveal the cover of Losing Hold! I’m pretty psyched about the artwork—spoiler alert: it’s gorgeous—and in order to celebrate I decided to do something a little different and try a live Facebook Event!

What does that mean?
Well, Friday between 7-8pm (PST) I’ll be on my Facebook Event page posting things like what Losing Hold is about and the inspiration for the story, hosting a Q&A session with giveaways (that’s right, free stuff!), and of course, revealing the cover! Basically it’ll be a chance to ask me some questions and be entered to win one of the four giveaways prizes! Speaking of…

What are the Giveaway Prizes?
I’m going to give away two signed copies of Finding Hekate and two 30-page edits from Edit Revise Perfect. I’ll be picking four participants from Q&A at random to win the prizes, so be sure to ask a question to enter!

Here are the specifics one more time!
Friday, February 24th
7-8pm (PST)
On this Cover Reveal Facebook Event Page (be sure to select “Going” to get the notifications!)

I hope to see you there! *waves*
Warm regards,
Kellie

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

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

 

Clexa – An Overused (and hurtful) Trope

So. “The 100” is a good show. I fell in love with it over the summer and fall, watched every episode obsessively, up to Season 2. After that I had to focus on other things, school and W2P and grad prep and such.

But I heard about Clexa. The romance between lesbian commander Lexa and bisexual spacer Clark. They were both incredibly powerful leaders, one in a post-apocalyptic world and one exiled from a space station.

I was excited about this couple, sure, because finally we get some representation around mainstream media. And a couple that seemed to have a future together, especially since the show seems to be a beacon of positive LGBT representativeness.

Episode 7 changed that, though.

In case you haven’t heard, Lexa died. Yes, they killed off the lesbian, right after she had made love to Clark, I might add.

Is this an overused trope in TV? Hell yes.

Was it necessary to the storyline? Perhaps.

Will I ever know? Nope. Because I don’t want to watch the show anymore.

Killing off lesbian characters (or any LGBT character) just for the shock factor is kind-of like how The Walking Dead killed off that little kid and his mother in their returning episode. It was just plain dumb.

Here are some comments from the community about it…


“They deserved better.” @raquelmanas 


“Queer girls are special, powerful, and live long happy lives all the time. Your lives will be more than those of the characters you see on television. Queer girls are heroes. They change the world and they fall in love or maybe they don’t. They live in the world. Every day. All of you do. Please keep doing that. If the characters you love can’t, do it for them. Keep living. Be a hero, fall in love, get your heart broken, break hearts, have great sex, change the world, have kids if you want them, have generations of a family, write your story on this universe. Queer girls live.” @laynemorganto Clexa fans


“I thought for once there is going to be a show that does an LGBTQ relationship correctly, and I had complete and utter faith in the writers of The 100 that they would keep their relationship alive and flourishing.” @sillytilley-33


“Do not tell Clexa shippers to ‘chill’ or ‘calm down’ when people are legitimately hurt over the violent on screen murder of a lesbian character. A rare lesbian character. One who inspired a lot of follows for a show that will likely get another season because of us.” @ helebette


Why all this outburst? Because it happens too often. And because it’s not fair. And because it hurts.

People reacted differently. Some people unfollowed the writers. Some people banished the show from their TVs and streams. Other people delivered death threats (which is never a good way to prove anything).

But some light came out of this, too.

My writer friend Rae D. Magdon gave out over one hundred of her own books that had positive representation and a happy ending for lesbian couples. If you want or need more books, check out Desert Palm Press. There are many books by Rae, Sy Itha, Michelle Magly and others who have positive representation of love and happy endings for queer characters. I’m happy that my book Finding Hekate will also be joining their ranks later on this month.

My other writer friend Michelle Magly is doing a Twitch stream about happy gay stories in video game form on Sunday. She also gave away free, signed copies of her book that had positive romantic representation.

A writer I just met via Tumblr started a whole blog called CreativeWLW dedicated to wlw (women loving women) original content. Taken from a blogpost directly from it: “I want to use this blog as a place to support and showcase these talents, to hopefully bring attention to media created by us and for us, media that respects us.”

If you want to read some badass fanfic with positive lesbian relationships, check out my page – Serenity Quill. The ladies in my fics go through some crap, sure, but they have their happily ever after in the end.

Light can come out of darkness. We can band together. Shout together. Create together. This misrepresentation, stereotypical, over-used trope doesn’t define us. We define us.

But I do ask this one thing to all the lovely queer ladies out there. Please remember, TV and movies aren’t real life. Queer ladies can have a happily ever after. And we will.

Keep on creating. Keep on living. Keep on loving.

What will you do?

Warm regards,
Kellie

 

 

 

Editing Insecurities + A Poem

I just completed another round of Desert Palm Press editing. I had a good time editing this manuscript, the story was pretty solid, the characters, exciting, and the themes, consistent. Plus it was a fantasy realm, right up my alley. As with every story, some things needed tweaking, but overall it was a very good book. I was happy to send my markups off to the author and publisher.

And yet, I worried, too.

I’m always worried about what the author will say once I send their manuscript back. Will they like my suggestions? Hate I axed out a section? Dismiss all my hard work entirely under the guise of author’s creativity? (Yes, the author always has the last say, but sometimes that comma should just stay where it is, people!) I use Word’s Track Changes feature, so the manuscript itself tends to get completely colorful – red for deletions, blue for insertions, and green for comments and questions.

It’s a silly insecurity, really, because I’ve had positive reviews from all of my clients thus far. And I like doing the work. But a small part of me always thinks what if they hate it this time? I think it’s because so much of editing is subjective, you can give four editors the same manuscript and you’ll get four different ideas in return.

I’ll stop fretting eventually. Until then, here’s a poem:

**

The Red (and Blue and Green) Pen

I use colors to make the ripping
of your story a little more bearable,
The deletions of sections a little less blue, and
reduce the blood-shed tears over my insertion ideas.
(Because I know you could’ve thought of what I suggested,
If you had more time.)

Those lime-green comments are supposed to catch your eye,
make you rethink that one line,
paragraph,
whole entire chapter or even
that ending.

I wear many hats.
I am a character analyzer,
a plotline fixer,
a finder of holes,
of stray commas,
of the incorrect usage of there, their, and they’re.

I don’t mean to hurt your feelings,
slicing up your work
throwing out your baby.

But the way the character is acting is out
of tune with the way you wrote her.
So don’t be sad when I ax
that section out.

It’s for the best.
Really.

My suggestions will make your manuscript better,
the descriptions tighter,
characters more powerful,
and plotlines solid.

You’re the reason I have a job at all.

After all, you wrote the story,
racked up the agonizing hours staring at a computer,
lost time wandering about your world,
and did a damn good job, too.

Trust my multicolored pen,
and we’ll make your work shine.

**

Have a lovely weekend everyone!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Writing – LGBT

My quest to challenge myself by writing is a never-ending one. And it came to no surprise to me that it would eventually take me to write LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender) work, though it did come as a shock to others. But we’ll get to that later.

I’ve written a lot of stuff – not all of it good, I might add. I once created a volcanic pit that held green lava, yes, that’s green, not red. I still might use it. – and I pride myself in trying new genres and new characters. My staple has always been horror. The sheer terror is infused in my blood. Odd, I know. Crazy, if you’ve ever met me. (I’m the quiet soft-spoken one.) I forced myself to branch out of the horror genre, to try different things. I landed on fantasy and stayed there for a little while – tinkering around with swords and magic – then went on to science fiction and have lingered there ever since. I’ve written romance before. I’ve written fanfiction as well. I’ve written poetry that spans every genre – yes, including horror and fanfiction – and tried my hand at article writing and interviewing.

I always wrote straight characters though. It just happened that way, no real reason.

But, because of that, I had yet to explore writing LGBT style. Until I met Mia. Mia is one of my characters. She’s the main character in my science fiction series. I thought her up while writing a short story for my college creative writing group. She was cool. Calm, confident and a spaceship captain to boot! I hadn’t discovered that she liked women, though. I didn’t know it until she met another woman in my sci-fi adventure, a woman who would change her life forever. Hence my sci-fi adventure and my first foray into that writing style.

I wanted to try writing LGBT because it was different.
I wanted to try writing LGBT because it was challenging.
But mostly I wanted to try writing LGBT because I’m part of that community.
I’m bi. Yes, I like both guys and girls. It’s an equal opportunity thing (as my sister put it).

The thing is, I hadn’t tried that style of writing. I hadn’t pushed myself to write a different way.

And the wonderful thing about trying out a new style?

I ended up loving it! (If not, writing my sci-fi series would be really really difficult!)

Now, normally I try out different styles in short stories, not series. For example, my next trial will be a Western short. This one will be difficult since I don’t really read Westerns. I did, however, take a Western-themed movie class in college where I got to compare Star Wars and Serenity as examples of ‘off-western’ Western movies (and got credit) though, so I’ll probably be pulling from the classics, John Wayne style.

Wish me luck, it’ll be an adventure…

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