I’ve Moved Back to Alaska!

Hello everyone!

Last month was crazy busy with ~life stuff~ and because of that, I didn’t get the chance to write blogposts. (I should really write these things in advance and schedule them. *shakes fists at Past Self*)

Why was it so crazy, you ask? Well, the lease on my Portland apartment was going to run out in mid-October and I had decided earlier in the year that I’d move back to Alaska when that happened. I just didn’t realize how much stuff actually went into the “moving back to Alaska” part. It was intense! It felt like the whole month of September I was trying to figure out moving stuff, what to do and how to do it and how long it would take. Even though we had a lovely moving company, it still seemed like Mom and I had to pack up a lot of things. And then there were little details I had to do: removing the internet from my apartment, canceling my safety deposit box at the bank, figuring out who was going to take all of the liquid foodstuff that couldn’t actually be shipped, how the hell I was going to fly with two cats, etc. Suffice it to say, I had a ToDo list of things to get done and amazingly we were able to finish it all.

The airplane ride was a bit of a crazy piece of the puzzle just because of all the luggage (five pieces), our two carryons, and then the two cats/carriers. Mom had to drop me off at the airport in order to return the car and the luggage bit was pretty easy because I just had to wait in line, but the security checkpoint was a doozy. We had to take the cats out of their carriers to walk through the metal detectors, and they were UNHAPPY with that. Very unhappy. Like, scared, meowing, shaking, nervous unhappy. It was probably because of the people, and the loud machines, and the general stress that airports usually provide. (Keep in mind, Mom and I hadn’t slept the night before and it was 5am.) The flight was okay; Raven mostly slept, Cinder meowed a bit, and neither of them wanted water. *sighs* Traveling with pets is just…different than traveling alone.

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BUT we managed to meet up with Dad and Jess, pack all the stuff into the car, and then got back to Mom and Dad’s house at a reasonable hour. Jack (our dog) and my cats get along fine, but Spock and Kirk (Jess’ cats) and my cats are having some trouble adjusting so that’ll take a bit more time.

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Overall, though, the move was successful, and I’m back in Alaska! Now, time to adjust back to the darkness and cold, BUT SOON THERE WILL BE SNOW!

Hope you had a great September and happy October!
Warm regards,
Kellie

 

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Job Hunting Is Hard, Guys!

Hello everyone!

It’s time for another life update. I’m in a weird bubble at the moment. I graduated last month with my MS in Book Publishing. I was super psyched about it—obviously—and I’m quite proud that I accomplished that goal—again obviously—but now I’m in a bit of a pickle. Two and a half-ish years after I quit my full-time job at MLFA in Eagle River and four and a half-ish years since I last looked for a full-time job, I’m back trying to find another one.

And guess what I forgot in my years away from the hunt?

Job hunting is hard, guys!

I did it a bit before I graduated—and landed an interview!—but then stopped for my family vacation, so I started over two weeks ago. I’ve since applied to numerous jobs, emailed a bunch of companies that didn’t have “Jobs” listed anywhere on their website to see if they have openings, and got rejected from more places that I want to mention.

Trying to find jobs that match my skills, spending all this time crafting cover letters, and redoing my resume to match the companies’ needs takes forever. And then there’s the waiting…the waiting is agony. Of course I don’t wait for the companies to get back to apply to another position—simultaneous applications all over the place!—but still, the waiting for companies to get back is crazy. I know that companies have different timetables than applicants do. I know they have a bunch of stuff on their end and other tasks might take priority. I get it, really, and I try not to be sitting on pins and needles for each application, but that’s hard not to do.

So I was pleasantly surprised that after applying to a job (with HANK AND JOHN GREEN! *falls over*) over the weekend, they had a little note saying they’d get back to the applicants by July 15 and if we hadn’t heard anything, assume we didn’t get past this first bit. This is so thoughtful it just made me want to work for them even more and if I’m ever in the position to be hiring someone, I hope to be able to do the same. I’m super excited about this particular job though, so I hope to land a second interview with them! Until then, I’m going to keep applying to ALL THE JOBS (that seem appropriate and interesting, which is a whole different thing smashing around in my brain) and keeping my fingers crossed that I land something sometime soon.

TL;DR – Job hunting is hard, but I’m excited about the possibility of working with Hank and John Green.

Do you have any sage advice about looking for a full-time job? Leave a comment!

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

 

Graduating From Ooligan Press

Two years ago I uprooted my life and moved to Portland, Oregon, in order to pursue a Master’s of Science in Book Publishing from Portland State University. This weekend I’m graduating from that program and moving on to the next chapter of my life. It’s exciting. It’s wonderful. It’s something I’m proud to have accomplished. And…it’s also a little sad.

I loved my time here at PSU, especially at Ooligan Press, the student-run publishing house attached to the program that grad students have to be a part of in order to get their degree. Ooligan has been such an experience. I’ve learned so much working with Abbey, Per, Kathi, and the other professors here, who I’m happy to call mentors and even friends. I’ve learned so much working with my fellow students, too, and the class of 2016 has formed a merry little band that I’ll be loyal to and keeping an eye on, as well as cheering for, as the years progress. I’d be thrilled to work with them again and look forward to seeing them around the publishing sphere later in life. I’ve also learned a lot about myself during my time in this program. I’ve faced wonderful highs and terrible lows. But I’ve never been happier here at Ooligan, and that’s why I’m a bit sad to leave. It’s been wonderful here and I’ve learned so much about the business that this weekend will be a bittersweet moment.

I know that exciting things are in my future, though, and I’ll be happy to apply the knowledge I’ve gained at Ooligan and PSU to a job. (I already am, too! I had an interview this week and I understood every word he said even though it was industry speak! Abbey would be so proud.)

I’m also looking forward to updating my professional website on Sunday with how I’ve obtained my degree and redoing my resume to reflect that. I’m going to reorganize the website a little bit as well. I got some constructive feedback during my defense, especially concerning my design aspects. My committee mentioned how my designs weren’t my strong suit and how, compared to others, it might actually be a detriment. I’ve been thinking about that conversation quite a bit over the past few weeks, and I’ve acknowledged that design is something I’m still learning and my skills will grow in time. (I even say that on my website.) I don’t have a design degree or an art background so I know, compared to some other fabulous people at Ooligan, my skills are limited for now. But I also give myself some credit. Considering I didn’t know anything about the Adobe software two years ago, I’ve learned quite a bit and have come quite far. I’ve even got a reoccurring summer freelance job, so my design chops can’t be that bad. But because of that feedback, I will rearrange my website to reflect that better and I know my portfolio will be stronger because of it.

Ooligan was an amazing experience. I’ve made mentors and friends in this program that I’ll have for life and the skills I’ve obtained will help me land a job in the (hopefully near!) future. This weekend, though, I’m going to celebrate this achievement with my friends and family. My fellow Oolies and I deserve to bask in the knowledge that we’ve successfully completed this program, and I’ll raise a glass for us all!

I hope you have a lovely weekend! Mine’s certainly going to be a busy one.
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?

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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

A Reflection

We just had our button making party for Write to Publish 2016 and that got me thinking. It’s amazing how much things can change in a year. Last year, when we did the same thing for Write to Publish 2015, Brandon and Melanie were the managers and I, a team member. I wasn’t stressed about Write to Publish back then. Sure, the conference was happening, but I had my task for the day of and that was good. Life was simpler.

Now? Well, it’s a bit more complicated. We had the button making party, sure. But this time I’m a manager alongside Chelsea. It’s a bit more stressful, and we don’t really have one task during Write to Publish…unless you consider “make sure everything goes according to plan” one thing. It seems like more is on the line this time around, probably because Chels and I have been planning it since last year and we want it to go well. I’m hopeful that it will.

And this time next year? Well, I don’t know what I’ll be doing. I’ll be graduated—*knocks on wood*—and I’ll have a job—*knocks on wood harder*—and maybe I’ll even be living somewhere else. I don’t know what’s going to happen. But I know it’ll be changed, again. I know it’ll be different. And I know I’ll be able to handle it.

For now, I need to be focused on Write to Publish 2016. It’s coming up fast, only five days away. I’m both excited and nervous about it. It’s also pretty freaking crazy. I’ve been looking forward to this day since March 2015 and now it’s here! I really, really hope it goes over well. Wish me luck!

And if any of you are in the Portland area and want to know learn more about the publishing process and network with like-minded individuals, check out the program and get your ticket today! There’s a pretty cool Pitch to a Professional opportunity that quite a few writers are excited about.

Now, time to go have another cup of tea and try not to be overwhelmed by everything.

Question: What do you do to quench the nerves? Leave your answer the in comments!

Warm regards,
Kellie

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

LifeHack: De-Stress Post

So, a bunch of people are stressed around this time, myself included. Because of that, I’ve decided to put together a post with a bunch of cute animals I found on the internet in hopes to ease some of their stress (and mine)…because why the hell not?

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Four puppies of the purebred pomeranian-dog

Also, here are links to Buzzfeed articles about The 27 Best Red Panda Gifs, 33 Animal Gifs That Are Guaranteed to Make You Laugh, and 27 Gifs So Cute They Might Actually Kill You. Enjoy.

Now, take a deep breath, realize you are amazing and smart and will get through all of this, and have a lovely Thanksgiving holiday.

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