A Rush Edit: Musings of a Madwoman

Early last month Desert Palm Press contacted me asking if I could do a rush edit on Musings of a Madwoman. A rush edit means I have a shortened turnaround time. In this case since the pub date was insanely close, I gave myself five days to do the developmental edit and two days to do the copyediting. Seven days total to do two rounds of editing.

It was an exhilarating, tiring, amazing experience!

Why? Well, I also work full-time as an office assistant for the State of Alaska. It’s a hectic job with lots of moving parts. So after waking up at 6:30 a.m., going a mile a minute for my full-time job, and then getting back to the house at 5 p.m., settling down to do a rush edit was an interesting experience. I always do freelance magazine editing for Tiger Oak after work, though, so it wasn’t unusual for me to do some editing at night.

What was unusual was how long the editing took me per night. I normally edit for one-two hours for Tiger Oak, but this DPP edit took me four-five hours per night! So for that whole week, I edited until 11 p.m. trying to get the first round of edits complete by Friday. I did it, of course. Thankfully I had the weekend off while the author Jazzy Mitchell did her round. By the following Tuesday, I had completed my second round, sent the manuscript back to Jazzy, and my rush-edit was complete!

It was some seriously long nights. I got a small cold because of it. I was crazy tired. I didn’t work on any Tiger Oak editing that first week and very minimal the second week since I was kinda burnt-out. But I was also really happy with how both rounds of editing turned out.

​Musings just came out and though my part was a small one overall, I am so proud of its publication. Here’s a little bit about the book:

As if navigating life and love aren’t hard enough, throw in a meteorite, and watch what happens. Physical changes and mental abilities make it hard for Marcia to ignore the effects of an extraterrestrial rock. Kiernan has her own challenges when she hears voices and realizes they are not her own. Could the changes they experience be related to their close encounter with a meteorite?

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Jazzy is a lovely writer, the plot is intense and twisted, and the characters are relatable. I had a great (if super tiring) time editing her story! You should definitely go check it out.

Hope you have a lovely week!
Warm regards,
Kellie

 

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Read An Ebook Week: FINAL DAY of Sales!

Good morning, fellow readers and writers and creatives of all types,

If you didn’t know, this past week has named Read An Ebook Week by Smashwords, the largest distributor for indie books! (Desert Palm Press, too.) In celebration, their ebooks are 25-50% off and today is the last day for this sale. Because of that, both my books Finding Hekate and Losing Hold are 50% off, too!

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Here’s a little bit about Finding Hekate:

Mia Foley is running away from the attack that changed her life. She’s captain of a new spaceship when the Acedians find her and try blasting her peaceful crew from the black. Staying with them will jeopardize their safety, but she’s grown fond of this crew, particularly Cassidy Gates. Mia’s time is running out.

And here’s a bit about Losing Hold:

Escaping Donavin’s grasp, Mia and her crew crash on a prison planet and must deal with its inhabitants, beast and criminals alike. Mia hears Donavin in her mind 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 and Cassidy to save her.

Intrigued? Good! Get them both (as well as a lot of other amazing reads) today and blast off on your next great adventure!

Have a wonderful weekend!
Warm regards,
Kellie

 

Nine Writing Goals for 2018

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

So as the new year comes in with a bang, I’m reflecting on how 2017 turned out and what I’d like to do different for 2018. Honestly, 2017 was a rough year for me in many ways, but in my writing world it was pretty good. Here were some writing successes:

  1. Losing Hold was published in April AND nominated for two Golden Crown Literary Awards: a 2018 Goldie Award in the Tee Corinne Award for Outstanding Cover Design category and a 2018 Goldie Award in the Science Fiction / Fantasy category.
  2. Finding Hekate was nominated for an award: a 2017 James Tiptree Jr. Award.
  3. I finished the first draft of the Severed Ties and got some insightful comments back from my beta readers!
  4. I successfully wrote some holiday gifts for my followers: two flash fiction pieces for my newsletter subscribers, a poem for my Instagram peeps, and a short story for everyone else! The short story, A Desert Welcome, is posted on my website under the Prompt Plot 2017 Holiday Gift, so go check it out!

I want my this year to be EVEN BETTER. Here are nine writing goals to strive for:

  1. clean up Severed Ties early this year, come up with a different title, and submit to publishers in March/April
  2. write first draft of the second book of fantasy series, submit to beta readers by end of the year (shoot for October)
  3. plot the third book
  4. have a daily writing goal, depending on what I’m working on
    1. For revising my first novel – 1/2 chapter per night
    2. For plotting out my second novel – figure out at least one plot point/character/interesting per night, WritingSnippet
    3. For writing anything – 250 words per night
  5. submit to at least five literary magazines (short stories/flash fiction/poetry)
    1. related: get published in at least one literary magazine
  6. go to one writing/geeky conference as a vendor to promote my Cicatrix Duology/other writings
  7. go to one writing conference as a writer, to learn more things
  8. work on making my newsletter more exciting/engaging and build my newsletter subscribers
  9. Amp up my social media presence some more; have fun with it!
    1. do some more stuff on my website, too

SO MANY THINGS. And I’m excited for all of them. Now, time to play some games with my family and have another cup of tea. I hope your 2018 is amazing!

Happy First Day of 2018!
Warm regards,
Kellie

 

 

 

Five More Writing Tips

Hello my fellow writing nerds!

Sooo, I recently realized that I haven’t posted on here in over a month. It’s been a trying month for me, but that’s no excuse! Maybe I should try to write a bunch of posts and then schedule them? Annnnnnyway, what better way to start this little blog back up again than some more Writing Tips I enjoy:

1.) This writing tip comes from Jack London and I may or may not have used it here before but it’s one of my favorites: “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” (Spoiler: It’s true for life, too.)

2.) Set your work aside for a little bit before diving back into it again for another read through. Coming back to the work with a fresh eyes helps to catch the little things you may have missed if you went straight into editing mode. It might also help you get some new ideas for the work, too!

3.) Your characters don’t have to be likable (like villains), but they do have to be believable and compelling. Add in some faults to the character. Some good things, too, maybe. Definitely some motivation for why they’re doing this terrible thing.

4). The first draft, or second draft, or third draft doesn’t have to be perfect. Keep writing, put that story on paper, and then flesh it out and mold it into something beautiful later on.

5.) Sometimes characters have to walk through fire and come out better for it on the other side. (I’m paraphrasing a favorite quote of mine from Critical Role here, said by none other than Patrick Rothfuss.) But seriously, it’s true. Make your characters go through hard things and see what happens to them while they do and see how they fair on the other side. Did they crack under pressure? Did they embrace the flames? Did they get stronger or weaker once it was over? Did they learn anything? The truth is, we never really learn things unless we make mistakes and overcome them. Get better because of them. The characters have to go through a similar transformation. (Granted, the characters could crack, too, could feel weaker, could feel sad instead of empowered and that’s good, too, because some folks do crack under pressure or don’t learn the thing after one or two mistakes.) Put them through the fire and see what comes out the other side.

Well, that’s all for now. I hope everyone is having a lovely Labor Day weekend!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Writing Update: OH MY GOD, ALL THE THINGS

Hello fellow nerds and writers,

Here’s a writing update (and basically a ToDo List for myself):

Things I Didn’t Get:
– I submitted “Beware The Temptress Comes” to PodCastle and it got to the final round of reviews but ultimately didn’t get on the podcast.

Things I’ve Submitted To:
Nerdfighter Poetry Book – I submitted “The Criminality of Love” to these guys in April, and they closed their submissions in June! It would be so cool to get in their book, as I’ve been a fan of Hank and John for years. Plus, I love this poem and think it would fit perfectly with their vibe.
Shimmer – Because I didn’t get into PodCastle (yet!!), I submitted “Beware the Temptress Comes” to Shimmer on Tuesday of last week. They say it takes two weeks to get back, so I marked it on the calendar. I’ve been trying to find a place for Beware for the longest time, and I hope they like it.
Windfall – I submitted a brand new poem “A Frost-Tipped Memory” to Windfall on Friday of last week. I’m pretty proud of this new poem. It’s about Eagle River, Alaska, during the winter so calling up how the snow felt did wonders for me right now. (It’s currently 85 degrees in Portland and is supposed to get up to 106 this week!)

Things I Plan To Submit To:
PseudoPod – They’re the horror-themed sub-podcast from PodCastle and they open up for flash fiction and short stories in mid-August, so I’m going to submit “The Curse.”
Mutifarious Press – They’re looking for queer short stories for their anthology and I’d like to submit to them, one for fantasy and one for science fiction. The deadline is August 31 and I have a few character ideas, but I haven’t penned them quite yet.

My Fantasy Series:
I am SO FAR BEHIND in editing the first novel it’s not even funny. I keep on thinking about things I need to add to the story that what I really need is a solid sit-down with the novel so I can hash out all the things I’d like to do and get on with it. For example, I’d like to get to know my characters better, so I can portray them more realistically. I just finished reading the Shades of Magic trilogy by V. E. Schwab, and she does SO WELL at portraying her characters that it makes me want to do better with mine. SO. MANY. THINGS! Anyway, I love the magic and creatures and storyline, so it’s going well overall.

So many things to do!! I’ve been reading so many wonderful stories that it makes me want to write even better. That’s the good thing about writing (and life in general), you can always do things better than the last time. You can always, always, always get better.

Fellow Writers: How have your writings been going?
Fellow Nerds: Now that I’m done with the Shades of Magic trilogy, what should I read next?

Until next time!
Warm regards,
Kellie

WritingLife: The Little Detail Of Food

Food. It’s something we need to survive. It can be a rustic fair or a fancy creation, but regardless we all need to eat. Food does more than that, though, it can bring a family around a dinner table or open the eyes of an outsider. It can hint at how wealthy an establishment is. It can also showcase what’s in season in that area and what’s valued in that culture. Food can do so much. So why does it sometimes get passed over in our writings? Why do these little details so often get overlooked?

For example, I’m a freelance editor and as such I have the lovely opportunity to work with some amazing writers. One such writer kept mentioning food but wasn’t specific to what the food actually was. I pointed it out, and they replied saying I was “too obsessed” with food. But really, those little details were actually important. The story was set in Japan and food is a huge part of their culture (of any culture, I’d wager) and vastly different than our own. (For example: In Japan it’s common to have cooked rice with a cracked egg overtop for breakfast.) Instead of saying “XX had breakfast” and move on, adding in that small detail would ground the reader in this setting and in this culture. It was an interesting back-and-forth, and eventually the writer understood where I was coming from and added those details in. I believe the setting is stronger because of that.

And I’m here to implore all writers to include this sensory activity in their stories. After all, food is important, regardless of race. (Unless…you have a race that doesn’t eat, but that opens up a whole new set of experiences!) Now, that’s not to say every page has to have some kind of food on it. Don’t overboard the reader with an onslaught of meals, as that would probably get boring. But don’t forget them either.

Like I said before, food can help build the setting and tone of your story. A meal in a post-apocalyptic world would be vastly different than a meal set on a spaceship or a meal in historic Japan. A sit-down meal surrounded by family sets a different tone than a quick meal on the run or a hearty meal in a pub.

Food can help solidify the reader in a character’s POV. Is the soup too spicy? Is the bread too soft or salty or filled with nuts they don’t like? Does the juice from that purply-green fruit drip down their chin? Burst over their tongue? Scorch their throat going down?

Food can also help shape your characters. Do they miss certain foods from back home? Do they like certain spices or sweets? Do they even know what meats or vegetables are in the soup they’re currently enjoying?

These things may seem tiny among the “bigger details” like the plotline and the character arcs and the overall setting, but these little descriptions ground the readers in your world and your character. These little descriptions make the place seem real.

What do you think? Add a comment below!

Hope you have a lovely 4th of July weekend!
Until next time!
Kellie

If you want to write a book, here are five actual tips. (Don’t quit!)

Okay, my fellow writers, we all know that Beast article sucked. Maybe it was trying to be a tough-love kind of motivation. (Yes, it takes dedication.) Maybe it was trying to relate a truth about writing. (Yes, it can be hard.) Maybe the author was just having a terrible time as a writer and wanted to ostracize the community he desperately wanted to become a part of. (Side-eyes the article again.)

Regardless, the article was poorly written, the author comes across as a villain, AND the “tip” he gives (write everyday) while good for some people, simply can’t work for others. The author’s idea of “if you want to write a book, write everyday or quit” is a terrible mindset to have. To that end, here are five tips if you want to write a book:

1.) Read. Read so many books, inside your genre and out, whenever you can spare the time. Why? It’s important to see what’s been done in the literary world, it’s a way to build your repertoire of words (sounds weird, but seriously, reading helps you build your vocabulary), and it’s also a great space to gain inspiration.

2.) Read your work out loud. Yes, this also seems weird and maybe don’t do this in a coffee shop or other public place, but reading the scenes out loud will allow you to figure out the sticky spots, the weird transitions, the too-long sentences. It can help with pacing, too.

3.) Consider having a Post-it note on your computer (or somewhere you can dig it up easily) with an inspiring quote from your favorite author or from your favorite book. It’s something you can look at when times are rough, or when that one scene just isn’t working, or when you can’t think of how to make this one MC amazing. For me, I have this quote from Patrick Rothfuss when he guest starred on Critical Role as Ker saved on my desktop: “There are many things that move through fire and find themselves much better for it afterward.” 

4.) Try not to edit your first draft while you’re writing. It’s hard, I know. I also want to go back and fix things, but if you do that, you’ll literally never be done with the first draft. Give yourself permission to have that first draft be shit. Write whatever the hell you want. There’s always the second and third drafts to pull it into the shape you want it to be in.

5.) And finally, my last tip is a tip of the hat toward the Beast article. If you want to write a book, write. Simply write. You can write everyday. You can write once every week. You can write for a marathon weekend or a marathon month. But if you want to write a book, all you have to do is write. Write when it’s best for you.

BONUS TIP: And please, for the love of all the writing gods and goddesses and muses in this world and beyond, please don’t give up. Your story is worth telling.

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

Two Best Books With Two Best Wines

Happy National Wine Day!

That’s right. It’s National Wine Day, and how should we all celebrate this lovely holiday? By reading books, of course! Here’s two of my favorite wine/book pairings you should consider:

51MUF7bj-lL._SY346_For The Red Wine Lover
PAIR
Cabernet Sauvignon: full-bodied, gripping, blackcurrant notes, good with red meats
WITH
The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss: high fantasy, bold characters, twisting plot
WHY
With the bold taste of the wine and some nice red meat, you’ll really feel like you’re adventuring in a fantasy world with Kvothe and the others. While Kvothe’s stealing some poor chap’s coin, you’ll be stealing a lovely evening.

 

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For The White Wine Lover

PAIR
Riesling: light, fresh, apple notes, good with chicken and fish
WITH
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, Becky Chambers: fun scifi, character-driven plot, great worldbuilding
WHY
With the refreshing taste of the wine and perhaps some fish, you’ll be simply swept away by the wacky characters and fun storyline of the Wayfarer crew. While they’re off having adventures in the black, you’ll be adventuring right there with them.
Eh? EH? It’s a brilliant idea. So after work, stop by the wine shop and grab a bottle, stop by the bookshop and grab a book, and then head home to relax! I hope you enjoy the night off with a good book and a good glass of wine.

Until next time!
Warm regards,
Kellie

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:

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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

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