Life and Other Things

{A wild Wednesday post appears!}

So it dawned on me that I haven’t posted anything on this blog since June. Summer, right? Yes, but also summer in Alaska when the sun shines and the sky is the brightest of blues? Hell to the yes I’m going to spend time outside!

Here are photos as proof:

In July, our 2am sunshine could’ve fooled folks into thinking it was 2pm. Gotta love summer in the Land of the Midnight Sun.

Anyway, life has been super busy for me. My day-job has ramped up with some new changes and responsibilities; I just renewed my freelancing contract for another year with Tiger Oak Media so I’m doing that and my other freelancing gigs as they come my way; and I’m working on creating the 2019 Alaska Writer’s Guild Writer’s & Illustrator’s Conference program.

As for writing, promoting Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties has been going really well and all my events were successful thus far. I’m currently working on Book Two: Orenda’s Story of the Broken Chronicles. (It’s a working title; I dunno what I’m going to call it yet.) I’m trying to write each weekend, and then brainstorm during the week but man, writing is hard when all I want to do is something mindless after a long week of working nonstop. (Ha!)

I’ve rejoined my critique group so I meet up with them Monday from 7-9pm at a local coffee shop and it’s been really great. I’m so glad I decided to join them again. Critiquing their works is so much fun and they have some amazing advice for mine, too. Being at the meetings also provides motivation for me to write, too, so that’s been lovely. I’m one of the faculty at the AWG Writer’s conference, so I need to start brainstorming questions since I’m going to be moderating a panel on LGBTQIA+ writing. It’s next month!

(Oh! Did I tell you Desert Palm Press has a new website design? Pretty cool, yeah!)

So overall, I’ve been busy, but I’m still writing and still promoting my books and still being awesome. I do have a tentative deadline for the first draft of my Orenda story that I’m shooting for, though I am telling EXACTLY NO ONE what it is.

Well, that’s it for me for this life update. How’s life treating you lately? Love to hear about it in the comments!

Hope you’re having a lovely week thus far!
Warm regards,
Kellie

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Say What? A Sunkissed Feathers Pronunciation Guide.

Fantasy and science fiction, in general, have some hard-to-pronounce words since the writers are usually making things up—names, villages, magics, techs, etc.—and while it’s tempting to have a character named Bob, that usually isn’t the case. (Or if there was a character named that, chances are that character’s name would be spelled Boyb or something.)

My novel – Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties – is no different. It’s high fantasy and has some interesting names tucked within its pages. Some of my readers wanted a pronunciation guide, so I’m creating one for some common words. I’ll begin with a few character, race, and species names:

  • Zora – Zor-ah
  • Dylori – Die-lore-ee
  • Arias – Ah-rye-us
  • Zarious – Zar-ee-us
  • Aluriah – Al-er-i-ah
  • Ponuriah – Pon-oo-ri-ah
  • Elu – E-loo
  • Nemora – Ne-more-ah
  • Divus – Deh-vus
  • Vagari – Vah-gar-ee
  • Vulnix – vul-nix
  • Neades – nee-dees

I hope that’s helpful to my readers out there. ❤ Let me know which words are hard to pronounce – or which ones you’d like to see my version of how to say them – in the comments and I’ll add them to my next list!

Happy Saturday, everyone!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Creating Dylori – the Ultimate Hero Type

Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties has been out for nearly three weeks! (Yayyyy!) I’ve been getting some lovely reviews and doing all kinds of interviews, which has been really fun. I just got some paperback copies in the mail YESTERDAY, so I’d like to host a book celebration of sorts when my parents get back from their vacation.

I’ve noticed a trend in a lot of the reviews, though, that I’d like to chat about today. My readers really like Dylori, one of the women who joins Misti on her quest to get the pendant off her neck.

Aesthetic_Dylori

No, scratch that, my readers freaking LOVE Dylori.

And I get it! She’s a badass. She’s smart, confident, strong; her crafting is amaaaaaaazing and her companion animal is probably over-powered. She’s a great fighter and a rank above Misti in the Moon Knights. On top of all that, Dylori also has a fun history and an interesting arc in the story. She has many layers to her, and she was hella fun to write.

Compared to Misti, Dylori is what I would call the Ultimate Hero Type. In fact, Dylori even saves Misti throughout their adventures more than once. In Misti’s eyes she IS a hero, her hero.

And that’s what it boils down to—Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties is told through Misti’s eyes, her point of view. I wrote Dylori to be a badass and to be the hero type because quite frankly, Misti sees her that way. She sees Dylori as the shining example of how a Moon Knight is supposed to behave and Misti’s striving to reach those same heights. Misti is trying to be the Ultimate Hero Type, too, but for better or for worse, she doesn’t reach those heights by using Dylori’s methods. (Spoiler: It’s for the better. Kind-of.)

But there are some negative aspects of Dylori that Misti conveniently…glosses over. Dylori is reckless. Headstrong. She rushes into battle without thinking, and Misti is never surprised by it. Those traits aren’t necessarily the best for the Ultimate Hero Type, but because we’re in Misti’s mind and she thinks Dylori is a hero, we see those traits through rose-colored glasses. We see Dylori using those unlikeable behaviors admirably.

And thus far, my readers have enjoyed it! So yeah, I completely understand why folks are falling in love with Dylori.

I just hope my attempt to make Dylori awesome doesn’t overshadow how amazing Misti is.

If you want to explore more of Misti and Dylori’s dynamic, you should check out Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties for yourself! Get your copy on Desert Palm Press’s website, Amazon (ebook and paperback), and Smashwords, B&N, Bella Books, and soon in select bookstores in Alaska!SFST-cover-final-web-optimized

Thoughts? What would you do if readers really loved a character other than your main character?

Happy Wednesday!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Shy Girl Says – Promoting Your Work

Book promotion can be hard. It’s tough to push through all the other amazing work out there and get your voice heard. It’s also a necessary aspect of publishing. After all:

“Writing is an art, publishing is a business.” ~Peter Clines, author

BUT IT’S ALSO SUPER HARD AND AWKWARD!

Especially for those who are introverted and kind-of shy like me. (Keep in mind, being an introvert doesn’t naturally mean you’re shy; I’m just blessed with that lovely combo.) It’s hard for me to bring up my book. I’m not that naturally outgoing, you know? Don’t get me wrong, I FREAKING LOVE MY BOOK. I’m super excited about it’s launch, and I can’t wait for readers to dive into my world. This is an idea I had when I was young, I finished it during a time when I desperately needed an escape from real life, and I’m so, so proud of how it’s turned out. It’s my best work yet and it focuses on some important themes.

I’m thrilled that it’s coming out on March 27, 2019.

MARCH 27!

THIS MONTH!

However, all that being said, it’s still hard to promote my work. I get super nervous and forget pretty much what words are when people ask me. (Which is also super common in the writing world, so I know it’s not just me.)

So, I’ve devised some ways of combating those nerves. One way: Memorize my pitch, that way when someone asks, I don’t need to fumble for words. Here’s my pitch:

Sunkissed Feathers and Severed Ties is an adult fantasy centered on this woman named Misti who is a Moon Knight protecting this village. During the fight, she gets a Blood pendant stuck to her neck filled with this strange crafting and she has to deal with the deadly consequences. It has themes like the importance of friendship and the healing powers of animals, as well as darker ones like betrayal and getting over one’s guilt. It comes out on March 27, and you can read a sneak peek on my website kelliedoherty.com.”

I do change it up every now and then, putting in different themes that relate to the book or expanding on what crafting is (spoiler: it’s what I call magic in my world)…but that’s pretty much what I say! I try to make it as conversational as I can.

Another thing I did to combat the nerves?

I got an awesome hairstyle in celebration of my book!

IMG_1075

How does this hairstyle help? For one, it’s cool! I really love how it turned out. For another, it makes me into a walking promotion about my novel. When people comment on my hair, I throw in how it’s in celebration of my book, Sunkissed Feathers, and that usually leads to a conversation about my upcoming launch!

Does it help with the shyness factor? Mmmmm, honestly, no. I’m still shy, BUT with this rockin’ awesome new hairstyle, I’m basically forcing myself to talk about my book in explanation of why I got it.

So it’s a promotion win!

I’m also making new bookmarks to hand out, because OF COURSE I AM.

Fellow creatives of all kinds, what kind of promotional things do you do for your work? Fellow shy folk, what do you do to combat the nerves? Let me know in the comments!

Warm regards,
Kellie

On Terrible Writing Advice

I’ve been a writer for a while now, ever since I was a young teen penning Digimon fanfiction. (Yeah, you read that right. Remember Renamon? She was freaking amazing.) I’ve been in numerous writing classes, conferences, groups, and forums, and I’ve gotten some amazing writing advice over the years.

But I’ve also heard some terrible advice.

Here are my top three favorites:

Don’t use contractions.
Yup, I heard that one in a writing group I tried out in college (and soon discovered it wasn’t the best fit). I don’t remember the “why” behind the advice, but I probably just burned it from my mind because OF COURSE YOU SHOULD USE CONTRACTIONS IN YOUR WORK. Characters speak differently, and if all of your characters spoke without contractions they would sound similar and also very effing formal. It’s okay to use that kind of language for a certain character or maybe even a certain race…but it’s also okay to use contractions. People use them all the time, so your characters should, too.

Don’t use “said.” OR Use more exciting dialogue tags.
On one hand, yeah, I kind of get where this advice was coming from. Using tags can get cumbersome, especially if you’re able to write the character actions following the dialogue.

Example: “I know, okay?” Mary said, angrily. VS “I know, okay?” Mary stormed off and slammed the door behind her.

But on the other, “said” is pretty much invisible to the reader, so if you must use dialogue tags, it’s better to use “said” rather than “growled.”

(Note: I am actually kind of terrible at following my own advice, as my copyediting of Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties showed me. My publisher constantly axed dialogue tags in favor of the actions that I had already written into the scene. We can’t all be perfect, you know?)

Don’t describe the setting too much.
This one always makes me laugh. Again, on one hand, okay, yeah there is the case that being overly descriptive can drag the story down…but on the other, the readers need to know the setting! And the setting doesn’t have to be static, either. (And shouldn’t be.) Good writers use the setting to add another dimension to the story and in order to do that the readers have to “see” that setting, too.

One of my other favorites that tends to get tucked into this one is don’t start with the weather. What if the character is trapped in a snowstorm? You start with the snowstorm, of course! Weather can set the mood faster than even characters can, so use it to your advantage!

So there you go, my top three favorite pieces of terrible writing advice. What are some of yours?

Happy Saturday!
Warm regards,
Kellie

P.S. – If you liked this, check out my website, Facebook Author page, and Twitter accounts! And if you’d like to read about a spaceship captain who’s being hunted by a band of murderers and has to make a choice between herself and her crew, check out Finding Hekate! (You can also find it at B&N, Amazon, and Smashwords.)

Orange Extravaganza!

Happy 2019! I hope the first day of the New Year is starting off well. Mine started off with a crash as one of out cats got spooked from the nearby fireworks and accidentally knocked over a full mug of hot buttered rum. We cleaned it, of course, but the rug soaked some up and our dog is having a field day “sneakily” licking it. Ahh, never a dull moment. Anyway, the new year generally means new resolutions and new things!

New Resolution!
Write more. Literally, that’s all. Carving out time to write has actually been a challenge for me lately since I’ve been more focused on my Sunkissed Feathers launch, freelance editing, and my day-job. But I have to make it a priority to write, and I will.

New Things!
It’s January 2019, which means my book comes out soon (we’re shooting for the end of the month) and I want to celebrate this WHOLE MONTH a little differently. Over on my Instagram I’m going to post one orange-themed picture a day for this entire month. At the end of each week, I’ll condense them into one (or two?) graphics and post it on my Twitter and Facebook Author pages Why am I postings orange-themed photos? Well, you all know I love orange…but here’s the real reason:

My main character, Misti, is a Vagari and Vagari crafting (magic) shows up as a deep orange color. To honor that Vagari crafting and Misti AND my new book, I figured posting orange-themed photos would be a cool idea.

I’ve already posted today’s so keep an eye on my Instagram if you want to see more!

What are some of your new year’s resolutions or new things?

I hope you have a fabulous start of the new year!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Cover Reveal of SUNKISSED FEATHERS & SEVERED TIES

Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties has an official cover!!

BUT FIRST, AN ANNOUNCEMENT



The launch date for Sunkissed Feathers has been pushed back again,
this time to the end of January.



Why? Because life happens. It’s as simple as that, really, life happens and sometimes personal stuff has to take priority over book publishing. We just weren’t ready for today’s launch date and I’d rather have quality work over feeling rushed. The extension allows DPP and me the time to put together an amazing book for all of you!

However, in addition to having more breathing room to get this amazing book out there, January also just happens to be my birthday month (so having my debut fantasy novel published that month is pretty awesome), I have some surprises in store between now and then, and I have a gorgeous cover to show off today instead!

THE COVER REVEAL
Here it is, fellow adventurers, the official cover of Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties. What do you think?

SFST-cover-final-web-optimized

About the Designer: Rachel George—Rachel George Illustration—is an inspired cover designer. Seriously, her work is gorgeous and I am so, so happy to have her for Sunkissed Feathers. She also designed Finding Hekate and Losing Hold, and many other Desert Palm Press covers.

About the Process: This cover design process has been a long one, started way back in June when I originally brainstormed what I wanted the book to look like. There were quite a few conversations as Rachel drafted up mockups from the ideas. (Some random ideas I had included a feather/pendant/dagger combo and Zora as a silhouette with things “inside” her.) Rachel did a great job distilling what would make a great cover over the months that followed and eventually we landed on this one! Pretty cool, yeah?

THE SNEAK PEEK OF CHAPTER ONE
Okay, so because the book launch got pushed back and the holidays are literally around the corner I decided to move this, too. I’ll be posting the sneak peek of Chapter One on January 1st on my website so be sure to check it out on New Year’s Day!

Keep an eye on my Twitter or Facebook page for updates as the launch gets closer!

Hope you have an amazing Saturday!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Life (as it) Happens

In undergrad, I spent one semester at the University of Missoula, MT. I took the usual classwork for an English Lit major, including a creative writing poetry course, but had also decided to take a criminology class on a whim. (Why not, right?) The criminology class turned out to be one of my favorite classes. It was interesting to learn about the “why” behind the crimes, and the coursework inspired the poem I titled The Criminality of Love. I had gotten the prompt “love” from our professor and didn’t know what to write, but the night before the love poem was due, I got the idea for The Criminality of Love. It was a middle-of-the-night, words-pouring-out-like-water kind of idea that happened in 30 minutes, chock full of all the criminality jargon I learned in class. (I also accidentally knocked over a can of soda when I showed the poem to one of my roommates. Oops.) I really loved how that poem turned out, and since then, I’ve been looking for a good place for it.

The perfect place turned up over six years later.

I’ve followed the Vlogbrothers – Hank and John Green – for years, so when the first ever Nerdfighter Poetry Book was accepting submissions, I knew I had to try for it. Plus, they announced that all the proceeds would go to the Foundation to Decrease World Suck, which was a great cause. (More on that later.) I decided to submit my criminology poem and it got accepted!

*does a little dance*

So here’s where the announcement portion of my blogpost comes into play:

The Nerdfighter Poetry Book, titled Life (as it) Happens, launched just last week! JUST LAST WEEK. Go check it out!

Poetry is a lovely form of expression, and I’m honored my late night, criminality inspired jargon-filled poem is among them. So, do need a cool gift for a poetry lover? Consider Life (as it) Happens and help support other non-profits while you do.

Oh! And here’s some information about the Foundation to Decrease World Suck, according to their website:

“The Foundation to Decrease World Suck, Inc is 100% volunteer operated and exists solely for the purpose of raising funds to be donated to other non-profit organizations. The majority of fundraising is through and during the annual Project for Awesome. The small operating expenses of the Foundation, including tax return preparation, are paid for by donations to the Foundation by the Directors of the Foundation. Money donated to the Foundation to Decrease World Suck will be distributed to non-profits selected by Nerdfighteria and the YouTube Community through the Project for Awesome.”

Okay, that’s it for me right now. Have a lovely Sunday!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Winter Melody

The snow crunches underfoot, studded tires rumble over ice, and the air seems to hold its breath, muffled by the snow and the dark.

Even tea pots whistle more often (in my home at least).

Winter is here. Arrived suddenly, frost on the cars, the windows, the road.

Arrived with its own melody in tow.

Am I happy? When I’m sipping hot tea and looking at the falling snow, yes. When I’m walking outside all bundled up and enjoying the crisp winter air, yes.

But when the car slides over a patch of ice? Not so much.

It’s then I remember the winter melody isn’t all sweet notes, there are some dour ones, too. Bitter cold, black ice, gloomy moods. Sometimes I can’t even get out of my parking lot! It’s an adventure for sure.

The good times always outweigh the bad, though, the upswings conquer the down. And sometimes the air even sparkles!

So be happy with this icy winter melody of ours, I know I will be…for the most part anyway.

Happy Friday!
Warm regards,
Kellie

New Twitter Game – #AfterHoursWIP

Ever since I did my last Twitter hashtag game (#SciFiCircle for Losing Hold last year), I really wanted to do another one. It’s a fun way to meet other writers, chat about whatever you’re currently working on, and dig into some interesting topics. So, for the month of August I’m going to dip my feet into the Twitter hashtag game world once again with my newest endeavor: #AfterHoursWIP.

Here are some details:

  • When: THIS MONDAY (8/6/18), 9pm Alaska Time
  • How Often: Weekly on Mondays
  • Where: Twitter
  • Hashtag: #AfterHoursWIP
  • Who Can Join?: All writers!
  • Sneak Peek at the Questions: “Where does your MC work?”
  • Possible Tagline: Worldbuilding after hours…

Eh? EH? Yeah, I’m excited about it and also kinda nervous. What if people don’t join in? I want to test it out for this month, just to see how it fares.

Fingers crossed it goes well, and if you’re on Twitter, join me Monday night!
Warm regards,
Kellie