Social Media Tips: For Readers

Social media can be a scary place, a dark ocean just waiting to swallow you whole. But it can also be a connection, a connection to your friends, your family. A connection to your local writing groups, extended writing community, and your fans. It’s scary, but it doesn’t have to be! Here are some quick tips for the lovers of books.

If you’re just starting out and social media is a terrifying, churning sea:

scary

  • If you love a book, search for it on whatever social media site you want to use! Doing so will let you make instant connections through book chats, social media groups, and fellow lovers of the book you also love. You may also find some folks who have a differing opinion than you about said book, which can spark some interesting conversations.
  • If you don’t see anyone talking about this book that you love, start up a conversation! It can even be a simple as a short tweet about what you like or a longer blogpost examining the pros/cons of it that you share in your social media circles. Chances are, other folks like the book, too, and if they haven’t started talking about it, they will now.


If you’ve waded into the social media depths before and are more confident:

cartoon

  • Join in on a few hashtags for readers: #FridayReads is a popular one. #WeNeedDiverseBooks is a good conversation starter.
  • Create images with quotes from your favorite book or by your favorite author. Crafting these are fun and let your book-lover followers which books are near and dear to your heart.


If you wear a trident on your back and can swim in any social media waters, no matter how rough:

finnick

  • Try creating a social media hashtag game about your preferred genre. It’s a lot of work and takes some foresight and a bunch of planning, but it’s pretty fun. Not only will you gain a lot of interesting insights to your favorite genre, you’ll also be able to start many different conversations, too, depending on what kinds of questions you ask in the hashtag game itself. Plus, hashtag games are simply a fun way to meet new people and chat about how books are awesome.

No matter your comfort level, social media is about having fun and making connections, so dive deep and have a good time!

Happy Sunday!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Advertisements

Creative Without A Community

As many of you know, I recently moved back to Eagle River, Alaska. Okay…so “recently” might not be the best term, as it was over six months ago. But with the holidays and my new job at the State and my freelance editing and some recent celebrations (my sister graduated with her master’s degree, y’all, pretty effing amazing!), it seems like time flew by. Like, it’s been over six months already, how the heck did that happen??

(Which reminds me of time when I was a kid and my best friend Mer and I had this brilliant idea that since time seemed to fly by when we were having fun, we decided to “not have any fun”…needless to say, it didn’t work out so well. But I digress.)

So I’ve been back in Alaska for a while and I’ve discovered something a bit…troubling. I don’t go out much. Now, it’s not like I went out much in the past, as I’ve always been kind-of a homebody, but I did do things. I volunteered for some local organizations, went to writing groups, helped organize a literary reading here in Eagle River. I did things. Now, though, I haven’t really made the time.

Why? Well, I have a day-job that spans from 6:30 a.m. when I wake up to about 5 p.m. when I get back home, and then after that I have my freelance editing job which consists of a really amazing nonfiction editing gig with Tiger Oak Media that I have to do each night for about one or two hours and (a bit more sporadically) my equally as amazing fiction editing gig with Desert Palm Press with a time commitment that really depends on the project, haha! So I’ve been lucky enough to secure two interesting jobs that I get to do each week, and I’m quite proud and happy about it.

However, I’m kinda tired when I’m done with my evening freelancing job, so I haven’t really made time to do anything after that aside from eating dinner, watching something funny on the TV, and then going to sleep. The weekend is my time to recharge, so I usually spend it writing, hanging out with family, and playing games, as well as doing chores and getting prepped for the following week.

It’s worked okay for the past six months, but I’ve come to realize that my system isn’t really the best. This system doesn’t leave much time for me to socialize or rebuild my writing/creative community. I have my online community that I’ve been slowly building in my random tiny snippets of spare time, but in-person connections are super important, too. (Says the introverted person who’d rather pet a stray cat than talk to a stranger. *nervous laughter*)

So, stemmed from that realization, I’ve decided that I need to do better. I don’t really have much time to spare during the week, but maybe once a week I can attend a literary event, like a book reading! I also put my name in the hat to volunteer at 49 Writers, so here’s hoping they get back to me. I’ll be helping the Alaska Writer’s Guild with their conference program like usual sometime later this summer, too. I was also thinking about becoming a member of one of those groups, or maybe the Alaska Romance Writers  of America, since that’ll help support the local writing community. I used to volunteer for Cirque pretty regularly, so maybe they still need some help with things? And maybe I’ll go to the Jitters Critters meeting on Monday nights like I used to? I don’t have any writing to show them right now, but I can help critique.

Hmmm…or maybe I should just try one or two of these things right now, because all of that is kind of overwhelming.

Annnnnd I should also chat with my friends more often, but that’s another story entirely, hahaha…ha…ha… *waves feebly at Alaska friends and whispers, Sorry!*

TLDR: I would like to be more active in my creative community and have lots of random thoughts on how to do that.

What kinds of things do you do to stay involved with your creative communities?

Wish me luck!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Check out my author Facebook page!

Writing Update: Fantasy Series, Book One!

I AM DONE WITH MY FANTASY MANUSCRIPT!

Or…so I thought when I first penned this blogpost A DAY AGO. Yes, you read that right. On Thursday at 2:30pm I was doing a little mini dance at work because I was finished with my fantasy manuscript, I started writing this blogpost on Thursday evening around 5pm, and then LATER ON Thursday night at 11:30 pm I had an idea for it, got out of bed, and typed it into my computer notes.

Such is the life of a writer.

wacky.jpg

BUT I am almost done with it. Before moving forward, I’d like to solidify my character/story arcs for the following books. I have a really good grasp on Book Two, with lots of character ideas, a synopsis, and plotpoints I’d like to hit and I’ve even plotted some chapters out already. The other three books? More like vague ideas. So, I’m going to craft a synopsis for each of those three books by mid-April before I submit Book One to publishers.

I wanted to do this anyway for this particular series—since they’re basically standalones in the same world but do have overlapping characters—but I honestly think I had to finish this first book to really grasp how important it is to know where the story is headed and how the characters will get there. (For my own sanity more than anything else, ha!) And that’s not to say the characters and the story won’t surprise me. There were a couple of places in this first book where the story took a turn I wasn’t expecting and I just had to go with the flow and see if it worked. (Spoiler: It did!) But it would be great to have a synopsis of each book for myself…and then also to show the publishers if they ask where I’m headed with the story. Overall, though, I’m pretty excited.

Have a lovely weekend, my fellow nerds!
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

 

 

 

A Sprig of Rosemary

So, originally this blogpost was going to be about how I didn’t have any inspiration for my second fantasy novel. How the first one seemed to flow much easier than this one and how the plotpoints I created made sense. How I was so stuck on this second book that I was going to do something else for a while (even though I used that excuse before concerning this WIP). How I was just so freaking disappointed in myself for not figuring things out in my fantasy world, for letting my writing self down, for not being creative enough.

That was what my blogpost was going to be about.

And then something amazing happened. I opened up my documents, turned on some Lord of the Rings music, and just stared at the words for a little while. Stared at the my confused words like: “Plot?” and “What is her motivation??” and “Character arc???” All questions and no answers, the tiny red ellipses beaming like shameful reminders of my lack of my creativity. I just…stared. And wondered. And listened to the Lord of the Rings fantasy music swell and ebb. I thought about my main character and the world I had created and the magic I wanted to explore and the darker side of the realm. I thought about my first fantasy book still at the beta readers and wondered if they’d like it or if I’d have to scrap something I loved. I wondered about the ties from that book and into this one, how corrupted versions of the crafting abilities could become and how I wanted to showcase another version of that in this book. I just took some time, sitting in front of my WIP fantasy brainstorming documents and listening to LOTRs, really contemplating my manuscript and what I wanted this story to be about.

And then, seemingly out of nowhere, an idea came into my mind. It’s not a fully fleshed out idea. It’s not the entire plot of my manuscript. It’s not “everything.”

It’s actually kind of a small idea, now that I think about it…a sprig of a larger branch of a larger plant. A sprig of rosemary, perhaps, that I can offer to my creative muse.

But it’s something. Something to build off of. Something to be excited about. And something that ties in my MCs motivations, the corrupted version of magic I wanted to explore, and an interesting plotpoint to weave throughout the story.

It’s something. And my advice to anyone else struggling to write, doubting their creative muse, doubting their writing?

Don’t force it. Whenever I would sit down to write, I’d think, Okay, Doherty, time to do this. Time to be creative. … … Go. Go, already. Creativity?? When nothing came, it would eventually spiral into, Okay…okay…okay…nothing. Bah! 

Don’t feel bad. So, because I wanted my creativity to spark so badly, I was disappointed when I didn’t think of anything. It doesn’t help to think that, but every writer doubts their craft.

Keep going. Allow yourself some time to think. Sit with your budding creation and wonder what could happen, what kinds of things you’d like to write about, whatever’s cool or interesting or intriguing. Think about your world and your characters. Sit with it for a while and see what happens.

(And, put on some music, too! But that step is optional.)

Here’s hoping you have a creative 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

A Writer’s How-To: Memorable Settings

I find the easiest way to create a memorable setting is to make it unique. If your story is set in the mountains, give the mountains a cool name with some weird creatures living in it. If the story is set in space, make the spaceship feel like home and add some quirks to it. (After all, we all have that ONE FREAKING FLOORBOARD that creeks like some horror story bad guy is coming to kill you in the middle of the night.) If your story is a romance, make the setting cozy by adding in something that means the world to the main character or something that brings up some unfinished memories.

If you give the setting something specific, something unique to itself, some defining character, readers will remember it better. (It’s the same with making memorable characters!)

Three of my favorite settings are, in no particular order: Hogwarts, because of the ghosts and the moving staircase and trick doors; Serenity, because even though it fell apart ALL THE TIME it became a home and sanctuary to the crew; the Arenas in the first and second Hunger Games books, because it seriously messed with the tributes in unique and challenging ways.

Why do I like them most? They all offered something unexpected and added dimensions to the story, as well as pushed the story along. Doing so with your settings will help your readers remember them!

Readers: what are your favorite settings and why?
Writers: what are some ways you make your settings believable?

Happy Friday, and until next time!
Warm regards,
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

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

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