Did I just write a middle grade novel?

I sure as heck did!

During the Christmas break, my son and I came up with a nifty idea we thought could turn into a middle grade series. We brainstormed and came up with a few ideas, and on Dec 26 I wrote the first three chapters and asked the kiddo to read them.

He liked the character, the tone, and the direction the story was going, so I pressed on. This weekend I finished the first draft (37k words).  I think it’s a bit too long, and at times repetitive (which I’ll fix during the first round of edits) but, overall, I’m enjoying the process of writing children’s novels.

I never thought I’d write a children’s novel. Super fun!!

As for the series theme, it’s spooky with a tinge of conspiracy… a cross between X-Files and Goosebumps. My plan is to write the first six books (each a stand-alone with a different cast of characters) before anything is published.

Between this, a thicket of short stories up for publication, as well as my fleshing out a fantasy series (EchoDarling) I think 2018 is pretty much mapped out for me!

Whatever happened to [insert name here]?

Hello my lovelies!

Wow, what a gap, right? For all intents and purposes, I disappeared from the face of the [writing] earth. But I promise I have a good reason. Several good reasons.

  1. I spent a good portion of the summer just chilling out with my family! We went on vacation, went on hikes, and camping. In between all of that, we had a full schedule of swim lessons, drum lessons, and lacrosse. Kids, right?
  2. I focused on my health and got serious about my fitness regime. If you follow me on Instagram, then you’ll notice I competed in a Ragnar race. The Ragnar DC race was a 200-ish mile relay race that started in Cumberland, MD and ended in Washington, DC. I joined a group of 10 runners, slept in a van, and ran this monster of relay over the course of two days. If anything, I recommend going to my Instagram page just to see how exhausted (but happy!) I looked in my photos.
  3. Related to no. 2 above, I’ve hit the weights and the gym hard! My next goal (other than running in next year’s Ragnar race) is to get into Bikini Competition shape. I’m very nearly there, actually, and I’m incredibly proud of my results. It’s not easy to eat clean (and eat often) and get to the gym 5-6 days a week, while also getting in 1-2 high intensity cardio sessions in there. Because of this fitness dedication, and a full-time job (at the Department of Defense), and doing fun summer stuff with the family, I have had zero time to devote to writing.
  4. And finally, in years past, Summer has always been my slow writing season. This summer was slower than usual! However, effective today, I’m back to a somewhat normal weekend writing schedule. The good news is that because my selling short stories over the last 12-18 months, I’ve had a steady stream of short stories published through WMG Publishing, and FictionRiver Anthologies coming out over the last few months.

The Wrong Side of the Tracks,” (a suspenseful short story) is the lead story in Kevin J. Anderson’s Pulse Pounders Anthology. If you want to read a review of this short story, here’s the review on Waynne Hammond’s A Fantasy Muse website

Breaking Kayfabe,” (a wrestling short story) is featured in Mark Leslie’s Editor’s Choice Anthology

The Prism of the Crab Gods,” (tough to define this one… it’s about a young boy in a difficult family situation… and he thinks he has magical hermit crabs that can save him) which is on its THIRD re-printing (!!) and featured in Allyson Longueria’s Legacies Collection. She’s called my short story the best short story she’s ever read.

In addition to the three listed above, I have two new short stories slated for publication. “Flowers in Winter” (a young adult short story) will be released in Nov 2017 (I think) and “One Ballerina Dancing” (a political suspense) will be published in Dec 2017. I’ve sold other short stories, but they will be published in 2018 sometime.

So, what am I working on now? Well, I have dozens of short stories that need editing, and maybe a few re-drafts. For the rest of 2017, I will focus on my short work, and starting in 2018 I plan to dive into a new young adult fantasy world. I sold a (longish) short story titled, “EchoDarling,” (a young adult fantasy) that was incredibly well received (and even fought over as to which editor was going to buy it). Several editors, and a few early readers [independently] said it reminded them of Anne McCaffrey’s work (wow!!). As I pondered the story (months after writing it and already having sold it) I realized I had written an origins story for my character, and her world. I can’t go into too much detail, as what an EchoDarling is, is actually something of a surprise and the main element of this world. However, in order to make it work (expanding this universe) I have to alter the ending. So… I have to have a conversation with the acquiring editor who bought the story in the first place. I think she’ll be on board with my changing the ending, but then again, she may not. (She’s super nice! I think she will.)

In between writing updates, keep up with me on Instagram. I’m on it quite frequently, and I like to post whatever captures my fancy (family, fitness, pictures of flowers).

Until then, be well and read often!


What happened at All Romance eBooks (ARe)?

Onto publishing news:

Like many romance authors, several of my novels and short stories were on the All Romance eBooks (ARe) website, and unfortunately and for reasons I have yet to read, ARe is going dark tomorrow (Dec 31, 2016).

It saddens me because ARe, while somewhat clunky in its interface, published romance material that might not be easily found on other ebook sellers’ (‘Zon, B&N, etc) sites. For example, if a reader wanted to read darker romance material (dubious consent, dark-horror romances, or a steamier shape-shifter romance) ARe was the go-to.

I like a free ebook market, and I like readers having a choice in where they buy reading material. Other sites will emerge and it is an exciting time to be an author and a reader. What I don’t like is when authors are screwed on royalties owed (ARe wants to give us .10 to the dollar) while giving readers mere days to backup their ebook library.

I can’t fix the industry, but I can make sure my readers are taken care of.

If you bought any book of mine from ARe, and you are 1) unable to download it, or 2) unable to back-up your copy, contact me at kellywashwrites (at) gmail (dot) com (make sure to include your purchase receipt) and I’ll ensure you get the ebook in a pdf, mobi, or epub version.

Onto my news:

I hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday season, and a happy new year! I’ve been busy working on darker romance material (which is why I’m bummed about ARe’s closing) under a pen name while working on several short stories for an anthology workshop. I’ll admit that 2016 has been a slow writing year for me (or at least a slow publishing year) but I hope 2017 picks up for me. I have several stories in the pipeline that need editing and covers, and I’ll get those stories published over the next few months.

Recently, I removed all of my work from Amazon’s exclusivity program (KDP-Select). You can still buy all titles on Amazon, but they are no longer in the Select program. Basically, my royalties dropped significantly when Amazon retooled the pay structure on titles enrolled in KDP-Select (pages read versus by the borrow).

I do apologize to my readers who use Amazon’s ebook subscription service, and I did give it six additional months to see if things changed (they didn’t). It no longer made financial sense for me to keep my titles in that program. Give me a few weeks, and I will have all titles published on all e-platforms.

Lastly, onto fun news, my son and I have been brainstorming a middle-grade novel idea (think Goosebumps, but less spooky), and I can honestly say he has awesome ideas! During the long New Year weekend, I’ll get the novel plotted and can hopefully start writing it in the near future. Fingers crossed.

Until next time, lovelies!

<3 Kelly