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!


Delinquent Kelly

Hello my lovelies! I’ve been away for a while, holed up in a cabin in Oregon writing my eyeballs (and fingers) to the bone! I’m only sort of kidding.

In my last newsletter, I mentioned that I recently created a new pen-name, and I’ve been writing into “the dark” – which has two meanings.

  1. No outlines, or plots, or deadlines. I sit in front of my computer and simply write. This has been incredibly freeing, and I’ve written several stories I might not have before. More on that in a minute.
  2. Some of my new work (under the pen-name) is, literally, dark. The themes are darker, with violence. I’m exploring a few darker themes that are not appropriate under this name (Kelly Washington). I’d categorize my new work as horror meets dark romance. This has been a little less freeing (but still rewarding) as I have to channel a different side of me when writing the darker side of humanity.

While in Oregon, I wrote several gothic (!) novellas as well as a young adult LGBT “first love” romance (also in novella length). All three came out of nowhere (writing in the dark!), and I’m delighted with the results. I expect to have the young adult novella out shortly, under the abbreviated name K. Washington (this is not the new pen-name). Below is a proof cover for THE BEGINNING OF US. Totally not finalized, and you can see the watermarks (as I’m playing around with a few ideas before going final), but the idea is to keep the cover simple and inline with YA Covers.

the beginning of usThe Blurb? After a surprise meeting on the lacrosse field, teens Emma and Gina spend the rest of the night discovering that when you open up to a kindred spirit, love can bloom even in unexpected places. “The Beginning of Us” is a sweet “first love” LGBT romance appropriate for all audiences.

It was incredibly fun writing this story because Gina is a lacrosse player, and my son has been involved in lacrosse for four years. It’s a fascinating sport, and I’m having a blast learning more about girl’s lacrosse and how it differs from boys’ lacrosse. The equipment is different, and there is less contact. My goal is to make this a series, focusing on the girls on this lacrosse team.

We’ll see where it leads, and I’m excited for the results! I’ll let you know when the e-book is available.

In addition to writing, I’ve been reading a great deal. I think I’m up to 25 books so far this year, and I just finished Villette by Charlotte Bronte last night. Next? And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie.

I’d like to highlight Sarina Bowen’s “Ivy Years” series, and the “Him” series as she kept me awake many a night reading her fantastic books. Whew, that woman can write the feels like no ones business. I never knew that I loved hockey romance until I read her books. If you haven’t picked up one of her books, I highly recommend it.