I’m having trouble processing the fact we’ve just embarked upon a new decade. This might have something to do with the fact I still haven’t accepted the fact we’re twenty years into a new millennium. When? How?

Despite having a hard time with the math, however, I have done a lot over the past ten years and I’d like to take a look at that before I plan forward. Continue reading “2020”

The Intersection of Hardship and Hard Work

As I sit here, preparing to share my thoughts on the NaNoWriMo 2019 experience, I’m listening to the generator growl outside. We’ve been without power for nearly twenty-four hours and may endure for twenty-four hours more before it is restored. Speaking of twenty-four, that’s about how many degrees it is outside. Fahrenheit. I’m wearing two shirts under my fleece and I have socks on with my slippers.

20191203_071853This is not the longest we’ve been without power. We survived eight days a few years ago. I know, I say it like we were caught on the windy side of a mountain without shelter. But with temperatures only a little more friendly than they are now and no water—the house runs on well water and a septic system—those days were hard. I had to haul buckets of water from the creek at the back of the property to flush the toilet and boil bottled water for washing. We stored the food from the freezer out on the deck (where it remained nearly frozen) and cooked whatever thawed first on the grill.

Now we have a generator to power the fridge, the water pump, and, luxury of all luxuries, the hot water heater. I argued against the water heater at first, ever mindful of using too much gas. But when you’ve been without power for six or seven days, there’s nothing like an almost hot shower to restore your humanity. Continue reading “The Intersection of Hardship and Hard Work”

What Summer Feels Like

Remember how summer was always hotter when you were a kid? And longer. The nights seemed to go on forever, and the end of August was a long, long way away. I have discovered, through the miracle of slowing down, that summer is still like that. You just need to take the time to notice it—which, when you’re all grown up, can be very hard to do.

I was supposed to take a break from writing last summer. Instead, I edited, sometimes two books at once, as I worked through the different pre-pub phases of all three books of the This Time Forever series. I also wrote promotional pieces for the August release of To See the Sun and the September release of the Counting series print anthology. I wrote workshop materials for two classes I planned to teach in the fall. I booked promotion for the This Time Forever series, processed ARC distribution for all the books, and started planning the posts I’d write for my upcoming releases. I prepared monthly newsletters. I kept up with my obligations to the RWA chapters I’m involved with. I beta read, judged, and critiqued. I blogged.

I also did the usual stuff: mowed my endless lawn, kept up with the weeds, entertained houseguests (my dad stayed with us for two months), and drove my child to and from her first job, music lessons, and anywhere else her heart desired.

Not much of a holiday, eh? I was so busy that I had to put off writing Purple Haze for the second time—which was just as well as Kindle Worlds closed in July and I had to add republishing Uncommon Ground to the to-do list.

Then my husband bought a bagel shop, with the fall, my volunteer jobs at the library resumed (including those classes I’d signed up to teach), and I was still editing and promoting and trying to write. Oh, and my daughter was applying to college.

Several times over the past twelve months, I’ve wanted to develop a delicate constitution. Become one of those people from period dramas who shift from fainting couch (or whatever it’s called) to a sheltered window seat, to perhaps a soft blanket spread beneath a shady tree, while everyone twittered on about their health and did their best not to be upsetting. Of course, were I alive back then, I’d probably have been a peasant and not had the time to be delicate. Just like, well, now.

This summer, I was determined to take my break. I needed it in the worst possible way. I was too tired to write—I could put words down but had no enthusiasm for my favourite part: plotting. I can’t write without a plot. I am not a pantser. I need to know which direction I’m writing, or I’ll scribble in circles for two hours before coming up with anything useful.

Plus, I’m not even sure what I want to write. I have lists of ideas, and I love a lot of them. I have two science fiction worlds almost fully built that I’d love to dive into, an outline for a series that would be the logical follow up to This Time Forever, spin-offs to Aliens in New York, a sequel (finally) to Best in Show, and an outline for another book set in the same world as To See the Sun. Although I’d like to write all of these someday, by the time I hit publish on Purple Haze in April, I honestly didn’t care if I ever wrote again.

So I decided to take the summer off writing and my holiday began with a social media break—which has become such a habit that I might actually have to force myself to get back to regular posts on Facebook, Instagram, and… you know what? I’m not sure I’ll ever get back to Twitter. I never really liked it anyway.

What have I been up to? Well, I’m still mowing my endless lawn and driving my daughter everywhere. Preparations for her first year of college are taking up a fair bit of time and the list of stuff we need to do doesn’t seem to be getting any shorter. The bagel shop is still a thing and I’m working more hours there than I did throughout the year. Standing by a grill when it’s 90 out is all sorts of fun. And there’s the little matter of reformatting and republishing all of my Dreamspinner Press titles, due to my requested rights release.

Aside from ALL THAT, I am having a good summer, though. I’m… not writing. When I’m not stressing about the fact I’m not writing, I am actually having fun.

Family came to visit to celebrate my daughter’s graduation from high school and we went to Hershey Park and it was the best day I’ve spent at Hershey Park in something like ten years. Nothing went wrong, and because I wasn’t stressing about deadlines and contracts, I could simply relax and enjoy the day. Not check my email. Not care about social media, or what was happening in the world of publishing. Also, the lines were miraculously short for all the roller coasters and no one got sick on any of the rides. We didn’t lose a child, and we all made it home without injury. Our last stop of the day was one of my favourite places in Pennsylvania.


Next up was July 4th, which we celebrated quietly at home. I’m not a huge fireworks fan, so while the kids did their best to set the driveway on fire (under the supervision of my husband and his brother), my sister-in-law and I mixed a couple of cocktails and watched a romantic comedy on Netflix. Perfect night was perfect. (No one lost an eye and only one kid threw up. Not a bad effort.)


I’ve also been cooking a lot, which is something I miss when I’m hustling to meet editorial deadlines. We eat a lot of sandwiches when I’m busy. This summer, my daughter and I have been experimenting with plant-based eating. She’s been vegetarian for years and we’ve always enjoyed a lot of meatless meals as a family. This is our first proper foray into a vegan diet, though, and with all the new recipe sites out there, it’s easier than it sounds! I haven’t eaten cheese for over a month and I don’t miss it. I enjoyed a couple of ribs on July 4th (they’d been smoking on the outdoor grill all day and the smell, omg, the smell…), but otherwise haven’t missed meat. Eggs are harder for me to give up because they’re a breakfast staple. They’re a lot quicker and easier to whip up than a lot of the vegan alternatives. But I have cut my consumption in half and will continue to wean myself off the sunny side up with toast breakfast I enjoy so much.

I haven’t eaten bacon in over a month. Seriously, this is the most surprising fact of all. I LOVE bacon. But… I haven’t missed it.

The key, I’ve discovered, is choosing recipes that leave me not only full but satisfied. Salads generally don’t cut it. I need starch and protein. Here are a couple of favourites:

Picture credit: The Live-In Kitchen

Vegan Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Spinach and White Beans

Baked Tofu Caesar Sandwich

Persian Yellow Split Pea and Eggplant Stew (So good I could eat it every day)

Spinach Artichoke Enchiladas (Not vegan, but substitutes can be made)

Every summer, I battle deer for the preservation of my many flower beds. This year, I’m mostly losing the war, but I’m enjoying being outdoors more than I have over the previous few summers. I work hard to keep my garden nice. Taking the time to actually be out there, either reading on the patio in the afternoon or drinking my morning cup of tea out on the deck, is a great way to appreciate all my hard work. My enjoyment is my reward.


I haven’t spent as much time gaming as I had planned to. Probably because the weather has been so gorgeous, I’ve been finding it difficult to stay inside. I want to be out there, under the sun. Winters in Pennsylvania are longer than winters in Australia, so I need to soak up as much sunlight as I can before November rolls around again. Serious gaming is going to have to wait until then while now, the odd rainy afternoon finds me playing Watch Dogs 2.


Every summer for the past five (ten?) I’ve planned to start painting again. This summer I just wanted to draw. I haven’t picked up a pencil, yet, but we’re only halfway through July, so I still have time.

Mostly, I’m enjoying not writing. Every day I don’t, the need to feel productive (or simply keep up) that has driven my writing career for over five years fades. It’s not that I never want to write again, but I’m slowly arriving at a place where if I didn’t, that would be okay—and that’s what I’m aiming for. There are a million quotes about the need for a writer to write and I have a feeling the urge will always be there. When I’m reading, in particular, the ideas creep around the back of my consciousness like poltergeists. I’ve resisted jotting most of them down, though. I have enough projects on the maybe to-do list.

What I’m looking for is a reason to write. I know what it is—it’s why I started this journey in the first place. It’s why I continue blogging, and why I’ve taken the time to republish all of my Dreamspinner titles. Because I love to tell stories, even when they’re about why I’m not currently telling stories. So, while I enjoy these long summer days and nights, remembering what ‘hot’ smells like, and contort myself to scratch the mosquito bites behind my right shoulder, I’ll wait for that feeling to float to the top again. For the one story I need to tell to start knocking. For the voices in my head to start whispering. To not care who I’m writing for, except the one whose butt is in the chair, whose fingers are on this keyboard.

The end of August is still a long way away. I’ve still got a lot of summer left to enjoy.

Everyday People

This is one of my favourite posts! It’s all about why I love to read and write queer contemporary romance. ❤

While building a better website (you can check it out here), I compiled a list of posts hosted elsewhere for one of the features. This post was originally written for Queer Romance Month back in 2015, and the host website is no longer active. So I’m reposting it here, on my own blog.

Reading it over this over this morning, I felt no urge to change a single word. This post is as true today as it was four years ago. It’s why I write the stories I do, and why I continue to seek them out.

Enjoy–and let me know if you clicked the link at the end. (quiet, but evil laughter)

Everyday People

Ever since the debut episode of Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show, I’ve had this ditty running through my head:

There is a blue one who can’t accept the green one
For living with a fat one trying to be a skinny one

Doesn’t make a lot of sense, eh? In fact, the whole song is full of such nonsense. But the refrain makes very clear what it’s all about:

I am everyday people, yeah yeah

It’s also very catchy and needs to get out of my head. But while it’s there, I’d going to talk about what this song means to me and, more specifically, the stories I like to read. The song is called “Everyday People” by Sly & the Family Stone and the sentiment isn’t new, but it’s one most of us can appreciate. No matter our race, colour, gender, size, profession, we’re everyday people. No matter who we love, we’re everyday people.

We all start out young and full of hope. We all have dreams. Most of us are looking for love and companionship. We’re looking for purpose. We crave success, and the feeling of being established. Many of us want families. We love our friends. We are heroes, and in need of rescuing. We are mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers. Sons and daughters. We can be either, or, or other.

We are parents swallowing tears as our eighteen-year-olds leave home for college. They think they’re adults, but they’ll forever be our children. We are moving into our first apartment and think the couch we found on the side of the road will smell better after three separate applications of Febreze. Despite what anyone else says, we believe pizza is a balanced meal. We are charmingly naïve and worldly at the same time. We are human, and we’re everyday people.

These are the stories I like to read.

Despite the fact I write science fiction and will read pretty much anything written, contemporary romance is one of my favourite genres. I love to immerse myself in the lives of others, and I don’t really care how ordinary they are, because love makes all of us feel extraordinary. We don’t need to be super soldiers, firefighters, werewolves, or telepathically linked to the Old One in order to save those we love. We just need to be there. In contemporary romance, we just have to love hard enough.

In particular, I like queer contemporary romance. I love the stories about couples who have been married or partnered for over a decade and are battling the same issues every enduring couple must face: growing within a relationship, romantic complacency, aging gracefully and raising children who think ramen is a balanced meal. Pizza is a much better choice, obviously.

To me, what makes these stories special—outside of the fact I can identify with all of these situations—is that it doesn’t matter what gender you are, or who you love. Regardless of our orientation, we’re still going to plan stupidly mundane vacations to the shore. We’re going to get sucked in by that Sunday morning advertisement for the FootLog, only to realise we’ve spent fifty dollars on a roll of Legos—and just about all of us know what it feels like to step on those evil little pieces of plastic.

I want to read about young hopefuls going off to college and/or leaving for the big city. I want to read about househusbands trying out new recipes and setting the kitchen on fire. I want to read about the guy next door falling for the guy next door. I want my sister to be comfortable with who she is. I want her to have her wedding, and—sadly for her—I want her tux, or grass skirt, or unitard emblazoned with a pocket logo of the rings of Saturn to show up wrinkled and maybe in the wrong colour.

Because these are the things that happen to everyday people.

Arguably, one of the delights of reading queer romance is the triumph over adversity—whether bigotry, fear, or a lack of self-esteem and awareness. And I do like reading these stories. There is no greater victory than against the odds.

But what I really love to read are stories about normal people doing normal things. Doing what I have done or might do. Stories I can identify with because I’m a human being. Because I have a partner who is lover and best friend. Because I have a child. Because I burn myself every time I make toast, and forbid my child to use the stairs when I’m not in the house. Because, honestly, while I look pretty “normal”, really, I’m not. We’re all a little queer—some of us more than others. And we all deserve stories, because we’re all…

Yep, I’m going to pull the song title out again…

We’re all everyday people and we’re all more than little bit interesting.



Click it, you know you wanna. And I need someone else to have this song stuck in their head.

(featured image created using Canva)


It’s time to make plans and set a few goals! But first, I’d like to take a look back at 2018. It was a huge year for me, career-wise—beginning with a lot of uncertainty and ending with five book releases. Let’s take a look at those first.


2018 Releases


To See the Sun

Readers had to wait until August for my first release of the year, but the reception for my weird and tropey science fiction western romance was overwhelmingly positive—which made me happy for all the usual reasons: yay, people liked my book! But also for the fact I’d taken a chance on something a little out there—a queer mail-order spouse story, with a pioneering setting, in space—and ended up writing one of my favourite books ever. To See the Sun turned to be one of my most romantic books as well.

Some readers felt the book was too tropey. I took that criticism as “this book is not for you.” I meant it to be tropey. I meant for the science fiction aspect to be incidental as well as inherent, but I never set out to write space opera. To See the Sun is, first and foremost, a love story.

For those looking for more set in this universe—yes, that’s on the list for this year! I’ll talk more about that later.


The Complete Counting series and Counting Out

I have never been happy with Dreamspinner’s policy of pricing novellas over 15k at $3.99, so a part of my request to bundle the Counting series in one volume was to make the complete story available at a more accessible price. Dreamspinner agreed to a print version which… wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, but I won’t deny I’m thrilled to be able to hold Henry and Marc’s complete journey in my hands.

In an effort to continue adding value to the series as well as flesh out their story, I wrote a third “short” as a final epilogue to Marc and Henry’s story. Counting Out came in at just under 20k words, actually making it longer than either of the first two novellas in the series! And it’s available to download and read for free.


Building Forever (This Time Forever #1)

The long-awaited Cheez-It book! Or the novel I had no plans to write until I was about a quarter of the way through and Charlie still hadn’t stopped talking. I put so much of myself into this book: my insecurities regarding parenting a teenager, the ups and downs of a writing career, my lifelong interest in architecture, and my desire to see two deserving people find a happy ever after together.

I hoped this book would be a hit with my readers and perhaps gain me a few more fans and it appears to have done just that with the reception being super positive. I figured a lot of folks would like Charlie, but every reader who loved Simon just as much (or more) warmed my heart. ❤


Renewing Forever (This Time Forever #2)

As I mentioned in a few of the promo posts I wrote for Renewing Forever, I had no idea how much I needed to write this book until I wrote it. Oh, the longing. I’d always wanted to write a true second chance romance—where the one who got away came back, where a love thought lost was found and rekindled, where the happy ever after felt so well deserved.

The readers who enjoyed this book really enjoyed it—and the reviews reflecting the fact they’d taken the same journey reading as I had writing were incredibly gratifying. Renewing Forever was a stretch in a new direction for me and it’s probably my favourite of the series. Friends to lovers will forever be it for me!


Chasing Forever (This Time Forever #3)

Brian’s story was the book that stressed me out the most this year—the writing, the editing, the waiting for reviewer and reader reactions—and what surprise it turned out to be, for me as much as anyone else. Readers love this book! They love Brian—the lying, cheating asshole from books one and two.

I felt like I’d nailed his redemption, and I’d tried something a little different with the story arc. My readers know I don’t exactly write traditional romances. I try, but my black moments don’t always happen when they’re supposed to and sometimes they’re not particularly black. My conflicts aren’t always related to the relationship. I tend to write more along the lines of: okay, so these two are going to get together, but they really need to sort themselves out first, and the sorting will affect their relationship, and sometimes it’ll read like a real romance! And sometimes it won’t.

Nevertheless, I’m absolutely thrilled with the reception to Brian’s book and I’m so glad Brian and Mal have fans of their own. They both deserve all the love.

I do have plans to write an epilogue novella for this series, and maybe a spin-off novel for Josh and Ethan. The novella will be this year and will be more a montage of check-ins with each couple than an actual story, but I’m as curious about how my guys are getting along after their HEAs as you all must be.

I don’t think Josh and Ethan will happen this year. I’m aware that the longer I leave their story, the less likely I am to write it, so we’ll just have to see how my writing year goes and where my muse takes me. Fingers crossed!


What Didn’t Happen This Year

Purple Haze (Aliens in New York #2)

I originally intended to write Purple Haze in November 2017, but had to back-burner the project in order to fill contractual obligations with Riptide Publishing (namely, write Frank’s book). I started writing Purple Haze in May 2018 and had reached the 75% mark when Amazon announced they were closing Kindle Worlds. As I’d incorporated more elements of Felice Stevens’ world in the second book of the series than in the first, I decided to stop writing and reassess. I then got very, very busy editing all three novels of the This Time Forever series and didn’t get a chance to go back and review and revise Purple Haze until recently. It’s at the top of the list now and will (hopefully) be ready for release around March this year!

I’ll talk more about my plans for this novel and the series in general in just a little bit.


My Facebook Reader Group

For those of you wondering when I started a Facebook Group for my readers and why you didn’t know about it: it doesn’t actually exist—and might never. I had plans to start one in the lead up to the release of To See the Sun but kept putting it off because I’m really not sure I have the time to do it justice. I have the greatest admiration for authors who have thriving and active Facebook Groups and I love joining in the discussions. My own social media presence is somewhat more sporadic, however. Sometimes I’ll check in every day. Sometimes I’ll skip a week, checking in only when I’ve been tagged. I just have so much else going on that I’m not sure I can be present enough to run a great group!

If you’d like more Kelly, please friend me on Facebook. Because I write under my own name, I post regularly about my writing. I also post about my hobbies (gaming, reading, hiking, movies) and I’m always happy to chat about anything and everything.

If you’d ever like to chat with me about my books and would prefer a more private forum, ping me on Facebook messenger! I promise to answer all your questions.

I also send out a monthly newsletter that ends up getting quite chatty, and of course, I have this blog.


Signed Books

I also had plans to sell signed books through my website/blog. But it’s soooo complicated. There’s shipping and sales tax and stocking and billing and I just can’t. What I can do is send you bookmarks, postcards, and signed bookplates! Best part? I’ll do it for free.


What’s Next?


Purple Haze (Aliens in New York #2)

Right now, I’m getting ready to read through what I have written so far. It’s about 48k of a proposed 60k. Everything is about to go wrong (for Dillon and Lang), meaning I just have to write the action-y stuff, and then the resolution-y stuff. These are two of my favourite things to write, so I have no worries at all about finishing this book. I should probably put some sexy stuff near the end too. Done and done.

Felice Stevens has graciously allowed us to keep any elements tying our stories to her world, but because Uncommon Ground (Aliens in New York #1) had such a tenuous link in the first place, I’ve decided that part of getting Purple Haze ready for publication will be moving it further from her world, which is going to mean some series editing. I’d actually set it more deeply in her version of New York, drawing in more of her characters with an idea of making one of them an alien in disguise.

Although I have planned for Purple Haze to complete the story of Dillon and Lang, giving them a happy ever after ending, I’ve decided edit out all elements of Felice’s world so that the series can remain open-ended, meaning I can either revisit Dillon and Lang (send them on another adventure), or spin-off another character. I really enjoy writing science fiction and contemporary and this series is a perfect blend of the two and fairly unique. I don’t want to say it’s done!

So, the plan: Review and Revise Purple Haze. Get it written and off to the editor ASAP. Meanwhile, I’m going to edit Uncommon Ground slightly. The story will not change! I’m merely going to change a few names and edit one encounter (with Felice’s characters) to take it out of her world. I will then commission new covers for Uncommon Ground and Purple Haze and publish both books in March/April. I also plan to make both of them available in paperback!

All details regarding the rerelease and new release will be in my newsletter and here on my blog.


“This Time Forever” (This Time Forever #3.5)

The setting will be Frank and Tom’s wedding, with all main characters and several side characters from the novels in attendance. The story will jump from character to character as I check in with each one, examining their headspace and heartspace. I’m really looking forward to revisiting these guys. They’re all still in my head and I love the idea of seeing where they’re all at six months on from the end of Brian’s book.

This project is up after Purple Haze and will hopefully be ready for publication late spring/early summer. The story will be novella length, free to read, and made available to newsletter subscribers first!


The City Without End (Sun #2)

The City Without End will be set entirely on Zhemosen (I think) and will be Price’s story! For those of you who haven’t read To See the Sun, Price is the friend who helped Gael find the contract with Bram and travel from Zhemosen (also known as The City Without End) to Alkirak where Bram was homesteading.

Price’s story is going to include the arranged marriage trope and lots of shady crime family/undercity dealings. His opposite number is a character I’m super excited to write. I’m also looking forward to delving more deeply into Price’s character.

The plan is to deliver The City Without End to my publisher sometime in the spring. I have no details regarding possible publication dates at this time. But when I know, you’ll know. 🙂


Out of the Spotlight #1

Out of the Spotlight #1 will be the first book of a new contemporary romance series featuring older characters. I don’t have much more to share at this time, except that I have three novels planned and that the books will have a similar feel to This Time Forever in that I’ll again be focusing on mature heroes and found families. The settings will be very different, however, as will the tropes and stories.

I’ll have more to say when I start writing this one, but I am really excited about the concept for these books!


Best in Show #2

This book has been on my wishlist for a number of years now and I’d really love to write it. The reality is that the farther I get from the first book, the less likely this is to happen, however. But, if I do find the time this year, it could. No promises to you or me, but if it doesn’t happen in 2019, it probably isn’t meant to be. I would like to write more paranormal fiction, though. I had a blast with this story and had plans for the world. Hopefully, I’ll find the time and inclination.


Going Forward

I was supposed to write Purple Haze, The City Without End, and Out of the Spotlight #1 in 2018. Life had other plans. As always, though, as I dug myself out from under a seemingly never-ending pile of work, I learned a few things: namely, that I prefer to write/edit/write/edit than write/write/write then edit/edit/edit. Editing is the hardest part of the process for me and editing four books back to back as I did in 2018 nearly killed my desire to continue writing. It took several months to even imagine writing a story again—for the ideas to spark, for me to feel creative.

So—and I share this will all apologies—my output is going to be slower going forward. I published seven titles in 2016, six in 2017, and five in 2018. I may only get two or three out there this year and plan to strive for two or three the following year. I’ve learned I cannot sustain the pace required to put out six or seven titles every year. Not even five, really. Not and love what I do—and for me, loving what I write is an essential component. I’m not a book factory. 😦 I wish I could write more, faster, and there may come a day when I manage to write more than promised! But I’m all about managing expectations, for better or worse, and would rather we all be pleasantly surprised than bitterly disappointed.


So that’s it! If you made it to the end of this post, thanks for reading. If you’re a fan of my books, thank you for taking the time to share the lives of my characters from time to time. Here’s to a happy, healthy and productive 2019 and more journeys taken together. ❤