First Update in a YEAR?!?

Good heavens to Betsy and tarnation and holy cow! Big off and ope all over this. 

I can’t believe it’s been a year since I’ve updated my website with writing news. I apologize for the massive absence. I feel like I have an excuse — I did write, edit, and publish a novel in that time. Yes, you read that correctly! 

But first, some other news. I started a Teachers Pay Teachers store where educators can purchase units and other resources I’ve created. I mention this here because I most definitely use writing skills when drafting these products. I want to focus on educational games, specifically what I call Learning RPGs. Maybe EduRPG would be a catchier name? What are your thoughts? Anyway, these simplified tabletop role-playing games are usable in any subject/content area. All you have to do is provide the math problems/review questions/equations to balance, whatever you want the students to do. In order to solve the RPG quest, they need to answer the questions correctly. If you are a teacher, or a friend of a teacher, please direct them to my shop. My games are highly engaging and guaranteed to get your students excited! I write these for grades 7-12. I hope to have a wide variety of adventures up soon. Right now, my first game is a spy mission!

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I need to get paid.

In other news, I have finished the first very rough draft of Retinue of Lost Ones, which I’ve been publishing on Wattpad. This story’s working title was I Was a Teenage Necromancer! It details the adventures of Shane Elliot, a high school student who not only sees dead people, but can tell them what to do. When a new girl comes to town, trailed by a mysterious but utterly malevolent spirit, Shane must find a way to help her. I look forward to moving into the editing stage. At that point, I’ll be looking for beta readers 🙂

I’m very excited to announce that stories I’ve written will appear in two new anthologies that should be coming out soon. The first story is “The Pearl,” written for the Iowa Writers’ House Writers’ Rooms anthology Writers from the Depths. “The Pearl” tells the story of a young woman who feels she has no way out of her life, and throws herself into the ocean. Beneath the waves, she finds a mystical creature that changes the course of her life forever. Awhile back I wrote a story called “A Mother’s Song” for an anthology called Unlocking the Magic, edited by the fabulous Vivian Caethe, who I worked with for Humans Wanted. Unfortunately, my story didn’t make the cut, but I managed to get it into another anthology with the same editor I worked with for Enter the Rebirth. “A Mother’s Song” follows the struggles of a court bard battling postpartum depression. Witches, Warriors, and Wyverns can be purchased here. 

In non-writing related news, I moved! My family and I left our 900 square foot condo for a 4,250 square foot former Catholic church that we are remodeling into our home! Yes, it’s a HUGE job, and it is cutting into my writing time, but this was an incredible opportunity that can’t be ignored! Once we have more of the renovations done, I’ll try to post some pictures. 

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Last, but assuredly not least, my novel Legendary was released in November of 2019. At last, James and Arthur’s legendary love story is out there for everyone to read and enjoy. Copies can be purchased on Amazon, and I hope to have them in local bookstores soon. I’ll be doing a book signing at Beaverdale Books in Des Moines on 2/8 from 1-4. Legendary also earned a Kirkus starred review!

I am a published novelist. That is some bucket-list shit right there. 

Winter 2019 Updates

Thank you ever so much for thawing out your fingers to click on this blog post! Daaammnnn… what a winter. You would think that having all of these snow days would assist my writing, but I still haven’t managed to get much done!

I do have to give a serious shout-out to my writing group. I’ve been meeting with them once a month since last spring. Beth, Eleanor, and David — thank you so much for all of your valuable feedback on my recent short stories. If you can believe this, I am planning to revive Cultbreakers and have them help me craft it into something I can sell. I still have faith in that novel, and someday, I want it to find a home. If all else fails, I will self publish. Julia’s story needs to be told.

Unfortunately, my submissions to Unlocking the Magic and Release the Virgins were rejected. However, spoiler alert, I have a really good feeling about Writers of the Depths! I want to wait until things are totally official though before I share too much.

I finished and submitted the manuscript for the novel based on “Idylls of the King” titled Legendary. My editor, Lisa, and I are working together on revisions. I’m almost done with my first edit based on her feedback. Right now we are still scheduled for a late 2019 release! EEE! Learn more about my publisher here.

In more news from Running Wild Press, the anthology of short stories that contains “Idylls of the King” was included in a red carpet gift bag for nominees and presenters of the Golden Globes! Yes, seriously! Some of the celebs that received our book were Benedict Cumberbatch, Glenn Close, Tina Fey, Bradley Cooper, and the incomparable LADY GAGA. Here’s what the gift bag looked like:

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And here’s a nice write-up from my local paper 🙂

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Five Months and NO UPDATES?!? Sorry.

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted writing updates! Lots of great stuff has been happening, and I can’t wait to tell you about it.

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So, the biggest news is that the editor of Running Wild’s Anthology of Short Stories Vol. 2 asked me to write a novel based on my story “Idylls of the King.” I know, right? Major squeeeee! I immediately started on the manuscript. I worked with the editor to develop an outline, and she gave me some excellent suggestions.

The novel picks up eleven years after the short story, but the short story is also included within the context of the novel through a flashback. I spent a few months working on the manuscript, and I finished it in early June. Since then, I have had one beta reader look at it, and have done two full edits. A second beta reader has it now, and is currently leaving me comments to think about. I’m so grateful to Jill and Jason for their time and energy.

Once I get through a third editing draft, then I think I’m ready to submit the novel to my editor. My editor…*swoons* I have ALWAYS wanted to say that phrase. It makes me sound so professional!

In other news, I.O.W.A was a lot of fun. I broke even on sales, but I got to spend my time talking to the wonderful Randy Roeder and Brian K. Morris, and hang out with Alexandra Penn and Erin Casey too. They are all amazing writers, so you should check out their work!

I’ve also been hard at work on a few short stories. I found three wonderful anthologies I really wanted to submit to, so I wrote stories for them.

Unlocking the Magic (edited by Vivian Caethe, who brought us Humans Wanted)

Writers of the Depths 

Release the Virgins! 

I’ve already submitted for Release the Virgins! and I’m getting some beta reads and help from others for Unlocking the Magic and Writers of the Depths. There are such interesting themes for anthologies out there these days. If I get accepted to any, I’ll let you know.

I hope not to be away for so long, but working on “Idylls of the King” has really sucked up my time. But I’ll try to be better about keeping you posted.

Stay cool!

I Love Writing and Writing About Love

Happy almost Valentine’s Day, everyone!

I spent a lot of my life pretty much hating this holiday. It’s kind of the single person’s nightmare day when they’re reminded that they’re “alone.” But, if I could go back in time and talk to my former self, I’d tell her it’s her choice to feel that way. There’s plenty of ways to show love for yourself, and being lonely is different than being alone. I spent so much time worrying I’d never have a husband/boyfriend/whatever when I should have realized that was society’s pressure and other people’s problems being shoved onto me. So single folks, guess what? There is nothing wrong with you.

I also used to think the romance part of stories were dumb. Sometimes, they are. Like you’ve got this great race-through-history style book about the Knights Templar with espionage and action and artifacts and all this DiVinci Code style action, and then the main characters hook up for like, no reason. I’m looking at you, The Last Templar.

Other times when I read, the love story in some way just rings true to me. I didn’t really like much about The Historian (you can read my review here) but the also-in-some-ways pointless love story between the main character and Barley echoed my own adolescent fumblings in a way that was really sweet and real and hit me in an unexpected way.

Now, I’m writing about two young men who fell in love as 13-year-olds, and seem destined to be together, part of a legendary narrative. But there’s no such thing as a perfect relationship, even though it’s going to break my heart to put them through a storm. I honestly don’t know what will happen in the end. Writing about love is actually pretty great. I don’t know if I’ll ever be a romance writer, but I enjoy that aspect of some of my stories.

These characters in love are from my short story Idylls of the King which will appear in Running Wild Press’s Anthology of Short Stories Vol. 2. It releases on March 15th, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

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I’ll be sure to let you all know where you can buy your copies. One place will likely be M and M Bookstore in Cedar Rapids, IA. They are awesome and extremely supportive of local authors! Please check them out and support a local business.

My other big news is that I’ll be at Imagine Other Worlds with Authors, a wonderful book signing event, July 21, 2018 from 10 am to 3 pm at the Marion Columbus Club at 5650 Kacena Avenue in Marion, Iowa.

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I know it’s not probably the most professional headshot, but I took that selfie at a cafe in Paris. That day(s) I went to the airport and flew to Paris all by myself with a connection in London. It was the best international flight ever — the plane was empty so I could actually sleep, and then on my connection from London, this random French dude gave me his business class ticket so he could sit with his wife. So I got free breakfast and fun cheeses. I landed in Paris and hit the ground running. I figured out how to ride the RER all by myself and rendezvoused with my husband at Notre Dame. This was a very big day for me where I was happy to be myself and be alive. And that’s how I feel when I write. So, dopey picture gets to stay :).

Of Course My Resolution is to Write More…

Hey faithful readers, sorry for the long delay with any news and updates. I’ve been doing an atrocious job updating the facebook group as well. Mostly because there’s not a lot to report, at least not a lot of progress.

One big thing — My story “Snake Charmer” will be in the next issue of Saw Palm out of the University of South Florida. I did the proofs with the editor recently and had a great experience. I can’t wait to get my hard copy in the mail!

So of course one of my resolutions after the holiday is to try and write more. I think my problem is that I try to multitask too much. I need to choose a novel, sit down, and write it. And cut it out with the other stuff until I’m finished. Of course I’ll need to take breaks to blog and work on short stories, but as far as long term projects go, I need to do one thing at a time.

  1. Write the novel based on “Idylls of the King” as requested by the Running Wild editor.
  2. Finish up and send out Harvest of Ash.
  3. Finish up and edit Drifting, and then forget it about it forever, because it SUCKS. But I will be damned if I spent that much time working on it not to finish it. I can at least publish it on Wattpad
  4. Finish Our Liberties We Prize
  5. Finish season 2 of Alayna and the Beast and submit
  6. Finish Retinue of Lost Ones
  7. Finish my “secret book” that may or may not be a romance novel.

I’m running a serious risk here. After a long time passes of working on one book, I might not remember how the other one was supposed to go. I guess that’s just the price of doing business. Because if I have an editor wanting a particular book, I obviously gotta get on that shit. Call me Marshmallow, because if I see a sweet potato pie, I am on top of it.

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Here’s a great post I saw on Facebook today about New Year’s Resolutions.

1. Give Up On The Unhealthy Lifestyle
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” — Jim Rohn

2. Give Up The Short-term Mindset
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” — Mae West

3. Give Up On Playing Small
“Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone, and as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
— Marianne Williamson

4. Give Up Your Excuses
“It’s not about the cards you’re dealt, but how you play the hand.”
― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

5. Give Up The Fixed Mindset
“The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways.” ― Robert Greene, Mastery

6. Give Up Believing In The “Magic Bullet.”
“Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better” — Émile Coué

7. Give Up Your Perfectionism
“Shipping beats perfection.” — Khan Academy’s Development Mantra

8. Give Up Multi-tasking
“Most of the time multitasking is an illusion. You think you are multitasking, but in reality, you are actually wasting time switching from one task to another “
— Bosco Tjan

9. Give Up Your Need to Control Everything
“Some things are up to us, and some things are not up to us.” — Epictetus

10. Give Up On Saying YES To Things That Don’t Support Your Goals
“He who would accomplish little must sacrifice little; he who would achieve much must sacrifice much; he who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly.”
— James Allen

11. Give Up The Toxic People
“Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution.”
— Albert Einstein

12. Give Up Your Need To Be Liked
“You can be the juiciest, ripest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be people who hate peaches.” — Dita Von Teese

13. Give Up Wasting Time *aka get off the damn Facebook*
“The trouble is, you think you have time” — Jack Kornfield

All right, until next time everybody. I promise to be better about updating the Facebook. Peace and love, and thanks so much for being here with me right now.

The Last Good Year

When I was a teen, I used to write novel after novel about a group of fabulous and tortured immortal beings. Some of you out there may have even *CRINGE* read them. For that, I apologize. But my point is that my favorite characters I created became immortal at various ages that I, as a teen, thought were awesome. 22 was one, as was 27 and 33. 22 was a watershed year for me as I left college and started teaching. Getting away from University of Iowa party culture and getting healthy in a job I adored made that year one of the times I know I was the most happy that I’ve ever been. I felt like there was some kind of connection between how I used to covet age 22 and the magic that came from this time in my life in some way.

Honestly, I can’t remember exactly what it was about age 27, but something good happened then, too. Well, year 33 was the year I was really sure I was going to get a book deal. I have like two weeks or less and… nope.

BUT I have had a LOT of successes this year with my short stories. So many have found a home in anthologies and journals. Success for me really started in 2015 when “Duck Pond” won the short story prize for the Springfield Writers’ Guild. Since then, I’ve written somewhere around 15 short stories, and 9 of them have been published somewhere. That is super, super encouraging. And even better, Running Wild Press asked me to turn “Idylls of the King” into a novel.

I am a writer. I still feel weird saying it, but I finally thing I am legit. The only thing that separates me from most published authors is their self-advocacy and a good dose of luck. We all work hard, we all have great ideas. Some are just at the right place at the right time. Some HAVE the time and the means to promote themselves.

Thank you so much to everyone for their help. I didn’t come to feeling like a writer without the love and support of so many people. Sigh. 34. Oh well. We’ll see if it’s any different. There are no “good” birthdays after this.

Halloweenapalooza 2017!!!

My dear friends, HALLOWEENAPALOOZA 2017 IS HAPPENING!!!!

I made my fundraising goals which means that, thanks to all you beautiful folks, I get to have my very own vendor table at this fantastic event!

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I am so grateful for all the financial help. I’ve spent a lot of the donations already on getting some books to sell, as well as incidentals like picture frames to hold my informational posters/flyers, getting stuff printed, etc. I still have a LOT to do, but I’m so AMPED to do this event! My first author table eeeeeeeeeee!!!!

The table is primarily to promote the horror anthology My American Nightmare (where “We Kill the Skull Man” appears) but I’ll have a few special Amelia Kibbie things as well. Here’s what I’m selling:

  • candy cauldrons — adorable decorative cauldrons stuffed with an assortment of Halloween goodies including candy blood and eyeball lollipops!
  • adorable black kitty cat bookmarks
  • My American Nightmare t-shirts
  • Stickers
  • syringe pens with “blood” inside!
  • Copies of Humans Wanted, a sci-fi anthology where my story “A Second Zion” appears.
  • Anything else I think would sell that I grab between now and then!

I’m also doing a raffle. All you have to do is put your name on my emailing list or like my author page on Facebook, and I’ll enter your name in a drawing to win a prize! First prize is a copy of Humans Wanted, second prize is a copy of My American Nightmare, and third prize is a signed copy of one of my short stories (your choice of story).

Last but not least, my editor sent me a zombie cutout for selfies! Free zombie selfies and trick-or-treat candy of you come and visit.

I know my people are from the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids/Mount Vernon area, but if you’re looking for something to do on October 14th from 11:30-8 (with fun stuff after!) please come check out Halloweenapalooza. Click here to see ALL of the amazing events they’re offering for you to enjoy some spooky fun!

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SPECIAL THANKS to the following folks who made this event possible:

Jenna Voss

Laura Gray

Ben Clayton

Adam Bell

Jan Scharnberg

Holly Berg

Rachel Salazar

Leigh Joseph

Jon Eves

Azzura Nox

 

PS: My short story “The Kitchen at the End of the World” was accepted into a post-apocalyptic anthology called Enter the Rebirth. Check it out!

 

My First Author Event!

Greetings clever readers!

Just a quick update — I’m working with the editor of My American Nightmare to put together a vendor table for Ottumwa’s lovely Halloweenapalooza on October 14th. This will be my FIRST AUTHOR EVENT EVER!!! I will be dressed in a costume of some kind, selling stickers and tee-shirts as well as promotional electronic copies of the anthology.

If you are interested in supporting me in my endeavors, here are a couple of things you could do to secure a place in the Halls of the Hallowed Readers/Valhalla:

  1. Come to the event! Mark your calendars! The event page I linked has all the info and I’ll post more details as it gets closer. Come by the booth and support me and all the lovely authors who contributed to My American Nightmare! (I may be selling a few copies of Humans Wanted as well!)
  2. Please consider donating to my gofundme page. I need help with gas money, paying for the booth, and other incidentals. You can contribute here: https://www.gofundme.com/support-amelias-first-author-event

Thanks for everything. I love it when fall comes and things start to get spooky. You know what goes well with pumpkin spice lattes? Horror anthologies full of amazing female writers!!!

Amazing Updates!

Hey! My short story “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” was published today in the lit journal Intellectual Refuge. Click here to read my terrifying Christmas horror story about a single mom trying to make the holidays special for her daughter only to be plagued by a dark spirit.

ALSO you can purchase Humans Wanted on Amazon! Who wouldn’t want a spectacular collection of human-positive science fiction stories? I’ve read them all. I laughed and cried, and I’m not bullshitting you. I say literally and I mean it — I literally LOL’d and wept reading it.

Grab your copy here!

And, it is only 76 short days until My American Nightmare‘s release!

x0x0

Amelia

I am Awash in AWESOME ANTHOLOGIES!

Pre-orders and author copies of Humans Wanted (a sci-fi anthology my story “A Second Zion” appears in) are out!!! When mine came in the mail I had to squee a little bit. When my sister-in-law asked me to sign her copy I was pretty much having a crap attack. My very first author signature in a book containing my words!!! It was a pretty singular and amazing experience.

So, if you didn’t get a chance to pre order your copy, Vivian, the editor, will have everything settled with Amazon sometime in August. Of COURSE I’ll let you know when copies are available to the general public.

I have just started the joyous reading of the rest of the stories in this incredibly inspired anthology. If you’re tired of reading about how humans are crap in most sci-fi universes, this is the book for you.

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OMG THAT IS MY NAME

Also we have a cover and a release date for the ebook-only anthology My American Nightmare which features my story “We Kill the Skull Man.” I adore it and can’t wait to read everyone else’s story. Probably be up all night shakin’ in my booties because they’re so spooky!

This collection comes out on HALLOWEEN! (muahahahaha)

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Stay tuned and thanks for reading!