Kelly Haworth

LGBT Scifi and Fantasy Author

November 29, 2016
by Kelly
0 comments

Writing by Firelight

Wow, everyone. Long time no blog. Sorry about that. I’ve been busy hammering out the first draft of Read My Mind, and raising a stubborn 3½ year old and an overly-adventurous 8 month old. Life’s been busy. Life’s been hectic. Life’s had a touch of devastation. (I’m looking at you, 2016 election.) But I’m trying hard to hold strong and work my way through. Keep my house clean. Help my son finally potty train. Finish the first draft of this book.

I’m sitting by the fireplace right now, a duraflame log slowly turning to ash to keep me warm. I’m trying to figure out how many pidgey evolves I have. It’s a more peaceful night than usual, which is why I’m attempting a blog.

So let’s talk about what books do to writers and readers.

Each book I write teaches me not just about craft and characterization, but about myself. Someone on a facebook writer’s group today mentioned that writing a book helps an author work through something that happened in their lives.

I look back at books I’ve finished, and I can tell what those things were, at least for some of the older ones. But not so much for the newer ones.

Maybe I’m still in the thick of whatever change they have sparked, and when I look at them in a year or two, I’ll be able to point at part of them and go, here. Here’s when I figured it out.

I can just as much look at books I’ve read and been able to do the same thing. Here, this book I read last year, is what started this revolution of thought.

Maybe a book needs to affect its author for it to properly affect its reader. Maybe those most recent books I’m working on, both still WIPs, haven’t fully moved me yet because they aren’t done. That’s an encouraging thought, because it tells me why they don’t yet feel right. I can sense the potential in the passages, in the emotions and dialogue. But I haven’t yet gotten those manuscripts to sing.

More than ever before I have a desperation to write. Maybe because so much of my life is reserved by everything else. Maybe because I know that this translation of thoughts into words is something that I genuinely want to put my time and energy into. I’d have it be my day job in a heartbeat if I could. But I can’t, not for a few more years anyway.

And by that point, it’s going to depend on how many books I have under my belt, the economy, the possible apocalypse, you know the deal.

In the meantime, I’ll work on these manuscripts and hope they move me. And hope they’ll move you too.

Have a good night, y’all. Go sit by something warm and read something that’ll move you.

October 4, 2016
by Kelly
2 Comments

A Scene that Sparks

I want to talk a bit about writing process. For me, there’s this moment when I’m planning out a book where a really compelling scene sticks in my head, and it becomes my driving force for writing the book. Like, I have to keep going, keep writing, so I can get to That Scene. The scene that sparks and crackles with anticipation and excitement within me, that keeps me awake at night thinking it through over and over and over.

“But Kelly, why don’t you just write that scene now? You don’t need to write in order.”

Yes, yes, true. BUT. It’s not how my brain works. I don’t want to write stuff out of order, mostly out of the idea that I’ll discover new things about my characters and my plot along the way that may change how That Scene plays out. It just doesn’t make sense to me to write out of order.

My point really is, once I know what That Scene is, I can’t get the book out of my mind until it’s written out. For Y Negative, it was the scene where (heh, spoiler) Ember holds the gun to his head. I held so much emotion that it stuck all through the nine months or so it took for me to finally get to writing it. It was one of the first scenes I thought of.

For the first novel I ever finished, I didn’t know where to go after I reached the 50% point. I floundered for at least two years before That Scene hit me—a tragic climactic ending to a character—and then I finally had the drive to write the rest of the book.

The two examples I gave were of emotionally charged negative scenes (though the Y Negative one ends good), but what I’ve noticed across all my novels is that That Scene is usually an event that triggers an evolution of a character. A moment of no turning back, a moment of discovery. Where the only way out is through.

For the book I’m working on now, Read My Mind, I ‘ve just figured out what That Scene is. And I am so friggen excited.

As for the details? You’ll just have to wait and find out.

^_^

September 21, 2016
by Kelly
1 Comment

Flight

front-coverHey Everyone! The 2016 Queer Sci Fi Flash Fiction anthology, “Flight”, is here, and I have a story in it! It’s a really cool concept:

A 300-word story should be easy, right? Many of our entrants say it’s the hardest thing they’ve ever written.

Queer Sci Fi’s Annual Flash Fiction Contest challenges authors to write a complete LGBTQ speculative fiction micro-story on a specific theme. “Flight” leaves much for the authors to interpret—winged creatures, flight and space vehicles, or fleeing from dire circumstances.

Some astonishing stories were submitted—from horrific, bloodcurdling pieces to sweet, contemplative ones—and all LGBTQ speculative fiction. The stories in this anthology include AI’s and angels, winged lions and wayward aliens. Smart, snappy slice of life pieces written for entertainment or for social commentary. Join us for brief and often surprising trips into 110 speculative fiction authors’ minds.

The book us available in eBook form (4.99), and will soon be available in paperback with b/w illustrations inside (12.99) and in a special collector’s edition with color illustrations (24.99).


Buy Links

Amazon eBook | Kobo | All Romance | Goodreads


Excerpt

Purple feathers cascade down the side of my face. They’ve finally unfurled, their hue a mockery of who I am, who I can’t be.

“Dying them will work,” Shi-lo tells me, her claws raking through the bristled feathers across my shoulders. “You’ll look more like you.”

~

Thanks for checking it out!  I really enjoyed writing such a short story, it reminds me how much I like flash fiction.  I’ll have to try to write more.

Have a great day all!

September 14, 2016
by Kelly
0 comments

Book Announcement!

OH MAN OH MAN!

Great news!

I’ve signed with Riptide Publishing for the first book of an Urban Fantasy Romance series!

*dances dances dances*

This is so incredibly amazing. So. This is the same series I’ve been talking about in blog posts and on twitter for the past year or so. Chasing Fire is one of the later books in the series, as is Pick her Up. But our series opener will be READ MY MIND.

Some info:

Expected Publication: October 2017 through Riptide Books

Magic & Pairing: Telepathy/Telekinesis, M/M

When Scott finds out he has telepathy, it turns his whole world upside-down.  Good thing he has Nick’s telekinesis to turn him back upright.  It’s not every day the kid of an all-normal family finds out he has magic. Why would the gods have picked him? Nick wants to help Scott navigate this new territory, but on one condition. As Nick teaches Scott about having magic, pious Scott teaches unfocused Nick all about prayer.

Progress: 7k/65k

This book will be chock full of parables, comic books, and nerdy guys kissing. I am so excited to share this world with you all. The series is called Under the Empire. Here’s a quick premise:

Magical “eccentrics” and non-magical “normals” coexist in a contemporary not-quite America currently known as the Flavian Empire.  In Frannesburg, an analogue of San Francisco, one of the top universities of the Empire teaches students of all magics, sexualities, genders, and races.  Here, there’s plenty of opportunity to meet new people as you work your way through college, and maybe even find love where you might not expect it.  Each book is a standalone romance following different characters, though the entire series will follow groups of friends as they navigate a few years of college. 

So yeah! I have some writing to do! I’ll keep you all updated periodically on my progress. In the meantime, I also hope to do some site redesigning, and I think I need new business cards too! *squees*

Have a great day everyone!

August 7, 2016
by Kelly
1 Comment

Dreams

If dreams are a window to the soul, why do my dreams not make any damn sense?

Recently, a family friend who read the blurb of Y Negative said to me, “your dreams must be fascinating.” I didn’t really know what to say.  I’ve been told this before (and probably will again) but the truth is that my dreams are completely mundane or nonsensical, and this has always been a tiny source of consternation for me.

I’ve heard of authors who are inspired by their dreams, or figure out plot problems due to their dreams.  I’ve heard of authors who have conversations with their characters in their dreams.

That’s not me.

I’ve heard of people who fulfill fantasies in their dreams.  I’ve heard of people who live in TV show or movie worlds in their dreams.  I’ve heard of people who have horrible nightmares.

That’s definitely not me.

My dreams are usually me bumbling through regular scenery trying to achieve a regular goal (like meeting someone somewhere, or slightly more interesting, put out a small fire) and almost always failing, usually to only mild annoyance.

I mean, like, what?

Where’s the alien worlds I spent countless hours daydreaming about when I was a teenager?  The aliens I painstakingly designed?  The dozens of people in my half dozen novels that mean the world to me?  Where is the magic?  Where is the excitement?

What is wrong with me?

Maybe there isn’t anything wrong with me.  I’ve conjectured that my sleeping dreams are so mediocre because my waking dreams (my waking imagination) is extremely robust.  Maybe I’ve spent so much time thinking about these things while I’m awake that my subconscious has nothing else to unpack while I sleep.

Or maybe my imagination isn’t as robust as I think it is.

Whatever the reason for my sleeping brain’s ineptitude, I cherish the rare interesting dreams.  Like the one about time travel, where I had to keep trying to save a friend a la “Edge of Tomorrow” trying over and over again to get it right. Or any one where I’m a guy.  Or the one, almost a decade ago, the one time I actually did get to talk to one of my main characters. I don’t remember what we talked about, but I remember his face, and I remember hugging him. That dream was in third person, my mind’s eye a camera floating at an appropriate angle.

One time.  Just one time.

It’s okay, I’ll just have to keep daydreaming.

One thing I’ve noticed about my mundane dreams is that they’re always a few years behind my waking life.  In the years after college, I still dreamed about going to class. In the years that followed, the settings of my dreams would be a few apartments behind. My first child didn’t appear in a dream until he was two, and when he did, he was a baby.  Why have I never noticed that things aren’t quite right?  Dream logic, I guess.

Are any of you in similar boats as me? Will my dreams always be boring and unmemorable?  Obviously, it could be worse.  But I hope it’s not a reflection of who I really am inside…

June 30, 2016
by Kelly
0 comments

Thrown Towels and a Book Review

Sometimes you gotta know when to throw in the towel, and for Book-in-a-year, this is it. I’m officially stopping it after 5 months, because I’m too unsure what the future of my writing career holds, and I didn’t work on it at all in the month of June. I think it’s a great book that I WILL finish when the time properly comes to write it, but I just don’t think now is that time.

Right now, I need to focus on going back to my day job in just a little over a week, and what changes that will bring to my family and my life.

Right now, I need to help my son, who’s been having a hard time adjusting to the new baby.

Right now, I need to reevaluate my writing career and what the best next steps will be. I have lots of ideas, but no sense of direction. If I don’t commit, I’m going to sit here stagnating.

Or, you know, raising my family and working the day job. And that’s the crux of it. Since this writing stuff is still a “hobby”, it’s all too easy to put it on the back-burner and keep going with the rest of my life. Not that I WANT to do that, but, you know. And is that a bad thing? No. But every day that goes by where I don’t write or read one creative word feels like a failure. A step back. A wiggling in the quicksand of time that is slowly sucking me under into the mundane 8-to-5 and two-point-five-kids and white-picket-fence.

Sure, it’s the American dream. But god damn it I need to wake up or I’m going to blink my eyes and wonder where my life went.

Did I mention I’m turning 30 this year? A little early for a midlife crisis, don’t you think?

 

In other news, I recently finished reading the memoir She’s Not There, and want to talk about it a bit. She’s Not There is about the life and transition of Jennifer Boylan, an author and college professor. Boylan is an incredible writer, with wit for days and the unparalleled ability to pull at one’s heartstrings, and I bet it’s doubly strong for a person like me, who has dealt with trans feelings and talked long and hard about how said feelings affect my family.

This book both frustrated me and gave me hope.

Throughout most of my reading, I felt hopeless and useless as Boylan’s life unfolded. If only being trans was more accepted, she wouldn’t have had to hide her true self. If only her wife’s view on gender was more open, she wouldn’t have had to have so much anxiety. These thoughts and similar showed themselves to be pretty naive.

This book ripped off the rose-and-baby-blue-colored glasses, so to speak, as my belief in a world of trans acceptance is a fantasy for most people.

However, the 10-year-edition afterward shed hope that Boylan and her wife actually did remain together and found a happiness that worked for them. And their children appeared to be well adjusted and normal and no worse for the wear. Good. Very good.

I really do have hope that times are changing. Especially as each bigoted thing brought to light online and in the news brings more of us out of the woodworks to stand up for not just equality but some goddamn human decency.

I want my children to grow up in a world where the admittance of someone’s gender or orientation is as easygoing and accepted as mentioning food preferences or your favorite band.

“Cool!” now let’s get on with life.

June 9, 2016
by Kelly
0 comments

BiaY: Month 5 Update

Oh, Book-in-a-Year. You’re a great idea but just as difficult in practice as I was expecting.

So in the past month I managed to add about 1500 words to my WIP, bringing it to a bit under 5000 words. I enjoy what I’ve written so far, I’m having fun with it—but my brain is so shot from raising two young kids that summoning the focus to keep going has been very difficult.

Added to that is the possibility that I may change gears and work on a different book for the remainder of the year. It’s a book I’m equally excited about, but it was admittedly unexpected.

Until I figure out which book is going to be my main focus moving forward, I’ve been working on world building in the fantasy universe of Pick Her Up (the name of my BiaY project). It’s an alternate history and takes place in 2002, and features not only 6 different types of magic but also a complete polytheistic religion that intimately integrates with the magic. So I’ve been planning out gods and religious practices and how the different magics have influenced technology, politics and everything else. I mentioned some of these things in passing in the books I’ve already written in this universe (Chasing Fire and Claudia’s Gift) but now I’m working on adding all the details and intricacies that will make the religion and magic feel fully incorporated in the world.

This pre-writing world building is fun, but tedious. I’m reading about greek gods for inspiration, and I’ve been looking at etymologies of words for god names. My hubby has also been a major sounding board for ideas and a brainstorming partner for figuring out the impact of the magics on society. That’s a role he’s played for my entire writing career, and I’ll always be thankful for it.

It’s common advice to find out everything you can about the characters and society of your book and then only show bits and pieces of that as needed in your narrative. I’ve always had a really hard time with that, because when you figure something out, you are very inclined to share. I’m hoping that my efforts to become as well versed as possible in this fantasy world will allow me to bring up appropriate details easily as I write, and make everything feel organic without being “over-sharing”.

My goals for the next month is to continue to work on world building, and to work on Pick Her Up and this new book as I am inspired. Hopefully, I’ll be able to share more info about this new book soon.

 

Have a great day y’all!

May 19, 2016
by Kelly
2 Comments

Baby Weight

This is going to be a more serious blog than usual. I want to talk about something that’s hard for many people to talk about, but I’m going to do my best.

Also, please note I’ll be calling people capable of getting pregnant “women” and use female pronouns just because it is a bit less cumbersome, but I fully acknowledge that not all people capable of getting pregnant call themselves women or use female pronouns. I personally hated being called a woman when I was pregnant (as weird as that may sound to some.), “pregnant person” felt better to me.

Okay, here goes.

As I’m sure you all know, there is tremendous pressure for women to stay thin. They diet, exercise, undergo surgery, fat shame themselves and others. And even though this problem is not exclusive to women, I think we could all agree that the pressure is much higher for women to be thin, in large part because thin = beautiful, and beautiful = value and self-worth, etc etc etc. I think we can all agree that’s a load of shit, but that’s what a lot of people internalize.

So, pregnancy. A time in a woman’s life where she needs to gain weight for her baby. She’s expected to gain weight, and there is a level of ridicule around the expectation that a woman is going to gain too much weight when she’s pregnant, heaven forbid.

The worst part, of course, is that for many, it is very easy to gain weight. I gained “too much weight” for both of my children. 40 lbs for my son that I had 6 weeks premature, and 53 lbs for my daughter who was born on her due date.

And something weird and humiliating happens when you gain too much weight when pregnant.

First of all, people ask if you’re having twins CONSTANTLY. And every time it happens is a stab in the gut, because who on earth would assume such a thing, and why does no one understand what a pregnant body looks like?

Second, and more importantly, people make little comments about your eating habits, and it’s not just the “eating for two” joke. It’s stuff like, “giving in to those cravings?” and it all points to this assumption that a pregnant woman who gains too much weight has no self control, is making poor choices, or more subtly, should feel bad about herself.

Now, I ate too much. I’ll admit it. I ate way way way too much. But that was in part due to the “fuck it” attitude I quickly adopted—this may be the only part of my life where people expect me to eat too much, so I may as well have fun doing it.

BUT. A large part of weight gain is probably genetics, and a large part of whether or not people ask if you are having twins (when you’re NOT) is body shape. Yes I ate too much, but I also kept weightlifting 3x a week until I was 36 weeks along. So yeah, I gained a lot, but I was STRONG. I had an easy delivery and a shockingly quick recovery when compared to my much more sedentary first pregnancy.

Though, thanks to that full term pregnancy, I now have a mom-belly. Yes, they are a thing, and I have one, and I’m trying really hard not to hate it. Because now, those questioning people are winning, as I look in the mirror and ask myself, would my belly look this bad if I had tried harder to not gain so much weight? And I’ll be honest—probably not. But that doesn’t mean what I did was wrong. I kept myself comfortable and happy throughout the pregnancy by eating what I wanted, and I honestly think that was more important. Being pregnant is stressful enough . . . being pregnant and also caring for a toddler is really damn hard (though easy in comparison to taking care of an infant and toddler, but that’s another story.) and adding the worry of calorie counting would have been awful.

And for the record, I’ve lost a huge amount of the weight already. I have 17 more pounds to go, and baby girl is not even two months old. Getting time to start weightlifting again is nigh impossible right now, but once I get back to work it’ll be a lot easier (hooray gym at work!). And I’m itching to get back to it, because I know that getting strong will make the mom-belly not as bad. Maybe not physically, but psychologically I won’t feel as bad about it.

So, yeah. Next time you see a pregnant person, don’t jokingly ask if she’s having twins. Don’t make comments about her eating habits. And of course don’t touch her belly without asking first!

Ugh.

Thanks for reading—have any of the moms out there experienced what I’m talking about? Or some other kind of pregnant-shaming? Remember, you’re beautiful, mom-belly and all.

May 12, 2016
by Kelly
0 comments

Babies and Reading

Oh man, guys. Having two kids is hard. At least, it’s hard when one of them is a tiny infant who is still figuring out that nighttime is for sleep. The little girl is actually doing really well lately, and I’ve been getting around 5 hours of sleep each night—hooray! But I’m still trying to make up for a month of fatigue, and honestly not getting as much done as I’d like.

To update Book-In-A-Year, I haven’t done a thing in the past month. Whoops. But that’s okay. I actually spent the past month writing a short story, and I successfully finished it too. With that done, I’m ready to focus again on Alice and Kerry and their ongoing romance. I glanced through what I had written in March yesterday and was still really happy with it. That’s a good sign! So I’m hoping I’ll get some work done this month on the project and continue to move forward.

I’ve continued to get a lot of reading done this past month. I read How to Be a Normal Person by TJ Klune, and that book was just incredible. I’d suggest it to anyone who likes quirky, funny romances. I also picked up several titles from Riptide’s May the 4th sale and look forward to reading them over the next few weeks. I’m so glad I’ve had this time to catch up on my reading. Everyone always says that reading as much as you can enhances your writing and I don’t doubt that for a minute. Better get my reading in now, before I’m back to work and REALLY have no free time whatsoever.

That’s about it for now, I don’t know how much longer the little girlie is going to stay asleep. But I do have a couple of blog posts planned besides my Book-In-A-Year updates, and you can look forward to those over the next few weeks. Have a good one everyone!