This is the first in a series of exciting new updates for you!
I have endeavored in a new project quite unlike one I've attempted before. As the title suggests, I've branched out my self-publishing ventures, broadened my horizons, to include new genres, of a sort:
I've written a baby book!
Well, whatever does this mean? Let me start from the beginning.
My dear friend Halley, who has been mentioned here on occasion (and is in the dedication for Archer has a child, born this past September, a lovely child by the name of Seelie. As the mother of such a child, Halley has dutifully collected baby books of all sorts to supply with which to supply her daughter. We also play D&D with Halley on the occasion (her husband is an excellent-fine DM, anyway). While visiting for a session, Halley shared some of her baby books with us, noting their interesting subject.
They were books by Chris Ferrie, an Australian physicist who has a penchant for writing STEM-based books for children. (Example, ABCs of Math, ABCs of Science, ABCs of Physics). The whole idea was starting big-concept ideas for younger ages. It should be noted that these books weren't necessarily billed as STEM, but it's a pretty good description of them. Halley made the offhand comment, "If there were ELA ones, I would have gotten them too."
The tone of her comment was apologetic, as if somewhat guilt-ridden she did not have any sort of representation for my subject (as I am an English teacher, after all). But it did inspire me otherwise. I'm an ELA person, an English teacher. AND I'm a writer. The answer was obvious. I would have to supply Seelie with her big ELA concepts early on. I would fill this imaginary market of mine.
The actually process hasn't been quite so easy to discern.
The Chris Ferrie books were board books. Naturally, I wanted to self-publish board books, as they are ideal for infants and other young readers. Apparently, there isn't exactly a print on demand service for board books. There are a few companies that will print your board book, but you must buy in bulk. One company has a 1,000 book minimum. Another has a 500 minimum. These were not ideal paths, mostly because I do not have the capital to pursue the bulk-buying endeavor. Nevertheless, I was undeterred.
I wrote the book, deciding to use Shakespeare as my first subject (my classes were studying Romeo and Juliet at the time). I did the ABC concept, assigning every letter with a term, name, or place associated with Shakespeare. I came up with a few other subject ideas, but stuck with Shakespeare. So the writing part of the book was completed. That came the next difficult part, illustrations which are a MUST HAVE for children's books. I am not an illustrator, so I encountered yet another obstacle in this path.
I've considered several different avenues in order to solve these problems. Hiring an outside illustrator, researching how to make board books from scratch. I puzzled over many of these. I had to determine what exactly I wanted and what I wanted to achieve. For my first taste of this project, I started something simple.
I discovered a website called Pint-Sized Productions where you can make your own custom board books. It's similar to a print on demand service, except you are limited by page number, book size, and it's not as cost effective as a POD. For example, one 5.56 x 5.56 in book with 24 pages is over $30 before taxes and shipping. Still, I used their services along with unlicensed stock photography and was able to put together an actual book. You will see it listed for sale on my website, if you go to Books > Little Owlet, listed at just under $57. This price gives me a very tiny profit margin and includes me personally shipping the board book to you. Because of the nature of this posting, shipping will take some time with it (for me to print it from Pint Sized, then ship it to a buyer).
I realize that this is SUPER expensive to spend on a book, a baby book even. But, I wanted to make the option available to any possibly interested parties. I still plan on making a more serious, concerted effort with illustrations, probably hiring a collaborator to assist me. And I'm interested in developing a cheaper, paperback option, which allows me much more freedom with each individual page.
You will also notice, perhaps, that my pen name is slightly different with the baby book. It's listed me as "Kelly Bahney" which will be my future married name. I wanted a different name to offset my other publishing name.
I will update as the paperback becomes available, but I did want to share this exciting new endeavor!
Because my end of the year promotion with Smashwords was so successful, I am offering Prince of the Vale FREE for ebook from now until February 15th!
Use the promo code: ZD47S
**This promotion only works for Smashwords and iBooks.
Being a teacher allows one all of the advantages of national holidays, snow days. A three day weekend for Martin Luther King Jr. turns into a four day weekend when the Friday before is cancelled due to inclement weather (and a five day weekend when the returning Tuesday is also cancelled).
But I am here to tell you about my Saturday. My weekend has been an interesting ride to say the least.
Saturday afternoon, I took a shower and then afterward, I was gathering laundry. Immediately after bending over to pick up a laundry basket, I experienced a phenomena called heart palpitations. Basically, my heart had been pounding, felt like it was racing. No chest pain or tightness. No difficult breathing. Just an elevated heart rate. I'm sure my anxiety exacerbated some of it when I started becoming nervous. I laid down for about ten minutes when the feeling subsided. I went back to collecting laundry and drove ten minutes to my grandmother's house to start on laundry. When I sat down again, I began experiencing heart palpitations once again. I tried laying down. They didn't go away. I took an aspirin. Nothing helped.
I drove home (probably a stupid decision in hindsight), but again, I didn't have any chest pain, difficulty breathing or performing tasks. Jamie was home from work and I gave him a teary/freak out mode/explanation of what was going on with me. He calmed me down, and I made a decision. Given my family history, I decided to go the local Urgent Care Clinic. They did some tests and a 12 lead and decided to send me to the hospital in an ambulance! Cue more freaking out and tears!
While in the ambulance, I know that my heart rate peaked at around 223 bpm. Paramedics gave me adenosine, which basically stopped and restarted my heart so it wouldn't beat so fast.
I was transported to our local hospital (which does NOT have a good reputation), where they ran some tests, EKGs, administered various beta blockers to normalize my heart rate (it was still fluctuating over 100) and blood thinners to check for clots. This helped bring it down to the 80s. My bloodwork showed I had elevated levels of a cardiac enzyme that appears when the heart undergoes damage or stress, so while I was currently fine, they were worried about that and had no idea at what caused this (no previous symptoms, this literally started when I bent over to pick up a laundry basket). I did NOT have a heart attack, which is clear since I could walk, talk, and function. If there had been issue with my arteries or blood vessels, I could have had a heart attack. The doctor in the ER was also concerned about damage being done to a muscle above my heart during my fast heart rate. He made the decision to send me to Saint Thomas in Nashville (a good hour and a half away and not our usual first choice in hospitals) so I could be monitored by a cardiologist, mostly because Huntsville and Crestwood didn't have any beds available on account of having so many flu patients.
So about 11:00 pm last night I was loaded into another ambulance. Paramedics are really friendly people, but the hour and a half ride was absolute TORTURE. DO NOT RECOMMEND. They wanted me in an ambulance to monitor me, but I don't see how they could because the machine gave off erratic readings for every bump we hit (and there were a LOT of bumps). Also gurneys are not friendly to sharp tailbones or wide hips FYI.
Arrived in Nashville after midnight, and bid farewell to my lovely paramedics. More blood was drawn, more EKGs, spoke to a nightshift cardiologist, who was concerned that there did not seem to be a trigger or prior symptoms. Literally, as a twenty-five year old female, this was the first time I'd ever been hospitalized. My thyroid was good, no sign of diabetes or pregnancy. No clots or infections. He mentioned that my potassium levels were a bit high. Then I slept a few hours. More blood was drawn once I woke up.
Saw another cardiologist. His assessment was that I have SVT, an arrhythmia caused by an extra muscle around my heart. He said it usually develops in late adolescence or early adulthood. I have a 50% chance of experiencing another episode this year and a 100% of experiencing one within the next 5 years.
He recommended a procedure called am ablation to heat treat and remove that extra muscle tissue around my heart. Medicine wouldn't be ideal for my situation because of how infrequent this would happen. He has done said procedure since 1991 and says that there is an overall 95% success rate with no complications.
So, I'm supposed to be contacted by someone in the future to schedule this procedure, which he described the process as looking for blockages in the heart, outpatient with 3 days of rest and recovery. Meanwhile, I was administered a beta blocker and then discharged from the hospital yesterday with a prescription for more beta blockers.
I am fine now and am grateful that we have been off from school so I can take this opportunity to recover. I'm taking my meds as instructed as well as monitoring my blood pressure and heart rate. After talking with other people, this condition seems to be a lot more common than I had been initially aware, and most people can manage with surgery.
I've had Jamie with me the entire time, and he has been an absolute godsend.
Conclusion: no more laundry for me.
Happy New Year, everyone! I could take this opportunity to document my personal experiences from 2017, but I won't. Instead, I will share a small anecdote about an experience I had that I hope embodies the spirit of what's to come for 2018.
As you may or may not know, I like to play video games. Specifically, my favorites are a few works of Bethesda--Fallout 4, Skyrim, Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas, Oblivion, to name a few. I like other video games, of course, but RPGs (role playing games) particularly interest me. I've never been much into MMOs or MMORPGs, whereas you play online with a vast number of other players. My fiancee is really into World of Warcraft (and also Overwatch). As a result, I did make a starter account for WoW to play with him online. The controls and lore confuse me a bit, as I'm not as immersive with this as I am with the Elder Scrolls series.
Solution? Of course. Elder Scrolls Online. I played this very BRIEFLY on Beta many moons ago, when you had to wait for a ticket and play during specific Beta allotted times. So I decided to try it for reals. I purchased ESO with the Morrowind DLC. So did fiancee so we could play together.
The tutorial is much shorter than I recall, for the Coldharbour quest that is. The Morrowind DLC starts you off differently. I've made a Bosmer Nightblade who specializes in archery and dual wielding (currently level 9). Then I made a Breton Warden who also specializes in dual wielding and archery. My Breton is a level 21 right now. Fiancee enlightened me of several concepts--tanks, healers, DPS. Things I had not been aware of previously unless he talked about Overwatch or WoW.
It was a journey that was quite overwhelming at first. The world is very massive, even sites familiar from the games. Crafting, oh my god, crafting. I still don't understand crafting.
For a brief moment, I attempted the Battlegrounds--the PvP aspect. Let me start off by saying that I HATE, LOATHE, DESPISE PvP, chiefly because it clarifies how much of a terrible gamer I am. I chose the below level 50 battlegrounds, because of course, I am below level 50. This was back when I was a level 15 (see, I haven't tried it since). Everyone else on my team and the other teams were level 39, 44, 45. I had no idea what I was doing and, unsurprisingly, I died a lot.
Then they show the rankings after each game. For my very first Battleground, I didn't do so bad. I was ranked 2nd out of 4. Every time after that, I was last. It took me WAY too long that my high "D" count was not my "defensive" points that I won for our team. It was the number of times I died. I had zero kills, but I always had the highest amount of deaths. And I SWEAR to you, there was always that ONE player that always seemed to target me, probably knowing I was an easy kill.
So after that shocking and discouraging experience, I avoided player interactions altogether. So now you're probably wondering what this has to do with my blog title--Kindness isn't dead.
Well, you see, I was in Glenumbra talking to an NPC, Mighty Mordra, who directed me towards an Undaunted Quest called Spindleclutch. I arrive to the location. Only to discover that you can't enter the location unless you have a group. This was a dungeon.
A group?! At this point, I think fiancee lost interest in ESO, especially since I was playing without him on my Breton character (my Bosmer character is to play with his Khajiit). But, I needed a group. I was discouraged, again.
For those of you that don't know, there's a small chatbox in the lefthand corner of the screen that people use to talk to each other. Most of the time, it's flooded with nonsense or guild advertisements. Sometimes there's game discussions, offers to trade or sell equipment, and political rants. People socialize. Me, being the awkward butterfly that I am, avoided this chatbox like the plague. Sometimes I'd feel the urge to troll but, wisely, I'd ignore it. Fiancee teased me about my unwillingness to participate in the chat. Sometimes I'd seen fellow noobs trying to understand the complexities of the game ask for help. I'm sure they were *whispered* some helpful responses, but the public response was usually sarcasm.
I was even less inclined to interact with other players when I accidentally reset one of the boss camps. The other two players I happened to be with were rather irate. Understandably so, though.
It took about two days, but I braved the world of the chatbox. "has anyone done Spindleclutch? Apparently you need a group to do it, but I have no friends :("
See? I was trying to appeal to people's sense of pity. Because that was the only thing that was going to help me. I did receive several zone comments about how I should just join a guild or get friends.
But then something happened. I made a friend. It didn't happen instantly.
Someone *whispered* to me offering to do the dungeon with me. For those of you that don't know, a *whisper* is sort of like a private message, only you can see it (and it doesn't save to an inbox like a private message). The player in question was rather friendly and offered to meet me there. S/he added me to a group so I could travel to the player's location at the dungeon. S/he had another player/friend with them, a templar/healer character. The initial S/he player was a tank. They asked me what role I was. I tried to explain that I wasn't sure but I thought I was a dps and explained my currently skill lines. Both were very friendly and welcoming overall.
Also, both tank and healer were over level 40 something with their current characters. I'm sure they've already pushed past the level 50 cap on their normal characters. I was like an ant among gods.
So we did the dungeon! I only died once. Healer even let me know when I was about to miss a chest of loot. Healer also, at the end, traded me a level 38 something bow while I gave them a rather pathetic set of prayer boots from my level. Healer was all like, "I know you can't use it now, but maybe later?" and I was like, "Heck yeah!"
THEN they invited me to another dungeon! I accepted and we split up to drop off our inventory. We met back up in a main marketplace a few minutes later. They were doing player duels. Healer invited me to a duel, I accepted, warning Healer I was going to die. Healer brushed it off, saying it was okay, and it was still fun. And it was. We dueled twice and I died both times. But it was still a good experience.
Then we did the second dungeon. I got some more loot and experience. I didn't die at all. At the end, Tank and Healer told me to ask them any questions if I was confused about anything. So helpful! I talked about Fallout a little bit. They were friendly. We added each other as friends. Then Tank had to leave.
I haven't spoken to either of them since this dungeon encounter. I doubt I will reach out to them in the future, given my anxiety. But still. It was fun and I was excitedly telling fiancee about their kindness. As an MMO veteran, he got a chuckle out of my excitement and agreed that you can find people like that sometimes in the sea of douchebags.
So, my way to be just as inspiring, I have my character play the lute or dance in busy player areas. Most of the time, other players ignore me. I get a few, though, that join me in dancing or playing an instrument. I always think it's cool to see that.
I know that this blog post has had NOTHING to do with writing, but it was nice to type my experience.
"Yo, Kelly. It's been two years since you've released a book. What gives?"
Or, 'the big question', as my lovely editor has so eloquently phrased it.I described in depth the personal issues regarding this question on my Dreamwidth blog. But I doubt many of you have access to such. So, here's the shortened version:
Wow, that's super vague. Let me explain. In the past year alone, my life has undergone new changes. A new career. New schedule. New relationship. Engagement. Several different living arrangements. It's been an adjustment period, to say the least.
I'll spare you of the super personal details that comprised my life during the year 2016. Back to books--
That's not to say that there has been no progress made. Because there has. It just hasn't been significant. And I'm sorry for that.
There are two projects I attempted to work on simultaneously. The Midwinter Fairytale and Queen of the Pyre. My plan was to finish the former first. And, I did. In a sense. It was been much evolved since it's original conception. I wanted to work on something different from The Silver Crown series, start new projects. For some reason, I felt as though Midwinter was the answer.
Much time has passed since that frame of mind, and I am disinclined to agree with my former self. Putting it simply, it's been difficult editing, and I think that stems from my own detachment and the new style I tried for this book. And I am not so sure that I achieved the effect I initially desired. I know that I haven't.
Meanwhile, Queen has sat in its lonely folder at about 18k words, as I worked on it off and on again. Then when Midwinter became *mostly* completed, it seemed to demand my attention. Then I felt guilty for not completing Midwinter, and then I felt guilty for not completing anything.
The editing process began, and instead of completing the final touches of Midwinter, I worked on Queen. And then I worked on it some. And then I worked on it some more. And then when I would read through Midwinter's draft for edits, I found just how much I had grown apart from it.
So I had conversation with my editor. It was hard for me to give up on something. But I haven't *given up* on this. I've placed it on hold for the moment so I can focus my energy on Queen. Because if I wasn't feeling it for Midwinter, how could I expect anyone--my editor, my readers, to feel it? It wouldn't be a fair expectation. I know I can make it better. I didn't settle on Archer's first draft and rightly so. I thought that maybe with the new style I had attempted for Midwinter I could get a product out faster. But a quicker product is no substitute for the BEST product.
So, I'm going to be moving forward with Queen. I've teased it enough. I want to get it out as soon as possible. And I will update when I have news on that. Thank you all for your patience with my endeavors! <3
Hello everyone! I know everyone has been patient since I released Queen's cover art, I've also recently added the book listing to Goodreads! And, more good news! I have a small teaser for you! I'm adding it as a document to this blog post and a link to the teaser on Wattpad which allows you to read for free.
Click here to read Queen of the Pyre's teaser chapter on Wattpad.
This was a post I wrote two years ago on Facebook. I re-shared it a year ago on the Facebook because I felt it was applicable. And I shared it again this year, while simultaneously deciding to share this on my blog for archival purposes. It deals with a discussion on accepting science & truth, tolerating vs. acceptance, and compassion and empathy. Take a moment, if you will, to peruse these thoughts--
Excuse me while I step on my soap box here.
"Where suspicion fills the air and holds scholars in line for fear of their jobs, there can be no exercise of the free intellect. . . . A problem can no longer be pursued with impunity to its edges. Fear stalks the classroom. The teacher is no longer a stimulant to adventurous thinking; (s)he becomes instead a pipe line for safe and sound information. A deadening dogma takes the place of free inquiry. Instruction tends to become sterile; pursuit of knowledge is discouraged; discussion often leaves off where it should begin."
Justice William O. Douglas,
United States Supreme Court:
Adler v. Board of Education, 1951.
Censorship was a discussion in my Young Adult Literature class today, but I believe this line of thinking can be similarly applied to a lot of current issues swirling through *current*, current events and especially science.
I find myself struggling with how I approach and respond to differing opinions. Especially since that, typically, expressing a countering opinion will not result in fully enlightened individuals. It usually elicits reactions of cruel temper. You can hold your own opinion while maintaining respect.
But I question a blatant refusal to even consider other perspectives, other sources of information. It's a difficult consideration of approach, it's considered "bigoted" to name this way of thinking as obtuse, but a narrow-minded scope is nothing but sectarian and therefore inflammatory. The parameters of those refusing to consider these other perspectives inherently describe something that is invidious.
If you accept one law of truth, how can you dismiss something of the same strain? ESPECIALLY on the basis of a text that is antiquated and has been countlessly altered over the course of history to fit the needs of various churches, monarch, and linguistic specifications over the necessity of accuracy.
Do you deny the existence of hermaphrodites? Are you aware of the shockingly high number of individuals born with both or ambiguous genitalia? Because they are out there.
Did you know that homosexuality is biologically linked to brain development in the womb? There are direct links to amygdala size and fetal hormone exposure. Gender identity is no different, especially since the whole concept of gender is a socially manufactured one to deepen the divisive rifts among humanity.
To dismiss their existence because of the will of some higher cosmic force is not only a narrow-minded approach but a willfully ignorant one. Plus, it is ultimately deprecating and destructive.
Is the earth not round? Does gravity not keep us tethered to its surface? Science is not a choice; it's not an alternative to church or religion. It's an active and ever-adapting pursuit of truth. It ignores the irrelevant social barriers and divisive roles humanity seems so fond of and strives to explain—everything.
So you may not be homosexual, bisexual, transgender, or queer of any sort and thus believe that these individuals are wrong. But you may not invalidate their existence on the basis of your creed, because it does not withstand any line of logical thinking. You cannot disclaim it, because, simply, it is.
You may not agree with me; but you don't have to. There is essentially nothing to agree or disagree with, because it is. But there is a what is and what isn't beyond my grasp and science's and that is the treatment of these people.
Agreeing, tolerating, and accepting hold totally different definitions. In your frame of mind, you may think you don't agree with these individuals. There's nothing I or anyone else can do to penetrate that, unless something inspires you to take a step forward and seek Truth itself. I am complacent in this, because changing the foundation of someone's way of thinking is beyond my capabilities.
So you may not "agree."
Most people diffidently proclaim their "tolerance" of such people and nothing more. Tolerance isn't enough. Tolerance is an implication that you are taking great measures to put up with them; that acknowledging their existence is something that they don't deserve.
Your fellow human doesn't deserve the basic decency of being accepted AS A HUMAN? Acceptance should be the forefront of anyone's priority. Compassion and acceptance.
I'm leaving this off by linking an article by Amanda Palmer about empathy, which I believe nicely and summarily ties in with the message I am trying to convey.
"Playing the Hitler Card" by Amanda Fucking Palmer
"We live in an age of endless, foaming outrage. The only answer is to try to feel empathy for other people, no matter who they are."
If you've read this far, thank you for taking the time to validate my opinion enough by simply reading it.
So, within the hour, I shall be leaving to take the Miller Analogies Test (or MAT). What is this test, you may ask? It's an alternative exam to the GRE for Graduate Admissions. That's right, I'm applying fro Grad School. I'm trying to get my Masters.
I've been emailing the Director of English a few times. If accepted, I would start in 2018. My transcripts have already been ordered and I've filled out the application. All that's left is to take this test. It helps to have mi amor supporting me and these foolish ideas that fill my head.
Then! Thursday is moving day! I sign the lease agreement with mi amor and then we can start living in our apartment together. So exciting. Today we've been together four months. And two days we start living with each other. It feels as though it's been so much longer than that.
In other news, my summer is going to be filled with (hopefully) relaxing days at the beach with mi amor and then family, preparing myself for next school year, and then working away furiously on my books (as I've already teased)
How to announce a new book:
1. Post cover art
2. Say nothing
Answer absolutely no questions
Avoid and deflect every question
So apparently, this past week is nationally recognized as Teacher Appreciation Week. How was thi celebrated, at least in my case? Well, I plodded my way through my last week of state testing (which was finally the English End of Course exam), I found myself in some unpleasant circumstances. For you see, my classroom is situated on the second floor. It’s bad enough that I have to climb up a flight of stairs every morning to get to my classroom (and twice when I need to check my mailbox).
In light of state testing, I had to personally check out (and later back in) testing materials for each of my classes (the room which held such precious testing materials is of course on the first floor). So, best case scenario, I was climbing up and down those stairs at least six times a day this week. The worst is when administration had the AUDACITY to schedule a faculty meeting, which I had nearly forgotten about, and faculty meetings are on the first floor, so that made seven times I had to go up and down those stairs that day. So how do we show we appreciate our teachers? Forcing them into involuntary exercise.
But, my ninth grade principal brought us doughnuts for Friday morning! But no worries, that was worked off too when I was leaving Friday afternoon and discovered it was raining. Not only was I trying booking it to escape this dreadful schoolweek but the rain was coming down pretty hard, so I was trying to avoid being drenched as much as possible when I ran out to my car.
No matter. I still felt the love. <3