Building Backwards

27 Jan

WELP, after about ten years of writing several novels a year (most of which will never see the light of day for very, very good reason), I went an entire year without turning out even a short story. Not to make light of that–short stories are way harder to write than novels in my experience, but just in terms of word count…

Okay, I did actually write one short story, a halfway point between two of my ero-rom novels for Loose Id. It’s actually pretty cool because if you get it from me in person it comes on a CD that looks like it belongs to the band in the story, which revolves around them recording their first EP–

But I digress. It was barely finished on time to be useful. And it was intended to be a thank you for a book I wrote about three years ago and another I wrote one year ago (but that came out this year). Basically, the only reason I still exist on any map as a writer is because my absurd productivity over the last few carried over just enough to keep me in stuff to publish. Short fiction included.

This blog used to function a lot more as a working writer’s blog, with me talking a little about the process or weird discoveries I’d made in how-tos–for myself, not as advice or anything, but just because writing is a lonely profession and the net allows us to discuss these things. I’ve talked a lot in the past about how I draft a book, but the basic rundown is: puke it up in one quick go, leave it alone for a month or two, come back to it, do some worksheets to clarify plot and character arcs, rewrites, beta readers. After three KV Taylor novels/novellas and six for Katey Hawthorne, I figured I had the process DOWN, right?

Yeah. Enter the year of NO WRITING EVER. Watch how it changes. Hollllly fuck.

At first, I thought I’d get back into the swing of things by picking up one of the half-finished novels I had lying around on my hard drive. Should be easier, right? The plotting and stuff was still there in my head. NP!

Haha, no. Wasn’t happening. And while I have had trouble with characters not doing as they’re told, I’ve never before experienced a complete and utter inability to just write. Now, some of this had to do with my health issues, for sure, and med adjustment, and general FML feelings at the time, but in the past when life has sucked, I’ve always turned it into fiction.

I got really cranky, y’all. So cranky. AM I EVEN A WRITER ANYMORE?

Then I remembered an email from my romance publishers, which had been kind of chilling in the back of my mind while all this crap was going down. A call for novella subs on a very particular theme (Missed Connections). So I sat down and thought about that, realized I had some pretty damn cool ideas, and decided to build it from the ground up. I’d never pitched a book that wasn’t actually written before, but it seemed to me that if my old methods weren’t working to get my engine to turn over, why not try something new?

I found some inspirational images, as usual–in this case those funny signs you see outside coffee shops, bars, restaurants, etc. I wandered around my city, getting reacquainted with it. I decided what my heroes looked like and got a sense of who they were and what they needed. I did my worksheets first–both plot development and character arc ones–and built a synopsis from them. (FTR: this is how I do all my synopses and blurbs–here’s a three year old post on the subject–and it’s basically my one habit that keeps my editors from strangling me, I’m pretty sure. I am a synopsis and blurb EXPERT, motherfuckers! Just, I usually do it AFTER the draft to clarify my focus and development on the revisions. Yyyyeah.)

Amazingly, I had a contract in hand like a week later. For a book I hadn’t written. Which is standard practice for most working authors, I realize, but noooooooot for me. I usually have such an epic backlog of finished projects to choose from, I’m more likely to just be like, “Golly, which one do I send them next?”

Haha, those were the days.

Anyhow, I wrote the book. I wrote it in smaller chunks than usual, too. There were some days where my usual 7k chunks happened and I felt like a rockstar again. But for the most part, it was more 1k days between trying to pull life shit together. And it was fun. Like really, really fun. A lot of stuff changed between that first synopsis and where it actually went–as the characters revealed their dimensions to me (okay yes I know it’s actually me revealing their dimensions, this is just how I talk/think about it, come on), things went in different directions, and it was exciting.

I’m about to get the book back from my editor Raven. It’s called In Distress, and it’ll be out from Loose Id mid-March. Ish. It’ll always be the book that reminded me what it is I do and why I do it.

Now for all these half-finished manuscripts. *cracks knuckles* You’re next, Vampire Boy

Red Penny Moves

22 Jan

I’ve explained a lot of what’s going on with me lately, but I wanted to specifically explain stuff as it happens with The Red Penny Papers. Since sending out an email isn’t going to hit everyone who needs to know what’s going on there, I thought I’d put it here so it can be easily found. Basically I created RPP as a creative outlet–there was no magazine doing the kind of pulp I wanted to read, and I love editing as a creative process. People who’ve worked with me as an editor might have noticed–I get really into it. To the point of leaving over-enthusiastic comments on bits I really like.

I’m a generally super productive and self-motivated individual, so RPP me something to do that took me out of my own head and into others’ in my spare time. For two years everything was quite perfect with it.

About a year ago B and I discovered we’d have to move suddenly. We weren’t sure to where, but we had to get out and find a living, and asap. As soon as we were finally settled, that’s when the things with my family and health started going awry. A series of family tragedies and some interesting medications later, we’re about to move again–I detailed a lot of the drama in a post a few months back, so I won’t belabor the point or what it did to my own writing (which was: kill it). This time, though, we’re moving in the same town, somewhere permanent where we can finally settle into our life again.

Cue house-hunting taking over my life. Anyone who tells you this is a fun activity is on drugs. Seriously. I thought apartment shopping was soul-crushing. Oh, little did I know.

Maybe my point is becoming clear now. That meant bad things for RPP, since my partner-in-editing had similar issues at the exact same time. It’s impossible to publish a magazine when things are in flux like that, however. Not just financially–which has been a little bit of a concern just due to uncertainty, but not nearly as bad as it could’ve been–but from a time and effort standpoint, it wasn’t gonna happen. And having Thunderbird blow up on me didn’t help either. (I managed to migrate to Outlook after finally giving up and shelling out for a piece of software that could do it without requiring I open Thunderbird at all. Pray to your heathen gods for my computer, okay, because if that goes I’m even more screwed. Yay new iPad, at least?)

Once I know for sure that we’ve secured a place to live after our lease is up, I will be announcing a new publishing schedule for RPP, starting with a large book project we’ve been working on over the last year while in flux. (I thought that was gonna happen a few weeks ago… the deal fell through. And then another one fell through again this week, hence me just making this post instead of waiting any longer.) After that, my goal is to shift RPP’s balance more equally to serial novellas and short fiction issues. This is the reason we’ve not been able to accept anything for the last reading period yet–we’re not sure on the timing of anything. At all. And we can’t be until I know I have a place to live and can build our schedule around that, so as to keep things moving smoothly instead of these endless delays from 2013 carrying over.

So that’s my explanation–mind you, not an excuse. I also don’t want to sound like I’m complaining, because I am really loving being back in Columbus, and without the job/place to live upheaval, that wouldn’t have happened. The family things–well, that’s obviously crap, but it did push me to the point where I got some help for health problems I’ve been trying to ignore for literally a decade now. Things are really looking up around here, and I have absolutely no plan to abandon RPP or its writers and artists, who have been so patient and fantastic with me and the magazine this year. You totally deserve an explanation if you want it, so here it is.

And in closing, if you haven’t checked out Samatha Lienhard’s The Book at Dernier, I gotta recommend it. And the cover by Galen Dara. Wow. Expect more of this kind of classic, pulpy darkfic from us in the very near future.

‘Tis More Blessed to Give…

20 Dec

Tis More Blessed

It’s Week 3 of Tis More Blessed: Milo James Fowler’s holiday giveaway extravaganza~

I’m adding to the giveaways with one of my own, but remember to click that link or the image to go and see what else is up for grabs this week–and if you haven’t been watching Milo’s blog, be sure and check it out for next Friday’s crop, too.

I’m throwing into the pot both a first and second prize! First prize is a print copy of Dagan Books’ beautiful Fish, which I edited along with Carrie Cuinn.

Cover by Galen Dara

Second prize is an eBook copy of my novella, Inedible Sins, also from Dagan Books.

Cover by Carrie Cuinn

All you have to do to enter is hit up rafflecopter and bam:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy holidays!

This is Halloween

31 Oct

Gotta watch it at least once today, right? God knows it’s been stuck in my head all day.

Happy Halloween!

The Lovely Lulu

16 Oct

How about a dark fantasy piece set in a 1920s speakeasy in Wheeling, West Virginia? Magicians and chanteuses! Smuggled hooch and fabulous champagne! Murder and captivity! Queer lady protagonist!

Any of this sound cool? Check out the latest issue of Goldfish Grimm, Secrets and Connections, and there you’ll find “The Lovely Lulu” by yours truly alongside a delightful (and I never use that word but there’s no other for it, seriously) flash piece by Antha Ann Adkins.

Free to read creepiness-and-jazz-age cocktail for all. Mmm. And thanks to the people at Goldfish Grimm being so fabulous to work with. So much fun.

(ETA: Forgot to mention, there’s even a little interview in which I mainly talk about being a nerd. Ha!)

In other news, I have a convention to attend this weekend, and then all shall get back in order around this house. Fingers crossed for me, and see you when I get back from Atlanta!


10 Sep

I recently turned thirty-three. In retrospect, I have to pronounce that thirty-two was not a great year for me.

The first few months went well enough, me still sort of coming off the Italy trip that was everything I could’ve hoped for. The late fall trip to Chennai for Diwali was also brilliant.

And then things went sideways and just never got upright again. The crisis that caused me to put RPP on hold involved a sudden job hunt and the plan to move. Where, we didn’t know. We could’ve stayed in DC, but it’s so expensive, it seemed like this was the opportune time to finally get out and move somewhere we could enjoy an easier lifestyle in a more sensible way. There were months of uncertainty, knowing we’d end up somewhere, but that was it. Texas was mentioned. Seattle. Places that I like, actually, but are very far from family and other comforts we’d both rather be nearer to for various reasons.

I don’t do uncertainty. My mind is constantly unsettled, and I know I’m not the only creative person to deal with this. (We’re insomniacs and self-medicators for a reason.) I rely on the outside world for my sense of stability, and when it starts to break down, so do I. Luckily, B is very good at providing stability when I can’t (and vice versa–this is probably why we work so well, really, we balance out the crazy). And honestly, he provides me with a reason to be grounded when he can’t.

But that was our winter. I had a few  books happen–Liam at last made his debut. Without him I don’t think I’d even have done any of this. I was overjoyed. A romance novel, too, Losing Better happened just around the same time (amidst some confusion and fear, but bless my publisher, they made it happen beautifully). Both books I’d completed, at minimum, a year and a half previous. Edits were done amidst my own personal confusion, and it was lovely. Kept me a bit sane.

Thankfully, we landed in a very familiar place, the place we met, actually. Columbus is also the place where most of the worst (and unstable) years of my life were passed, but I don’t really associate it with that–or if I do, it’s in a sort of fond, “Oh, Ten-Years-Ago me, you were so ridiculous” kind of way. That eased the transition considerably, and I was happy to see it–and still am.

It seemed I had my feet under me, and I began catching up with editing work. I still hadn’t written anything in over half a year, but then, that seemed understandable in the circumstances. RPP started getting its wheels back into motion and my other editing work came along perfectly. Inedible Sins–possibly my favorite thing I’ve ever written–came to light perfectly in April.

Then summer happened. I mentioned before that my uncle died. We’re a very, very clannish sort of family, so it was a rough go; I don’t know if I was more sad for myself or worried about my family in the aftermath. Then the lovely wedding, with all its strange emotions.

I finished a short story as a lead in to a new romance release, and it felt damn good. The first thing in some nine months, probably, that I had managed to summon the concentration, sit down, and write more than three paragraphs at a time. I know, ‘put your butt in the chair and write’, but it’s not that easy for me sometimes. When I write, I write non-stop, but the more the year dragged on, the more difficult a time I had recovering from little disasters. A week or more was required just to get my head straight, to stop the constant whirring. For the big disasters, well, you can imagine.

But I finished it, and it gave me the confidence to do my first con as an author–and I did, and it was absolutely lovely. The panels were fun, the people were great, I felt good about it. I turned thirty-three the week after, and Re-entry Burn, another book I’d written over a year and a half ago, happened that night at midnight.

I hadn’t written anything in ten months, by then, I don’t think.

Four days after my birthday, my Great Aunt Mary died. It’s hard to say what all this meant to me and my family without rambling incessantly. I’m sure I’ll do some kind of post about her shortly, once I’ve had time to organize my thoughts without being overwhelmed by them. Maybe in a week or two. But suffice it to say that B referred to her as “My BFF Mary” because any time we were at the table together, no one could get a word in edgewise.

I spent Labor Day weekend at my parents’ dog-sitting for them while they went to Virginia to help my Uncle Jim, Mary’s brother, manage things. I spent most of the week after that in Virginia with them, going through her apartment, cleaning it out, organizing her things for her relatives or the auctioneer. When I said I’d go and help, I wasn’t sure if this was going to be one of the worst decisions of my life–something like that can only go one way or the other and there is no inbetween.

But it was good, after all. Just a bit surreal.

I have a bunch of art things from her, plus all my great-grandfather’s columns when he was the editor of the paper, his letters to my grandparents, etc, which should entertain me vastly some day when I am feeling weird and just need an organizational project to settle my nerves.

Within a month or two, I’m sure I’ll be back to writing things. And my editing work will be caught up at last–so close, but so far! But I’m putting this here because after years in a row where I updated this blog without fail about my wild amounts of writing progress, this happened. I’ve gone almost a year without producing even one new novel–unheard of! And now, considering the year I’ve had, there’s even more fighting to get out. Not to mention the three (yes, three) half-finished novels still waiting for me and the two others that are plotted and partially scripted. I was just lucky I had a backlog to get me through it, or my lack of productivity would’ve been even more glaringly obvious.

TL;DR Katey’s been a bit fucked up. But it’s okay. Last time I had a year like this, I started writing romance novels as well as horror. So this is probably gonna mean something good in the end too.

But this year is fired. So here’s to thirty-three.

Update Post is Updatey

8 Jul

Ooooh I dropped off the planet again, I know. It has been a very weird month around these parts–well, month-and-a-half, really. But now I finally feel like I have a grip, which is good, because I’ve got a super awesome and busy couple of months coming up here to finish out the summer. So just to get past the whole update thing quickly!

Personal things (skip past to the interesting stuff, if you like, I will understand):

  • Had a pretty crushing blow. Close family member died unexpectedly. Everyone was really thrown off by it and we’re still not okay, but yeah. Glad we moved back to Ohio where we’re closer to most everyone. We’re one of those gigantic families that tends to work through things best when we do it together.
  • A few weeks later we had an excellent wedding. Everyone was still pretty emotionally worn out, but it was exactly what we needed. The wedding was brilliant and beautiful and my cousin Shannon was the cutest bride ever okay. A good time was had by all. Just. All the feels.
  • And of course the Fourth of July immediately following, which as some of you know is one of my favorite holidays. But after that month with all the emotions and the driving and the worrying and the uh, drinking, I think my body just kind of gave up on me, so I’m dealing with some serious back pain right now. Working through it! Hot pack/cold pack!

Writer-y things:

  • This interrupted service on a few really exciting projects I’m editing right now. For one, there’s an RPP special coming up shortly. I’ve reached an agreement with one of my favorite artists to do the cover and… well, I’ll save it for later. But by the end of the summer we should see something really exciting and wholly new at The Red Penny Papers!
  • Plus all our usual stuff, of course. Got a new serial in the works and a summer issue that’s amaze. That’s just how we roll. It’s so good to be back.
  • I’m working with the amazing Shannon Page right now on her forthcoming novel, Eel River, for Morrigan Books. This book is an absolute pet of mine; I’ve had my hands on it from submissions and begged for the edits to be assigned to me too. Mark did me a solid with this one. Cannot wait to unleash this one on the world. It’s scary as hell. Hippie horror!
  • The other me has another book meant to drop in September. More superpowered romance, so yay good times! That contract turned up just when I needed it most, in terms of ‘oh god, something good happen, please!’ Yay!
  • I’m also prepping for some cons and writing some things. The second Family book has been trying to get ready for months now, but life keeps kicking poor James while I’m down. Almost there, though. Maybe I can just hide for a week and do nothing but finish perfecting it.

That’d be a great vacation, right?


Okay back to my heating pad for the moment, but that’s the basic “where the hell have you been and what the hell are you doing right now” rundown. ♥

James (And Other Vampires)

31 May

Welp! Now that Inedible Sins has been launched, RPP is back up and running, and I’ve just finished some murderous revisions on a romance novel, it’s back to Vampire World!

Several people have been kind enough to check out and review Liam and I am pleased to see that my evil scheme has worked. To quote Zoe (whose recent review was fabulous–thank you, Zoe!):

There’s a couple of introductions of conflicts, but only one of these gets resolved. The other much bigger conflict is left hanging, and I felt like sputtering, “But…but what about Aldo?” And for that matter, I wonder if book two will get back around to Madison. I rather liked her. But even if it doesn’t, I wanted to know more about this other mysterious faction of vampires…

Totally made me squee, in combination with, “I like all the characters, even the bit characters like James, Madison and Aldo.” Most reviews have said similar things so far, and, yes. Glee!

Here’s why: they all get a book. While Liam, for the most part, reads like a particularly nasty love story (hence the lovestory for monsters tagline), it’s just the beginning for their little family, and the characters named above are the stars. Currently they go in the order listed on the character page, but Aldo and Mads may switch orders since there’s some overlap time-wise with them and James. Oh, and Gianni and his uncle Giuseppe share their book because [redacted for spoilers]. But all of these characters will be in every single book. Until all those little conflicts come to a head and their little vampire world explodes, and we see who’s left standing.

I’m putting the finishing touches on the James manuscript right now, the second book, which will hopefully meet with approval. I’ll keep updating, though. Promise!


Heads up!

17 May

Hey guys, it’s IDAHO, and there’s a Hop Against Homophobia and Trans*Phobia going on all this week. My post is in re biphobia (no one is shocked!), and I’m posting about it here because 1. possibly relevant to some of your interests and 2. giving away books, including KV Taylor stuff.

For All My Unicorns Out There

Just noticed every novel/novella I’ve had published as KV Taylor has a bisexual protag so yyyyyeah. Relevant!

See you there, and back with more rambles next week ♥

(Evidence that this is a necessary thing: the IDAHO website was just attacked, hence it temporarily redirecting to their facebook page. On the day. Spread the word, spread the love, please!)

Inedible Sins is Now Available!

28 Apr

Bust out the champagne! (Okay, I’ve got prosecco, but it’s still festive.) Inedible Sins is now available from Dagan Books.

Inedible Sins

Click on through for the info, check out the book’s page here for excerpts, or just head straight to the checkout:

Buy it now! Only $1.99.

DRM-free ePub: click here or DRM-free .mobi (perfect for Kindle): click here

Also available on Amazon: click here

Yes. Yes, I am very excited. It’s true.