Category Archives: Personal Stories

Ki Brightly’s Patreon!

patreon-logoSo, I decided to do a thing I said I would never do, which is basically put myself “out there” as me, in all my awkward, fumbling glory.

Let me break it down:

For a while I have been struggling to live off of what I make as a writer, as it is not the easiest thing to do in the world. For various reasons I have been doing my work from home with my kids, which is also not easy if you’ve ever done it. This is not a litany of complaints post (though I could likely do that), but about a million things have conspired, in various ways, to make me chronically short on cash.

So…a friend convinced me that I should start a Patreon, something where I’m not simply begging for money, but allowing people access to new or unusual “Ki Brightly” content that they may not otherwise get a chance to see.

Okay.

I literally have zero idea about what I’m going to do with this thing, but here it is. And you get to see me, if that’s something you’re interested in. Here is the link to my Patreon account.

If you haven’t been convinced that you would like to participate in my Patreon here is some of the content you might expect in the future if you were to become a Patron of my art. (I am snickering as I type that. I have no idea why my brain has decided it is so funny.) Here I am doing a partial reading of “If You Give an Incubus a Cookie”.

All right friends, and if I’m perfectly honest, I’m hoping that the enticement of a couple of bucks a month will make me more dedicated to working on my blog. I don’t know why I have so much trouble sitting down and doing the “blog” thing (other than my general lack of five minutes to sit down and think when my kids are home), but…wait…no, it’s probably the kids. (I love them, really I do.)

I hope everyone is having a wonderful day!

Happy reading!

kibrightly


Check out my newest book Trust Trade!

trusttradefs_v1Life hasn’t been good to Jeb Birchman. When he attempted to escape his abusive, zealot father, he found himself on the streets, making a living the only way he knew how, the victim of more violent men—one of whom orchestrates a series of vicious attacks that leave Jeb deaf. Now that he’s aged beyond his latest client’s interest, Jeb knows he needs to escape his risky lifestyle before it’s too late. Seeing one last chance for himself, he earns a GED and enrolls in college.

Freddy Williams enjoys a life that couldn’t be more different from what Jeb has survived. He loves sports, being a personal trainer, and hanging out with friends. The son of deaf parents, Freddy is an outspoken advocate of the Deaf community and works as an interpreter at his college. When he meets Jeb at the bookstore, he’s struck by how attractive he is, and as they get to know each other, he finds Jeb’s good heart just as appealing. By the time he learns of Jeb’s past, it’s only a few steps behind them, and Freddy must make a choice between school and his familiar routine and protecting the man he’s falling in love with.

See a sample of Trust Trade here.

Purchase Links

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

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Filed under Book Feature, m/m, Patreon, Personal Stories, Supporting Other Authors, The Writing Trenches, Writing Resources, Writing Stories

OMG! Where The Hell Have You Been?

Hello All!

Thanks for asking, Internet friends. Mostly I’ve been getting down to the nitty gritty of writing. Last night I completed the second book in the Gem City Grit universe in three notebooks. I’m kind of excited about that.

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The title is still up in the air. I’m thinking, perhaps, Love It Like You Stole It.

I haven’t notebooked a novel since Threefold Love, which was my first professionally released story. It’s nostalgic, but as I stare down the barrel of typing it all out I’m seriously wondering if I am insane. Working in a notebook allows me to avoid the myriad distractions and pornographic bounties of the Internet, but it also, alas, creates more work. I’m not entirely sure it’s bad work though. I’m, optimistically, choosing to view it as the first layer of editing.  

One other thing before I sign off here. Dreamspinner Press has The Paranaturalist on sale with 2 other ghostly tomes until the end of the weekend (October 16, 2016). Happy reading!

dsp-paranaturalist-sale

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Filed under Book Feature, Coming Soon, Gay Fantasy, gay fiction, Ghost Hunters, Haunted Pennsylvania, m/m, new book, Paranormal, paranormal romance, Personal Stories, Personal Story, Projects, Small Town, The Paranaturalist

NaNoWriMo: The Month of Good Intentions

 

NaNo-2015-Winner-Banner

For some reason, Winning NaNoWriMo didn’t bring me as much joy as it usually does. Maybe it’s because I’m writing everyday now anyway and just scrambling to meet a word count goal I don’t always hold myself to. Or maybe it’s because I’m actually more in the mires of my story right now. I estimate I’m about halfway through. I’m in the hard stuff, the weaving together plot stuff, and not really at the end of my novel. My last two novels came in at about 200k words, so …this isn’t there yet. I’m hoping it actually doesn’t explode in that way, but it’s just not done.

For whatever reason, “Yay! I won!”, but meh.

I also intended to write a daily NaNoWriMo blog post, but didn’t hit that mark. It was a bit ambitious. I might try that again next year with some preparation.

At any rate, to my fellow NaNoWriMo writers, I salute you. There’s still till midnight to get your word counts to 50k if you haven’t hit it yet. Stay strong. I believe in you.

If you know you’re not going to win this year, I’ll let you in on a little secret. It doesn’t matter. If you’ve started writing every day, or almost every day, that’s the real win.

Getting yourself into a good rhythm with what you want from life is always a win.


 

Check out my book The Shape of Honey!

ShapeofHoney[The]

Available on Amazon , Dreamspinner Press, and other retailers.

Yulian Volkov is an entrepreneur and lone werewolf who hates the city. At a pack meeting, he learns the only member he’s attracted to is being expelled for crimes unspecified. Yulian strikes a deal with the pack leader to allow Rolly Witten to live on his farm and work in his Meadery. Although enjoying handsome Rolly’s company, Yulian must tread carefully, since Rolly doesn’t trust him and the pack doesn’t acknowledge homosexuality exists. Meanwhile, Yulian stealthily courts Rolly by teaching him the value of his wolf side.

Rolly, who’s known he was gay since he was a teen, has accepted a life of solitude—and a life of crime. He has no desire to relocate. Yet Yulian’s trust in his ability to do honest work builds his confidence. As life is settling well for them, Rolly learns a friend from his old pack had a crush on him, and he’s torn between returning his friend’s feelings or pursuing the budding relationship with Yulian. But that’s not their worst problem. Assassins are trying to take out both wolves, and they need to figure out who wants them dead or all the trust and happiness they’re building together won’t matter.

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Filed under NaNoWriMo, NaNoWriMo 2015, National Novel Writing Month, Personal Stories, Uncategorized

Wednesday Book Review: Betrothed: A Faery Tale by Therese Woodson

Today I’m reviewing Betrothed: A Faery Tale by Therese Woodson. It’s a shorter book at 200 pages, and my how those pages flew by. I was extremely sad to see the end of this story, though it was probably as close to a perfect ending as I could have hoped for. There are some warnings for this book: some violence, though not too graphic, some skeezy guy trying to get a hot guy drunk to take advantage of him, and some racism, though it’s of the human hating variety. After reading this book Therese Woodson became one of my go to authors. I’ll auto buy the crap out of anything she writes. I want more. MORE.

Betrothed

Let’s start with the blurb:

Faery royalty have always married for duty rather than love. Prince Chrysanths should be no different―except with a human for a father, the prince known as Puck already is different. When he is betrothed against his will to Prince Sky, Puck flees to his father in the human world, only to have Sky follow.

Prince Sky Song of the Clouds isn’t thrilled with the prospect of marriage either, but is bound by duty to follow through. If he can’t win Puck over, the faery realm might very well dissolve into utter chaos. Too busy arguing, Puck and Sky are unaware there are others with a vested interest in seeing the betrothal fail. In a bid for Puck’s crown, they’ll seek to keep them apart, even as Puck and Sky realize that duty and love don’t always have to be mutually exclusive.

The blurb is short and sweet, though somewhat misleading. In the book faery royalty don’t always marry for duty, just some unlucky royals get that privilege to join the faery kingdoms together.

The Great:

This is a faery story. The author does an amazing job world building here, and I have to say I’m in love with her faeries. She has a history of the people, different elemental associations, magic…it’s just wonderful. It has shades of Charlaine Harris in it, especially the faery crossings, but all in all I think that’s just genre overlap and I enjoyed it so much I certainly didn’t care.

Puck. I love the name Puck. He’s one of the main characters. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is probably my favorite play by the Bard, and I was ridiculously excited to see references to it and to see the plays discussed, however topically. I also have a reference to it in my own book, Threefold Love. Andrew quotes it. I gave a hearty squee of joy when I read P-u-c-k. I would have even been happy if this story had been some kind of odd retelling of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but what I got was so much more, so much better, and so deeply unexpected.

I am in love with the way Sky and Puck are so lovingly described. Woodson does a marvelous job with the magic in her world, which is twined closely to the physical appearances of her characters. I can’t get over how perfectly she walks the information hand out line with her world. We get just enough so that we can imagine what we want, but we’re still given a solid structure to bounce from.

The sex. Oh, good gawd, the sex. It wasn’t rushed, but once that gate is opened it’s a wonderful, steamy, fantastical foray into two hot men touching each other. I can’t get over how much fun it was. I haven’t read a final “copulation” scene like their wedding night in a good long while. It reminded me a tad of the Meredith Gentry series only more down to earth, if that makes any sense. I don’t have a better way to explain it. It was very visceral, and I loved that Sky liked to have his hair pulled. (Closet kinkster…Oh, wait…no, I’m obnoxiously out with that tidbit about myself.)

The Good:

I liked the faery/human world interaction a lot. It’s always fun when an author can take something mundane and make me look at it through new eyes, and that’s precisely what happened here when Prince Sky ventured into the human world after Puck. I was completely entertained and especially on edge when Sky got a drinking lesson from a smarmy stranger.

The One or Two Things I Maybe Didn’t Like:

Okay, I have to say that I didn’t like it when there was some sort of cheating going on. I didn’t like it one bit, not even a little. I don’t always mind cheating in books, and here it fulfilled a story purpose, but I was extremely enraged on behalf of Puck.

Puck’s reaction to the mugging was a little…not right to me. I’m not sure why.

Also, baseball. It’s not that it didn’t fit the story, but I personally think it’s the most boring game on the planet, and this is coming from someone who lived near Pittsburgh where team sports are a religion—Pirates, Penguins, and Steelers—they’re practically the Pittsburgh trinity. I still hate baseball with a passion. I’ve sat through one too many disappointing Pirates games I guess. I just don’t understand how Prince Sky could get that into something that makes me want to do anything else, including peel off my own fingernails, rather than sit there and watch it.

Amy. ‘Nuff said. Didn’t like her one bit, though I’d say she was exceptionally good for the plot. It was a little cheesy though, especially her easy escape. I do hope that it’s a set up for the next book, however.

All in all, I loved this little book.

Loved.

This is the face I made while reading it, especially the sexy bits.

betrothedcrazyface

I will be reading it again, and I’ll most likely be fighting off the urge to download “The Trouble with Elves” (also by Woodson) until December. I’ve been growing somewhat apathetic about writing my reviews, I’m not sure why, maybe a combo of “real life” weighing on me and seasonal shifts with less light and such…but, this book was so good I was compelled to take time away from my NaNoWriMo month to not only read it, but review it as well.

I sincerely hope Woodson continues to write, and I hope they’re longer books.


Check out my book The Shape of Honey. M/M Werewolf Romance

ShapeofHoney[The]

Available on Amazon , Dreamspinner Press, and other retailers.

Yulian Volkov is an entrepreneur and lone werewolf who hates the city. At a pack meeting, he learns the only member he’s attracted to is being expelled for crimes unspecified. Yulian strikes a deal with the pack leader to allow Rolly Witten to live on his farm and work in his Meadery. Although enjoying handsome Rolly’s company, Yulian must tread carefully, since Rolly doesn’t trust him and the pack doesn’t acknowledge homosexuality exists. Meanwhile, Yulian stealthily courts Rolly by teaching him the value of his wolf side.

Rolly, who’s known he was gay since he was a teen, has accepted a life of solitude—and a life of crime. He has no desire to relocate. Yet Yulian’s trust in his ability to do honest work builds his confidence. As life is settling well for them, Rolly learns a friend from his old pack had a crush on him, and he’s torn between returning his friend’s feelings or pursuing the budding relationship with Yulian. But that’s not their worst problem. Assassins are trying to take out both wolves, and they need to figure out who wants them dead or all the trust and happiness they’re building together won’t matter.

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Filed under Book Review, Personal Stories

The Envelope (Of Doom): NaNoWriMo–Day 3

November 3rd, 2015

NaNoWriMo: Day 3

winningthefight

Today I feel less like having a massive panic attack even though I’m not where I’d like to be word count wise. I may have started out with some unrealistic goals. I’m always walking that fine line between motivating myself and setting myself up for an epic dogpile of failure. My story is currently sitting at a smidge over 10 thousand words, and I’ll take it. I’m also a little stuck plot wise, so I’m not entirely sure where I’m going to go with everything tomorrow. My outline, which I wrote Pre-NaNo (in the before time of sleep and sanity), simply says Chapter 3: Abduction. Unfortunately, I’ve forgotten who is supposed to get abducted, so it’s kind of like a surprise for me by me.

So, hell or high water, someone is getting relocated in my story tomorrow.

But, I’m seriously disappointed that I forgot about my envelope while I was writing today.

envelopes1

What is my envelope, you ask?

Great question.

Before NaNo started I made an envelope full of tiny slips of innocent looking sheets of paper. (You could still totally do it though.) There are two ways I’ve used the envelope system in the past, but I’ll talk about what I’m doing right now first.

Okay, so I have an envelope. I labeled it for my story in fancy glittery pen (It just works better that way.) and then I started writing down random silliness on pieces of paper. Things like “monster attack”, “kiss”, “character dies”, and even strange things like random favorite words (dilapidated) and favorite or strange food items (chili powder). Sometimes I get existential with it. I stuff that sucker full, so about 3/4 of the way through I start to reach for things to surprise myself with. Every day I pull a word out of my envelope and I have a game I play with myself where I have to work whatever is on the paper into the story. It’s a lot of fun trying to think up random, story appropriate (or inappropriate as it were) things to trip myself up with. I like to get silly with it. Last year I put so many “monster attack!”s into the envelope I had to start using some of them figuratively, which I then decided was fine.

The point of the envelope is to use it to move your story forward, any way that happens.

The other way to use the envelopes is to only pull something from the envelope when you’re well and truly stuck. If I use the envelope as the “Oh, Shit I HAVE NO INSPIRATION” envelope, then I stick even harder to the rule. The rule being, of course, if you pull it you have to use it.

Now, have I cheated with the envelope before? Yes. Once. I pulled “kill a character” and decided I couldn’t do that at the time, so I put it back. I was so wracked with guilt about it that I thought long and hard before pulling anything from the envelope again. I’m pretty sure it made me more creative.

The envelope game relies extremely heavily on your ability to trick and cajole yourself. Some people can’t do it. Some people can’t say, I HAVE TO DO THIS THING SIMPLY BECAUSE I TOLD MYSELF I WOULD. And that’s okay. That just means the rules might not be for you. Don’t limit yourself to the way I use the envelope if that’s the case. If you sit down and pull out every card you’ve stuffed into the envelope and get even one good idea for your story while doing so, the time making the envelope was well spent.

Happy NaNoing!

Ki


Check out my book The Shape of Honey! M/M Werewolf Romance

ShapeofHoney[The]

Available on Amazon and at other retailers.

Yulian Volkov is an entrepreneur and lone werewolf who hates the city. At a pack meeting, he learns the only member he’s attracted to is being expelled for crimes unspecified. Yulian strikes a deal with the pack leader to allow Rolly Witten to live on his farm and work in his Meadery. Although enjoying handsome Rolly’s company, Yulian must tread carefully, since Rolly doesn’t trust him and the pack doesn’t acknowledge homosexuality exists. Meanwhile, Yulian stealthily courts Rolly by teaching him the value of his wolf side.

Rolly, who’s known he was gay since he was a teen, has accepted a life of solitude—and a life of crime. He has no desire to relocate. Yet Yulian’s trust in his ability to do honest work builds his confidence. As life is settling well for them, Rolly learns a friend from his old pack had a crush on him, and he’s torn between returning his friend’s feelings or pursuing the budding relationship with Yulian. But that’s not their worst problem. Assassins are trying to take out both wolves, and they need to figure out who wants them dead or all the trust and happiness they’re building together won’t matter.

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Filed under NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, Personal Stories

Filling in the Cracks: NaNoWriMo–Day 2

November 2nd, 2015

NaNoWriMo: Day 2

NaNoday2pic

I’m writing this post up late in the day because…well, I’ve committed the cardinal sin of NaNoWriMo…procrastination.

I haven’t started yet. It’s almost the end of day two. By my self imposed goals and deadlines I’m already 12k words in the hole. (I am a tad neurotic. I don’t know that I’ve ever consistently written 6 thousand words a day for more than a three day stretch, but I swore I would do it every day for 30 days. HAHAHAHAHA…We’re all mad here.)

I have all the excuses. It was important family stuff that got in the way. I had appointments I had to keep. Blah, blah, blah…I would say, the best thing to do for yourself during NaNoWriMo is to sketch out your writing time and guard it like a ravenous wolf guards the last slice of bacon. Teeth bared. Hackles raised.

Ready to go for blood.

But, what if you aren’t a procrastinator? What if you’ve been working on your stuff like a good little NaNo-er, but just aren’t hitting your word count? Here’s where I’m going to recommend something that seems entirely counter to the NaNo idea of writing forward, but it’s not. Not really anyway.

Look for the cracks in your writing.

“What the hell is that?” asks an anonymous man in the back row.

maninbackrow

Good question, sir.

Read over what you’ve written so far today. You are not editing. *pulls out the bullhorn* YOU ARE NOT EDITING.

What you are doing is looking for places where you can add to what you have written. Add in some body language. A conversation. Take a scene sketch where you might have simply told the audience what is happening and actually expand it out into its own scene. Write more descriptive scenery. Write about the way someone’s eyes sparkle.

It’s all fair game

When I’m writing in a notebook I will do this at the end of what I guesstimate to be a chapter. I will find a “crack” area and put a number by it, flip to the next clean sheet of paper, put that number on the first line, and write until I’ve written whatever I wanted to expand. Might be a sentence, might be five pages. It works wonders for fleshing out a story.

So, go forth and find some cracks in your work, and see if you can fill them with words.

Happy NaNoing!

Ki


Check out my book The Shape of Honey! M/M Werewolf Romance

ShapeofHoney[The]

Available on Amazon and at other retailers.

Yulian Volkov is an entrepreneur and lone werewolf who hates the city. At a pack meeting, he learns the only member he’s attracted to is being expelled for crimes unspecified. Yulian strikes a deal with the pack leader to allow Rolly Witten to live on his farm and work in his Meadery. Although enjoying handsome Rolly’s company, Yulian must tread carefully, since Rolly doesn’t trust him and the pack doesn’t acknowledge homosexuality exists. Meanwhile, Yulian stealthily courts Rolly by teaching him the value of his wolf side.

Rolly, who’s known he was gay since he was a teen, has accepted a life of solitude—and a life of crime. He has no desire to relocate. Yet Yulian’s trust in his ability to do honest work builds his confidence. As life is settling well for them, Rolly learns a friend from his old pack had a crush on him, and he’s torn between returning his friend’s feelings or pursuing the budding relationship with Yulian. But that’s not their worst problem. Assassins are trying to take out both wolves, and they need to figure out who wants them dead or all the trust and happiness they’re building together won’t matter.

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Filed under NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, Personal Stories

The World of Candy: Maple Creams

antiquechocolateforblog

I love candy. It’s been a lifelong obsession. I used to work in an ice cream shop in high school and my Grandmother lovingly slaved over cookies and candies every year from October through December so she could inundate the family and all of her friends (and beyond) with holiday delights. She would make gobs, chocolate chips, Hershey kiss cookies, peanut butter cup cookies, gems, ginger snaps, fluff cookies, and easily a hundred others, all rotating each year on her whim. I, of course, was her helper. I helped her make wedding cakes as well.

I think one of my favorite things out of everything she ever made were buckeye balls, which aren’t hard to make and maple creams. I found maple creams, which I think would be a close approximation to Grandma’s, though I would definately take the time to coat them in dark chocolate.

A good maple cream should be an overwhelming, full body experience. You should bite into it and it should almost be too sweet. Your stomach should clench just a little and the cream should melt onto your tongue. You should get a zing from the plume of maple sugars, and then after the sugary punch fades you should get the rich, deep almost floral wave of maple in your palette. In this case if there is chocolate, it should be as dark and unsweetened as possible. Really, the chocolate tempers the harsh sweetness of the cream. With the recipe I’ve selected, I would definitely take the time to melt down some dark chocolate and coat them.

Candy always makes me think about childhood and Grandma.

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