Alyssia Kirkhart

Author of Adult & Young Adult Romance

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Surges and Setbacks


Often when I'm trying to think of something to write for the website, I find myself attempting to work up sage writing advice or a smattering of photos I've taken recently. But let's be honest: I'm not the best at writing advice--I mean, I can give it, same as any other author, but I feel as if every writer is his or her own person, a voice special and unique. Giving advice to a one-of-a-kind individual is hard. That's not to say I don't glean from other writers myself--I do. But when I start talking about writing, I often--very well, always ramble into a sub-universe of characters and plot lines that leave people scratching their heads.

Plus, there are a million other authors out there who have written much more than I, some of whom even have self-help books. Stephen King, Donald Maass, Deb Dixon...amazing.

As for the photos...I wish I snapped more. Something tells me I'm gonna regret that someday.

For this post, however, I wanted to give a brief little shoutout that is half business/half personal and a healthy, doughy mixture of both. For the cup and a half of business, I'm extremely pleased to announce that, one, I will be doing a joint signing with fantasy author Lela Robichaux at another Geek Fair next month (details via the "Events" tab) and, two, the next book in the Symbolon series will be coming out in early May. Double-bonus. Oh, and, three...Netflix has proposed an adaption of The Other Half: The Symbolon Series Book One to be released in Summer 2019.

Just kidding about that last part. I almost had myself there.

Moving on. The for real tres is the marvelous response we've received for The Other Half. As my first YA release, to say I was scared and skeptical and eating a pint of Ben & Jerry's Phish Food every other day would be putting it completely and unequivocally accurately. (Good HEAVENS that was a lot of -ly words; my senior English teacher will have a conniption, if she reads this.) Nevertheless, you guys have shown SO much love with your purchases, reviews, involvement in the working soundtrack on Spotify (Details for that via the "Playlists" tab), coming out to events...really, I don't know how to thank you enough, except for maybe with a sincere #blessed.

For the dash of personal that is, in all honesty, much more than a mere dash...The support system I have in my family is more than I could've ever dreamed. And that's real important to a writer (there you have it...writerly advice!) who is desperately trying to be a spouse, a decent parent, work a day job, keep a clean house and a family in clean clothes, plus make time to write. But my Other Half takes it all in stride. Supports my business decisions, great or small. Cheers me on when I succeed, supports me when I fail, and encourages me to keep going, no matter what. I'm a lucky chick. Thanks, baby.

And thanks to ALL of you who support what I put out there. For growing with me as an artist and a human being. I love the humans you are, too.

In closing, I don't know why I entitled this post Surges and Setbacks. It just sounded kind of good. Catchy. Or not. Or maybe because this was still on my brain:


#truth

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

My New Year's Resolutions


First and foremost, I want to wish all of you a Happy New Year! I sincerely hope that all of you had a wonderful Christmas holiday and that you spent time with family and friends and, hopefully, even got in a little, well-deserved relaxation. We had a quiet holiday, filled with laughter, delicious food, and weather that seemed more like autumn than winter, but that didn't matter--I felt festive, anyway! And I know this is a little cliche, the whole "New Year, New Me" bit, but I like setting goals for myself, nonetheless. Plus, it's something to look back on, a way to hold myself accountable when I get down in a slump.

1. Read more. You'd think this was obvious, right? Writers read. That's what we do. But I tend to find time to do other things (like surfing social media!), rather than dedicating thirty minutes to an hour a day to another author's work. When I'm reading, however, I write better, harder, faster. Ideas pop up more often, and I have less moments of writer's block. And while I'm on that note...

2. Spend less time surfing the internet. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. I love Facebook. Love to see what everyone's doing, keep up with my high school buddies, laugh at all the funny photos and memes. But it's a time sink I can ill-afford, if I want to be consistent with writing and publishing books. My goal is to write for a living--for writing to be my actual "day job." However, if I don't start taking a more professional attitude toward being an author, a part of which is limiting my internet time, then I'll have a slow, slow road to the goal. That said, I do think social media is a marvelous avenue for promotion and putting yourself out there, as an artist. I just feel like limitations need to be set in order to allow more time for actual work.

3. Interrupt anxiety with gratitude. I actually stole this concept from Tanya Burr, but I just couldn't resist. The idea really resonated with me. I work in an environment that oftentimes proves highly stressful. On top of that, I'm a wife and a mommy who's desperately trying to put out her next book. Add keeping up with a house and laundry, four dogs, and making sure my kid eats a nutritious meal every now and again, you've got a recipe for SOMEONE GET ME OUTTA HERE RIGHT NOW! However, I love my family, and I actually do love my day job, so I have to find a healthy way to cope with the anxiety sometimes. When anxiety creeps in, Tanya's suggestion is to think of three things for which you are grateful. What's actually good in your life? What's great? Beauty can be found everywhere. The other day, when I was on my way home and feeling rather down because of the weather and a tummy ache that could've been avoided if I'd only eaten a healthier lunch...I saw an elderly man with a cane, walking from the end of his driveway to his front door. He took two very slow steps, then brought up his cane. A second or so would pass, then he'd take the next two steps. Bring up his cane. Two more. And then his cane. I imagine the total journey from one end to the other took close to ten minutes. But it hit me that I shouldn't allow weather conditions to dampen my mood, because I have two eyes that got to see the weather that day, as they do every day. And I shouldn't be upset by what I ate for lunch, because I have the energy to chew and swallow. Finding joy in the face of anxiety takes discipline, but I believe it's a very doable venture.

4. Call my family more. Like a lot of people, we live away from our family, my husband and I. Sisters, brothers, parents, grandparents...they're all spread out around the country. But I want to hear their voices more often, ask them about their lives, how they're getting along. Even if it's only for a few minutes, communication with our loved ones is important to healthy family relationships.

5. Travel more. The issue with traveling for us is twofold: time and money. But, seriously. Unless you're a royal, isn't it like that for pretty much everyone? The thing with us, though, is that we have a little one who I very much want to see the world. I want him to experience different cultures, cuisine, to know what it's like to sleep on a beach or wake up to a mountain view from your back porch. To explore ancient castles, museums, cathedrals, and ruins. To see, with his own eyes, the glory of our small planet. And I want us to experience that wonder with him, as a family. When he's grown and on his own, I want him to remember how nice the people in Ireland are and how green that grass is, how spectacular it is to see a live volcano or to stand at the summit of one of the tallest mountains. I want him to crack open his World History book and say, "Hey! I've been there!"

So, those are my New Year's Resolutions. I started small for a reason; hopefully I will add more as the year progresses. Here's to a happy, prosperous 2017. Cheers!

Peace, Love and Junior Mints,

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Monday, December 19, 2016

Another Year: A Thanks to 2016!



Every year during this time, I reflect on the months that’ve gone by, of all I’ve done and seen and the people I’ve met. And, of course, I think about what I set out to accomplish at the beginning of the year and what I actually got accomplished. Goals—that’s the word. Luckily, blessedly, I saw a great deal of goals through to fruition, some beyond, and some fell by the wayside. 

I published my first young adult novel, had a few successful book signings, and attended my first bona fide Geek Fair. 

I read A LOT—more so than I have in past years. Books of all genres, too; I wasn’t picky. 


I met the members of my favorite band, The Moody Blues. I’m still over the moon about that. 

The day job budded and bloomed into a new passion for me: politics. I even helped write and edit state legislation (just a tiny bit, but still…it was really cool to be a part of such an important process!). 

My kid went in to speech therapy and has improved more than I could’ve ever hoped for. He now gives me attitude in complete, comprehensive sentences. 

Little Brother started college at Mississippi State (Go Dawgs!) and yours truly helped move him in on Official Move-In Day. What an adventure that turned out to be, especially in three-hundred-degree heat and up and down several flights of stairs WITH a four year old in-tow. Whew! But my brother has grown into an impressive young man and I'm inexplicably grateful to my parents for his raising. Over Thanksgiving, we sat on the couch, feet curled beneath our butts, just talking about life and all the places we want to see. He's currently traveling through the gorgeous green hills of Kentucky and Tennessee and having a blast. I'm so proud of him.

I'd love to read the goals you reached this year, what stands out to you, what surprises arose and the stories that made for a memorable 2016! Cheers!

Peace, Love and Junior Mints,








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Sunday, October 9, 2016

A Top 5 from Fellow Fiction Authors

Bestselling Author Neil Gaiman

1. "Read. Read everything you can lay hands on." — T.H. White

2. "Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." – Anton Chekhov

3. "Read it aloud to yourself because that's the only way to be sure the rhythms of the sentences are OK (prose rhythms are too complex and subtle to be thought out—they can be got right only by ear)." — Diana Athill

4. "Fiction that isn't an author's personal adventure into the frightening or the unknown isn't worth writing for anything but money." — Jonathan Franzen

5.  "The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you're allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it's definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I'm not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter." — Neil Gaiman

What's one of your favorite writing tips?
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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Signing #1: Shreveport, Louisiana


First book signings for a new novel are always nerve-wracking adventures, mainly because you have no idea what to expect. What should I wear? How many pens should I bring? How many books do I need? Should I have chocolate? You can spend so much time sweating the details, you tend to forget the real reason you're doing this: to connect with readers.


For those who might care, I chose a 90's floral dress, complete with velvet choker. What can I say? Neve Campbell in The Craft was bae back in '96. I did bring plenty of Sharpies, including the pink cutie with which I signed. Lots of books that luckily didn't sell out, so, yes...you can still get one! And though I didn't fill a bowl with chocolate, the amazing folks at The Sleepy Hollow: Books & Gifts provided assorted cheeses, crackers, olives, grapes, punch and, oh-my-goodness-YES, an amazing Hazelnut coffee that made the rain pouring outside all the more soothing. Kate set the mood with a fantastic playlist consisting of The Cure and Depeche Mode and...voila!




What made this signing different from my others, which were still awesome, by the way, was the hero of The Other Half, Athen Stormrathe, now officially has his own candle. Yes! Kate and I worked together (although, admittedly, she did most of the work -- she's amazing!) to create a scent that embodies all that I imagine Athen to be. That ancient, wise, earthy man who is Scylla's symbolon. Athen's candle is a wonderfully complex blend of amber, geranium, patchouli, gardenia, and cassia. 



All in all, we had a great time yesterday with friends and enjoyed interesting conversations about writing and, yes, even our current election here in America. So very blessed to live the interesting (if sometimes topsy-turvy...ding!) life of a writer and to be able to do what I love. Thank you guys for making that happen and a special thanks to Kate & the team at The Sleepy Hollow: Books & Gifts for hosting me!




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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Recipe Favorites: French Madeleines


2     eggs
1     cup all purpose flour
2/3  cup sugar
1     tsp vanilla extract
1/2  tsp grated lemon peel
10   tbps (11/4 sticks) unsalted butter (melted, but cooled slightly)

You’ll need a madeleine pan, which you can find in specialty cooking stores or online. I found mine in a small kitchen store at an outlet mall.

Preheat your oven to 375. Spray your pan with cooking spray or butter it generously. I love the spray that has flour in it – perfect for baking.

Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar in a large bowl, just to blend. Beat in vanilla, salt, and lemon peel. Add flour gradually, then beat just until blended. Add the butter in a steady stream, beating just until blended. You definitely do not want to over-blend these dainty cookies.

Spoon 1 tbsp of batter into each seashell shaped mold. Bake until puffed and golden (about 15 minutes). Cool for at least 5 minutes before gently removing from your pan.

Voila! Feel free to dust your madeleines with powdered sugar or enjoy them as is with a cup of tea or coffee.


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