Guest Blog by Amelia Kibbie

Amelia Kibbie, Author of Fantasy, LBGT & Historical fiction

It’s my pleasure to welcome back my Running Wild Press colleague Amelia Kibbie, this time for a guest blog. This is a very opportune time for more than one reason. First: Running Wild Press is offering all of their published catalog at pennies above cost for paperback and 99 cents for eBooks from today, March 27, 2020 through May 1, 2020. Full details and recommended purchasing locations are here.

 Even more importantly, Amelia’s book Legendary is a story where kindness, love, and courage shine light through a time of fear and uncertainty. I loved it, and it’s a good book to read in these uncertain times.

 I first encountered Amelia’s writing in Running Wild Anthology of Stories Vol. 2, where I met and fell in love with her characters James and Arthur; their story continues in Legendary. Amelia tells how this story came to be.

Welcome, Amelia!

Legendary by Amelia Kibbie

 

“Legendary” is a book that almost didn’t happen.

It took a series of unexpected events to bring this novel to life. This is the story of my story.

I love to cruise writing websites to look for contests and calls for submissions, as many of us probably do. I saw a call for submissions for an LGBT romance anthology called Heart of Steel. The submission guidelines requested an LGBT romance featuring knights. As a lover of fantasy and someone who understands the importance of representation, I was ecstatic to write something for the anthology, and read the stories others had written.

I wanted to write something different, something unexpected. How could I include a knight without setting my story in medieval Europe or some kind of Lord of the Rings rip-off fantasy setting? The idea came to me that a character in the story might not be a literal knight, but could have a heart of steel regardless. What if someone in modern times found a suit of armor and put it on?

I thought about the kind of story that I needed to read as a young person. A story with LGBT protagonists who were realistic, not stereotypes. A story with a same-sex romance that ended happily. So happily it was cheesy, like a fairy tale. A legendary ending. Because LGBT characters deserve the chance to have such an ending, and readers need it in their minds and hearts as well, especially those struggling with their sexuality and how their families and society might react.

So, I wrote a story about two outcasts who find each other, and the legendary love that blossoms. James and Arthur are bullied by their peers for different reasons, and this cruelty increases tenfold when they are sent out of London with their classmates to avoid the Nazi Blitz. Arthur, empowered by the legends of King Arthur Pendragon, finds the courage to don the armor and stand up for James.

Authors often love the things they write, their darlings, I suppose — but there was something about this story that gripped me and wouldn’t let go. I rarely cry, but I cried as I wrote the ending, and simply talking about the story would get me emotional. Imagine how I felt when the story was rejected by the anthology.

I continued to submit it, even though it was an awkward length and a niche genre. Rejection, rejection, rejection. Then, I heard about Running Wild Press’s anthology of stories. Expecting a rejection, I sent them my story “Idylls of the King.” When it was accepted, I cried again. At last, James and Arthur’s story could reach readers.

I thought my heart would explode right out of my chest when, one day, I got an email from Lisa Kaestner, editor of Running Wild. She said, simply, that she’d like to see a novel based on the characters I created in “Idylls of the King.” I worked closely with her to develop an outline that she felt would produce a book that Running Wild would be interested in publishing. I brought readers forward in time to James and Arthur as young men in 1950s London as they struggled with prejudice and rough patches in their relationship as they travel cross country to solve the mystery of a close friend’s dying words. I included the original short story as a flashback. Three drafts and two beta readers later, I had a manuscript for Running Wild’s Benjamin White to edit. Long story short, my book was published in November of 2019.

I wanted to share my journey for a couple of reasons. First, if you are a writer, don’t give up after a few rejections. Often, you’ll hear stories about famous writers being rejected multiple times until finding success. Yet, there’s always some part of me when I read those stories that doesn’t believe them. But I’m here to tell you as a real person that you shouldn’t give up. Keep submitting! Keep querying!

Secondly, if you truly believe in representation in fiction for a marginalized community, it’s your duty to keep submitting until someone says yes. We need these stories in the hands of readers who come from these groups, especially young readers. Write the book that you needed in the past. You never know what kind of impact you may have on someone’s life.

 

Thank you so much for sharing Legendary’s journey, Amelia. Readers, you can contact your local bookstore to order this wonderful book for delivery. (Amelia recommends M&M bookstore if you’re near Cedar Rapids.) You can also order it through Indiebound, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon. And you can connect with Amelia on her website, www.ameliakibbie.com, at her blog akibbie.wordpress.com, and through Twitter @ameliakibbie, Instagram @hollycat83 and facebook https://www.facebook.com/ameliakibbie.

Happy Book Birthday!

A year ago today, my stories first appeared in print in Running Wild Press Anthology of Stories Volume 2!

 

Some exciting things have happened since then. My story, The Guest, about an unexpected visitation on a cold spring night, was chosen as one of RWP Readers’ Choice Best for 2018! It joins many excellent stories from “my” anthology and RWP’s novella anthologies.

And our anthology was featured with other RWP books in amazing swag bags given to Golden Globe celebrities.

Golden Globe Weekend Gift Bag

Meanwhile, I’ve been hard at work on my fantasy novel. If you look deeply into my author photo, you can catch a peek at early lines from my first draft.

All right, honestly, I haven’t been writing it with quill and ink, but I do write the first drafts longhand. I like the ease and physical contact of writing with pen and paper.

 

During this year, Running Wild Press has been busy with many awesome projects – just check out their twitter. Among their latest offerings are writing courses.

From RWP: we’re launching a fully online creative writing program.

Want to join a supportive, online writing community for feedback and encouragement? Take a Running Wild Press writing course.

These fully online courses will be taught in 4 to 8-week formats entirely online by experienced instructors from higher education institutions from around the country.

Three of these courses will be taught by my anthology colleagues Elan Barnehama, Nick Mazzuca, and Amelia Kibbie. I heartily vouch for their writing abilities, because their stories are honestly some of my favorites. Check out my interviews with them for more about them and their stories.

Elan Barnehama, Contemporary Fiction Writer
Nick Mazzuca, Author
Amelia Kibbie, Author of Fantasy, LBGT & Historical fiction

A fourth course will be taught by Dr. Lisa Montagne. I’m not acquainted Lisa, but if you’re interested in reading and writing poetry, have a look! You can check out all the courses here.

As for me, check back soon for more interviews with new authors, and of course I’ll keep you posted with any news!

 

Interview with Author Amelia Kibbie

Amelia Kibbie, Author of Fantasy, LBGT & Historical fiction

To close this chapter of interviews with my Running Wild Anthology colleagues, I’m very pleased to feature Amelia Kibbie. Her story, “Idylls of the King,” moved and enchanted me.

Welcome, Amelia!

Is there a part of the Anthology’s cover collage that reminds you of your story?
The image that I think reflects my story the best is on the far left. It looks like a person with dark pants standing with their hand open but facing back, perhaps to take someone else’s hand. The figure is wearing a black glove. It reminds me of “Idylls of the King” because the picture does look historical, and my piece is a LGBT WWII romance, and it could also represent James reaching back to take Arthur’s hand so they can stand together.

 

Would you add anything to the cover to hint at your story?
A sword. In the story, Arthur is given a sword that represents the mythical Excalibur, and it inspires him to reach his full potential and be true to himself in declaring his love for James.

What do you like best to write?
That’s funny, because honestly I would have to say horror and fantasy, which is a pretty far cry from “Idylls.” But to be real, I love to write pretty much everything if I’m invested in the plot and characters.

What’s the biggest stretch for you to write?
I don’t typically write things I don’t like to write, but if someone paid me to write a traditional hetero romance where the proper girl falls for the bad boy, or a Twilight style scenario where the guy’s actually a stalker with no boundaries and the girl defines her existence based on her relationship, I would have a really hard time writing that. But, if you’re offering me money, I’d make it work.

Where do your stories fall on the plot-driven vs. character-driven spectrum?
I’d like to think they’re equal. Typically I come up with the plot idea, and then develop the characters after that. When it’s brewing in my mind they tend to develop relatively simultaneously.

What authors did you love most as a kid? Now? What authors have influenced your writing most?
As a younger kid, I was way into Patricia C. Wrede, Betty Wren Wright, and Brian Jacques. My teen years focused on Stephen King and Anne Rice. In college, I got into Chuck Palahniuk and Brett Easton Ellis. Now I read anything and everything I can get my hands on and I’m not all that particular. I learn something from everything I read. I’d have to say my current favorite author is Hillary Mantel.

Is there a place that you’ve lived (or visited) that most influences your writing?
I’m from Iowa, so there are a lot of Midwestern culture and themes in my work. However, I’ve done a lot of traveling, and visited France and New Orleans several times. I’ve been to England, and did quite a few historical tours of WWII sites, which helped in the writing of “Idylls of the King” and the follow up novel, Legendary.

What’s the first piece you wrote that you’re still proud of/happy with?
The first place I was really published was on the website BigWorldNetwork.com. They publish stories in installments as serial fiction. I have a fantasy novel there called Harvest of Ash. The first two seasons are available on the site. I have the third season written, but the new managers of the site don’t want to see anything until the series has concluded. I still have to write Season 4. When I turned 30, I decided that it was now or never to accomplish my dream of being a writer. When I was 31 I had my daughter, and I used her nap time during my maternity leave to write Harvest of Ash. I love that book and I hope to finish it someday. It’s a gritty retelling of Cinderella with echoes of Game of Thrones.

What have you been up to since the Anthology came out? Any other news?
I have written a follow-up novel to “Idylls of the King” called Legendary. It takes place about ten years after the short story, though the short story is included in the narrative as a flashback. The plot revolves around James and Arthur as they journey to find someone given up for lost many years ago. On the way they grapple with society’s judgmental treatment of gay people, and some rocky aspects of their own relationship.

What do you plan to work on next?
Man, I have a to-do list! I need to finish Harvest of Ash, as well as a story I have on Wattpad that some of the students I work with are reading. I tell them if they get their homework done and pass their classes, I will write another chapter. I owe them a chapter right now! I’m also working with a filmmaker on a screen play about the Holocaust.

How can readers connect with you?
I have an author page on Facebook — Amelia Kibbie — Author and Freelance Writer. I tweet @AmeliaKibbie and Instagram as @hollycat83. I’d love it if you would visit my website ameliakibbie.com. You can find EVERYTHING there, including my blog “I Know What I Know.”

Exciting news! I just found out that Amelia’s story “Idylls of the King” is one of RWP Readers’ Choice Best for 2018*

Congratulations, Amelia, and congratulations on your upcoming novel! Thank you for joining me on my blog.

 

*Check back for more results soon!

Interview with Author Julie Doherty

Julie Doherty — Fiction that’s Plaid to the Bone

For my penultimate interview with one of my Running Wild Anthology colleagues, it’s my pleasure to feature Julie Doherty. Her story, “Justice,” left me a little shaken, but satisfied.

Welcome, Julie!

Is there a part of the Anthology’s cover collage that reminds you of your story?

Probably the section with the stark tree. I’m certain the main character in “Justice” feels that bleak and lonely, since he’s an abused boy surrounded by pampered show dogs.

 

What do you like best to write?
I love writing horror, which sounds silly coming from a romance author. If you think about it, though, love and fear are two of our most powerful emotions, so maybe it makes sense that I enjoy writing about both.

What’s the biggest stretch for you to write?
Because I slip into my characters’ skins to tell their stories, it makes me something of a writing chameleon. So far, I haven’t found any genre more challenging than the rest.

Where do your stories fall on the plot-driven vs. character-driven spectrum?
My books are largely plot-driven, but they include well-developed characters with plenty of inner conflict.

What authors did you love most as a kid? What authors have influenced your writing most?
Laura Ingalls-Wilder completely transported me to that little house on the prairie. I even remember the smell of those books. Wonderful memories. I think every author has taught me something, though; sometimes, what not to do. (I’m probably that author for a lot of people. Ha!)

Is there a place that you’ve lived (or visited) that most influences your writing?
Since my stuff is Plaid to the Bone, I suppose it’s no surprise if I respond with . . . Scotland. The bens and braes, the heilan’ coos, the swaggering rogues in kilts. *sigh*

What’s the first piece you wrote that you’re still proud of/happy with?
I’m proud of each of them, because let’s face it, finishing a novel is a major accomplishment. But happy? Are authors ever completely happy with a story? I think most are chronic editors. I can’t read any of my published works without wanting to change something. However, I’m especially proud of THE SCENT OF FOREVER, my most recent release. I kind of nailed that one. Here’s the link.

What have you been up to since the Anthology came out? Any other news?
Soul Mate Publishing released THE SCENT OF FOREVER, and I signed with that same house for the release of my fourth novel, A VALLEY TOO FAR. I’ve spent most of the summer renovating my 1926 Colonial Craftsman home and trying not to molder. It rained all summer in Pennsylvania!

What do you plan to work on next?
I started another contemporary romance about a disabled vet who courts an old high school sweetheart by sending her messages with a drone. Unfortunately, I got about 35,000 words in and decided I wasn’t happy with the direction the story was taking. So, I decided to take a short break from writing, reset my creative brain, and come back at it in the fall. I’m starting to get the urge to look at it again. In a week or two, we’ll probably be out of clean clothes again because the laundry maid is stuck to her laptop.

How can readers connect with you?
I blog at my website at: https://juliedoherty.com/ and I’m pretty active over on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/juliedohertywrites where I occasionally give away some pretty awesome swag and even free books.

 

Congratulations on your recent and upcoming releases, Julie!

Julie has hosted her own fun interviews of Anthology authors and others on her website here. You can read her interview of me right here.
Thanks for the great interviews, Julie, and for taking part in my blog!

UPDATE Dec. 8th, 2018

Exciting news! Julie’s story “Justice” has been chosen as one of RWP Readers’ Choice Best of 2018*. Congratulations, Julie!

*Check back for more results soon.

 

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