Fiction Blog, Writing Updates

Long Time No Blog (2018-2019 Update)

Where the hell have I been?

If you’ve been wondering, I didn’t die in a horrific accident or get swept away by a tornado (though living in San Francisco often feels like Oz to this Kansas girl). The radio silence that befell this poor, neglected blog was caused by a much more sinister force – graduate school.

kate m colby harvard extension schoolIn January 2018, I began my Master of Liberal Arts in Creative Writing & Literature through the Harvard University Extension School. As anyone who’s been in grad school can tell you, it’s a huge time suck. More importantly, it takes a great deal of energy. Especially for someone like me, who is still working a full-time job and trying to be a good wife/cat mother/daughter/friend to all the people I love.

A LOT of things had to go for me to maintain my sanity during the first year of grad school, and unfortunately, regular blog updates was one of them. If you subscribe to my email list or follow me on social media, you’ll notice those have suffered too. I’m truly sorry for failing to share all this with you as it happened, and I’ve sorely missed interacting with you all online.

So, if grad school is such a drag, why am I pursuing a Master’s degree?

Long story short, I want to be a better writer. Devoting this time to improving my craft has been immensely helpful, and I’ve grown so much as a writer over the last year. Also, this degree will give me the qualifications to expand into editing, coaching, and other writing-related services. If all goes to plan, I will graduate in May 2021, joining Elle Woods as a Harvard alumnus.

What else happened in 2018?

jack daniels
Daniel and me at the Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee

Personally, I’m still living in the San Francisco area with Daniel (my husband) and our beloved kitties. Over the last year, we’ve played tour guide to friends and family, taken trips to new places in the U.S. and Europe, and made great friends here in the Bay Area. Daniel has also continued working toward his Ph.D., which he should finish in 2022.

From a writing standpoint (which is what you’re here for, right?), while I focused mostly on school work, 2018 was an introspective year. I thought a lot about what I want for my future as a writer and independent publisher (and as a person). I won’t bore you with the intricacies of my thought and emotional processes (that’s why I have Daniel), but suffice to say, becoming a full-time author remains my long-term goal. But I’ve realized that I need to make some changes to achieve that goal – both from a business perspective and a personal perspective.

So, what happens next?

I’m starting fresh. Well, as fresh as I can without creating a pen name. (Because, let’s face it, I want to claim all the glory and missteps of this publishing adventure for myself.)

Moving forward, I’m planning to write novels in the paranormal and urban fantasy genres. Think Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sabrina, etc. What you probably can’t know from my previous writing is that these are my favorite genres to consume, whether I’m reading a book, binging a TV show, or playing video games. They’re also the genres in which I have most of my writing ideas.

tarot cardsWriting steampunk for the Desertera series has been a fun experiment, but I honestly can’t see myself continuing in that genre. I know enough to create my own world, but not enough to connect with real steampunk fans. While I appreciate the genre and adore the aesthetics of steampunk (Can’t corsets please come back in style?), it isn’t my true calling as a creative and is better served by writers far more scientifically and historically inclined than I am.

That being said, I do intend to finish the Desertera series. There’s one, maybe two, books needed to complete that story. When I’m ready to give Desertera the time and attention it deserves, it will be finished. I love these characters too much to short-shift them, and with more writing experience under my belt, I plan to end the story right. Currently, I’m not sure when that will be, but you all will be the first to know.

As part of this ‘relaunch’ into fantasy, I’m also going to be building a new website, starting a new email list, and revamping my social media accounts. Beyond my personal writing updates, I won’t be “writing about writing” on these platforms. They’ll be focused on my new books, of course, but also on topics related to them (think tarot card readings, things to see in Salem, Massachusetts, monsters from different cultures, etc.).

If that sounds good to you, keep reading …

Want to join me on this new adventure?

Here’s what you can do to stay connected with me throughout this transition and into the next phase of my writing journey:

  1. Watch this website

I’ll post another update when the new website is live. It will be under the same URL (, and this website will revert to the free WordPress URL ( This blog will stay up for a while to help readers find the new site, but it will not remain permanently active.

  1. Sign up for my email list at

When I’m ready to start sending regular emails again, I’ll notify everyone on the “original” list and give you the option to sign up for the “new” list. The emails will include the most personal updates from me, but again, they will not contain writing advice, tips, etc.

  1. Connect with me on social media

While my social media accounts are getting a facelift, my usernames are staying 100% the same. I use Facebook and Instagram the most, but I do occasionally participate in the #writingcommunity on Twitter (the one place I might still “write about writing”), post visual inspiration on Pinterest, and log my reading activities on Goodreads.






  1. Follow me on Amazon

By following me on Amazon, Bookbub, or other retail or reader sites with author pages, you will be notified ONLY when I have a new release. So, if you’re not a big internet user or just want to know when that final Desertera book comes out, that’s your easiest move.



Thank you for making my writing journey fun and inspiring so far.

It’s been a joy connecting with you, and if you’re into monsters, magic, and spooky adventures, I hope you’ll join me for the next phase. If that’s not your vibe, I totally get it. (After all, this blog has been mainly for writers and my new site won’t be.) I’d still love to stay connected to talk about writing, so never hesitate to reach out via email or social media.

Talk soon,


Fiction Blog, Musings & Bookish Things

Now What?: A One Year Post-Graduation Reflection

Graduation 1 (2)One year ago today, on May 18, 2014, I graduated from Baker University. As my Facebook feed filled up with friends graduating this weekend, this fact weighed on me more than it normally does.

Looking back at my time in university, I realize I didn’t appreciate it nearly as much as I should have. Yes, I was (and still am) grateful that I was able to attend university. I know not everyone can say that. And yes, I was (and still am) grateful for my scholarship and parents’ help and my professors and classes and extra-curricular opportunities. I know I was lucky to have such a wonderful team around me and to graduate debt-free.

However, I took two things for granted in university. First, time. I thought I had no free time. Ha! If any college students are reading this, trust me, you have plenty of free time. Try working 45-50 hours a week with over an hour of commuting time while planning a cross-country move and then tell me how much free time you don’t have. Seriously, though, while your free time in college is limited, the quality of it is so much freer than after graduation when all those “real world” responsibilities kick in. Cherish it.

Second, I took for granted what would happen after graduation. You see, I did really well in university. My whole life, I have judged my self-worth on my academic performance. School was my job. I mean, I worked during university, but priority numero uno was always my education. I thought when I graduated what I did in university would matter. Don’t get me wrong — it does. That 4.0 GPA and those awards mattered at graduation, and they matter for my self-worth and for my parents and husband. But everyone else? Their interest stops at what degree I received.

All the accolades fade away. With the rising credentialism in society, my degree is not special. I’m just another college graduate — the same as someone who lived by the motto “Cs get degrees.”

Okay, I’m done whining about the system. I don’t want to let this post spiral too much.

If you asked Graduation Day Kate, what would she have said about where she would be one year after graduation? Well, she would have tittered off this list:

  • Daniel’s immigration completed
  • Married to Daniel
  • Living on our own
  • Undertaking her first “big girl” job
  • Preparing for graduate school in the fall
  • Having written one novel

Well…two out of six isn’t terrible. There’s an old adage, “If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans.” I don’t know that I believe in a “God,” per se, but I do believe that life takes a million twists and turns, and every time we think we’re on track, it kicks us over to another one. So, where I am at one year after graduation?

  • Still waiting on Daniel’s permanent residency
  • Married to Daniel
  • Almost living on our own (as of August)
  • Applying for “big girl” jobs
  • Starting my own business
  • Having written (and preparing to publish!) one novel

directionsWhile almost everything has taken a bit longer than I expected, and some goals I’ve traded for new ones, I can’t help but feel at peace with where I am now. I’ve had extra time to spend with my family and friends in Kansas, Daniel and I have had plenty of time to save and prepare for the next phase in our marriage, and I have grown professionally (at least in my indie author goals) faster than I thought possible.

Sometimes, I still expect to go back to school in the fall. It still hasn’t sunk in that this isn’t vacation — this is my life now. Will I go back to academia one day? Maybe. But I’m happy to take a few years to earn my stripes in the “real” world and work on my author-entrepreneur business. As much as I love being an academic, I know that I need to separate myself from that world, to do things for me, to learn that I don’t need grades to be fulfilled, to judge myself based on my character — not someone else’s judgment of my intellect.

One year out, I’m still a work-in-progress. And I always will be. And that’s okay. I’m 23 for goodness sake. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and I’ve barely started.

As the graduation speech I heard yesterday said, “In the phrase, ‘you can do anything you think you can do,’ it is what you think you can do that matters most. Figure out what you are passionate about, think you can do it, then go do it.”

If I studied my passions, English and Sociology, even when I knew they would not be as exciting to employers as job-specific degrees (ie: Marketing, Nursing, Accounting), surely I can live for them — no matter what the job market hands me in the meantime.

Living for passion? Chasing that full-time author dream? I think I can do that.

Fiction Blog, Musings & Bookish Things

New Adventures in New Haven

Lighthouse Point, New Haven, CT
Lighthouse Point, New Haven, CT

The graduate school search is over.

For those of you who read my blog regularly, you will probably know that my husband has been applying for his second Master’s program. Well, after months of deciding which schools to pick, stressing over applications, and waiting for responses, the results are in: Daniel will be attending Yale Divinity School this fall.

For more on his academic journey and why he chose Yale (beyond the obvious reasons), you can read his blog here.

But this post isn’t about him. This one is about me — how this decision affects me and how I feel about it.

First and foremost, let me say, I am incredibly proud of Daniel. Getting accepted into any graduate school (let alone an Ivy League) is a huge accomplishment. Seeing his hard work and dedication pay off is so heartwarming and gratifying.

Bar_in_New_Haven,_CT,_March_3,_2008Mostly, I’m excited. We will be moving to New Haven, Connecticut at the beginning of August and reside there for the two years he is in the program. From my introductory research on New Haven, it seems to have a vibrant arts scene, eclectic food options, and an active nightlife. All the sources say it is the perfect blend of New England colonial preppy-ness and the cultural, lively “college town” vibe. So, yeah, overall I think it will be a pretty and fun place to live.

However, there are some things I am nervous about. Mainly, this will be my first time living more than 30 miles from my childhood home. Leaving my parents and pets behind makes me sad, but I know that they will always be a phone call or plane ride away. Likewise, living in a new town (no matter where) and taking on complete responsibility for my and Daniel’s lives (especially as the primary breadwinner) is intimidating. Of course, I know I can handle all of these things, but still, it’s nerve-wracking.

The one thing that really breaks my heart is that we cannot take Thomas, our feline son with us. We have chosen to live in the graduate apartments on Yale’s campus (which will save us literally thousands of dollars a year), and they do not allow pets that do not live in cages. I spent a long time crying about this, and I’m just hoping that for Daniel’s doctorate degree we can live somewhere that will let us have him. For those of you who are worried, don’t be. He’s going to live with his Nana and Papa (my parents) until he can move in with us again.

UPDATE: Daniel and I ended up finding an off-campus apartment in the heart of New Haven, and we CAN take Thomas with us! Happy pet parents we are!

ThomasOn a more introspective note, I must say that I am a bit jealous of Daniel and a bit worried about how others will perceive me. You see, I have based my self-worth almost wholly on academics my entire life. School has always been my thing. Now, I’ve chosen not to go to graduate school in favor of pursuing independent publishing (which I know is a better option for me), and my husband is going to Yale.

And what am I doing? Working at whatever job will have me and writing at night. I know it is silly, but I am just so worried that: on one hand, the people we meet will see me as nothing more than Daniel’s wife or a secretary or the breadwinner; and, on the other hand, I’m worried that I will get permanently trapped in those roles. After all, his dream is a straight railroad track through academia to scholarly success. And my dream to be a full-time writer is not laid out on a set path. It can take many twists and turns, and being self-employed means that my income will be uncertain. I guess I’m just worried that I will spend so long supporting him that my dreams will be put off for the next seven years he is in school…and then maybe longer, indefinitely, after that.

As I’m thinking through my self-definitions and trying to rationalize all of this, I keep thinking about setting. I love Kansas. It gets a bad rap from the rest of the U.S., but it’s actually a gorgeous place to live with plenty of culture and entertainment when you know where to look. I’ve always been a “Midwest” girl. Who will I be in Connecticut? Will I be the token “Dorothy?” Will I stick out like a hick with my “Southern” (totally not Southern) accent and my non-designer clothes? Will changing locations change me in any way — good or bad? I don’t know. I have traveled a lot, and every place I travel teaches me something new about myself and broadens the way I see the world — but traveling somewhere and living somewhere are two different experiences, and I have no idea what to expect from this one.

So — how do I feel about our upcoming adventures in New Haven? Proud of Daniel. Excited to live in a new, seemingly idyllic location. Nervous to be away from family and on “our own.” Worried about how I perceive myself in all this. But, mostly, good. I think this is going to be a positive experience for both of us, and I’m just going to try to relax and enjoy the ride.

Fiction Blog, Writing Updates

NaNoWriMo Update: The Adventure Begins!

As I am writing this post, it is still October 31st. However, when it hits the world wide web, it will be November 1st. Ah, November 1st, the day that strikes fear and excitement and anticipation in the hearts of NaNoWriMo writers (or Wrimos) everywhere.

NaNoWriMo participant 2014Throughout the month, I will be posting updates on my NaNoWriMo progress. At the very least, I intend to write weekly updates. However, if I manage to scrape up a surprising amount of free time (doubtful), I will update more frequently.

During these updates, I’ll report my word count and state of mind, share the motivation and inspiration that kept me going, and also tell you about my biggest triumphs and setbacks.

For now, here is how I’m feeling about the impending NaNoWriMo 2014:

I feel like NaNoWriMo is a creepy old man hovering over my shoulder and breathing hot coffee breath on my throat. I’ve been so confident and logical all October, but now that the hour is near, the nerves are setting in. However, I’m also excited. Like, really, really excited.

When I was in university, I had this same stomach-twisting sensation whenever I had a long essay to write. As I brainstormed the essay, I knew my ideas were great. Then, when it was time to sit down and write, I would get a little sick feeling and a little nervous. Especially when I procrastinated — which was more often than I like to admit. Once I finally forced myself to the keyboard, I would trudge through the organizational process, and then, slowly but surely, I would pick up speed and blaze through my essay. When it was done, I would blink and scroll through the pages, like I was waking up from a trance. Then, I would turn it in to my professor and everything would be fine.

That’s what I’m hoping NaNoWriMo will be like for me. Given this very specific knot just behind my belly button, I think I’m in good shape.

successHowever, NaNoWriMo holds something for me that university papers never did. You see, now that I’m out of university, I feel a bit aimless. I have decided to wait a year or two before graduate school, because I’m not interested in rushing into an MFA program just yet. I have a good job with benefits and all that real-world jazz, but it is not anywhere near the field I want to be in for my career. The one thing I do know is that I want to get out of my cubicle and into a career as a full-time writer. And trust me, I know that this will probably take a good five years to accomplish. Once I start, that is.

And that’s why NaNoWriMo is so important. Because if I can learn to make creativity a priority and teach my loved ones to take my writing seriously this month, I can continue that pattern on a regular basis. NaNoWriMo is my bootcamp, my two-a-days (for anyone who did a horrible high school sport). The pace is more rigorous, but it is the brutal beginning that will whip me into shape for the years ahead. I’ve heard more than one author on the podcasts I frequent credit their true beginnings to NaNoWriMo.

Why not me, too?

The sooner I get started, the sooner I realize my dreams. It starts with a hastily drafted — but complete — manuscript.

It starts today.

Join me on my NaNoWriMo journey on my NaNoWriMo page or follow me on Twitter @KateMColby for more frequent updates!

How are you feeling about NaNoWriMo this year? Feel free to share your motivations, fears, and encouragement below!