Tag Archives: author

Campfire Covers

I took on the role of cover designer for my Campfire Stories collaboration. This was my first time designing for a group of people. I had a few doubts.  I’m not an expert photography editor, or an illustrator with ten years experience.

However, I have some skills. I’ve taken a few art classes. I’ve spent many hours looking at covers, movie posters, etc. I’ve experimented a lot with photography in the past, and was a part of a photography group. I’ve used Gimp, PicMonkey, and Paint to create different pictures. Experimenting helps a lot with the learning process.

Plus, I decided to volunteer for the job because I enjoy making covers. It takes awhile. Sometimes I spend over 8 hours just experimenting. Nonetheless, in comparison to writing a book, 8 hours feels like instant gratification. I also love visual arts.

Initially, I spoke with the group leader about what kind of cover to make. I wanted to make something with a campfire. She wanted the lettering to be a little girly, which made sense for our concept. We didn’t want to make a horror cover, because that’s not what we wrote. The cover should represent the writing, and our anthology has different genres within it. There’s horror, fairy tales, and even a tall tale. cover-campfire3

I showed the group leader some pictures, and we picked out a couple. I ended up using her favorite: a campfire in the woods. I had to use a big, bold font; I did not want the title to get lost in the background (right). It’s amazing how long I spent looking at fonts. I have a new appreciation for fonts.

cover-campfire-8I also did additional mark ups with the font the group leader suggested (left).

At this point, I posted  5 of the cover designs for the rest of the group to see. A different approach was suggested. I had a conversation with another group member to get an idea of what she was looking for in a cover.

This time I went with a more minimalist approach. This cover set was faster to put together, because I did not use any filters. I wanted an elegant font this time. I picked a couple cursive fonts and a couple funky fonts to give the group options.


The group voted this month! And the final cover is:



Working with a group was an interesting experience. It’s different trying to design something for someone else. It involves more than just my vision. However, it was fun and I enjoyed the process. Everyone was kind and cooperative. I hope it’s everything they wanted, and that we sell lots of books.

Thank you to the photographers who put their work in public domain.

Photo credits in order of appearance:






How It Goes

It’s less than one week before June, and there’s so much to do! I am behind on my editing, but I am determined to finish it. I can’t wait to have the anthology ready for publication. Plus, June is the start of JuNoWriMo. It’s my first year participating and I’m excited. I am going to be one of the sprint leaders and a featured author on their website! I’ll be sprinting during the afternoons on Mondays and Wednesdays. During the month of June I want to finish editing, and write a huge chunk of another novel!

I’m nervous because there’s so much to get done this summer. Editing takes longer than writing for me. I go over the scenes multiple times, ponder how to make it perfect, add copious words, and I take some out. Sometimes it feels never-ending. The novel I am writing over the summer has already been started. I need to reread what’s there. Try to find where my mind was when I was writing it, and go back to that mental place.

I hope to squeeze a novella in too, but it’s not looking good. We’ll see and I’ll keep you updated. I hope I can do it because I love the concept. It’s a dark fairy tale with a sexy Prince Charming. I don’t want to let him go!

And I am officially a Goodreads Author! It took a few more steps than I had anticipated, but it was intuitive enough. I created my page and added my flash fiction story, Flowers, under my name :D! I can’t explain how exciting it is to feel like a real author with all the author accoutrements. Here’s the link: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13794103.Kalen_Williamson

Guest Post

Almost a year ago, I joined a writing challenge, which involved writing every, single day. Each day was a new link; if I skipped day, I’d have to start over. It’s called The Write Chain Challenge.

A couple of months ago, I was asked to do a blog post about it. I accepted, and wrote my first guest post. I was happy to be asked, and excited about writing it. Being a part of the writing community is a lot of fun, and I feel like more of an “official writer” when opportunities like this arise.

It launched last week. It’s about how to stay motivated while writing every day. It includes what keeps me inspired, and how I made writing a habit. I will expand on some of the points listed in a later blog on my site. Until then, here is the original post.

Hope you enjoy it!

Word Sprint Challenge

It’s almost half way through August, and I am not loving my progress as of right now. I want to write more, but it’s hard to get motivated enough to write thousands of words a day. I have ideas; I am working on one novel and a couple of shorter works. However, I have doubts which cause procrastination. The daunting nature of my task does not help. As I said before, I like breaking my goals into smaller bits. If I just look at the whole mountain of work I need to do, I get discouraged.

Plus, I love studying art by reading and watching, and find it more soothing than writing at the moment because the pressure is on someone else. Not to mention, the unbelievable joy of consuming wonderful works of art. With all the stress, it’s easy to want to be soothed, entertained and amazed by someone else’s work. It’s a great bonus and privilege that I get to learn from it too. I’ve learned where to improve my book, and am studying dialogue.

Time to put my knowledge to good use, and overcome any obstacles. I am determined to meet my goals.

word sprint challenge

I thought about what I could do to push myself into increasing my word counts, and landed on word sprints! I have a tendency to randomly sprint, but I have decided to commit to regular sprints for at least the next month. Starting tomorrow, August 12, I will be sprinting for two hours for at least 5 days a week. I am going to start by sprinting from 8-10 PM EST. I plan on keeping this time slot for awhile, but any change will be updated on this blog and announced to my followers via my social networks. Everyone is welcome to join me. If you’re not at the writing stage, you can edit during the sprint as well. I will be using the hashtag #writingbash for my sprints.

I found out when I host a sprint I can’t very well not show up, or there won’t be a sprint! I take my responsibilities seriously, and sprinting is a way for me to hold myself accountable. I can’t wait to see what this new adventure brings, and to report my progress.

Happy writing!


CampNaNoWriMo: July Edition

The emails have stopped; the camps are closing. CampNaNoWriMo is over. For those of you who don’t know, CampNaNoWriMo is a writing competition. Anyone who reaches the goal number of words wins. I’ve been participating in various CampNaNoWriMo events for the last few years; however, this was the best NaNo experience I’ve had.

First, I love the freedom of CampNaNoWriMo versus NaNoWriMo. I picked my own word count, and I got to have a cabin with various participants. This year was also different because users were able to choose what cabin to join. On a whim, I decided to join a cabin created by a fellow Twitter user. It was a wonderful decision.

This was the first time I got really involved with other NaNo members. The first two weeks of July were hectic, so I was too busy to drop in often. However, when I did, there were 77 new messages! I had never seen so many messages before; in previous cabins, there were only 5 or so. I got more involved during the second portion of the month and it was a blast! We had sprints, short conversations, and our word counts grew. I also was introduced to Google Hangouts.

Now I have all new friends, and thousands of more words. I feel another step deeper into the writing community. It’s a good feeling.

And this is the first year that I won! Woo! *Happy dance.* It feels good, and a wrote almost twice as much as I did in April (the last CampNaNo event).


I have a choice of prizes. I’m not sure if I will use any. I downloaded two trial programs, but I haven’t been using them. It’s hard when I’m in the middle of writing something. Hopefully, I can explore them more in the coming days. Learning new programs isn’t always the most fun for me. It figures that Facebook apps force me into learning their ways, yet actual software comes with long, boring tutorials over a fun, quick start guide. Still, it’s amazing how many partners NaNo has, and it’s cool to be able to pick a prize.

Inspired by this experience I created a Facebook group for writers with word count or editing goals. It’s a place to share and chat. I enjoy the other groups I’m a part of, but they tend to be dormant or have thousands of members. I thought this would be fun, and more close knit like camp. Feel free to join.

Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/708743069161265/

One Year Project

I have set an extremely lofty goal for myself. In one year, I am going to:

  • Write a book
  • Edit, edit, and edit some more
  • Run a Kickstarter (or similar campaign) for funding
  • Become my own publisher
  • A couple more edits
  • Get a cover for my book
  • Format
  • Edit
  • Market
  • Publish
  • Market my heart out

I can already hear the groans coming from certain types of people. I’ve heard it all since I started getting involved in the writing community. I’ve heard negativity inside and out of the industry.

It’s difficult; nay impossible to be an author! This industry is too hard; newbies know nothing of the complicated nature of it. Get a second job!

Well, in my experience, nothing has been easy since high school, and that wasn’t all it was supposed to be either. However, I graduated long ago, and found out an important fact. Nothing in life is easy, not even the “safe” job. If am going to dedicate myself to something and use 1/3 of my life for it, I want it to be for a job I desire and that complements who I am. Besides, it’s not as if I gave up a good paying job, and walked away from a middle-class life. I walked away from minimum wage and a dim future.  Not that it wasn’t a hard decision; a paying job is an important thing. However, I want prosperity. Passion and effort seem to be the correct route, not giving up before even trying.

Moreover, I am the type of person who gets 100% dedicated when I start working whether is for my degree, as a writer, or whatever else I choose. It’s for my future; I don’t want my attention divided.

I understand some naysayers or realists may have discouraging opinions, and that’s great … for their lives. I want to help create a supportive and optimistic community as I believe optimism, hope, and hard work leads to accomplishment and satisfaction.

Plus, I have been acquiring useful skills these last few years to help me on my journey. I will write more about what I have been up to and these skills in my next post, What Have You Been Doing?

Which brings me to why I am writing this blog. I wanted to create a blog series, and I thought it would be encouraging to share my journey with people who are interested. I’ve read many blog posts; my favorites are the emotional, relatable, fun, and/or educational ones, so that’s what I am going to write. The beginning of this new chapter in my life seems like a great place to start.

I wrote this blog a week ago. However, the thought of posting it is scary. Failing quietly seems like a much better choice. Then the only people who would know would be myself and a few close friends. When I think of what I sacrificed to follow this route, the feeling of nervousness and tension increases tenfold as my stomach shifts riotously. I’m queasy and unsure. I have no doubts about my current life path, but plenty of doubts about sharing it. Who would want to fail publicly?

I’ve weighed my options and decided. No artist can be influential and as magnificent as I hope to be without putting themselves out there. We live off our ideas and our vulnerabilities. It’s necessary to give pieces of one’s soul when working as an artist. No one can write about life brilliantly without some exposure.

So, I am sharing with you, dear readers, because I want this to be a good blog post. I do want to create that wonderful community, and what could be a better first step? I hope you can relate; I hope I can inspire you to try or to keep going. Oh, and I have every intention of succeeding.