My Dad

Why should I celebrate my dad?

  • I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for him (!)
  • He’s told me about God for as long as I can remember.
  • I know I am a princess, because Daddy said so.
  • He taught me everything I know (except for Home Ec., introvert-coping, and all the other things Mom taught me instead).
  • What he doesn’t know that can’t be easily referenced from Wikipedia probably isn’t worth knowing.
  • He makes me laugh. And laugh. And laugh. Oh, boy.
  • If I need him, he will come…time and distance no object. Literally.
  • So many computer games I would have never seen without him…
  • Did I mention he’s wildly in love with my mother? My future husband has some expectations to live up to…
  • Don’t tell Dad about the problem unless you want him to fix it – or buy you something. He loves to buy people things.
  • We’ve never had a TV in our house, and we never missed it. Dad is the news, the sit-com, the reality show, the late night talk show, the skit team, and the weather channel – and for commercials we have youtube. (And, yes, he does have different accents for all those!)
  • He is the self-declared “worst influence in my life”.
  • I have a website designer, IT trouble-shooter, network technician, netiquette consultant, and device-whisperer in-house. He fixes my problems because I am his precious little princess.
  • ALL MY STORY PROBLEMS GO AWAY WHEN I TALK TO HIM. Now, remembering the brilliant solutions he gave me when it comes time to write is another thing…
  • One of the reasons I write about fathers is that not everybody could have my dad as a father, but they can have God as a father and that’s even better! But it’s hard for dads to be the superheroes they were built to be, and maybe having role models in fiction will help them, and their kids. (Maybe.)

Whatever the big, scary thing is, I know my daddy will protect me. That’s what daddies do. And if he can’t – because the thing is inside me – he’ll do the next best thing: take it to our Father in Heaven (who is even more big and awesome than anything you’ve ever seen!).

Thanks, Dad. Love you lots – but you loved me, first.

Why I Don’t Need College

It’s a season of transition for many, as students graduate and prepare for the next stage of their lives. My cousin and brother have both graduated from high school. Many high school students will go on to college/university.

But this cultural edifice is not for me.

Be careful how you share this online, so my grandparents don’t see it (!) but in spite of their repeated entreaties, I don’t feel the need for more than my 4.0 Associate of Arts degree. In case some of my reasons resonate with you, I’m sharing them. Continue reading

Eris: The Tale of the Story

Let me tell you a story. It’s a story about a story.

July 6, 2009, is the date I have recorded that the story first emerged as recognizably itself:

How we did story-boarding in the dark ages.

A human prince – Eris – is banished and branded, but accompanied on his wanderings by his elf and dwarf best friends.

As I usually do, I took the seed to my dad, who is an expert in taking my infantile premises and giving them plots. We began working with this prince (whose name comes from the dwarf planet at the edges of the solar system) and soon discovered why he was branded (to allow them to send him through a portal into regions unknown), what his supposed crime was, and a few other details.

I struggled and thrashed my way through a draft (at that immature stage of my author-hood, I was much more a “pantser” AKA making it up as I went along AKA begging Dad to get me unstuck after every scene) until the plot was complete, and the draft was about 85% complete. I had travel brochures for two of the fantasy worlds (that’s called procrastinating). I even had a cover idea!

Back when I didn’t know about proper cover dimensions…

Then I let it drop.

I had written the interesting parts, and all that was left was some blah plot points, so I moved on to other things. I wrote and published my medieval adventure Sons of the King, my contemporary murder mystery/romance Hayes and Hayes, and started work on my cheerful post-apocalyptic series White Mesa Chronicles.

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) 2015 loomed on the horizon, and my dad and brother started planning their projects. With my permission, Dad decided to revamp Eris (since, after all, much of the plot was his to start with).

December, 2015, dawned with a first draft of WMC: Zombie from me, a military sci-fi story from my brother, and Eris: A Tale of the Nether from my dad.

The document I had was the infant. The manuscript my dad crafted is the strapping young man, tall, comely, ready for adventure…and pain. Not only did the characters grow in depth, detail, and humor from the hand of an older author, but having the plot laid out beforehand has been a great boon – allowing the story to swell past the potential I imbued it with and rise to incredible heights.

What of this? It’s my own story – and my own dad’s words! Of course I would wax eloquent in its praises! Allow me to assure you that no financial benefit for me attaches in any way to the success of Follis Wood’s Eris…except insofar as I’m still mooching off my parents for most of my living.

But that doesn’t matter. The book speaks for itself.

Eris is the crown prince of Teluria, but when the king disappears his world begins to fall apart. Banished, and branded a traitor, he must learn about the mysterious Nether to defeat the usurper and regain the kingdom.

If you like fantasy – exploring different worlds – stately, mysterious elves – raucous, hilarious dwarves – character development – father-son relationships – if you like any of these things, don’t miss this book! Join Eris as he discovers the dark and burning Nether that joins the Worlds together, finds out what happened to his father, and bears the suffering caused by the brand that allows him to travel the portals and the Web…

Am I ever glad Dad took my story. Not only is it so much more than I could have made it, but it’s now available for all of you to enjoy! And I hope you do! Enjoy it, that is.


Kimia Wood has been writing stories since she was little, and listening to her dad’s bedtime stories for even longer.

Join the mailing list for updates on the stories that actually escape the mists of her mind to live new lives on the pages of books!

Distance and the Heart

My brother just spent nine weeks at the International ALERT Academy Basic Training in Big Sandy, Texas. The fall-out has been interesting.

I didn’t miss him as much as I had suspected, seeing how close we are. A little background: we are the only “real” siblings in our family. While we had several foster siblings off and on growing up (that we love in a different way) he and I have a special bond, especially as we’ve grown older and more mature. We still get on each other’s nerves, but we’d die for each other in a heartbeat…

Anyway, the way I missed my brother was not a deep, pangy missing – rather, I missed him in the little things like, “Oh, he’d enjoy seeing that,” or “He’d be talking about this here,” or “Ha! He’d react like this.”

In that way, while I did “miss” him, it was more “it’ll be great to share this with him” than “oh, I wish, I wish, my throbbing heart…”

My dad is the sentimental/techie one, so he camped out on the organization’s Facebook page for most of the nine weeks, poring over every new video or picture they posted to find Jack. That meant we could sit back and wait for him to show us which seconds were personally interesting, or point out which of the uniformed, buzz-cut young men was ours.

My mom showed love in her characteristic way. She wrote notes, sent snacks, and prayed. We all prayed, I know.

Jack’s grown incredibly. We had to smile as each evaluation from his superiors pinpointed exactly his personal faults and struggles, but going through this crucible – a crucible designed to make you fail, then succeed in God’s strength – has challenged him and stretched him in important ways.

It’s funny how quickly I’ve gotten used to his presence again. While I didn’t lie awake at night thinking about how our house was missing a person, bringing Jack home we fell right back into our family patterns.

He is changed, and yet he’s the same. He talks incessantly, laughs, geeks out about Destiny, and is his same-old enthusiastic self. Now, however, he calls everyone “sir”, stands with his hands behind his back, yells out, “Yes, sir!” if he thinks he hears his name, and had to be re-taught to use first-person pronouns.

I know it’s been rough for him, but anything worth having is hard to get. We’ve all been challenged, and I pray that each of us hold on to what we’ve learned.

When everything you clung to is stripped away, when you’re 14 hours into the 24 hour hike and your feet are all blisters, there’s nothing left to do but lean on God’s strength.

Praise the Lord, my brother leaned, and came away with something far greater than physical fitness!

(I’m still prying my grip loose…and letting go… God is faithful…)

“Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen

 It might seem that to pen a review of literary titaness Jane Austen’s best-known (and possibly best-loved) novel would be presumptuous.

Nevertheless, I shall proceed to gild the lily and explain why, when I finally crossed its threshold several years ago, I found it worthy of every adulation ever laid at its door. Continue reading

My Mom

  • With the help of the Lord, she “brought me forth”.
  • Since before I understood English, she has taught me about Jesus.
  • She has taught me everything I know (except for Latin, ‘Eighties Culture, and sundry other things).
  • She is my companion, my confidante, my best friend, role model, educator, project buddy, mentor, and encourager.
  • She has a magic touch with little kids. You know those princesses in movies who can talk with the animals? My mom works strange and wonderful things with toddlers and babies.
  • It’s not just me, either! This woman does it all — dirty work, hungry families, unwatched children, messy rooms, late-night overtime, the soiled laundry of half-blind old people…whatever the disaster is, my mom is there, up to her elbows in helping. In the dictionary next to “hard worker,” they’ve put her picture (much to her chagrin, as she doesn’t like her picture taken).
  • Is it any wonder she’s the pattern for all my female characters? (Except for the bland or ditzy ones – those are me.)
  • She gave me my looks 🌷
  • No matter what the situation, no matter where I am, I know my mom is in my corner, and will give me solid advice (even if I don’t like it).

Feel free to disagree, but like it or not my mom is the best there is. The best.

(She will hate this whole post because she doesn’t like being talked about 😉)

Love you, Mom. Thanks for being you, and making me who I am.

Author’s Guild Rails at Amazon’s Buy-Box

(This post might be more interesting to the writers among us, but readers and buyers-of-books are also affected by the dynamics of this issue.)

Author’sGuild.org recently posted an article discussing a change in Amazon’s algorithms regarding who gets top billing in what is called the “buy box” of books – apparently the display at the top that lists all available formats and the relative prices. As you might know, a little farther down appear links to other retailers offering “used” or “new” copies of the books.

Currently, Amazon places itself in the prime “buy box” spot, as the first buy-option people see, but according to the article Amazon intends to use metrics to allow third-party retailers the chance to get in that prize spot. (Amazon gets its stock from the publishers, but acts as the distributor itself.)

Author’s Guild (AG) is incensed at the suggested change, but on reading their article I find their arguments less than compelling. Continue reading

“She But Sleepeth” by Rachel Heffington

Peles Castle, Romania — courtesy of Gabi Jguma/Wikipedia

Sleeping Beauty is a set designer working for Hollywood. A Romanian gypsy casts spells of time-travel and death. An estranged royal couple mourn the loss of their only child. And the hunky love interest exhibits self-sacrificial love.

Yet, for whatever confluence of cosmic misdemeanors, all the raging richness of this story potential totally fizzled when it hit the dour surface of my consciousness. Continue reading

“Death Be Not Proud” by Suzannah Rowntree

 Ruby Black is a cabaret singer with a lifestyle of cigarettes, hard applejack, and jazz, who pinches pennies from her day job as maid while dreaming of the big time in the opera.

When she’s confronted with a two-year old murder mystery in the person of the victim’s determined fiancé, she gets involved in the dark tale against her better judgement.

This fairytale retelling is perfect for mystery lovers, as chilling suspense combines with a rich writing style. Continue reading

Top Ten Book Turn-offs

“Top Ten Tuesday” – the weekly bookish list event curated by the Broke and Bookish blog – has as its theme this week “Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly NOT Want To Read A Book“.

In approximate order from least the greatest:

Things I’m Indifferent To (At Best)

These I can more or less tolerate in a book, but they certainly aren’t a hook for me in picking it up. Continue reading