Getting Back to Things

Things have been quiet over here at A.I. Kemp, at least on the viewer’s side. Over here, life has been pretty chaotic. No doubt, the last couple of months have been rocky, but we’re finally getting back to things.

So far this year, we’ve had one awful event happen every month. Some have been worse than others, but all of them have been pretty terrible. For example, our paternal grandfather (and last remaining grandparent) passed away in February. In March, my cat (and oldest friend) passed away at the ancient age of 23. Both deaths were expected, but I still stayed home and cried my eyes out while grappling with my belief/disbelief in an afterlife.

To be honest, losing my cat, Ivy, was one of the hardest moments in my life. I adopted her from a PetsMart over 19 years ago. She was surrendered to a shelter earlier that year when her family decided to move overseas. My mother tried to encourage me to pick out a much prettier black and gold cat, but when I saw that Ivy was an odd eyed cat, my heart was sold.

I’ve lost track of how many times I moved growing up, but Ivy was always a constant in my life. I loved her to death, even when she was being too prissy for her own good. The few times I had to leave her with my parents as I stayed at college were difficult. When she was younger, she was prone to getting deathly ill when stressed, so I worried about her in my absence. But every time she stopped eating, I would nurse her back to health.

Every time except this last time.

The week leading up to her death was a struggle for me. But on her last night, she did something odd and curled up with the dog. For a year, they’ve done nothing but fight. It seemed like both a small miracle  and a sign that she was ready to go. She had made her peace with the Shih Tzu.

As terrible as it was, there were some good things about March. For example, my husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. And this month, I. Kemp finally quit a soul-sucking job that was preventing her from doing anything related to art. Even better, we felt confident enough to enter Windmill Keepers into a contest for self-published novels. Things are looking up. And it’s about time.

We will be flying home in May to attend my grandfather’s internment and a family reunion, but afterwards, our entire focus will be on the upcoming convention. Utopia Con 2016 is looking like it’s going to be fantastic. We can’t wait to be there, and we can’t wait to be done with Book 2 so that we can finally announce its release.

Happy reading!

~A. Kemp

P.S. This was one of the last photos we took when my cat was well. It’s how I like to remember Ivy.


An Extremely Short Note on A. I. Kemp


It’s been a while, but things have been crazy over here in Virginia. As you can see by the photo above, I. Kemp designed some great shirts for us to wear at the Utopia Con 2016 (Fight for Your Write!). So far, we don’t have any plans to sell t-shirts at the convention, but that could change.

A lot is happening between now and the end of June. While I. Kemp continues to turn out as much artwork as possible, I’m going to be finishing the first draft of Book Two. You can expect it to be released in either late July or early August.There’s also the possibility that this website will be getting a major face lift over the summer. We’re excited to see progress.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to give you some more details in the upcoming months on changes happening over here at A.I. Kemp. We have a lot of exciting stuff to look forward to, so keep your eyes peeled for new projects. If you find that winter is starting to get you down just remember that spring is right around the corner!

~A. Kemp


Quick Update

Hey everyone! I know it’s been forever, but we just wanted to give everyone a heads up on what’s been going on over here at A.I. Kemp. In May of this year, we moved from southern Florida to Northern California. In December, we were given military orders to relocate from the San Fransisco area to D.C. That’s two cross country moves in seven months. Needless to say, we’ve been pretty tied up.

There is good news, however!

For one, we finally have a house. We’re renting, but it feels amazing. We haven’t had a place to call home for a long while. Three bedrooms and a basement bar is a huge leap from an apartment with paper thin walls and a community laundry room. Also, unless drastic changes occur, we should be staying stationary for the next five years. That’s a lot of extra time to write.

We have a new site in the works, and the link will be shared with everyone as soon as it’s completed. Book Two is also underway, but I can’t say for sure when it is coming out (we’re aiming for early summer, if at all possible).  For now, we’re focused on making some pretty awesome art for Windmill Keepers.

Finally, I. Kemp and myself will be at UTOPiAcon. from Wednesday, June 22nd until Friday, June 24th. We have a booth and everything, so if you’re in the area, check us out! There’s going to be some pretty neat stuff to purchase.

That’s all I have for now. I hope everyone is having a great start to 2016. If you’re not, don’t fret; there’s still eleven more months to turn it around.

~A. Kemp




Site Facelift

I. Kemp here,

Just as a heads up to anyone currently viewing our site, I’ll be changing certain things sporadically throughout the day as I attempt to give it a much needed update. So if you’re suddenly bombarded with obnoxiously bright colors for a few seconds, that’s totally my bad and I apologize in advance.

Thanks for your patience!

(Someone really needs to teach me how to properly HTML one of these days)

More Fan Art!

Hey! I’ve been out for a bit, buried up to my neck in telephone wires (long story), but our dear little sister sent us another piece of art work. I’m literally blown away at her talent, especially considering her age. Book Two is well underway, with a hopeful release date of early Spring in 2016. Remember, if you order the paperback version of Windmill Keepers off of Amazon, you can get the e-book version for only $0.99.

Icarus and Kite Gabby


Windmill Keepers Book 1 Cover

We lived in God’s blind spot.

Want a story about child slavery, a genius girl, and a daring plot to escape? Like to save money? If so, you’ll love this announcement…

It’s time for a sale!! Starting on September 22nd at midnight, the e-book version of Windmill Keepers will be available for only $2.99 on Amazon! The sale ends midnight, September 29th, so get it while you can, and don’t forget to review on Goodreads. 🙂

A. Kemp

Writers and Characters

One of the best/hardest parts of being a writer is creating characters. I love making side characters with protagonist-like qualities and heroes with common attributes and humble beginnings. I love sympathetic villains as well as downright evil ones. I especially love books where it’s impossible to tell who’s right and who’s wrong. I just can’t get enough of them.

To create whole worlds, writers often put a bit of themselves into their characters. Sometimes, we almost look like them. Sometimes, we share personality traits. It’s how a writer gets to know their protagonists and antagonists so well. We write the things we know.

Now, it’s rare to find a character that is a complete copy of the creator. Some writers, especially those who share physical traits with their main characters, have been accused of creating “Mary Sues” and being poor writers for it. Interestingly enough, I have never see this accusation of lazy writing being thrown at male authors, such as John Green, who create characters that look like younger versions of themselves, over and over again (but that could just be my feminism talking). Either way, it’s wrong.

My main character has red hair, which I was born with. My locks faded to a shade somewhere between brown and blonde in later childhood, but I still possess the pale skin that so many European redheads are prone to have. Wanting to write about an Irish girl, it made sense to pick my original hair and skin color. I could describe on a personal level her constant struggles with sunburns and freckles. But unlike her, I’m not a genius, and I wouldn’t touch a bottle of milk if you paid me.

You see, writing a story about oneself is boring. Writers don’t come up with a thousand different versions of our world just to have themselves play the main role. We live by a mantra of “What if?” Why would a writer want to create someone they already know so well?

And if they do, so what? Maybe an author wants to be someone else for a bit. Maybe they want the world to know them better. And maybe that’s not a bad thing.


When I was younger, we spent a lot of time inside libraries. It was a free way for my parents to entertain us. When I got older, I would ride my bike to the library on my father’s air force base and spend hours sorting through books on the paranormal and epic fantasy adventures. I did this on weekends and even through summer vacations. Eventually, I would learn that my grandmother used to work for a library. It kind of makes sense that I was comfortable sitting between the stacks of books, reading about ghosts and sword fights. It’s in my veins.

My family never really had a lot of money, so buying books was rare. Libraries were a free place for us, where checking out a dozen books didn’t feel like bankrupting our budget. It was a safe haven from the summer heat, and also where I could learn anything I wanted. To me, libraries were and still are magical.

One thing I remember very clearly from my grade school days was watching Matilda. In the very beginning, the main character ends up walking to the library everyday to read a tiny mountain of books. Eventually, the librarian gives her a library card, despite her young age. That scene actually made me want to work in a library for a long time. Giving people access to books felt like one of the most important jobs in the world. In a way, I think it still is.

In 2002, a Malawian teenager named William Kamkwamba built a windmill to power appliances from his home. He went on to build even more, and eventually made a solar powered water pump for his village. He did this by reading books he found in the library. It’s amazing what people can do, when given the resources.

Even in an age where electronic sources are taking over, I still feel that libraries have a place in our world. Lending programs such as Openlibrary and KDP are proof that online libraries are possible. They should be everywhere. Books aren’t something our country should be withholding and not being able to afford education doesn’t mean a person shouldn’t have access to it. Such a barrier is a detriment to our society.

Libraries have done more than just educate me. They gave me access to adventures and magic. I found a thousand creepy stories to recite at slumber parties. Even when things were crashing down around me, the books I found gave me a place to hide and recenter myself.

Whenever I go online and look at my account on KDP, I can see how many pages someone has read of my book through the lending library. It makes me happy to know that someone stumbled upon my book and enjoyed it enough to keep reading, even on their weekends. I feel almost like the authors I found hiding in my favorite libraries.

In the end, that’s all I ever needed.

Busy Times Mean Lots of Change

One of the hardest parts about being a writer is that I cannot support myself on writing alone. Very few authors can, and many turn to other means when it comes to paying the bills. Some are lucky enough to work in another part of the English field.

I’m not very lucky.

I make my living as a sailor. Oddly enough, I’m a grounded sailor. I’ve worked at a boat station, and I’ve been several miles out into the tropical sea, but I’ve managed to stay ashore for the past two years. This is a good thing because I get seasick and I’m from the Midwest, where our oceans are made of corn and soybeans. I can navigate a corn maze just fine, but I still struggle when trying to read a chart (Why would you make the deep water white?).

Most recently, I’ve been sent to Northern California where I’m training to be a computer technician. It’s not what I envisioned myself doing two yeas ago, but it pays the rent. In five years, I hope that I’ll be teaching and writing to being home the bacon.

Writing the second book of Windmill Keepers is complicated, given my full schedule. Despite the lack of time, I recently outlined a goal I can work with. By December, I plan to have the book sent off for editing. Hopefully, it will be out by early spring. Book three should finish the series by late autumn.

I’ve already got my next book picked out from the cluster of stories in my head, as well as a short story project set for next October. I’m excited, but also a little sad to know that I’ll be closing Kite’s tale for good. Either way, I’m glad that I was able to share it with the world.

Next year is already looking chaotic. We’re due to move again in December and set to publish another book just a few months later. If finances allow, I. Kemp and I will be heading out to a convention in June. I want to start going to two or three a year. Somehow, I might do more traveling as a writer than as a sailor.

For now, my main focus is the next book and struggling my way through these last few months of training. It’s rough picking up an unfamiliar skill, but I hope to get more hands on lessons when I reach my next unit. Until then, we’ll take things one day at a time. Hopefully, we’ll have some fun along the way.