Jessica on working with Kellie:

Kellie’s eyeball is what caught my attention.  Not the one in her actual human head, an eyeball her character referenced in the opening pages of her MS. The line was written with the perfect amount of sass and attitude I yearn for in a teen protagonist, and I knew if an author could nail a character’s voice that perfectly I was in for a good story.  Kellie did not disappoint, and I had a grand old time doing a full content edit on The Sterling Branch, her YA adventure mystery. 

In November, 2018, Kellie became a member of the pilot class of my Group Authorpreneurship Coaching program.  Over the next four months her group worked to: build author websites, complete their revisions, and learn about the industry including the agent/author relationship, and more.

I admire her perseverance as she worked alongside her classmates in the querying & publication trenches, and was extremely happy for her when an independent press made an offer on TSB. We had a one-on-one coaching call to discuss the pros and cons of publishing directly with a press, verses going through an agent.  She ultimately decided that deal wasn’t the right one for her, and continues to search for the right publisher for her work.

The Sterling Branch tells the story of Ivory, a 2094 teen who discovers her family’s ties to a government conspiracy after her sister’s suspicious death. Unfortunately, the incriminating trail of evidence leads straight to Ivory’s father. Ivory is determined to find the truth at any cost, whether it clears her father’s name or tarnishes it beyond repair.

I greatly admire how Kellie took ownership of her career and took her time to make the right decision for herself and TSB . Watching her learn to trust her business instincts as an author has been very rewarding for me.

On a side note that has nothing to do with her writing talent, I am in awe of her mad fashion skills and absolutely smitten with her extremely fluffy cats.

Kellie on working with Jessica:

Jessica plucked me out of the sea of querying writers and threw me a major lifeline. I had written a book (kind of) and was fumbling my way through the trenches. 

I never really planned to be an author. I think it’s amazing when people have such a clear vision of what they want to do and how they plan to get there. It’s one of the things I admire most about Jessica, actually. She approaches the industry with the passion of a creator and the business acumen of an entrepreneur. Seeing that approach opened my eyes to the business side of publishing, which was completely foreign to me.

Jessica whipped my class into shape in just a few months, and watching the others in my group really fast-tracked our growth. I wouldn’t have learned as much with a traditional one-on-one coaching setup. Jessica took her time with each of us and did her fair share of hand-holding, but the discussions our group had really added another dimension to the education we received.

My embarrassingly rough draft went through a major overhaul, and I know my skill improved by leaps and bounds. When I returned to querying, I had fresh eyes and a bit of Jessica’s seasoned experience. There were, of course, some tough days to follow. Good ones, too. I had my little writing tribe to commiserate or cheer with, and that kept me going more than anything else could.

With the risk of sounding extremely cheesy, I don’t know where The Sterling Branch or I would be without Jessica’s help. Truthfully, I think I might have thrown in the towel. When the offer on The Sterling Branch came in, Jessica was there again, poor thing. She probably got a bit more than she bargained for, dealing with my class. Now she’s stuck with us forever!

Official bio:

Kellie lives in the south with her husband and their incredibly spoiled Persian cats. THE STERLING BRANCH, her YA speculative-fiction novel, will be released in 2021. 

Where to find Kellie online:


Twitter: @KellieMMcQueen

Instagram: @kelliemcqueen

Client services Kellie utilized:

  • Comprehensive full manuscript critiqueannotated manuscript pages, 5-10 page developmental edit letter, one hour phone consult.
  • Authorpreneurial Group Coaching: four-month online coaching session. Jessica partnered Kellie with other authors seeking traditional publication. Jessica provided weekly homework and guidance tailored to the needs of the small group. Lora revised her manuscript with the assistance of beta reads & feedback from her classmates. Some of the topics covered in this group included: author websites, querying best-practices, the agent/author relationship, Critique Partner & Beta Reader best practices, social media strategy, author events, and more.
  • One-on-one coaching: phone coaching through initial publication offer, discussion of the pros & cons of signing directly with a press as opposed to going the agent route.

Graduating class of: FORTITUDE – Spring 2019