Monthly Highlights - October

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The two week hiatus went WAYYYY faster than I expected it to. But, I'm slowly catching all of the falling leaves and life is finally piecing itself back together again. Except the fact that NaNoWriMo is tomorrow, hahahaha.

But, here's the October "monthly highlight" installment as promised.

                    T h e    H i g h l i g h t s 

- I got a haircut! It was needed, too. Long hair looks nice and all that, but it drives me crazy so there's no more having that urge to tear all my hair out because it's all in my face. So this is how you'll be seeing me over the internet from now on:

- I FINALLY saw Age of Ultron and, um, excuse me. Ouch. Help. Nonono they weren't supposed to kill THAT character. *pouts forever*

- I also saw The Martian in the theaters (thank youuu, Mom and Dad for the surprise. xD) which I think was better than I expected it to be. I laughed a lot. :P

- I babysat these two adorable children and one of them said (prayed) the funniest things:

- Also, I have been exchanging chapters of Song of the Desert with my critique partner to start getting it ready for beta readers, and she gave me just about the best compliment ever. *looks pointedly at her who's probably reading this*

- Our youth group set up a harvest festival at our church as an alternative for Halloween. Each grade sets up a themed room with decorations, candy, and games. Our theme this year was "Under the Sea." The earliest I can post pictures is the 1st, so I'll edit them into the post if you want to check back then. ;)

- And of course excessive listening to Twenty One Pilots was a thing. Cause why not. 
- *whisper* I um have NINETY-ONE OF YOU GUYS reading my posts and honestly that just makes me so happy. Like, there are no words. So thank youuu. <3

B o o k   T h i n g s

So, this month was literally the worst month of reading so far this year. Guess how many books I read.
In your minds.
Take a guess.

(No, I'm not being sarcastic in that this was the worst month.)


Okay, that's only a tiny bit of a lie. I did read some things: 65k of my novel, beta read chapters for two writing buddies, blog posts, the first couple chapters of Gregor the Overlander, and all that.


So excuse me while I go cry because this is a tragedy. And since NaNo is stinking TOMORROW I doubt I will get any reading done during that month. Which only means that I'm going to read a bazillion books in December. :3


- win six Enclave Publishing books! (only open for a few more hours, so enter quickly!)

- you can win a copy of Radical by David Platt AND A Time to Die by Nadine Brandes here!

- Cait @ Paper Fury is giving away two ebooks... one you get to choose, and the other she picks FOR you. (Neat idea, right?)

  R a m b l i n g s   o f   t h e   M o n t h    

I actually had a pretty good month of posting despite my two week hiatus and crazy insane schedule.

I posted about the stresses of life in general and trying to catch a bazillion falling leaves at once.

Aaaand here I wrote about all of the end of the year goals I have. (One of the goals may or may not include pizza. Surprise, right?)


Aaand lastly I shared the first post in my new series: Easy Blog Tutorials for the Blogspot Blogger. Want to learn how to off the annoying Navbar at the top of your blog? *points to post* I share it there.

O t h e r   A w e s o m e   P o s t s

This post by Zachery of "alternate titles for sci-fi and fantasy" post is quite hilarious.


So I read fast. Very fast. Like I can read five-books-in-two-days fast. Cait @ Paper Fury posted a lovely post about the dire agonies of being a speed reader. (There are lots of problems. o.o)

Aimee made me laugh (as always, let's be real, here) with her very truthful post about NaNoWriMo. In her words: "NaNoWriMo is awesome. There are no survivors." *nervous laughter*

I found this book review blog that reviews books from a Christian perspective. (and lists the content) Yass, I needed this.

T h e   W o r l d   o f   W r i t i n g

*whistles innocently* ...

I'm about three-fourths of the way down with my third draft for Song of the Desert! As I mentioned above, as I'm line editing/adding new scenes, I'm sending them to my critique partner who's *very* helpful. I succeeded in my 65k editing goal (yesss) and so I'm just relived that editing is over. xD (until December, but I'll just ignore that.)

So NANO starts tomorrow. I'll be staying up until midnight (because why wouldn't you start off a month with little sleep with sleep deprivation?) to celebrate the start. I'm writing the sequel to Song of the Desert and it's titled The Sand Dragon's Song. 
(I'm so happy that all these titles are working out for me -- does someone else understand this wonderful feeling? :P)

But even though ALL I'm going to be doing is writing these next weeks, it feels weird to not be writing, so I'm okay with it. ;)

T h i n g s   t o   C o m e!

What you can expect in November: 

  • weekly posts on NaNo! I'll be linking to other NaNo posts, sharing progress, rambling on about NaNo in general, *maybe* snippets and all that sort. i promise it will be more interesting than it sounds.
  • november monthly highlights. 
  • a TAG or the second post in BLOGSPOT BLOGGER design. (I'll do whichever one has the most votes down in the comments. ;)

- Katie Grace 

So which post do you want to see in November? Did you read more books than me? (I wouldn't be surprised if EVERYONE did. xD) 
Are you staying up until midnight for NaNo? ARE YOU EXCITED? IF YOU AREN'T, GET EXCITED! 

When All the Leaves Fall at Once

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Summer ends. 

Autumn comes, and it lasts for about two seconds. The leaves change colors, and then it seems like all the leaves just blow away. 
And then they're just gone.

Then I stand there on the ground, watching as the leaves swirl and tumble. I lift my hands up, trying to catch them, but there's just so many and there's only one me. 

So down they   d

And I can only catch one. 

I feel like that right now -- trying to catch everything and do everything at once. Because BOOM - autumn hits and...

...School comes. Not only does school come, but it gets a lot harder and longer because school is annoying like that. And with school means less time (a lot less time) for other things so that means I'm "trying" to catch all these leaves tasks at once:

I'm trying to keep up a consistent schedule of blogging.
I'm trying to plot and become prepared for NaNoWriMo.
I'm trying to read more books.
I'm trying to connect with my writing buddies.
I'm trying to read their work that they so graciously give to me. Not only read it, but critique and give my opinion because they trust me enough to do that. 
I'm trying to stay caught up with my editing. I'm nearly 8k behind, which means I can't take the weekend break I so wanted to use for reading.

My reaction to this whole list:
When your boss asks you to stay late on a Friday to finish an assignment: | 21 Perfect "Inside Out" GIFs For Every Situation. LOVE THE BLUE!

So you see the problem? I have a bazillion leaves that are falling and I can only chase a few. The rest will be left on the ground until I have time to pick them up again. Like reading. I've come to the conclusion that reading is just a far-away fantasy during the school year, so that leaf will have to wait to be picked up until December at the earliest. 

All this to say: I won't be posting next Saturday. hahaha like I've been doing that regularly anyways. I'll post a monthly highlight on the 31st, so you can look forward to that.

Otherwise in November you can look forward to LOTS of NaNoWriMo posts where I'll be doing a weekly series on the struggles, excitement, and sleeplessness of the crazy month. (I'm starting to become reallyyyyy nervous about Nano. o.o *screams quietly*)

So with this two week break I'm also going to visit more of your blogs because I haven't had much time for that, either. If you know of any blogs that I absolutely need to be reading, link them below and I'll check them out in the next week!

And because I know a lot of us our struggling with juggling everything right now, just read this. (You're not alone.)

Stay encouraged. Try not to be overwhelmed with the insanity of life even though it's hard and there's just TOO MUCH and too many expectations and responsibilities. 
Take a break if you need to. 
Your fellow writers and bloggers will understand. 
And I'm here to pray for you if you need that. <3
*group fist bump*

- Katie Grace

How are you coping with the school year? You're not alone if all your leaves are falling at once. 
Also, NaNoWriMo is in FOURTEEN days(two weeks if you didn't want to do the math). I'M NOT READY AHH. Are you prepared or... no?
I'll be back and posting on the 31st!

And here's my NaNo profile if you want to add me.

Easy Blog Design Tutorials for the Blogspot Blogger (#1)

Monday, October 12, 2015
Blogspot is a great blog platform for beginners. It's free, easy to learn, and has plenty of design capabilities and built in plugins. 

BUT, if you use one of the original blogger themes or backgrounds, they can start blending together, and every Blogspot blog looks the same. I visit a lot of blogs -- I know this from experience. 

You want to to stick out from the whole band of bloggers. You want people to keep visiting your blog, right? Content is key, but so is a professional looking blog design. 

I'm going to help with that. Today I start the first post of a new series: easy blog design tutorials for the blogspot blogger. 

Each post I'll focus on something different. I'll gather a bunch of links from the internet (today is more me talking than rounding up links. Links will come later, don't you worry.) and round them up in one post for your convenience.

We're going to start with the bare minimum basics today. Basically, what you see when you first arrive a blog.

a header

Basically, the header is the first impression of a blog. If you have a professional looking header and overall blog design, I'm 1,010% more likely to stay around (and especially follow). Even though it sounds selfish and weird, I like reading blogs that are pleasing to look at. 
Here's a post on blog headers. (this blog actually has a bunch of awesome blogging tutorials, so do explore.)

I gather my images from my Pinterest and created the header using Picmonkey.

What you want in a header: 

- Easy to read fonts. Swirly fonts are fine (I have one myself), but make sure it's readable. 
- Pair your fonts (Search for "font pairings" on Pinterest and you'll find a bunch of ideas.) so they don't fight for attention.
- Quality images. No fuzzy ones, please. We want to see what we're looking at.
- People to get a good idea of what your blog is about. You don't want dogs in your header if you have a writing blog, and vice versa. 
- Simplicity is best. 
- Leave white space.


(Haha, Katie. Obviously we want to see the posts.) 

I'm talking about the general post page you see when you arrive at a blog. Two possible questions that you might have:

how many posts should I display per page? -- I have mine set at four posts on the home page right now. (before readers have to click older posts.) I wouldn't go anymore than five. The more posts you have on your home page, the longer your blog will take to load, and readers won't ever reach your footer.

should I have a "read more" option? -- No. Nope nope nope. I asked people this question on my Twitter, and the answers were unanimous: People don't like wasting time clicking around. 

Yes, the read more option might get you more pageviews, and yes, it makes your home page look cleaner...

...BUT don't do it. Resist. It will ultimately keep people from reading your content. (*raises hand guiltily*)


I cannot stress enough how important readable fonts are. I see this advice all over the internet, but yet every one out of ten blogs I visit has an unreadable font.

WE CAN'T READ YOUR POST WITH A CURLY FONT. It's not cute. I'll  leave. 

Leave your fonts black or a dark grey (like mine). No yellows. Or even blues. Colorful fonts aren't the way to stand out. 

For the background of your blog, a white is best, or a very, very light color. Simplicity is best.


The footer is the place at the bottom of your blog where half of readers never see, but the other half happens to scroll down far enough to see that ugly white space. 

So make use of that ugly white space and put something lovely in. A few ideas I've seen people use: 

- Social media widget. (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook...) 
- Contact email. 
- List of some of your favorite blogs. 
- Blog button.


The navbar is the transparent/colored at the top of a Blogspot blog that looks like this: 

You'd be best to get rid of it if you want to look professional. I just figured out a month ago that I even had this thing. It's really easy, too: 

go to layout in your blogger dashboard.

click edit where you see the navbar.

this will pop up:

click off and then save. 

Boom. Simple as that.


Every blog should have a color scheme, whether it's pastels or bright red and oranges. (I would advise not going crazy on the colors.)

Simplicity is best. 

You can find awesome color schemes for a blog on Pinterest. I would advise finding a color scheme you like and sticking to it: don't add in any extra colors.


Aaand that's it! I promise others in the series will have more tutorials and helpful links. View this one as an introductory post of sorts. ;)

- Katie Grace

Sooo, do you have a navbar at the top of your blog? Did you even know what it was or were you guiltily unaware like me? 
What would you like to see next? 
a. sidebar.
b. post footer. 
c. pages. (tabs.) 

End of the Year Goals

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

I loooooveee making lists in relation to writing and all things bookish things. I have several OneNote folders filled with schedules, blog post ideas, deadlines, color coded book lists, and so on and so forth. 

I'm going to add another list to the already long list of lists (I used "list" way too many times in that sentence) and write up an "End of the Year Goals" post inspired by Ava Jae

Also, you guys should make up an end of the year goals post as well and share it in the comment, because I'd love to read them!

So we're going to get right to it: a list of goals to accomplish in the approximately three months this year has left. (with lists within the lists. listception.)

1. visit more blogs and comment on allll the posts. 

     a. Other bloggers are awesome.
     b. I get to make new blogging buddies.
     c. Inspiration for posts/design.
     d. Just another way to procrastinate, duh. 

2. finish the third draft of Song of the Desert.

THIRD. (ahhhhh!)
I shall accomplish this by: 

     a. Line editing 65k in September. 
     b. Line editing the other 20k or so in December. 
     c. Consuming lots of pizza. (this work with you, mom?) 

3. write first draft of The Sand Dragon's Song.

     a. LOOK I HAVE A TITLE FOR THIS NOW. *happiness* 
     b. I'm planning this thing in October. 
          - Definition of "planning." 
            - Verb. to hastily scrawl a few plot ideas on a piece of notebook paper and call it good. 
     c. Complete this draft in November. 
     d. Yes, the full draft. Somewhere between 90 and 100k. All the insanity.
     e. You'll be able to track my project on my NaNo profile and the widget in the footer of this blog.

4. finish my goodreads goal of 67 books.

     a. First of all, go friend me on goodreads if you haven't already.
     b. No, there is not a reason for the random goal of "67" books.
     c. I may or may not have a secret goal of 70 books. There goes the secretness of it.
     d. I have 60 (I think.) books so far, so this should be pretty easy.

5. eat lots of pizza.

     a. I mean, why not?
     b. (If you're new here, you must understand that I love pizza.)

6. beta projects.

     a. I'm beta-ing one novel for sure. 
     b. There's about 2908 other people where I offered to critique their novel or they put me on some list, so I'm not actually sure what's happening with them. 
     c. This goal could be rather doable depending on the 2908 other people. 

7. twelve blog posts.

     a. Now's a good time to say that the results from the poll in my LAST post turned out like this:
          - Saturday: six votes.
          - Friday: five votes.
          - Tuesday: five votes.
     b. So my new posting schedule will be every Saturday, and if I have an extra post in there, it will be posted on a Tuesday.
     c. Twelve blog posts will average four a month, but I desperately hope to do more than twelve.

8. 100 GFC (Google Friend Connect) followers would be pretty cool.

     a. I just got 85. (!!)
     b. I might hold a giveaway if I reach 100 by January, so all the more incentive to pass on the word, right? ;)
     c. You guys are all awesome -- don't forget that.

*ends post with awkward silence*

- Katie Grace

What are three (or more) goals you have for the remainder of this year? 
Are you doing NaNoWriMo? 50,000 words? Trying for more? Less? 

Monthly Highlights - September

Monday, October 5, 2015

T h e    H i g h l i g h ts 

This month was crazy insane. SO much writing, blog, and life stuff went down, so here goes the highlights:

My daddy's birthday was this month! He's amazingly awesome and I'm so blessed to have him as a dad. <3

We (we as in my family.) traveled to the west and visited Arches in Utah and some mountains in Colorado. The whole trip my sister and I had this "thing" with taking pictures of statues, so some of those  are below: 

I made a whole lot of tiny blog changes, including a new header, submit email button, rearranging the sidebar, new comment button, and revamped my about page.

Convo between my mom and I: 
While she was trying to get me to kill a bug. 
Mom: "Katie, you're old enough to start killing people." 
Me: ...
Mom: "--I mean bugs." 

I found two new songs from the leader of my favoritest favorite band ever (Twenty One Pilots). Take time to listen and think about the lyrics and try not to feel unaccomplished that he wrote these when he was seventeen.


This below made me laugh until I felt bad that I was laughing so hard over such a lame joke:

We all had a mouse. 
In our house. 
And for living close to the city and not usually seeing mice in our house, it was rather unsettling. It totally didn't take 45 minutes to get rid of it.

- - -
B o o k   T h i n g s

There was a Half Price Books Clearance sale about a half an hour away from our house. Thousands of books (and movies) were lined up in hundreds of boxes, and all were under two dollars each. So that was super awesome. :D

New for the shelves: 
- Incarceron. 
- Senteniel.
- Dragonspell. 
- Frency. 
- House of Dark Shadows.
- The Rithmatist. 

Reading was kind of pitiful this month. With a crazy writing schedule, school, and blogging, I really didn't have time to read. So here's the embarrassing total: 

books read: 3.

Yeah. Three. *winces*

I read The Book Thief for school. (alllll the tears and feels.)

And for non-school books, Jackaby(five stars.) and Legend(four stars).

bookish things on the internet: 

- There's a read through for A Time to Die just before the second one comes out!

- Jaye L. Knight has a cover for Samara's Peril! :D 

- Walk on Earth a Stranger released. Isn't it just the prettiest cover everrr? *dies* I need to get this book soon. 

- - -
O t h e r   A w e s o m e   P o s t s

Emily at For the Bookish is holding a giveaway of a SUPER cute bookish notebook!

Christine at Musing of an Elf posted about why she believes in happily ever afters.

Cait at Paper Fury summed up my thoughts EXACTLY on how Goodreads can improve. (She says she's improving it when she becomes ruler of the world, but I just like the idea of passing it on to Goodreads' staff.)

I hate to admit, but I'm not a huge fan of classics, but I might actually read them for a change because Aimee at To the Barricade! listed some classic books that aren't boring.

- - -
T h e   W o r l d   o f   W r i t i n g

I tried something new this month. 
I started a handwritten novel. 
I'm focusing on my current novel, Song of the Desert, but for times when I don't have my computer and am in the car or something, out comes the notebook. It's titled A Twisted Star, and I'm quite excited about the idea.

I'm exhausted so please let me collapse and complain about the excessive amounts of editing I have been doing. It's alllll I'm doing anymore. *cries softly* 

But, the second draft is COMPLETE (at least I'm hoping it'll be by the time this post is published... Heh.) and I'm ASSUMING that it feels amazing. :p Rewriting is my least favorite thing ever so to devote a month of just rewriting was kinda hideous. But it's over and I'm so happy. xD

I also entered in Speculative Faith's Autumn Writing Conference. Even though you can't enter anymore, voting is still open! *wink*

- - -
  R a m b l i n g s   o f   t h e   M o n t h 

So even though edits nearly choked me with all the work this month, I did do some blogging. I'm still not sure how I found time, but oh well. :p

- BETA READERS. No, I'm not looking for beta readers . Sorry. That comes in January. 
But I did post about beta readers and how you can help the process be made a bit easier for them. 

I shared what goes on behind the scenes with my writing.

And then I talked all about blog design.

- - -
  T h i n g s   t o   C o m e!

In October you shall see: 

- POSTS BY ME. (Ha, ha. No, really.) (Actually if someone is ever interested in guest posting you should contact meeee!) 
- A list of some end of the year goals inspired by the lovely Ava Jae.
- The first post in the blogspot design for bloggers series! 

And, I want to start a schedule. Once a week on a certain date, and then sometimes I'll put an extra post in there. So, what day of the week do you like bloggers posting? Will you be more likely to read on a certain day? Do vote! (And you are actually able to vote in this poll unlike the other poll in my last post that failed.)

what day of the week do you like bloggers posting?


I'm not sure how September is already over, so I'll try to not think about it much and freak out.
BUT, how was September for you? Do anything special? Get any cool books? Write any words?

Behind the Scenes Writing TAG.

Sunday, October 4, 2015
It's been awhile since I've done a tag over two months is awhile, right? and it is time to CHANGE that.

I was tagged for the behind the scenes writing tag by Abby over at Writing Abby. (You must all go check out her blog now. Done? Let's proceed with the post.)

is there a certain snack you like to eat while writing?

I like snacking on all foods. But for writing, I don't tend to eat a lot, because then my fingers will get messy and I'll mess up my keys and touchpad. I do like eating cookies and drinking lemonade, though, if I had to choose something. 

when do you normally write?

Normally I write all day. Seriously, I write whenever I can. Mornings, afternoons, and in the night. I write best at night, though. I'm not exactly sure why, but after ten I get my best writing done. My brain can think easier (as odd as that sounds) and I will be able to write 500 words in ten minutes instead of my usual 250. 

where do you write?


(I'm already failing at this tag because my answers are so general *sigh*) 

Well, anywhere comfortable.

At night, I write in my room. In the dark. Just the dim, computer light shining. 
In the day, there's this red chair that's super comfy in our living room, and the sun always sometimes shines on it which makes me happy.

So basically, I write in utter darkness or pure sunshine.

Yes, this picture is supposed to be dark. This is what it looks like to write in utter darkness, peoples. (In case you didn't know.)

how often do you write a new novel?

I don't allow myself to start a new novel until I've finished writing my current one. Otherwise I have
too many projects and not enough time, and my brain will get confused. 

I would say that I write and finish around two-three a year? I can usually write a novel in a little more than a month, so it gives me time to edit, rewrite, and all those fun things. 

do you listen to music while you write?

Wait, people don't listen to music while they write? 

I think writing with music is very important. It sets the mood for the scene, and can also block out any other distractions. So, I obviously listen to music. 

I used to write with JUST instrumentals, but just recently have started listening to songs with lyrics, so it depends on what I feel like. :p

what do you write on? laptop or paper?

My answer to this question just changed in a matter of a week ago. 

I've written two novels on the computer (and have completely rewritten both of them). Writing on the computer is fast. I type fast, so this works out well. 

BUT, writing on the computer is always mind-draining with the glow of the screen, and the constant distractions right at your fingertips. I started a novel by hand recently, so that's a new experience. Lot less distractions, but it takes way longer to write even 300 words. I plan on writing up a blog post once I complete the novel. :D

is there a special ritual you have before/after you write?

Before: Become super excited about writing said plot twist and feels-y scene. 

After: Cry because there's so much editing there's to be done.

what do you do to get into the mood to write?

Writing/editing when you don't feel like it is absolutely the worst thing ever. It's hard to create something that's good when you have no passion for it. 

My biggest help is my word war buddies. (You guys are awesome.) Next, deadlines. (Deadlines are not so awesome, but necessary.) Third, music. (Because epic soundtracks usually are inspiring in one way or another.)

what is always near the place you write?

Distraction in one form or another. *cough* Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook are usually open. *whistles innocently* 

Alllll the procrastination at my fingertips.
Otherwise I always have headphones, and I like having a blanket to warm my cold feet, but usually I'm too lazy to go get one. xD

do you have a reward system for your word count?

If I could reward myself for all my words with pizza, I would. 
But, I can't, so I don't reward myself. *le sigh* 

Honestly, I'm not sure how I would reward myself. I mean, I already waste enough time on social media, so I don't want to give myself more time with that. I think the reward is just being done. :p

is there anything about your writing process that others might not know about?

Uff, this is a hard one. I'll try to think of a couple random facts: 

  1. I struggle with dialogue. Dunno why. Just always have had a hard time with it. 
  2. For my second draft, I usually rewrite the book completely. It's a pain, it really is, but I can always see lots of progress. 
  3. I write my first draft as fast as I can. I just want to get it over with. 
  4. With each draft I write, I file it under a new name. Example: Song of the Desert - Draft One. // Song of the Desert - Draft Two. 
Who knows if those were remotely interesting, but, eh. *throws them at you anyways*

I tag... (Feel free to steal this if you're not tagged.)

 Ana - Butterflies of the Imagination || Heather - Sometime's I'm a Story || Aimee - To the Barricade || Victoria - A Gathering of Dreams || Faith - Story of Fire || Annie - Curious Wren ||  Opal - Opal Swirls || Emily - For the Bookish


  • Is there a certain snack you like to eat while writing?
  • When do you normally write? Night, afternoon, or morning?
  • Where do you write?
  • How often do you write a new novel?
  • Do you listen to music while you write?
  • What do you write on? Laptop or paper?
  • Is there a special ritual you have before or after you write?
  • What do you do to get into the mood to write?
  • What is always near the place you write?
  • Do you have a reward system for your word count?
  • Is there anything about your writing process that others might not know about?
- Katie Grace 

Now I want to know something about YOUR writing process that I might not know about. And what time of day do you write best?