February Highlights // 2016

Monday, February 29, 2016
HAPPY LEAP DAY! *leaps* *or is just completely lazy, heh* 

February was busy. And also it wasn't. I was at home for most of the time, but I was busy with all things blogging, editing, and reading. THIS WAS MY LIFE THIS MONTH:

More on the month below.

APPARENTLY IT WAS NATIONAL PIZZA DAY ON FEBRUARY 9th! So it was obviously a very special day, but also kind of sad day, because I didn't have pizza.

I actually went THREE WHOLE WEEKS without eating pizza. o.o (It's practically a crime. I feel faint just talking about it. *flops*) My Church held a month long fast (except I did it for three weeks. Sigh.) and since I didn't think giving up internet, blogging, or writing was the best idea, the next obvious choice was... pizza.

But I survived and here's a picture of me happily eating pizza AND hash browns. (Hash browns are my second favorite food. Did you know that? No? Now you do. :P)

I FINISHED LOST. ACK. THE ENDING. I cried so hard, but... it was amazing. So perfect. *happy flailing*

Family quotes: 
I also love Aimee's books a little too much. So much that I put her collage aesthetic thingys on my wall and I can now look at them every day. <3

SO MUCH READING THIS MONTH. o.o It just... never stopped. I'd finish a book, and I'd pick up a new one. I never stopped reading. I read seven more books than last month. My total count?

(Yes, I understand that there's only 20 books up there. I haven't read twenty-one books yet just because I'm posting this in the morning and I'll finish my last book tomorrow. :P)

Favorite: THE RECKONERS TRILOGY! (picture below.) I love this series so much. It's hilarious and epic and a series I will forever shove in people's face.

Disappointment: Six of Crows. Ack. There was so much hype for this book, but I just... I just couldn't. I DNFed it at around 30%.

Cover love: Curio or Blue Lily, Lily Blue. THEY'RE BOTH SO GORGEOUS. <3

I love Friday nights because then this can happen:
So now I'm up to 37 books for the year! READING IS JUST EXPLODING! :P
Writing was on and off this month. I'd edit. I'd complain about editing. I'd shun my novel. I'd beg for word wars from my writing friends. I'd get more editing done. REPEAT THE CYCLE again and again. :P

One good thing happened, though. I FINISHED MY FOURTH DRAFT! *collapses* I basically skimmed the last fifteen pages to see if there were any major rewriting spots, and then I just called it good. xD

Now I'm just handing off chapters to my critique partner, Abi. She's about 1/3 of the way done, and after all that, I'll have sign ups for beta readers at the end of March! *freaks out with excitement and nerves*

(And of course I'm still counting down the days to the writing conference in June.)

Elsewhere on the internet...

New blogs! :D My amazing writing buddy, Hannah(who I get to meet this summer at the conference, eek!), started a blog: Ink Blots and Coffee Stains.

Another one of my writing friends, Rosalie, is currently writing a serial story! It includes glow in the dark fish, lovely characters, and epic, epic worldbuilding. She has two parts posted so far -- read the first one here.

Hannah(different Hannah from above) has some lovely thoughts on when life gets stressful
NEXT MONTH IS AN EXCITING (and terrifying and exhausting. xD) MONTH. Because...

- A post about my novel... by my novel. (Yes, Tan is returning to the blog. If you don't know who Tan is... Well... Read this post by him. And good luck.)
- Beta readers. o.o
- MY BIRTHDAY! I'm turning sixteen. Eek. o.o
- I might do some tags. I HAVE SO MANY TAGS TO CATCH UP ON. I may just squish together a whole bunch of questions that are interesting. I'll probably do that on a surprise Tuesday.
- Someone wanted to see my whole novel writing process, so I'll be sharing that as well.

// Katie Grace

How's reading and writing going for you? What are your goals for March?
*leaps* ;)

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100 (very serious) Ways To Celebrate Leap Day

Saturday, February 27, 2016
2016 is a leap year. We have a WHOLE EXTRA DAY to do how we please. (not really, but it's nice to pretend that we can do what we want, yes?) 

But since Leap Day is only once every four years, we don't have much practice celebrating it compared to Christmas or birthdays or other holidays. So to save you the trouble of freaking out and wondering if you're supposed to give a gift to someone or dress up as a goldfish, I've created a list of 100 ways to celebrate Leap Day. (a very serious list of course. ha.)

This post is inspired by the amazing Rachel over at Silver Mess. She did one on 101 ways you SHOULDN'T deal with annoying people, and 101 ways to fail your driving test. They're awesome and you should go read them. *nod*

Onto the post!

1. leap around the house.
this one is obvious.
2.  do nothing but leaping.
walking, running, and jumping is not allowed.
3. make your sister leap with you.
it's more fun this way!
4. make your brother leap with you.
5. might as well make your whole family leap with you.
the more the merrier!
6. watch leaping tutorials on youtube.
i'm sure there's some out there.
7. follow the leaping youtube tutorials.
clear the area of all fragile items. like your computer.
8. make your own leaping tutorial to put on youtube.
it could go viral!
9. play leap frog.
leap frog. leap day. get it?
10. organize a leap day party.
invite EVERYONE you know. go crazy.
11. leap in unique places.
see options in points #12-#20.
12. leap in outer space.
how cool would that be?
13. leap in the grand canyon.
let me be clear, here. IN the grand canyon. not over it.
14. leap in the ocean.
hi, fish. hi, whales. oh hi, terrifying sharks.
15. go to a city or street called LEAP and take a picture of you leaping there.
if there isn't such a city or street, CREATE ONE. NOW.
16. leap on the moon.
i think you'll be the first person to do this on leap day.
17. leap into a pond.
it'll be memorable, at least.
18. leap on your roof.
carefully, though.
19. leap on your bed.
your mother will appreciate this point.
20. leap in an airplane.
down the aisle! go! go! go!
21. draw a picture of a stickman leaping.
or 'try' to draw one.
22. see how many times you can leap in a minute.
fifty? maybe more?
23. see how many times you can leap in an hour.
i dare you.
24. see how many times you can leap in a DAY.
why not go all out? maybe you'll make it into the guinness book of world records.
25. leap a marathon.
or at least try.
26. write about a leaping character.
maybe you could name her Leapy. or not. it's kind of a stupid name.
27. write while leaping.
mwahah, challenges are good.
28. leap over a potato.
...because... you can.
29. take a leap of faith.
you can do it!
30. leap into a fictional world. 
a book. a book, people.
31. leap over a candlestick.
jack be nimble, jack be quick...
32. leap while eating pizza. 
just don't choke. 
33. leap with pizza boxes on your head.
what else are pizza boxes for?
34. leap while reading.
it's best to do this down the street where EVERYONE can see you.
35. leap on bubble wrap.
with bare feet. extremely satisfying.
36. "don't leap into a door. it'll hurt."
- sound advice from my cousin Anna.
37. leap with fuzzy socks.
brightly colored ones are the best.
38. post about every time you leap on Facebook.
39. tweet about every time you leap on Twitter. 
i'm sure they'll want to know.
40. post a picture of you leaping every time you leap on Instagram.
actually, post like seven.
41. email EVERY SINGLE ONE of your contacts about leap day.
i'm sure they'll love you forever because of it.
42. leap with heels on.
good luck.
43. leap while reading this post.
it's great for exercise, too.
44. write a song about leap day.
"i love to leap, leap leap!"
45. record the song about leap day.
best to record it while leaping. 
46. make a music video for this leaping song.
make sure to include footage of you leaping.
47. when someone says, "hi," only leap in response.
48. actually, don't say ANYTHING all day. just leap.
*leaping intensifies* 
49. carry a frog in your pocket the whole day. 
"this is my leap frog. his name is Leap."
50. celebrate by leaping because you're ALMOST HALFWAY DONE WITH THIS POST.
*more leaping* 
51. take a nap and dream about leaping.
count leaping sheep, perhaps?
52. leap with little children.
because they're so cute.
53. leap whenever you see a social media post about leap day.
good luck, there'll probably be lots of them.
54. practice leaping in preparation for leap day.
you only have a couple days left! hurry!
55. leap into a cold pool.
err, polar plunge?
56. leap while listening to your favorite bands.
need recommendations? check out Twenty One Pilots, Coldplay, and Switchfoot.
57. leap with a rubber ducky.
58. leap out of bed in the morning.
start out the day right!
59. leap around the kitchen while making breakfast.
continue the day out right!
60. leap across the melting snow.
if you have it.
61. leap into a puddle.
a puddle of water... syrup... ketchup... mustard... your choice.
62. leap down the grocery aisle.
while buying frozen pizza, of course.
63. don't leap across the road without looking, even if it's just to get to the other side.
- Anna's leaping advice. 
64. leap like an otter.
...if otters can leap.
65. when you can't leap, think about leaping.
it's kinda the same thing?
66. leap while eating pizza. 
i might've already mentioned this, but it was worth mentioning twice.
67. start a novel which you can ONLY write on leap day.
then it becomes this super special thing.
68. stack all of your TBR in one pile, and then attempt to leap over it. 
69. order everyone to call you "The Leaping Master" for the day.
"I respond to that, and that only."
70. change your middle name to "Leap."
I could be Katie Leap instead of Katie Grace. ... or not.
71. make a Pinterest board of people leaping. 
might as well leap while you create the board. 
72. write a list of things you're excited about and leap from all the excitement.
so much leaping!
73. start doubting the meaning and spelling of the word "leap" after hearing it 73+ times.
this may or may not be me right now...
74. leap to the kitchen to get goldfish crackers. 
also me right now. goldfish cracks are awesome.
75. leap with a hedgehog painted on your face.
76. leap with a camera to capture your frolicking adventures.
*more leaping*
77. go up to people on the street and take a picture of them leaping.
"why? cause it's leap day!"
78. teach your pet how to leap.
...and tell me how that goes.
79. leap away from suspicious people.
they could be bad news.
80. become a leaping professional by the end of the day and make millions of dollars.
i mean, that's the dream...
81. "don't leap into the bathroom. that's just weird."
- more sound advice from Anna.
83. leap on a treadmill. 
do it at the gym when lots of people are watching.
84. act out an epic chase scene... while leaping.
movie soundtracks will help make the scene more epic.
85. leap in anger because you didn't notice that I skipped #82.
if you caught that, I'm impressed.
86. leap around in a gorilla suit.
this is one of my dreams, honestly.
87. here's another chance for you to leap during this post.
88. "don't leap into a frozen lake. it's dangerous."
- Anna
89. leap like a flopping fish.
90. buy a fish and name it "Leap."
or... Peal? It's the word "leap" rearranged. I'm bad at leaping fish names.
91. leap while eating pizza.
oh did I already mention this? Twice? Oops.
92. leap into a wardrobe. 
93. attach bells to your feet so everyone knows you're leaping.
a cow bell, perhaps?
94. watch TV. leap during the commercial breaks.
*nod* *random leap*
95. have a sword fight, but you have to battle while leaping.
er... good luck. don't accidentally stab yourself.
96. have a leaping contest.
practice now so you'll win.
97. leap around the internet while sharing this post everywhere.
*cough* *cough* JUST SAYIN'.
98. begin a countdown until the next leap year.
1,460 days left...
99. cry once leap day is over, because this glorious "holiday" won't happen for another 4 years.
unless you're anti-leap day now after all that leaping.
100. laugh at this post because who actually has all that energy for leaping?
pfft, certainly not me.


YOU MADE IT TO THE END! I MADE IT TO THE END. Thinking of 100 different points was a whole lot harder than I thought it'd be. o.o It might've been smart to start earlier in the week... *cough* Oops. 

Many thanks to my cousin Anna for helping me think of some of the points on this list. You were very helpful. :P 

I'll be back on Leap Day for my February Highlights post! Until then, have an awesome couple days. <3 

- Katie Grace

Any favorite points? Anything you'd add? 

And happy Leap Day! ...if that's even a thing people say. :P

Introducing: The Left-Handed Typist // Abi Ellison

Wednesday, February 24, 2016
What's this? A post? On a Wednesday?! 


In my last post I briefly mentioned that my amazing critique partner, Abi, started a blog. How Abi and I met is completely one of those God things. Here's how it all happened last September:

Me: *is halfway through draft three edits* *thinking about beta readers* *wishing for a critique partner so I don't have to send this book to betas without another set of eyes*
Abi: *randomly finds my blog* (More on that below.) *randomly emails me* *mentions she likes editing*
Me: *hates editing own work, but loves editing other people's works* *suggests... becoming... critique partners*
Abi: *says yes!* (YAY!)

Boom. We're critique partners, and within a week she's editing my chapters and I'm editing hers. It's crazy how that worked out so perfectly. How she emailed me when I needed a critique partner. I'm so blessed. <3

Enough of me babbling. Here's my critique partner, Abi, writing about important blogging thoughts. (She has wonderful insights on why you should join her and really anyone in the blogging community.)

Hey everyone! I warn you I have never done this blog thing before that has taken over the world. To be completely honest, I have never thought of myself as the blogging personality. I would have laughed if you had told me last year that I would be starting a blog. And I have absolutely no idea how to write a post. Especially a guest post. So cross your fingers and we'll see what happens!

Katie is the person who made me want a blog. I found her through a friend's Pinterest when I wanted something to read one day and her blog (and crazy sense of humor) totally captivated me. I'm not exactly sure why, but it's never happened again with any other blogs I follow. We have become good friends and critique partners since then and I owe her tons!

So. That brings me to what I just decided will be the main point of my post. Why am I here? And why should you join me?

I am mainly here because I love to write. And even more than that, I love to edit. When I have a huge pile of responsibilities and schoolwork, this is how I get away. Now most people will find that crazy. My sister, for example, thinks reading and writing are the worst possible cures for a headache. I disagree. And you all know Katie hates to edit. (Katie here. Absolutely accurate.) That's why I am her friend :) (Okay, so that's not the only reason, but that's how it started.)

After lots of prayer, I made the decision that I will not be going on to college this summer. Instead, I will be working through the paths of experience and self-education to become better at what I do. Because no amount of classes for four years (no matter how much I may love them) will teach me what experience can. You're probably thinking "so what?" But what no college means for me is I will have to branch out . . . through blogging and connecting with other people.

What boosted me from being a scribbling recluse in my bedroom to an actual budding author just this fall was people. I connected with some friends and (*gasp*) sent them my work. It was scary, let me tell you. Having their support, confidence, and interest is what motivates me to keep going. I realized that was completely invaluable. So here I am, trying my best to reach out to more people.
This is where you come in! I have learned over the last year, that I not only want the support of fellow writers and book enthusiasts, I need it! And to be joined with lots of people I have never met who have similar passions is truly amazing. (I mean, seriously, you have no idea how much I freaked out over my first comment.) So if you have any interest whatsoever, come check out my blog. But I warn you, joining my site is not for the fainthearted. I will expect you to be an active, supportive member, not just a passive onlooker who likes my sense of humor. What's in it for you? The same, of course! No relationship, even over the internet, can exist without interaction. So in exchange for your interest and time, I will pour back into you.

Hey, that wasn't too bad! Before I go, I want to say another HUGE thanks to Katie. I wouldn't be here without you!
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Thank you so much for guest posting, Abi! :D I love what you said and can totally relate to it for my own blogging journey. I blog for all of the above things as well, and it's so important to have people join you in the whole experience. 

What are you all waiting for? Here's the link to Abi's blog, The Left-Handed Typist. I'm sure it'd make her ecstatic to have some of you lovely people following it. :D

Do you have a critique partner? How'd you find each other?
What do you think is important about blogging?

How I Write A Post

Saturday, February 20, 2016
Happy Saturday, everyone!

I'll start off with saying this: I love reading blogs. I love seeing writers like me channel their creativity onto their own personal website. But you know what I've noticed? I haven't seen a blogger write about how they draft a blog post.

Maybe that's because other people aren't interested in knowing those types of things like I am. But I'm all nosy and like to know how bloggers do things. :P

For me, often if a post isn't working, I'll actually write it on paper, first. (Thankfully this post worked out alright and I didn't have to do that.) Sometimes it helps to write somewhere else than the Blogger site and let my mind think a little differently.

With this post I took some screenshots (of which the quality isn't perfect, but oh well. It's readable and I tried. :P) and went through the steps of how I draft a post. This isn't a tag, but I'd be super interested to see how you write a post, so go ahead and steal this idea! :D (I'd love to read it after you're done!)

Here we go.


Once upon a time, I get an idea for a blog post. I plan to post it on an upcoming Saturday. The Friday night before I freak out and frantically try to put it together. (< Heh. Not always entirely true, but...)

The first step for me is the brainstorming step. I do everything in the Blogger post document... thing. (Is there an official name for this?) I jot down ideas for the post and ideas for how I want to go about it. My mind runs a million miles a minute, so I try to do this point as fast as I can. That's why my sentences are a mess. :P

This is what my brainstorming looks like: (hint: it's a mess.)
(One more apologize for the mediocre quality. Couldn't figure out how to make it clearer. *pouts*)


Step number two is supposedly the outlining phrase, but I get distracted way too easily. So for this post, step number two turned into the I-tried-to-outline-but-then-got-distracted-with-other-thoughts-for-this-post step. It happens more than you think with blogging. *headdesk*

seventeen minutes // THE ACTUAL OUTLINING PHASE

After I get distracted with the step above, THEN it's time for outlining the body of my post. If I'm doing a step by step post (like this one), I'll summarize what my point will be in a short sentence. I don't get very wordy with this step. My main goal here is to get the skeleton of the post down.

one hour and thirty-nine minutes// THE "WRITE THE POST" STEP

THIS PART OF THE POST TAKE SO LONG. (as you can see above. Ack.) Even though I'm able to write 1,000 words in 20 minutes, drafting a blog post is an entirely different story. *flops* I think it's the thought of letting my words onto the internet where anyone can read it. Um, frightening

So I dawdle with this part. I hem and haw over which words to use and when to start a new paragraph. Maybe someday, when I get more experienced, this step will come easier. I can only hope.

eleven minutes // THE "MAKE THINGS PRETTY" STEP

I love this step. I love making my post easy to read and pleasing to the eye. This is the step where I bold phrases and italicize words to emphasize certain parts. I also justify my post so each individual line stacks up all nicely. 

one hour and twenty-five minutes // THE "PICTURE EDITING" STEP

There are three different kinds of picture I upload to my posts. I used all three in this post. 

1 // THE MAIN IMAGE: This is the image you will see at the top of each post. It includes the title of the post and a link to my blog. 

2 // TEXT IMAGES: Often for text headers or points I will download a picture of some text since that font isn't available for blogger. I'll make up these images in Picmonkey and then insert them into my post. 

3 // OTHER IMAGES: Sometimes I'll put in a picture of a book or a dragon egg. If the picture needs editing, I'll do that, otherwise I can just upload it right away. For this post, I had to number each image, so this step took a little longer than other times.

twenty minutes // THE "PROOFREAD + EDITING" STEP

In this step I'll read over my post AT LEAST 2-3 times, looking for typos and oddly phrased sentences. I use the Blogger preview feature when I do this so I can be sure that everything looks right -- that all the pictures are centered and there aren't any odd spaces.


After all the above steps... then I can post it! Since I can't actually bring myself to hit the "publish" button, I schedule all my posts for sometime after midnight. (because I'm usually up past finishing it up. Oops.) Then it'll post when I'm fast asleep and I don't have to second-guess my blogging skills. :P 

Once it posts... I breathe a sigh of relief that I finished it on time. I answer comments, visit blogs, think up an idea for the next week, and the cycle starts all over again. 

And that's how I write a post. Under each step you can see how long each individual step took. And once I add it up? I spent a total of four hours and fifteen minutes on this post. I would say that most of my posts end up taking around 3-4 hours. *nod* And that's why I don't post more than once a week, ha.

Thanks for reading!

- Katie Grace

How long does it take you to write a post? Does your process looks somewhat similar to mine, or is it entirely different?
*whisper* And you should totally write a post on this, because I'm curious like that. :P
(Also, my wonderful critique partner, Abi, just started a blog! You should go follow it. :D

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