Saturday, December 30, 2017

There. I think I screamed enough for everyone reading this post. If not, feel free to scream with me in the comments. I'm happy with how 2017 went. Obviously it had it's ups and downs... but that's just life for ya. Overall it was an improvement from 2016, and I'm feeling good about where I am in life. So, success! :P

And before we enter the craziness of 2018... here's one last look back at this year. :D
pictures in this post are an assortment from 2017
Ahh, writing. Writing this year has been a journey. A roller coaster type journey, with all of it's ups and downs and twisty loop-de-loops. I shifted my focus from my desert fantasy duology, to my heart's novel, Where Shadows Lie. It's always sad to shelve a project... but I'm confident I made the right decision and I'm ridiculously excited about moving forward.

I wrote two books this year -- my superhero novel, and the prequel to Where Shadows Lie. *celebrates* Both of them were for NaNo events (because NaNo + I = best friends), and after I wrote the first drafts, I made them into real-life copies! (except I'm still waiting for my superhero book to arrive. I ordered it a month ago... so I think it went missing in the mail. Or fell into a portal and land in the fires of Mt. Doom. Either or. (UPDATE: now as I'm editing this post, the book has arrived! so it made it out of Mt. Doom. Huzzah!))

After adding up the ending word counts of those two books + flash fiction + rewrites, the total words written this year came to 200,000. A little less than normal, as you can see below, but I'm happy with the outcome. :D
2014: 123,000
2015: 240,000
2016: 222,000
2017: 200,000
total: 785,000.
That means I'm 215,000 words away from writing one million words. UM. WHAT. (poor noodle fingers) I know I spend a lot of time writing, but... it's weird to actually think about how much energy and thought and emotion I've poured into my novels over the years. *mind explodes*

Oh and hey -- speaking of writing and stories, I posted two flash fictions on the blog this year! I read over them again before putting the links in this post, and I'm really happy with how they turned out. I wrote a sci-fi retelling of the pied piper, and then a tale about the dreaded "NaNoWriMo Beast." (the last one is more comical than serious. xD)

When I wasn't writing, I was editing! (and plotting... and procrastinating... but mostly editing.) In the beginning of the year I worked hard on my desert fantasy duology, but once I shelved that for the time being, I spent the rest of the time editing Where Shadows Lie. I CANNOT WAIT FOR JANUARY TO COME SO I CAN START EDITING AGAIN. << That's a big statement coming from the person who would usually choose to watch paint dry rather than edit. But I'm really pumped to dive into the third draft of this story!

I'm hoping to end this year with a total of 60 books. (I'm at 58... ALMOST THERE!) It's slightly disappointing since my original goal was one hundred. I DON'T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED. Last year I whizzed through 120 books, and it was hard for me to even hit half of that this year. *sniff* Oh well. 

Below are my five star reads of 2017! There are only five... but that's because I've grown strict about how I rate books. I used to give out five stars to most of the books I read, but then that "high rating" becomes rather meaningless.

The majority of the books I read were fantasy, which came as no surprise to me. But I did read about equal amounts of sci-fi and contemporary? I'm starting to really like contemporary novels, because they're able to take the perspective of a beautiful story from the ordinary world.

There weren't a huge amount of bookish posts that appeared on the blog this year, but the one I did write turned out to be one of my most popular ones: Why I Would Be A Horrible Book Character. (I'm tempted to do a part two eventually, because it's just so easy to come up with reasons why I would never survive in fantasy novels. For example: the obvious lack of pizza. xD)

And now comes the big question: how many books do I shoot for in my 2018 Goodreads challenge? To which I immediately answer: I DON'T KNOWWW! But after a bit of thinking, I might need to set it for under sixty books. *cue the tears* I'm thinking about fifty-two, because that would equal to a book a week! We'll see -- I'll update you as I ponder on that a bit more. :P

YAY FOR BLOGGING. It's a huge part of my life, and I'm so thankful for it. Sure, it's hard and sometimes I run out of inspiration for posts and I stare at that screen, the clock ticking past midnight. I don't like the hard parts of blogging but yet I do, because blogging has taught me so much. It's taught me how to work toward a deadline and how to continually find ways to grow in my craft.

Aside from the work, blogging has brought me immense amounts of joy. ALL THE BLOGGING BUDDIES. Dude, that's what is so fun about the blogosphere. I get so happy interacting with people who can relate to me that are halfway around the world. Ugh, I wish there was a way to teleport to meet you all for Christmas because THAT WOULD BE THE BEST THING EVER.

For the majority of the year I kept up fairly well with visiting blogs and commenting and all that fun stuff... but I have failed miserably with that since NaNoWriMo began. *cringe* Like, I have close to a hundred unread posts kind of miserably. So I'll have to catch up on all of your lovely blogs in the new year. :D

I'm excited to see where blogging takes me in 2018, and the new people I'll meet through it. <3

Some of my most popular posts: editing encouragementfive reasons to participate in camp nanowrimo


Last year, 2016, was a year of change, and 2018 will be the same way. So 2017 was a nice "break" in between all the new things thrown at me. It was a year of enjoying where I am in life and trying to look forward at what's to come.

I posted about my "new findings of 2017," which captures some of the random fun of this year. And did anyone else enjoy Spotify's end of the year stats? (no big surprise seeing that Twenty One Pilots is my top artist. I don't that'll change anytime soon. xD)

Instead of boring you all with endless paragraphs, I'll list the top couple highlights of each month. Just to keep it short and simple. :P

JANUARY || bullet journaling, trying to stay steady with my new resolutions
FEBRUARY || twenty one pilots concert (AHHH), southwest vacation, Goodreads released their reread option!
MARCH || turned seventeen
APRIL || failed camp nano, went through a major writing burnout, but also had an awesome writing retreat
MAY || break from writing, finished eleventh grade
JUNE || started my senior year of school in order to graduate early, MYWW conference, finished my Camp NaNo novel
JULY || spider-man homecoming, began edits for Where Shadows Lie, got the idea for my superhero novel, finally finding the joy in writing again
AUGUST: lots of rewriting (on paper), three year blog anniversarydear senior year
SEPTEMBER || lots more editing, lovely, relaxing vacation
OCTOBER || halfway done with school, #nanoprep, about my superhero novel
NOVEMBER || nanowrimo (duh), painted my room, infinity wars trailer
DECEMBER || break from writing, christmas craziness, began watching the Marvel movies chronologically

Thank you for being with me on this journey. I can't wait to see what 2018 brings for all of us. <3

katie grace

what were your top three highlights of 2017?


Saturday, December 9, 2017
(phew, that's a long blog title. :P)

Happy Saturday, everyone! We're sixteen days away from Christmas (um, what). To tide you over until the twenty-fifth, my lovely friend and author, Kara Swanson, is graciously taking over the blog today. (and I've added in a giveaway of her book at the end -- The Girl Who Could See -- so keep reading for that. :)

I'll keep my babbling to a minimum and let Kara take over from here. :D

(Yes, that is a giant picture of her book's cover. You're welcome.)

Hi Katie!

Thank you so much for having me on your blog. So appreciate you reaching out. And I can't wait to hopefully get to see her in person at Realm Makers this year! (Which, if any of you aren't familiar with it, Realm Makers is a Christian writers conference for speculative fiction authors!)

I met Katie through Go Teen Writers, and have always been so inspired by her tenacity and writing skill! She and I both started writing at a young age, and tend to weave our own stories into our fictional ones. My latest release, The Girl Who Could See, came out in June of this year and is about another young woman who is carried along on an adventure.

Fern Johnson can see the impossible. Since she was a child, she has had an imaginary friend named Tristan--but Tristan has never left. This blonde, weapon-wielding warrior has never been far from her footsteps, but while he claims he is here to help, Tristan's very existence is shattering Fern's life. Because she is the only one who can see this invisible hero, and the decaying city around him, while the rest of the world believes that he is only a figment of her imagination. That Fern is going insane. 
But Fern Johnson is not crazy. She can see into a parallel world--and if she's not careful, the monster that desolated Tristan's planet is going to destroy hers.
The Girl Who Could See started off with two short lines in my head, a prompt that I had to follow:

They say every child had an imaginary friend.
Mine never left.

So I continued to tug on that string, and a story about a young woman who stands in the hallway between two worlds is what unraveled. Beyond that, another large aspect that impacted the creation of this story was a real-life battle I was fighting--and am still battling. Lyme Disease. I've had Lyme for six years, and only this past year did I finally find a treatment that is actually curing the disease. I'm so grateful to be almost 100% Lyme-free, but when I wrote The Girl Who Could See, I was thick in the middle of my fight against the sickness. I was in constant pain, and could hardly trust my own mind as I was so tired my thoughts weren't my own.

The emotions and struggles that followed this were soon woven into my novella. Fern is unable to drive, and constantly feels like she doesn't fit in, like she's being pulled between two worlds. With my Lyme symptoms, driving was too dangerous for me to get my license, and I felt like I could see the world passing around me--but I was stuck on the outside, peering in. Unable to tangibly touch life.

Just watch it pass by.

But like Fern, I kept fighting, and eventually was able to survive--thrive, even--despite having a disease that to most would have seemed like a curse. Lyme allowed me to appreciate every moment of my day, it gave me a new gentleness toward the broken and hurting. I have been able to encourage so many with chronic pain, because I've experienced the hopelessness and agony.

I soon came to realize, just like Fern does in The Girl Who Could See, that what may seem like my greatest weakness can actually be my greatest strength. That it's the broken things that can shine the most light.

Thanks so much for that, Kara. <3 If you can't tell from her guest post, she's one of those people with a giant heart that overflows with enthusiasm. Before I skip right to the giveaway... can I flail? Like, how is that for a concept?? Cue the suspenseful music beginning to play because that sounds like pure epicness. *unfortunately doesn't own this book but needs to change that IMMEDIATELY*

Well, if you haven't already bounced to the giveaway with excitement, now's the time to enter for a paperback copy of this awesome novella.

(If the giveaway decides to be stubborn and won't load, follow this link.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will be open up to the 25th! And on Christmas I'll contact the random winner. But until then there's no stopping you from snagging the book over on Amazon -- after all, it's a short novella that would be perfect to help you catch up on that Goodreads challenge. ;)

Thanks for reading! I hope the rest of your day manages to be both relaxing and productive. (is that possible? maybe. probably. good luck. xD)

(and if you're discovering my blog through this giveaway, hi! Eat some virtual pizza and introduce yourself -- you're more than welcome to stick around.)

katie grace

don't be afraid to leave a comment below for Kara!


Saturday, December 2, 2017
*barges in with carols and cookies and Christmas trees* MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE! Yes, I know there are still twenty-three days until Christmas, but who doesn't love a little extra Christmas cheer? 

At least I need some extra Christmas cheer. Even though it's December, it doesn't feel like Christmas. All of the snow we had on the ground melted, I haven't listened to much Christmas music, and our tree isn't even set up. O.O (not to mention all of the cards and presents I haven't started on... *cries because I am the worst gift giver*)

ANYWAY, I'm here to talk about the highlights of November, so let's get into them!

THE INFINITY WARS TRAILER. PLEASE TELL ME YOU'VE SEEN IT SO WE CAN FREAK OUT TOGETHER. (here's the link if you haven't) I've already watched it five times and have freaked out every time. I only shed a couple tears out of excitement, so be proud. *absolutely cannot wait* (only 152 days away!!) It's been fun to see the internet explode with the conjoined excitement for this movie. :D

Speaking of movies, I watched more movies than I read books this month. (can I even call myself a bookworm?? o.o) It was a good mix -- Wonder, Thor: Ragnarok, Murder on the Orient Express, The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay Part 1, and Wonder Woman. I feel like there was maybe one other I watched, but my mind is blanking, so it must've not been that memorable. :P

The other "big happening" of November is that I repainted my room! Guys, painting takes so long. It took several days of me working from after lunch until nine at night to complete this project, but the finished result was worth it. *happy squeal* (is it okay if I dump a few pictures on you? Because that's totally what I'm going to do)

There aren't as many highlights as usual, but it's proving difficult to think past, "wait, I did other things than write this month??" #NaNoWriMoProbs

The Book of Lost Things [3.5/5] - for some reason I thought this was a middle grade book, but... #nope It was kind of a mashup of fairytales, each of them taking an unexpectedly dark twist. Very unique! But also somewhat scattered.

Eliza and her Monsters [5/5] - THIS BOOK. *hugs it* It's about a webcomic writer whose work goes viral, and how she deals with the confusing meld of her online life and "real" life. I really, really loved it and could relate. <3

The Girl Who Drank the Moon [3/5] - I wanted to love this book, but... it kind of dragged on and on and not much happened. :/

December is going to be my month of BOOKS. I have a long list on my phone of books I want to read in December, so we'll see if it's possible to get through all of them. Renegades is my next read! Also look -- I received pretty buttons for preordering it. <3

*tries to refrain from mentioning the obvious* *fails* So, NaNoWriMo happened. (duhhh) Instead of repeating more rambles about the insanity, here are the links to my wrap up posts:

If you don't want to commit to reading through all of those posts, here's a short rundown:

  • Coffeemaker broke 
  • Sadness over coffeemaker
  • New coffeemaker bought!
  • Words written
  • Lots of words written
  • Words deleted (not on purpose. bothersome crashing computer -.-)
  • Some despair
  • Some excitement
  • MORE words written
  • YAY I HIT 50k
  • So many characters, much character problems
  • Strange lacking of pizza eating
  • Lots of yawning
  • Lots of staring at the ceiling
  • Lots of procrastination
  • Wrote The End!
  • Time to sleep
  • Poor sore fingers

I saw this challenge below on my Facebook feed and couldn't help but participate: Scroll through your manuscript. Let the cursor fall where it may and you have one terrible title.

1. Weak Attempts At Talking
2. The Bottom
3. A Strange Experience
4. Kind Of A Mess
5. Screamed And Dropped
6. I Could Fly
7. Her Parents' Planters
8. Worrying About Life 

It's so hard for me to even choose a favorite. The last one is hilariously and unfortunately relatable, but "Kind Of A Mess" describes the novel's current state well. xD

What's next for me writing-wise? I usually take a writing break in December, but I'm so eager to start editing Where Shadows Lie again that I might just take it slowly. I ordered a coil-bound draft from Lulu for making scene edits which should be super fun. I've never edited on paper before. o.o

And I also ordered my first-draft copy of my superhero novel! (when I first wrote that sentence I accidentally wrote first draft coffee. #fail) I cannot wait to add it to my collection. I don't think I ever shared this in my NaNo posts, but there's a really special significance about my superhero story that I just realized. The whole concept is about superheros losing their powers at age eighteen, yeah? It's all about growing up and moving on from childhood, which is crazy because this is my last novel I wrote as a teen. o.o *sniff* I just thought that was really special. <3

Congrats to all the NaNoWriMo winners! It was neat scrolling through Twitter and seeing all the "winner" badges. But honestly congrats to anyone who managed to write words during this crazy month. You guys are all superheroes. <3

December is my annual blogging break! Which is sad, but I am looking forward to a break. Here's what the month will look like:

2nd - this post! yay for monthly highlights!
9th - a lovely guest post by a certain lovely author. (there may or may not be a giveaway, so be here for that!)
16th - no post! 
30th - end of the year wrap-up post!

I hope you all enjoy your December! This is the last month of the year, so let's try to make it count. 

katie grace

so. how are you nanoers?
what did you come up with in the "terrible title" challenge? xD