Saturday, January 27, 2018
Here is the first wrap-up post of the new year! January isn't quite over, but it will be in a few more days. (which means that we're 1/12 of the way through the year! yikes.) It felt so weird typing in 2018 for the post title. 'Tis insane.

I started off 2018 by celebrating Christmas. Yes, that sounds confusing, but we had to postpone our celebrations because of sickness. It's that time of year where everyone and their cousin's cat has come down with some cold/flu/sore throat/etc type of thing. I basically need to enter a quarantine center to stay away from it all. o.o 

One of my favorite presents for Christmas (Though I don't think I can actually narrow it down to one favorite, because each is special in it's own way. :P) was a daisy tote bag that I can use for lugging all of my writing stuff to and from the coffeeshop! Daisies are my favorite flower -- they're happy-looking, and I like happy things. :)

It's been a cold January. And to make things worse, during one of the coldest weeks (when we were experiencing temperatures in the -20s, brrr), our family's car lost heat. That was not a fun week of travel to and from work. xD BUT THANKFULLY IT'S FIXED! But it was strange seeing my breath in the car and losing feeling in my fingers. xD

Speaking of winter, I WATCHED THE WINTER SOLDIER THIS MONTH. Goodness, I adore that movie. So many feelings. and scenes that brought tears to my eyes. <3 <3 Also, the countdown for Infinity Wars continues. 96 DAYS! (I apologize, but I probably won't stop screaming about it until it comes out. :P)

I saw Darkest Hour in the theater which was pretty good! My favorite part about the whole experience was this nice, old dude who sat next to me. He started talking about how he lived through the history of the movie and fought in the Korean War. I think it's so cool to hear about a stranger's story. (and kind of sad, because you'll probably never see them again)

A random joke that I came across while procrastinating: Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. (it took me a moment to get it, but when I did I couldn't stop laughing)

Fawkes [5/5] YOU GUYS. YOU NEED TO READ THIS WHEN IT COMES OUT. It's a beautiful historical/fantasy retelling of Thomas Fawkes and the gunpowder plot. Nadine's words are magical. :D

The Picture of Dorian Gray [3/5] I actually enjoyed this one! Usually classics aren't my cup of tea, but THAT ENDING. Oh my gosh it was great. o.o

Scythe [5/5] This was a reread in anticipation for the sequel coming out! It's been awhile since I've read this one so I forgot some of the twists that happened. xD 

Thunderhead [4/5] This was the sequel to Scythe! And... it wasn't as good as the first one. *sobs* It was still interesting... but... kind of long. And I didn't care for some of the characters. Sigh. I'm still excited for the third one, though!

After taking a couple months off, I'm back into the swing of edits! Right now I'm working on the third draft of Where Shadows Lie, and having a really fun time with it (me, having fun editing? whaaaaaat?). In February I plan to do a post explaining my process with third-drafting. I'm editing on paper for the first time (which means fun pens and notebooks!) and it's been so incredibly helpful.

As I finish up chapters of this third draft, I'm meeting with my friend Emma to exchange chapters with each other. I'm not going to lie: it was terrifying. This is the first time anyone's read past the first three pages, but she's already proven to be so helpful with her comments. And it's so good to meet in person so I can ask her questions and get an immediate, honest answer. 

I already have a page filled with things to change -- and that's just from her reading the first three chapters. The edits just never stop. xD

Here are the posts I published this month! If you missed any of them, clicking on the picture will lead you to the post. :)

That's all I've got for today (I feel like this was a shorter monthly highlights post?) -- I hope the last couple days of January are absolutely fabulous for all of you! These next few days are filled with work and school and writing for me (and a dentist appointment, ugh), but they should be good anyway. It's what you make of it, right?

I'd love to hear about your January! Did the first month of the year live up to your expectations? If this month was a bit chaotic and crazy, don't fear, because you're not alone in that. And February's coming up for a fresh, new start. *puts on cool sunglasses* Let's go and conquer.

katie grace

did you see any good movies this month?


Saturday, January 20, 2018

I went to the library the other day. (No, this isn't an unusual occurrence... but still worth mentioning for the purpose of this post.)

From a very young age I've loved the library -- my mother has raised me quite well in this. She'd take my sister and I almost weekly. The three of us would pile into our car, bags filled with stories  ready to return so we could collect a new stack of adventures.

Once inside, I'd always rush straight to the children's section. Sometimes they'd host fun little shows where a magician or juggler would arrive, but mostly it was silent, and I'd be surrounded by thousands of colorful books.

I was a cover judger. (and still might be... oops.) But it makes sense for my younger self -- if I couldn't page through the book and read snippets of the story... instead it was the art and the pictures and the pretty font that made me check it out. Little me would rush through the rows and wooden compartments, shoving new reads into my kid-sized tote.

Or I'd return to old favorites: The Berestein Bears, any sort of fairytale, Franklin, Curious George... and when I entered the world of chapter books, series like Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, and the Boxcar Children.

The three of us would line up in front of the desk, giggling at how our bags overflowed and the looks of shock others gave us. We stacked the books into piles, watching as the librarian started the long process of checking them out. My sister and I stood on our tiptoes, eyes just above the counter, waiting to see if we went over the book limit.

Ahh, the dreaded book limit. The crusher of a bookworm's soul. The kind of monster that hid in my closet and under my bed as a child. (am I exaggerating slightly? maybe. BUT STILL.)

Our library declared a limit of one hundred books, which may sound like a lot, but not to this family -- to our family. We used to have daily reading sessions where we would spread 15+ picture books across our carpet. My sister and I took turns running to pick out a book before jumping back on the couch to snuggle on either side of our mother. That couch was where my love and passion for stories began, and never went away.

Once the librarian finished scanning the books -- I watched her do this so many times that my six-year-old self could've probably done it myself -- we'd load up our bags again. My mom with her giant, striped red one, and mine with my identical one... just a kid-sized version. Even my younger sister carried her own bag, matching ours but with blue stripes instead of red.

my mother's old library tote. OH THE MEMORIES <3
I'm surprised the seams never broke with how those bags bulged. I remember how hard it was for hobbit-sized Katie to lug her tiny, yet very heavy tote to the librarian's desk. Often Mom would have to come to the rescue. :)

These are my old, nostalgic, library memories. I've moved on from the picture books, and even from the regular library we used to go to. I've outgrown the fear of the book limit. Now the libraries are all automated self-checkouts -- which is bitter-sweet because there's no opportunity to talk to another bookish soul. *sniff*

I do miss it -- I miss the memories of being young, but then again, there are things that my younger self couldn't possibly understand. I didn't understand the excitement of browsing the YA shelves! And Little Katie didn't yet hold the dream of having her own book on those rows of stories. <3

I'll treasure those moments, and it's so cool to see how far back my love for stories has spread.

katie grace

what about you? any library/bookish memories from when you were younger? I'd love to hear them!
(and happy birthday to my very lovely sister who turns fifteen today! <3)


Saturday, January 13, 2018
Starting posts are one of the hardest thing for me. Is anyone else this way? I stare at the blank webpage forever, until I start blabbering about how hard it is to start a post, and then lamely transition into my post topic. (Have I been blogging for three years? Yes. But apparently some things never change. *headdesk*)

2017 feels like yesterday (probably because it was only thirteen days ago...), so I'm still in the "let's take a look back at last year!" kind of mood. I've noticed some bloggers do fun little monthly "book hauls," and decided to join in the fun. Except I'm going to showcase all of books I acquired in 2017 (because my monthly hauls would be puny and boring). And I'm going to do it in a vlog format, because it's been awhile since I've done one of those. :D


(be right back because I'm cringing at how many times I say "um" and "so" in this video. Further proof that I'm a writer and not an eloquent speaker. *sigh* :P)

If you have absolutely no interest in watching a video, I complied a list of the books below so you don't have to suffer through my rambles. (but it's not that long and there's an awkward blooper reel at the end... (yay?)) Most of the books have a star rating next to them -- others might not because I haven't read them yet, it's been too long to remember how I liked them, or I've read a beta copy but not the published version.

Behold, the list!

Randy Ingermanson 

various authors

3. MAYDAY [3.5/5]
Jonathon Friesen

Rachelle Dekker

Tessa Emily Hall

Sierra Abrams
(two copies of this one since there was a printing error with the arcs!)

Shannon Hale

Abigayle Claire


Stephanie Morrill

Jaqueline West

12. ANGEL EYES [5/5]
Shannon Dittemore

13. BROKEN WINGS [3/5]
Shannon Dittemore

Brianna Merritt


Mary Weber

17. CRESS [5/5]
Marissa Meyer

18. RENEGADES [2/5]
Marissa Meyer

19. HEARTLESS [5/5]
Marissa Meyer

Suzanne Collins

Ted Dekker

Now I'm a confused human because in the vlog I said that I acquired twenty-six books, but I only managed to come up with twenty-five in this post. There must be a mystery book on my shelf somewhere. :P

Looking ahead at this year, I only have a couple on my must-buy list, so I wouldn't be surprised if I buy less. (which is a good thing and yet also a sad thing) I'm excited to flail over future stories with you!

katie grace

what books are you looking forward to buying in 2018?
(i can think of a couple off the top of my head - fawkes, thunderhead, a thousand perfect notes... any others i should be aware of??)

2018 GOALS

Saturday, January 6, 2018
We're a week into 2018. (well, not quite... BUT CLOSE ENOUGH. :P) How is everyone feeling about this year so far? After taking two months off of editing, I've gotten into the swing again and am having fun with this story. Hopefully that excitement won't wear off. :P

Here's my annual "goals for the year" post! But before I move into the 2018 goals, let's take a quick look back at how my 2017 ambitions went.

[ 2 0 1 7   G O A L S + how they went ]

1. take more pictures.

I'd say this was a success? I posted more on my Instagram and have really enjoyed figuring out how to take and edit pictures so they're pleasing to the eye. (though let's be honest -- I'm still figuring it all that out)

2. write two books.

I ACCOMPLISHED THIS ONE! When I made this goal, I really didn't think I'd be able to make it, but it happened and I couldn't be more excited. *flails*

3. send the sand dragon's song to beta readers.

HAHAH. Ha. Nope. After lots of editing and thought, I decided to put aside my desert duology for now in order to work on other stories. So I'm okay with not meeting this goal.

4. see the epic movies that are coming out.

I'll just leave my favorite movie of the year here... SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING. <3

5. focus on God.

In the beginning of 2017, I planned on memorizing fifty-two verses. Ahem, that failed a couple of weeks into the year. But I did read through the New Testament and do some faith journaling! So overall a half-success. I'm still fully deciding on what to do this year for Bible reading... but I might go through the Old Testament next. We'll see.

6. read 100 books.

This was an epic, giant #FAIL. I only read 60 books, and even that was a challenge. :P

7. find a new show to watch.

In the beginning of the year I finished watching Sherlock Holmes, and later watched Stranger Things with Gabriela! I also started watching Psych with my sister, but the library kept demanding that we return it so we never got very far. :P

8. film more vlogs.

HA! Nope. I only filmed one. :P
[ 2 0 1 8    G O A L S ]
1. track the books i read.
Yes, I realize Goodreads exists (and love using it), but I want to create a separate document with a giant overview -- the genre, a one or two sentence review,  and in general an easier organization method to quickly glance over the stories I devoured of 2018.

2. send where shadows lie to beta readers.
*mumbled screaming* ?!?!!?!?!?

This is a bit of a terrifying concept, but I think I'll be ready by springtime -- probably around April -- to send it to betas. (that's assuming everything goes well and I don't have a sudden plot crisis. :P) As scary as it is (yikesyikesyikes), I'm so pumped because I've never been this passionate about a story before? *shrug* It's a cool feeling.

3. graduate high school!
I have a little less than two months of school before I graduate. *more mumbled screaming* (I feel like I'll be internally screaming my way through 2018. xD) School and I have never been best of friends, so I'm excited to finally part ways. :P

4. find a full time job.
Instead of going the college route like most people, I'm hoping to find a full time job that I enjoy and can get settled in until I'm called elsewhere. I'm unusually excited (and nervous) about the prospect of working.

Right now I only work part time at Starbucks, but there's rarely a day that I dread going to my job?? I'm getting paid to make coffee and talk to people while working with coworkers I enjoy -- how can it become better than that? So I'm praying that I can find a full time job that makes me feel the same way. <3

5. buy a car.
And since I'll (hopefully) be working full time, it won't work for me to use my parent's car any longer. So I'll need to actually buy one! :P There are a lot of big adulting steps I need to take in 2018. (including actually becoming an adult - YIKES.)

6. win nanowrimo.
Do I even have a hint of a story idea I could write? No. Will I have enough time? Probably not. But do I want to keep up my winning streak no matter what? YUP.

So it'll be an interesting NaNoWriMo, but I'm ready for the challenge. xD (thankfully it's ten months away so I have a good amount of time to prepare. phew.)

7. keep up with journaling.
With all of the crazy things happening this year, journaling is a great way for me to unwind and write down what's on my heart. The problem is, is that I have so many different notebooks to keep up with. I consistently use four journals every night. And four others that I use several times a month. #writerproblems

(Yes, I could cut down on journals, but WHERE'S THE FUN IN THAT?)

8. scream over infinity wars !!!!!!!
Words cannot explain how. excited. I. am. for. Infinity. Wars. Every time it crosses my mind I start squealing with anticipation. For preparation of the film, my family and I have been watching all of the Marvel movies in chronological order. I'm writing mini-reviews on Twitter as we watch them!

Boom, eight goals for 2018. I feel like that number is fitting, yeah?

Here's to conquering the next twelve months together! *hands out pizza for motivation* WE CAN DO THIS.

katie grace
what are some of your goals for 2018?