Monthly Highlights - March

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Do you all realize that we're one fourth of the way done with this year? Freaky, right?

But this year has been absolutely fantastic so far. I've been blessed with all the opportunities I've gotten, and the feedback from this blog. Seeing all the comments makes me smile. So thank you!
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- Before I list this, no, it's not a highlight. But I have been editing like crazy this month. I came short of my goal for 1,000 minutes, but I did a bunch, so I'm happy with myself. Even though I'm still nowhere close to finishing my first round of edits.

- CAMP NANOWRIMO! I hope you all realize that this starts tomorrow. I'm nervous, but I'm incredibly excited, especially about my story idea. See? Proof: 

- I turned fifteen. Thank you for all the wonderful birthday wishes I got! It meant a lot. :)

- I've been busily working on a fanart entry for The Tales of Goldstone Woods fanart contest, and guess what? I finished it one day before the deadline. I was really worried that I wouldn't make it in time...

- It's finally stopped snowing here (at least I hope it has for good) so I've taken the snow off my blog header. It looks a lot more crisp than it did before.

- My youth group went to this thing called The Maze. An illusionist put on a show involving magic, mixing in his testimony. Over one hundred students came to Christ. His story was really inspiring and unbelievable.  
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((Pictures should lead you to the post))

- In which I ramble about things and Camp NaNo -

- My Flash Fiction Entry -

Keeping Track of the Books You've Read.jpg
- I guest posted over at Aimee's wonderful blog -

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Oh, reading. I do love you, and I do wish I had more time for you. 

1. To Kill a Mockingbird
2. The Way of the Kings
3. The Monster in the Hollows

Yeah. Three books in March. Again. 
But remember how I asked for recommendations in my Camp NaNoWriMo and other babblings post? I also stalked my friends' Goodreads shelves and put a bunch of books on hold. 

I walked out of the library with this stack: 

It was marvelous. Now I just have to figure out when to read them all.

((I couldn't put alll your recommendations on hold, just because I can only read so many books before they're due again. xD))

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For those of you doing Camp NaNoWriMo, Ana made up a quiz about how you prepare. You should go take it and let me know what you got. :D

You can check out the results from the Flash Fiction Challenge here!

Faith wrote an excellent post about manipulating your reader.

Alea posted her birthday cake recipe. I want to eat it all up. xD

And, finally, Aimme just wrote about the different types of opening lines in novels.

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To those of you participating in Camp NaNoWriMo, good luck! Here's to a long and hopefully fun month of writing. :)
... April is going to be insane.

- Katie Grace

So. Do you feel at all ready for Camp, or are you freaking out like I am? What's one of your favorite posts that a blogging buddy has written this month? (or maybe one of your own?) Favorite read of March? Let me know!

The Wildcat of Braeton Blog Tour - Interview and Giveaway!

Saturday, March 28, 2015
Today I welcome the wonderful Claire to you, celebrating her upcoming release, the Wildcat of Braeton. It looks like an epic novel that I really hope to read someday. 
Before the author interview, here's about the book: 

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“If you’re fighting our battle, we’d best make you look 
like a champion,” Tam said to Aiden. Tam and Blair began to apply the war paint the Clans had worn into battle since before they arrived in Braeton.

“You ready?” Tam asked when they finished.

“As I’ll ever be,” Aiden replied. “Tam, if everything goes wrong, you take charge after me.”

“I’m praying nothing goes wrong,” Tam said. “Just remember what Diarmad said when he built this place: ‘In times of trouble, a Champion shall rise up and Scodra shall not fall.’”

His term of service to Lord Rishdah now complete, Aiden returns to his home in Braeton. As he travels he hears rumors that trouble plagues Braeton. Clan Canich is being attacked from within. He arrives, determined to save his father, his brothers, and his Clan from the treachery of one man.

A year has passed since the Calorins were driven from Aredor and Corin is struggling to rebuild his country. Despite the peace, a fear haunts him that the Calorins aren’t far away. The Hawk Flight takes to the forest again to defend the borders against a possible attack from the neighboring country of Durna and its Calorin ally.

As Aiden and Corin struggle to adapt to their new lives they know one thing for certain - war is coming to the North!

Why did you choose to start writing?

I decided to start writing because I wanted to create my own adventure story. And I was tired of having the same story in my head for four years!!

Quick! Name one random fact about yourself.

I have a growing collection of cowboy boot ornaments and figurines. Mostly ornaments though.

What inspired this series?

I love the Narnia stories and I think they inspired me more than even LOTR did. I started making up stories in Narnia because that way I could actually go there. Then eventually I decided to take one and make it my own. From there it developed into an adventure story with elements I loved from other books and movies.

What does your writing process look like?

Typically I start writing a story in a notebook. I love the way a pen feels against the paper and I think it’s easier to write that way. After I finish the story I take the notebook or notebooks and sit down at the computer and begin typing it up. That’s where a lot of editing and rewrites come in. After that I kind of edit in bursts when the mood takes me. More and more recently I've been writing on the computer instead of notebooks because a computer is most readily accessible. However, I do like having notebooks lying around to jot down ideas and stuff. Which reminds me…I need a few more notebooks… :)

You can never have enough notebooks. xD 
How do you incorporate your faith into your books?

I think a book can reflect Christianity without saying its name outright or through allegory on every page. To be a true Christian it takes more than saying you believe in God. It’s how you act. And that’s really what I incorporate into my books. My characters always have strong morals that they aren’t willing to compromise when the going gets rough. They show respect to friends and enemies, love their country, and will do what it takes to defend it. I also find it important to include an overall deity figure even if I don’t ever go into the belief structure because I think that there needs to be a higher power than governs the world and that people can believe in.

What's the hardest part about writing?

I think the hardest part is staying true to the story you want to tell even if you think it won’t be popular among your audience because there is a reason you picked that story to tell. That and editing. I don’t like editing.

I don't like editing either. Welcome to the club!
What is something you love to do besides writing?

Horseback riding! I've been riding horses since I was twelve. I love horses so much! I haven’t actually ridden in about a year and a half and it’s kind of killing me inside! We joke that a horse is the first thing I’m going to buy when I get a real job after graduation.

What are some of your favorite books/authors?

Shadow Hawk by Andre Norton, The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis, Resistance by Jaye L. Knight, Triss by Brian Jacques, I can’t just pick one of the LOTR series, and more recently discovered are Behold the Dawn by K.M. Weiland and Cinderella and the Colonel by K.M. Shea.

Who is your favorite character in this book and why?

I do like Aiden who is the main character in The Wildcat of Braeton, but I think my favorite will always be Corin since he’s the first real character I created. I have loved seeing him grow and develop in The Rise of Aredor to accepting who he truly is in The Wildcat of Braeton.

Claire Banschbach was born and raised in Midland, TX, the fourth of eight children. She was homeschooled through high school and is now a proud member of the Texas A&M University class of 2014. An avid reader of Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and many other adventure novels, Claire was prompted to begin writing her own fantasy novel at seventeen after several years of daydreaming. She continues to write in her spare time (and often when she doesn't have spare time). When not scratching out stories and homework with pen and pencil, Claire partakes in the joys of watching the Boston Red Sox, Aggie football, playing volleyball, and horseback riding. She hopes her faith and strong foundation in God will continue to help guide her writing. She is currently working on her Doctorate of Physical Therapy at the Texas Tech University Health Science Center.

Opens at midnight March 23 and closes at midnight on March 28. Giveaway includes 2 signed copies of The Wildcat of Braeton and accompanying sets of four notecard sized illustrations from the series!

A Note From Claire: 

Release date info-
Due to circumstances beyond my control, the release date has been moved to (most likely) May. However, if you feel that you cannot live without this book, you can buy it here- Warning- it costs about a hundred-million dollars (or I’m a poor college student and anything over $20 is expensive), so I would wait until its official release date and you can shop more cheaply! Stay tuned on my Facebook page or blog for more info on the release date!         

You can find the other blog stops here:
Thank you so much for allowing me to take part in this, Claire! 

- Katie Grace 

Flash Fiction Challenge - The Thief's Blade

Thursday, March 26, 2015
Remember that Flash Fiction Challenge I did way back last year?
I'm doing it again. Here's how it works: 

Rachelle over at The Ink Loft paired each of the participants up. We give and receive a prompt, and then must write something from it under 1,000 words, afterwards critiquing the entries. 
It's pretty awesome. 

Here's the prompt I received from Sj: 

And, my entry. I had to start it over several times, but once I tried writing it on paper it began to flow better. I'm rather relieved that I was able to finish it before the deadline. xD
Enjoy. :)

The Thief's Blade

Mahati ran, sword pressed to her chest. She would not let it fall to the hands of soldiers. She would escape the busy marketplace. 
She would escape them all.
Mahati grimaced. If only she could escape the accusations so freely thrown her way. She dared a look behind her shoulder. Four soldiers sprinted, barging through the crowds to get to what they were after: the prince’s sword.
Mahati threw her cloak's hood over her head, shielding her face, and ducked into an alleyway, spooking a crow. With one high-pitched screech he shot into the air, his beady eyes glaring at the chase from above. She took a moment to catch her breath and tuck the sword under her arm, squeezing it against her side.
Mahati flipped her braid behind her back and raced out of the alleyway, coming out besides a market stall selling wooden whistles, intricate designs carved onto their tiny form. Snatching one, she raised it to her lips and struck a tune.
Attention swung her way at once. Mahati welcomed the stares. Too often would soldiers pass by the obvious in search for the hidden. She closed her eyes, letting the melody rise and fall. A little boy clapped his hands to the rhythm, his sandy hair flopping up and down as he bounced on his toes.
She was a musician, and nothing else. A smile tugged on her lips.
Mahati opened her eyes.
A white horse clopped rough the crowds, coming her way. A uniformed soldier rode on top, eyes searching the crowds.  Mahati tensed. She ended her song and gave a curt bow, returning the whistle to the seller, applause following. Then she was off again, running.
Mahati avoided a group of soldiers and shifted to the direction of the bustling people. I’m not a thief.
No, she was a lost and frightened little girl, separated from her ma.
“Mama!” Mahati cried. Her voiced raised a pitch as she wrung her hands, the prince’s sword safe from sight. A few sympathetic glances sent her way.
“Mama!” Mahati said again, hurrying through the marketplace. “Where’d you go?”
“Girl?” A hand touched her arm.
Mahati whirled around and stared into the face of a soldier. Her palms grew slick as she latched them behind her back, dropping her gaze to the ground. The sword under her arm shifted, threatening to reveal her true identity.
She was a girl without her mother. Nothing else.
“I’ve l-lost my mama.” Mahati sniffed. Two flashes of blue appeared to her right. Soldiers. Mahati stiffened.
“Can you describe what she looks like?” The soldier said.
Two more flashes of blue, on the left this time.
“Um,” Mahati squeaked. She glanced around. Soldiers seemed to be everywhere, forming, almost circling around where Mahati stood.
The sword slipped another few inches.
“Let’s see if we can go find her.” The soldier took Mahati’s hand, pulling her arm away from the grasp of the sword.
Mahati gasped.
The soldier turned.
The prince’s sword fell from her cloak, and clattered on the ground.
Mahati dived for the weapon, but the soldier was faster. He grabbed the hilt, and held it at Mahati, eyes narrowing.
“You don’t know!” Mahati screamed, “The prince—he’s not the real prince. It’s an impostor. It’s not his sword!”
The soldier ignored her. “I’ve caught the thief!” His voice echoed, loud. Those who had not already drawn their attention to the scene now did. The market chatter stole away, replaced with whispers, words of “thief” and “sword” whisking into the air.
Mahati bent her head. The solider grabbed her arm, yanking her away.
The crow watched. He squawked once, blinked his crimson eyes, and then dashed away.
In her mind, Mahati was nothing but a musician, her song enjoyed by everyone. She was a girl, searching and yearning for a mother’s love. She was Mahati, serving for a greater cause.
But in other’s eyes, she was only a thief.

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- Katie Grace

Camp NaNoWriMo and Other Such Things

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Greetings to all!

I originally was not planning on a post filled with random ramblings and such, but it somehow happened to be that way, so I hope you'll bear with me.

My blog tends to have a lot of writing related posts with tips from experiences I've been through, but truthfully, I'm a random person. (My mother can totally attest to this. Just ask her.) We'll be working through a school lesson and I'll blurt out something that happened three weeks prior and totally off subject.

Oh the advantages of homeschooling and patient, loving mothers. They're quite like superheroes, don't you think?


To you writers out there:


Are you ready? I'm not. Currently I've been editing my novel frantically whilst writing another novel for school, writing Flash Fiction, and racking my brain for any other inspiration that might be leftover for Camp.

I've named my novel for camp The Music Master. I'm very musical, so I'm excited to write a story that has music play a part in it. :D

And here's my rough synopsis:

And here's a very simple cover for it.
Gita hears music differently from the people around her. She doesn't just hear it in instruments and voices. She hears music everywhere. She hears it pulse in the  air and sing through the earth. Music surrounds her. But once the Mistress she's bound to serve under learns of her musical abilities, she won't allow it. Music is shut from Gita’s mind, and she lives under a world of silence. 

Until a messenger boy comes along. He’s like her. He hears music.

Bound by her loyalty to her Mistress, and curiosity fueling the relationship with the new messenger boy, Gita has to choose which path will lead her life.


I'm also working on my Tales of Goldstone Woods Fanart entry. I'm pretty confident that I'll make it before the deadline, which makes me extremely happy. And so far it's turning out to my liking, which is a good thing.
I'm super excited to share it with you once it's done. :D

I Don't Know What to Read

I know. *cue the gasping* It seems like everyone in the blogging community has these GIANT to-read stacks, and I'm sitting here with, well, nothing. :p

So, fellow bookworms and writers, I need some recommendations. Fantasy and Sci-Fi are my absolute favorite genres, but it would do me some good to branch out a bit.

I have one request: Please recommend clean books. Not all the books I read are 100% free of language, but I would rather do without it. I'm fine with romance as a side plot, just not anything over the top and inappropriate. I am a Christian and I want to keep the things I read wholesome.

Thank you! :D

There you have it. A completely random post.
Oh, and my birthday is in two days, on the nineteenth. I'm going to be fifteen. It's weird to think about, so I shall stop thinking about it.

- Katie Grace

(And Happy St. Patrick's Day!)

Are you going to Camp NaNoWriMo? What are you writing for Camp? Comment a link to your camper profile so I can check it out! 
And give me lists of allll the book recommendations because I can never have enough books to read.

[Guest Post!] Why Fictional Friends Are Just The Best

Thursday, March 12, 2015
To whomever may be reading this post, I have Aimee from To the Barricade! guest posting for me today. She's pretty awesome, and the post you are about to read is awesome, too. Enjoy!

A big thanks to Katie for letting me guest post here today! I absolutely love this blog and I’m pretty excited about it. And a big thanks to all you lovely people out there reading! *waves*
If you didn’t know already, or hadn’t guessed, I’m just a tiny bit obsessed with books. I love the pretty covers and nice-smelling pages and plots that keep me up at night, and most of all I love the characters, those large-as-life people running around making me fall in love with them. I especially love those characters that are so close you feel like you’re friends with them, even though you’ve never seen them outside of those pages.
Go ahead, admit you do this too, I’m the last person to judge.
Anyway, if this sounds weird to you, allow me to make a convincing argument:

Why Fictional Friends Are Just The Best

1.  You can visit them any time you like!

This is totally the main benefit - literally all you have to do is open up that book (and smell the pages, of course), flip through, find those laugh-out-loud or even heartbreaking scenes, and visit them all over again. It’s even better after the first time, too, because you find all kinds of new little details and memories. Bring on the warm fuzzies. 

2. They’re a lot less demanding than real friends.

Harsh, but true. Real friends are great and all, but a lot of work, let’s face it. Fictional friends? They’re probably all villains anyway, so not terribly high-maintenance. And you don’t have to feed fictional friends, or clean up for them, so that’s a plus.

3. They’re all pretty hilarious.

Not always true, but for the most part, and especially with characters you like - they tend to be pretty witty, or clumsy, or good with stupid jokes, or sarcastic, or something like that. And it’s nearly always on-point, or if it’s not, it’s hilariously adorkable. (That’s a word I’m allowed to use, right?) And we all know that funny friends are basically the best.

4. They’re always around.

So this kind of goes with #1, but you can always depend on fictional friends. They’re right there to make you laugh or cry or just smile or give you ALLLL the feelings whenever you need it! I mean, they can’t actually give hugs or anything, but it sure feels that way sometimes, and having them to rely on is the best.

And, my personal favorite…

5. They take you on adventures.

I’ve been so many different places with my own fictional friends, both in this world and out of it, that I never could have gone on my own. The second you open up that book and take the character’s hand you’ll be taken somewhere you only could have dreamed of, and you’ll experience it all with them and get to know them at the same cool is that? I’ll never get over it, myself. You also get to experience all the feels and trauma too, the more you get to know them, but eh. It’s an incredible experience, those books you’re really attached to. And it’s even better if you do it several times and get to be very, very good friends with those people.
If that’s not a convincing argument for why they’re the best ever, I don’t know what is.

What about you? Who’s your favorite fictional friend? How do you feel about fictional besties in general? Comment away.

Thanks again to Katie for letting me guest post! Even if I waited until the absolute last possible second to actually finish the post, but we won’t talk about that. She’s guest posting on my blog, To the Barricade, as well, and you should totally check that out!
If you for whatever reason want to see more, you can check out my blog up above, or find me on Pinterest, Twitter, or Goodreads!

The Book Lover's Questionnaire Tag

Wednesday, March 4, 2015
I got tagged by the wonderful Audrey at |The Measure of a Book| for...
 I'll just get right into the questions. :D
((And go check out Audrey's blog. It's awesome.))
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Do you have a specific place for reading?

I do most of my reading at night before I go to bed. Usually my day is filled with other activities, so it isn't often that I can squeeze in a chapter or two.
But if I DO read during the day, I go wherever the sun is. ((I'm part cat. You didn't know that?)) Usually the sun happens to land on a small, red couch by a large window in our house, so I prefer to read there. It's quite comfy.
bookmark or random piece of paper?
I have a horrible habit of misplacing bookmarks, but I really love to use them. Especially unique ones, like the three I placed below. They are really epic. :D 
But when I don't have a bookmark by my side, I use anything: Kleenix(unused, don't worry. xP), paper, pencils, other books... I've even used a cough drop before. I can get a bit creative with my bookmarks.
I got these bookmarks from the Etsy shop: Jaye L. Knight. She has a bunch of awesome writer-themed jewelry.
These are not my pictures. I got them off of her Etsy shop.

Can you stop anywhere in a book or do you have to finish the chapter?
I can stop anywhere, but I never want to. xP
Usually (since I read right before I go to bed) I try to limit myself to one chapter.
... Notice the word "try."
There have been more than a few occasions where I've been so involved in a book, where I completely 'forget' my limit of one chapter. Because who needs sleep when you have a book. Right?
Music or tv while reading?

I can deal with music, especially if it's an instrumental, but TV...
No. Never.
I want to enter the storyworld of the book I'm reading, but how is that possible when there's chatter coming from the TV?
Yeah, it doesn't work for me.

do you eat or drink while reading?  

I wish I could eat while reading, but I have a bit of a problem.
I'm freakishly careful with my books. (I think I have a case of BOD -- Book Obsession Disorder. Cause that's a thing now. It's official.) Creases, bent pages, (NO DOGEARS) writing, smudges, etc... I don't like them.
So I treat books with great care, and that usually requires both hands. And since I'm not an octopus, I don't have an extra hand for eating food, despite how much I love to do so.
One book at a time or several?
At most times you can find me reading a school book, and a book of my choice. When I was younger, I often would read several books at a time, which always confused the plots. :p I've gotten a lot better about that.

Reading at home or elsewhere?

If I know that I will have time to read at an event, a book is coming with me. (Unless if the book is The Way of the Kings, where I could not find a bag large enough to carry it.)
I read in the car quite a bit. Carsickness isn't a problem for me, so it makes road trips very doable. But otherwise, I prefer to keep my reading at home.

Read out loud or silently?

Silently. That's a no-brainer. Reading out loud is much too slow for me, and makes my mouth dry.
I read out loud to little kids when I'm babysitting or helping out in my Church's nursery, but never to myself.

Do you read ahead or skip pages?

It's very, very rare that I skip pages. If a part is particularly boring, I will skim that section, but never skip.
I do, however, read ahead. *hides* Usually only at suspenseful parts. My gaze keeps flitting ahead so I will know if the character survives or not. xD

breaking the spine or keeping it like new?


Do you write in your books?

Nope. Only in journals/devotionals.

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 I tag...

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H.M. Wilson at |Plottinger Twist|
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And if I didn't tag you, yet you want to answer the bookish questions, go right ahead! Make sure to leave a link to your post in the comments so I can check it out. :D
- Katie Grace

Do you read in a specific place? What’s the oddest thing you’ve ever used for a bookmark?