Monthly Highlights - August

Sunday, August 30, 2015



I'm just semi-freaked out that there are only FOUR months left in the year, and NaNoWriMo is in THREE months. *ahhh* 

Onto the highlights!

- School isn't going QUITE as bad as I thought it would. (It still is bad, mom, don't get all hopeful.) Being homeschooled helps a lot and if I stay focused, I still have the time for reading and writing and blogging and all that fun stuff.

- Editinggg. So much editing. ALL the editing. I was planning to do 800 words a day, but then Aimee *looks pointedly* convinced me to try for her insane goal which is over 2,000 words a day. *dies* *but really I'm excited* 

- I went to my first writer's conference! Basically the best experience everrr.

- I discovered the band Twenty One Pilots and have been listening to them excessively. *looks pointedly at Aimee again* xD

- This just made me laugh really, really, hard: 

- I "leisurely" started another novel. (*gasp*) It's going to be written by hand, (*another gasp*) so when I don't have my computer around and feel the need to write, I'll work on that. I don't really have a deadline (I kinda do, actually. Hoping to finish it by the end of the year.), but you can view all the progress of my writing goals on myWriteClub. 
It's an amazing resource and you should all sign up for it and add me as a friend so we can encourage each other with our goals. It's free!

It looks like this and is quite awesome.
- Vacationnnn! I had bunches of books I wanted to take along so packing went really quickly:

'cause it was all with books.

Our family does only carry on luggage for plane trips, so I managed to fit all those books plus clothes and other stuff. (I did have a backpack smushed with books, too.)

Vacationing also included mountain hikes and writing on the mountains (!!), hiking in 101 degrees and getting sand flying at your face (research, I guess), pizza, lots of time for editing, and rock climbing and other fun adventures. :p

- Fall is comingggg! Summer and I aren't very good friends, so I'm excited for fall, autumn, or whatever you call it.

- And my dad is sometimes rather hilarious so I had to share this with you. xD 

Dad: *points to the model* See that over there? 
Me: Yeah. 
Dad: I modeled for it. 

- - -
All these books are for a vacation and I FIT them
in my suitcase. (Yes, I did bring clothes, and no, my
suitcase is not the size of a zebra.)

At the beginning of the month, this happened: 

Book total for August:  FOURTEEN.
(Two better than last month, so that's exciting.)

favorites of the six above

Favorite Book: Gahhh, this is a hard one. Between Challenger Deep and Legend, but Challenger Deep made me cry so I'm going with that one. :p 

Favorite Cover: Challenger Deep. *flails because THAT BOOK* Amazingness.

Favorite Character: Day from Legend. He was just a really awesome character. xD

favorites of these six

Favorite Book: OH this is hard. I devoured We Were Liars, Half a King, and Bruiser. Really, I ate them all up in a day. Bruiser and We Were Liars also brought tears so there's that. xD 

Favorite Cover: Despite not finishing the book, An Ember in the Ashes is just very, very gorgeous. I had fun taking pictures of it: 

Favorite Character: I'm asking myself really hard questions and I don't like it. I loved all the characters in Bruiser, but Yarvi really sticks out to me from Half a King. He was strong in a weak way despite the circumstances and I just really admire that. :p

I also beta read two books, and one was SO amazing and made me cry more than any other book before and I'm still recovering from it but... it's awesomeness. xD

- - -

 Imogen ALSO posted some super amazingly helpful links for working with beta readers.

AIMEE and CAIT both have new blog designs and you must check them out. (Be warned, you might get jealous.)

Emily asks... when do you buy books?

- - -



- - -

- Katie Grace

That was a long post but hopefully it was a little bit interesting and not insanely boring. (Do you enjoy these types of posts, or is it just me?) 
I seemed to have cried because of a lot of books this month, so which books have made you cry?


Thursday, August 27, 2015


It's 3:30 in the morning as I write this.  I woke up at two, randomly and wide awake, and haven't been able to fall asleep since. (I'm not sure if this happens to anyone else, but it's  been happening to me lately--I wake up in the middle of the night with no sign of tiredness whatsoever.) BUT. I was thinking about blogging in general and how horrible I am keeping up with it and how I should write my blogoversary post for August 29th. But then I found out my blogoversary wasn't the 29th, but TODAY, so here's to a mad dash to write and edit and publish and format this post so it gets sent out on time.

It's been quite a fun journey. It's actually astonishing to think that I've been writing on this corner of the internet for a whole year. To be honest, it sometimes feels like a lot longer. Blogging is one of those things I'm CONSTANTLY thinking about. I like to think that I have a little blogger bug inside my head constantly poking me to write a post. Blogging can be quite stressful, but I have no regrets.

My first post was exactly a year ago (Oh, wow. Shocker, right?). It wasn't anything special--just a welcoming post, and titled as thus. It's short, and has a grand total of one comment...from my uncle. It's nothing impressive, but 120 followers, 17,000 pageviews, 1,000 comments, and 63 posts later, it really was a start of a journey.

I don't have a fancy giveaway for all of you (I know, I know. I hear the sorrowful cries. Next year. I'm promising you. I'll plan ahead instead of writing it in the middle of the night.), so instead I'm going to share some highlights over the past year,

  • hitting those milestone marks. 50...75...100...115 followers. 
  • receiving super sweet messages from my contact form.
  • figuring out design/coding stuff and not breaking the blog.
  • getting a facebook page and twitter.
  • writing 50,000 words in two weeks.
  • guest posting for people and having people guest post for me. (always open to guest posters if you're interested! Just shoot me a message. :)
  • finally learning how to create good looking graphics.
  • meeting so many new blogger friends!
  • seeing my name pop up around the blogosphere.

  1. Why I'm Now Crazy Insane About Going to Writer's Conferences.
  2. The One Tip That Helped Me Write 50,000 Words in Two Weeks.
  3. Camp NaNoWriMo and Other Such Things.
  4. Three Word Count Boosting Resources for NaNoWriMo.
  5. Flash Fiction Challenge - The Thief's Blade.

I changed my photo that I use around the internet from the dandelion

to a picture of the back of my head. (lovely, right? :p)

Maybe next year I'll actually get a good picture of my face.

BLOGGING BUDDIES (the people who comment and keep me encouraged):
|| names lead to blogs ||

  • Aimee -- you're hilarious, I loveee talking to(or flailing with) you and it makes me happy when you comment. xD
  • Ana -- every comment you write is so genuine and insightful. And long. Long comments are awesome.
  • Victoria Nightsky - thank you for recommending MISTBORN! :p We need to have more bookish talks. *nods*
  • Morgan - super awesome that you're an author, and I've had some fun conversations in the comments with you. :)
  • Rcubed - your comments make me laugh.
  • Annika - my writing buddy! I love your posts and your comments. :D
  • Victoria Howell - so stoked that I got to meet you in person. You're awesome.
  • Eliza - I love that you check back for comments! 
  • Imogen - your face shows up in the comments quite a lot and I really appreciate it. ^.^
  • Sarah - you're so fun to talk to -- I'm glad you check back on your comments so we can talk!
  • Audrey - bookish buddies! Need I say more? ;)
  • Heather - I never understand how you comment so often on allll the posts on all the blogs. But I appreciate it. ;)
  • Athelas - your blog inspired me to create a blog in the first place. And THANK YOU for coming up with the title of my blog. xD

And now I'm going to be all cheesy and say: 


Seriously. I wouldn't be writing this blog if people didn't follow it. I wouldn't write as often (ha, I act like I post every other day.) if people didn't comment and weren't so encouraging. I might not have started this blog if it wasn't for my amazing writing buddies. 

So, basically, you're all awesome. Give yourself a pat on the back or whatever special treat you like to eat. (Pizza? Cookies? *shrugs*)

When's your blogoversary? I want to know so I can put it down on my calendar and then CELEBRATE on said date. 
Once again: thank you!

And now it's five I just made it before the email gets sent out. *collapses*

Why Do We Really Call Writing Hard?

Monday, August 17, 2015
You've probably heard writers (or yourself if you're a writer) complain about this endlessly. We writer's say it all the time, and it's almost an excuse of some sorts.

"writing is harddd." 
(Yes, we say this with multiple D's in our head.)

I've been saying it myself lately every time I run into struggles with editing. I sigh, close my eyes, and whine, "Ugh, editing is harddd.

But after complaining one day, I opened my eyes and thought about it. 

Why do we really call writing hard?

I am in NO WAY questioning the fact that writing is hard. It's just a good thing to think about. What if you were talking about writing and its challenges, and someone asks you, "So why is writing hard?" You don't want to freeze when that happens. 

So, just in case you're not a writer or you are and simply need to be reminded of the difficulties with writing (?), this is a list for you. 

Writers have to put themselves in the minds of characters. 

So what if the writer is an introvert and the character is an extrovert? You have to become like your character in order to understand them. Writer's have to become the hero, the villain, the lover, the comedic relief, and the warrior. 

Writing a book is not a one step process.

First you have to actually come up with the idea. Then, if you're more of a plotter, you have to develop the idea. Think of the characters. Think of the obstacles. After you're done with that, you have to write it. Writing the book is one of the easiest parts. Because after writing, comes editing. 

Editing takes a long time, and often you have to go through multiple drafts to get the manuscript perfect. After the rewrites, the plot changes, the character redevelopment... then you have to line edit. Send it to betas. Send it to critique partners. 

After all of this comes the publishing business. I'm not even going to start on all of the work involved there. 

Writing takes time. 

(Actually, for the next book I write, I'm going to time the hours/days/years it takes me from start to finish. From the small idea to the last edit, so that'll be interesting.)

The problem is, there's only 24 hours in a day. We sleep for a lot of that (or maybe not if you're a writer?), we eat, we procrastinate, spend time on social media, blog, work, school, and do general other things like Church and sports and reading and whatever normal human beings might do.

So after we waste most of that time, there's not actually a lot of time left for writing, so you really have to make the most out of it and work fast. 

Writing needs creativity.

Do you know how hard it is to write when you're sleep deprived and your mind is lacking in, well, thoughts? 

Well, it's hard, and writer's need to do it all the time. Writing takes a lot of creativity and imagination. Especially for fantasy and sci-fi writers to create worlds and new laws of the world. 

And... you actually have to do the writing.

Which means you need lots of motivation. 

I think writers, or at least I have this habit of talking a lot about writing. I read a lot about writing, go to writer's conferences, and I pin writing related images and articles on Pinterest.

But, no matter how much I do all of the above, I actually have to write. I have to do the editing if I want to publish. And I think that's one of the hardest parts about writing: writing. 

- - -

- Katie Grace

Did I miss anything? What makes writing hard for you? (I know you have your reasons, so do share!)

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Why I'm Now Crazy Insane About Going to Writer's Conferences

Monday, August 10, 2015

(There will be pictures littered throughout this post in no particular order or reason, so enjoy or ignore -- whatever you please.)


Some of you know that I went to a writer's conference this last weekend. I went to Realm Makers, a writing conference specifically for Christian speculative authors. 

In short, this was probably one of the best couple days of my life.

You've all heard the "top ten tips" for new writers and experienced writers. Writing article on top of writing article states the same advice over and over and over again: 

Go to a writing conference. 

Me: Hmm.. A writing conference. Sounds awesome, actually. Meeting with other writers and learning about writing... it's something I should look into... *proceeds to "look into" this very, very casually*
Myself: Pfft. Writing conferences. Yeah. They cost hundreds of dollars for a couple of days. You think it's worth it?

Before Realm Makers I placed myself in the "me" category. Now... The "I.

You see, writing conferences are tough. Unless you're extremely lucky, the writing conference isn't going to be near you. Some people at Realm Makers drove fourteen hours or took multiple plane trips just to get to Missouri.

Um, insane. 

And another hard thing about conferences, is the money the conference alone costs. Realm Makers was actually reasonable compared to other conferences I've seen.  Don't get me wrong--any amount of money is a lot of money--but this conference was very reasonable.

I understand if traveling and money get in your way. It is a lot of money. But, if you start saving up now, little by little, you should be able to have enough money eventually and it's entirely worth it.

So back to what I was saying somewhere above this paragraph: "I'm the I me now." (Please just nod your heads and act like that made sense. Yes? Okay. Thanks.)

Why am I CRAZY INSANE about going to writer's conferences now? Here's why. 

Another awesome thing about Realm Makers: they have a costume dinner.

Why I'm now CRAZY INSANE about going to writer's conferences.

image from Pinterest -- not mine.
1. The Connections

Nowhere else than Realm Makers (and possibly other conferences. I wouldn't know since this was my first one.) can you sit at a table with Steve Laube, two Enclave authors, and a bunch of other fantasy/sci-fi writers. 

I'm fairly sure I stayed in composure and didn't start flailing and freaking out. There was squealing, but I tried to keep that quiet. 

I sat next to Anne Elisabeth Stengl's editor. (I'm a huge fan of her books if you didn't know, so that was another super exciting moment.) 

I met so many authors: Jill Williamson, Gillian Bronte Adams, Morgan Busse, Nadine Brandes, Robert Liparulo, and Just B. Jordan.

Jill and I! This actually wasn't at Realm Makers -- I saw her in the airport
and of course had to take a picture with her.
I talked with loads of other writers. They didn't care about my age. They didn't act like they were superior to me because of their added experience. Everyone was excited about meeting each other and making connections. I have so many new writer friends I can't wait to get to know.

2. Knowledge

So. Much. Information. 

*brain explodes*

I filled page after page after page of notes. Despite the hundreds of articles I've read on writing, there was new information that I could apply to my writing in the classes. All of them were really great and led by authors and professionals in the business I look up to. Personally, I don't think you can ever know enough about writing. There is so much out there to think about and absorb. 

I also learned knowledge just from the people I talked to. I learned about them, sure, but I also learned about insides of the publishing process and different techniques people use for editing and such. It was really cool to talk about all this stuff in person since I'm so used to "talking" to the person on a white computer screen. :p

Nadine and I on the last day with our matching epic T-Shirts.

3. Doors

When someone completely misses the point...
I don't usually post GIFS, but this seemed like an appropriate
time because 1: it's a minion, and minions are adorable and 2:
there's a good chance many of you are confused by the door point
right now.

I'm not sure if this is an official quote or anything, but both of my parents talk about taking a hold of opportunity when it comes. 

When a door opens to an opportunity, step through that door; don't hesitate.

Opportunities were popping up everywhere this weekend for everyone, I hope. This point does tie in with number one -- the connections. The connections and the people you meet are really who open the door for you, so BE BOLD. 

I exchanged business cards with people. One lady offered to look over chapters of my novel for me and I offered the same for her. BOOM. Connection made. 

I met with an agent for one of my appointments. It actually went really well -- she would like to see the finished manuscript when I'm done. Nothing may come out of it, and that's okay. Other doors might appear through the connection we made, but right now I'm excited and encouraged and that's opening doors for me to becoming inspired again.

- - -

There are, of course, other reasons I love writer's conferences. The food was good (despite the strange lack of pizza...), there were sooooo many books, and my inner night owl was finally satisfied by the late (early?) 2 a.m. nights. It was really amazing and I want to see ALL of you there next year!

- - -

This is my "I don't want to stand here awkwardly so I'll
just strike an even more awkward pose."
This isn't the last post about Realm Makers -- I plan to do at least one, maybe two more. We'll see what happens and if you think this is remotely interesting. :p

- Katie Grace

There. Now you know why I'm crazy insane about writer's conferences and am hooked FOR LIFE. (I'm unsure if this is a blessing or a curse.) Are you Me, Myself, or I? Have you been to a writers' conference? 
And are you going to Realm Makers next year? (*cough* The only answer to this is yes.)

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Review || Out of Darkness Rising

Tuesday, August 4, 2015


For me, that one word brings up a certain sense of suspense, intrigue, and mystery. It's the first word of Out of Darkness Rising, promising an epic adventure from start to finish, filled with the qualities I listed above.

Gillian does an amazing job of delivering that promise. Evil serpents, betrayal (surprise! xD), sword fights, and the figure of our one true hope are packed into a 160 page novella. To say it was epic is an understatement. The book never drags--the plot's never boring. Each page brings new adventures to keep you on your toes. :)

See our lovely flowerpots on the background with sad looking weeds planted
in them? Yeah, it's a bit pathetic. :p
The length. 

(You can also take this as a pro, since I'm sad that it ended so soon. *shrug*) In a way I feel bad for commenting about this part of the story. Being a writer myself, I know it's hard to just change the size of a book and make a shorter length novella into a gigantic novel. But as a reader I was disappointed that it only took under an hour to read it; I wanted more of the story. I feel like some parts could have been drawn out a bit more to give it a longer length.

The allegory.

Wow. Just... wow. Gillian really nailed it on the head with this one. The allegory was so crystal clear. She wrote about the fall of man and how they were tempted with the serpent. She did this in such a genius way and one that I have never seen done before. The resemblance to the Bible was obvious, but not in a way where it took away from the book. It just added to the already epic story.

Look! More sad flowerpots. (Sorry, mom. xD)


Marya's (one of the main characters) story felt very short, to me. By the time we get to the present moment (where the back cover blurb describes), the story is half done. I wish there would have been more time to get to know her character and maybe go a little deeper into the story.

The writing. 

Sometimes, when I read a very awesome book, I get jealous of the author's writing skills. 
This was the case for Out of Darkness Rising. I wanted to transfer Gillian's words to my own story. They were perfectly crafted in a way that made them flow seamlessly one after the next. There weren't any odd sentences that I had to read twice for them to make sense.

The cover.

 Um, and I just need to admire the cover for a moment. It's amazing. *dies* That's what first caught my attention before I heard of the book. (I know, shameless cover judge-r.) And after reading the back cover blurb, I knew that I had to read this book.

Darkness reigns unchallenged.  
For the villagers on the accursed Island, life has only one meaning -- death. bound to the Island by the curse, the villagers suffer beneath the iron claw of the serpent, daily breathing the poison of his breath and dying to appease his insatiable appetite. 
When Marya's parents are slain by the serpent for their belief in a legendary king, she becomes an Outcast. Struggling to survive and avoid the vengeance of the Tribunal, Marya is torn between legend and the harsh reality of the Island. Yet when a forgotten promise springs to life, she cannot help wondering if the old stories might in fact be true. And if they are, will the promise prove stronger than the curse?

Image of Gillian Bronte Adams
Gillian Bronte Adams is a sword-wielding, horse-riding, coffee-loving fantasy author from the great state of Texas. During the day, she manages the equine program at a Christian youth camp, but at night, she kicks off her boots and spurs, pulls out her trusty laptop, and transforms into a novelist. Her love of epic stories and a desire to present truth in a unique way drew her to the realm of fantasy. Visit her online at

Blog | Facebook | Website |

- Katie Grace

Thanks to Gillian for providing me a free copy of the book in exchange for a review!

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