May Highlights // 2016

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

(remember last monthly highlights? you all said it was appropriate to shout pizza for an intro, so I went ahead and did it.)

// I'M PRACTICALLY DONE WITH SCHOOL. I basically am except for a few assorted corrections and tests. But I'm good with saying that I'm done. And ohhh it feels so good to be away from the evilness of fall, winter, and spring. I'M FREE. FOR A WHOLE SUMMER.

// I started the show Falling Skies! It's basically an alien apocalypse show that has super strong family relationships and wonderful characters. <3 *is so excited to watch all of the seasons*

// I've been listening to lots of Twenty One Pilots. (surprise? no? didn't think so.) I've found a couple of other artists that I've been listening to more as well, too. Truslow, and NF. (links lead to my favorite songs of theirs)

// LOTS of grad parties. (which means lots of good, junky sweets. mmmm...) I can't help but simultaneously wish that I was graduating, and also hope that I never graduate because life after high school is scary.

// CAPTAIN AMERICA CIVIL WAR FINALLY CAME OUT. *screaming* I may have already seen it three times, and am planning on a fourth in June. It's that good, you guys. The feels kinda killed me.

trying to act cool with the sis

// Speaking of Civil War, this is an actual thing that happened in youth group, and it was epic.
Murf (my youth pastor's nickname)*is wearing a Captain America sweatshirt*
Murf: *takes it off*
Murf: *is wearing a Stark Industries shirt underneath*
I love my youth pastor. I think I've only seen him without a superhero shirt once. He literally wears one all the time. He's basically a superhero himself by now and it's awesome. xD

// I've officially started my job at Starbucks! I finished training, which is kind of terrifying, because I don't know if I'm completely ready? I've worked on the drive thru a couple times. It's actually quite fun punching the orders into the point of sale system. xD I work again tomorrow, so we'll see how it goes! *crosses fingers*

// And life is just... exploding, all of a sudden? There was a time in May where I only read 20 pages in seven days. ACK. Editing, working 20 hours a week, finishing up school, blogging... it's crazy and I think I might go insane.
Only bought one book this month: Bruiser! It's a fabulous and very feelsy book and also has pizza mentioned on the first page. So.

And the main reason that I bought it... (other than it being a fabulous book) because I got to meet the author! (picture below) There was a teen literature conference one Saturday near me, so I went and was able to meet Neal Shusterman and Leigh Bardugo. :D 

Also this happened one night while reading:

It made me laugh once I got over how tired I was going to be the next morning. :P

Total of the month:

It's my lowest month of the year, but it's also been the busiest month. Hoping June will be better.

+ 'the adventures of superhero girl' which would not fit into this picture.

Favorite: Unwind! After Aimee and Anna continued to shove it in my face, I finally read it. And loved it. *hugs the book*

Honorable mention: Hawkeye. <3 It's the "all new hawkeye vol. 5" and OH it is gorgeous. The parallels and the story and Hawkeye... you all need to read it.

Disappointment: This Shattered World, Jerk, California, Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children. All of those I rated two stars. I had hopes for higher ratings... but oh well.

Best cover: None of them are my favorites, but I really like River Secrets. The soft illustrated art and the pretty text suits the story. <3


WRITING. (or should I say editing? heh.)
Well, editing has been happening this month. I waited a week after May started and then dove into all of the beta edits. And quickly realized that my hope of finishing the edits by June is a very big task.

So I'm hoping now to finish by mid/end of June before Camp NaNo begins. Ack, it's a lot of work and petty things I need to change. Which I suppose is better than huge plot things, but yet means that it's very time consuming.

Also on a random note... I'm SO very thankful for my beta readers! SO SO SO SO SO THANKFUL. <3 <3 It's crazy how awesome you guys were and all the work that you put into my book. (I mean, wahht? I can't even imagine.) Seriously. You deserve all the hugs and pizza. <3

Hopefully I can find time amidst the craziness in June to edit. *pumps fist tiredly* LET'S DO THIS.

Also, speaking of writing... I signed up for Realm Makers! Will I see any of you there? 

*this section was very random and incoherent but it's not an official post by me unless a little bit like that*


// another blogspot design post! (probably the last one in a long time.)

// a conference overview of when I meet Aimee, Hannah, and Caroline. *happy flailing*

// and two other posts that I will keep a surprise because surprises are fun. (now I feel like I'm setting these posts up to be I'M GETTING PUBLISHED or something crazy like that. I'm merely keeping them a surprise because I am, not because their topic is super special. Sorry. xD)

// katie grace

Have you discovered any new music artists lately? How was your month? Did you finish school? 
And if you're graduating... CONGRATULATIONS. *confetti*

The Power of Words

Saturday, May 28, 2016
Words are awesome.

Words are practically life. They enable us to communicate with each other, write novels for a living (the dream is real...), and express our fangirl feels with words like: AJDFKALSJFKLS;JF. 

The amazing, fabulous, lovely, wonderful, awesome, fantastic (look at me showing off the power of words to get across how cool this blogger is) Abbiee tagged me for the power of words tag. Here are the rules that you'll probably skip over anyways but I feel obligated to put them in. :P

// thank the person who nominated you and give a link to their blog (optional: give them a waffle slice of pizza for tagging you!).
// answer the original 6 text-themed questions.
// add a typography/word related question of your own for those you tagged to answer.
// tag 6+ bloggers and let them know (via their blogs, social media, whatev).
// include these rules in your post (almost disobeyed this one. whoops).


I never knew that people had favorite letters of the alphabet. o.o IS THIS A THING THAT I'M NOT AWARE OF?! *horrified gasp* ('xcuse me while I go rethink my entire existence)

*writes all the letters for reference so I can study them* 

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

HM. Well, I love writing the lowercase letter 'i,' because then I can use a heart as the dot or do something else creative with it. Or I can make a 'u' into a smiley face. And smiley faces are awesome.

But my least favorite? Lowercase 'k.' I really have nothing against the letter, I just hate writing it out. Ew. I get shivers just thinking about it. *shakes head in horror*


ONLY THREE WORLDS OH HELP MY HEART. I love so many words it's insane. And speaking of insane, it's a cool word. Just sayin'.

l o v e l y 
e e r i e
t h u n d e r s t o r m
a s j f k d f l
s o n g 

(didn't think I'd ACTUALLY leave the last one out, did you? :P)
(and asfjkdfl is totally a word don't even deny it.)


(I'm going to go ahead and assume that the three words are not including swear words, words that put people down, etc. Cause obviously I hate those. ;)

HM. Another hard question. I don't like writing my name. (love mah name, though <3) Is that weird? 'Grace' is fine, but Katie... Eh. I LOVE the sound and the name -- I'm completely happy with it -- but I just don't like how it feels to hand write it out. xD

Also exercise. Can't stand that word. Or mornings. Or school. Math. Those words are dangerous and I might possibly turn into a dragon at the mention of them. 


Ha, this is a funny question, because my mom and my sister and I have actually created a word. :P

(to be preformed with a dramatic arm gesture, along with drawing out the "habukaaaaa" in a deep voice kind of like a gorilla)


1. your mission in life; goal or purpose. 
(ex: my habuka is to be awesome. *clears throat* HABUKAAAAA.) 


I use a lot of dashes in my writing -- I believe they're called something like that -- because it sets off a thought or phrase nicely. ALSO, COMMAS. My mom calls me "comma happy," since I can never stop using them. I have a tiny bit of a problem.

(And parenthesis are fun (awesome, fantastic, fabulous), because you can ramble within a ramble (rambling is basically my best friend) and it's completely okay.)



And alllll the fonts that I had downloaded got erased with a computer update thing, so I don't have any to choose from. *weeps* But my A Twisted Star cover (pictures in this post), used the font WINDSONG for the text. I liked that one a lot. :D 

Encouragement. Because everyone could use some encouragement in their lives. Words along those lines -- happiness, kindness, laughter, smiles -- also mean a lot. Because I like to give out happiness and smiles. ^.^

Abbiee's lovely question:

OOH. I know. I would want laughter to sound like "AHAHAHAHAH." (so actual laughter.) So when someone says...

"I like to laugh."

They're really saying...

"I like to AHAHAHAHA."

I don't know why but that made me giggle. (Or should I say laugh, so I can say: ahahaha. ;) IT'S LATE AND I'M IN A CRAZY MOOD SORRY FOR MY LAME ATTEMPTS AT HUMOR. :P 

My question for the people I tag (or anyone who wants to do it!):

what's one word that makes you laugh?

I TAG...
emily // hannah // opal // anna // sarah // christine // + you!

// katie grace

So? What's one word that makes you laugh? Do you have a favorite letter of the alphabet, or do you join my 'it's too hard to chose favorites' club? 

(pssst! Also, the last day of the month is this Tuesday, which means monthly highlights! There's gonna be lots packed into the post, so make sure to keep an eye out for it. :D)

things to know before sending your novel to beta readers

Saturday, May 21, 2016
This past April, I did a very scary thing. A scary thing that proceeded to make me shake and cringe whenever the topic came up. It involved my writing. It involved other people. Put those two together, and it involved other people reading my writing. Beta readers.

UM. OKAY. NO BIG DEAL. *heart attack*

I am not a big fan of people reading my writing. It sounds silly -- I know. Because don't writers write stories for people to read?

Yes. But. Still. That's scary. :P

I have learned things through this beta process. And since many of you might go through the beta process eventually (it's something you really, really should do), here are some things to know before handing your baby off.

betas are nice. 

Even though I was scared to death of sending my manuscript to betas, after the first few comments came back, I started to relax. (A little bit.) No one was sending my angry emails of how awful it was. They handled critique kindly. They flailed. They told me how they couldn't wait to read the sequel. From every comment I walked away feeling encouraged and ready to make my book better. That's more than I could've asked for.

give your betas more time to read than you'd think.

Most of my betas said that they would be able to give me feedback within a month, and only half actually fulfilled that. (this isn't to make anyone feel bad -- just passing on information that can help others in the future :)

Life happens. Most of my betas had their own books to write and edits. I completely understand! (Gosh, I'm just happy that people signed up and are excited.) But for you writers who want to have feedback returned by a certain date... make sure you allow time for betas to fall behind and take longer than expected.

Even if you don't need feedback by a certain time, deadlines are good. Then betas won't get into the thinking mentality of "I can always do this later -- there's no time I need to get my critiques sent in by."

say YES to all the betas.

Originally -- as in a couple months ago -- I expected to have around 7-10 betas. It's a good, average amount of betas, but I had to factor in several things:

// some of my betas might become busy and won't be able to finish it in time.
// some betas may never even start my book.
// not all of my betas will stick around or be able to read the sequel. 

So, since I had almost 40 people sign up, I said yes to all of them. Only half of them returned feedback (20), and I'm guessing only 15 of those will end up reading the sequel. So while 40 originally sounds like a lot, it was actually nowhere close to that.

betas will catch even the smallest of mistakes. 

I assumed that betas would catch mistakes in my book. I mean, that's what they're for, right? But I didn't know that they were so good at catching mistakes. 

My fantastic betas realized that I skipped from chapter 25 to chapter 27. They found character inconsistencies and places where I'm missing a word. They caught everything. Though it's overwhelming to have all that feedback thrown at you, I couldn't be happier. Because ultimately my book will get better because of this. *confetti*

questions are a very good thing.

Instead of leaving it up to your betas to send in feedback, have a list of questions for them. This was extremely helpful, and betas went into tons of detail. (I practically received a whole novel of feedback through the forms. Like, almost 15k words. o.O)

I asked seven questions and had a space where they could leave general thoughts. Be sure to ask about characters, plot, and confusing parts. That's where I got the majority of my critiques.

I used a google form which worked nicely for having everything in one place, but you could always attached a word document of questions or even paste some into an email. Do whatever works best for you.

have something you can work on while you wait for feedback.

THIS IS A THOUSAND TIMES IMPORTANT. In a matter of moments after I sent off my book to beta readers, I started brainstorming my Camp NaNoWriMo novel. A day later I started my Camp NaNoWriMo novel. So it worked out where I was I doing something while people attacked my novel. 

I could've gone crazy without keeping myself busy. I would've turned into an obsessively checking email monster. And instead I turned into an obsessively insane zombie writer. Not the greatest alternative, but I'm a writer, so what else do you expect?
- - -

// katie grace

Have you given your novel to beta readers? What did you learn?
Or are you planning to give your novel to betas eventually?

Making Your Novel Into A Book

Saturday, May 14, 2016
As writers, we all have the dream of seeing our stories on our bookshelves one day -- whether it be through traditional or self publishing.

But what if you want to have your book on the bookshelf... without having it published? Just so you can read it for fun and look at your words on page?

You can make that happen for under ten dollars. BOOM. And I'm going to show you how. (with rambling, because that's how I do things)

There are so many websites where you can print your book nowadays. Createspace and Blurb are popular ones. I've found that Lulu is the cheapest and easiest option to use. This post will be about Lulu.

As you can see above, you can order both hardcovers and paperbacks. Since the paperbacks are a lot cheaper, I just went for those since I don't have much of a preference.

Making the book itself is very self explanatory. You're able to choose a bunch of different sizes (I just went for the standard 6x9), cream or white inside color, glossy or matte finish...

After you choose all of this, you'll want to upload the book's file. I uploaded it in a simple word file, but a PDF works as well. Before you upload it, make sure you edit your Microsoft Word pages to match the size of the print book. I went to page layout >> size >> more paper sizes >> and edited in the correct lengths. I also set the margins to "0.66" all around, since then you can fit more words in each page.

I was a dork and forgot to think about this thing called fonts. So three of my books were printed in normal Arial, and I printed the last one in Palatino Linotype. (font 11) I like that one a lot better -- it's not quite as bold and eye-killing.

Once it's uploaded... then comes the fun part: the cover. I just used my covers with images from Pinterest and plopped the text on them using Picmonkey. Do not use images from Pinterest if you're going to sell these books on Amazon or self-publish them. Since these were only for personal use and I wanted to print them for fun, I'm going to go ahead and assume that there's no harm in this. :P

The cover was SO much fun... but also very time consuming. And frustrating. *grumbles* It was a very difficult process figuring out where the spine was and how big the text should be. It's not perfect, but since I printed my first drafts... they don't really need to be perfect.

I used the advanced one-piece cover designer. They'll tell you all the dimensions (as you can see below). Picmonkey was great for making specific sizes, though it took a lot of fiddling. Make the cover when you have lots of time and patience. xD

On the back of the cover, I placed in small(ish) text when I wrote the book. It's almost like a timeline of sorts -- I'm super excited to add more to the collection. *happiness*

Lulu has the handy dandy option of "making this book only available to me." So you don't have to worry about it accidentally being published to Amazon. (My worst nightmare ever.)

Click submit, wait for everything to upload... And you're good to go! Each book cost under ten dollars for me, though it might be more or less depending on how long your book is.

They're actually heavier then I expected. They weigh 67.97 ounces, or 4.244 pounds. (because this is obviously an important fact that you want to know. Ha.)

A picture of them on my head. Because, why not? 

ALL FOUR OF THEM! They're positioned below in the order I wrote them from top to bottom. The first one I wrote in January, 2014, and I just finished A Twisted Star in April of 2016. All the excitement. *happy sigh*

SINCE these are first drafts, I went ahead and put The Music Master on the cover instead of Song of the Desert since that's what it was originally called in that stage. It's weird seeing it that way, but ahhh, the memories... ;)

My reason for ordering the first draft is so that I can read them, make notes in them, and then once I edit them (If I will EVER finish editing), I'll order edited version.  This makes it so I can compare them to the originals and see how the story has changed. And I can 100% guarantee that these stories change. A lot.

But SINCE they're first drafts... They have a lot of first-draft lingo. I make things interesting as I write them... as well as 100000x harder to edit. For instance, when I DO remember to put in chapter breaks, this tends to happen: 

And then little comments of despair. #firstdraftproblems

The Sand Dragon's Song is my favorite cover by far. It just makes me super happy and flail whenever I see it. :D

A Twisted Star is my second favorite. The twisted text (heh, see what I did there?) stands out awesome against the night sky. 

Basically, if you get anything out of this post at all, make your novel into a book if you can. It's encouraging to see your Microsoft Word document with a blinking cursor into an actual form that you can hold. (and throw against the wall when you get frustrated with editing) The whole process took me about an hour for one book (which was mostly me fiddling with the cover), and for under ten dollars? That's an insane deal.

// katie grace

I basically threw a bunch of information at you... so any questions? Do you ever find any amusing things in your first drafts? 

thoughts about life with song lyrics

Saturday, May 7, 2016
If you aren't aware (which would make me surprised knowing how much I flail over them), my favorite band is Twenty One Pilots. (link leads to their website)

This band is so awesome that they deserve a post. Their songs are just deep. Relatable. I wanted to go ahead and do a little bit of "throwing" my thoughts around about life with some of their lyrics. Each lyric will have a link that leads to a youtube video of that song.

And please note that all lyrics are just interpreted how I take them. There's no correct meaning -- it's just how I use and relate to them in my life. :)

Also, this might not be everyone's taste in music? But each of their songs are different, so if you don't like one, definitely try another. Some are peaceful and others are more intense. I can point you toward a specific song. :D

*loves this band so much guys AHH*

"they say stay in your lane, boy, but we go where we want to."
- lane boy by Twenty One Pilots.

I love this lyric. Often we're expected just to go in this "lane" through life. Once we're finished with high school, we move onto college. The question is, "where are you going to college?" Not, "are you going to college?" 

Expectations are all around. Fit in with the crowd. Listen to certain music. Watch certain things. Dress this way. Just "be okay" with the crazy mixed up thoughts of the people of this world.

But, as Christians, we have a mission. We can't just fit in with the crowd. Act like all the rest of them. You've probably heard this before from a pastor, but "we want others to look at us and say... they're different." And that's because we act differently. For a reason.

We aren't going to stay in our lane. We're going to stay away from dressing a certain way and saying a certain thing -- driving off a road in life where others might go. We're gonna move all over the highway of society, spreading our love with us.

(note: the artist used this lyric to describe doing things differently in the music industry -- deeper lyrics and things outside the norm. Just another thing I like about this band: even though they might've written it a certain way, I can still apply it to a very serious part of my life.)

- - -
"death inspires me like a dog inspires a rabbit"
- heavydirtysoul by Twenty One Pilots

Ugh, I love this lyric. For the longest time after hearing this song, I didn't get it. I'd sing along and chant the saying, but I didn't think about what the song was really talking about.

A dog inspires a rabbit to run -- to use all of it's energy and do everything it can to get away from the dog. From death.

And in the same way, death inspires us humans (unless you're a mortal dragon or something) -- to run. It scares us. And I think what's important is to use that fear of death and shape it into a passion and a fire. A fire to live out God's love before He takes us home. Love others well. Do good in the world.

Basically I just love line so much and it makes me think about living life well. (which is easier said than done. ha.)
- - -
"peace will win, fear will lose"
- car radio by Twenty One Pilots

Do you ever take a look at the news? It's a scary place. There's chaos everywhere. Bad things happening. Constant wars and fights breaking out in other nations -- and in our own.

But... there's also hope. In the midst of the fear of wondering who the next president will be or seeing terrorist attacks throughout the world... Peace will win. Fear will lose. God will win. Satan will lose.

I think that's super important to remember. Especially in the world we live in. And to quote another one of their songs, Migraine... Life has a hopeful undertone. The peace and the hope is there.

- - -
"you will die, but now your life is free. take pride in what is sure to die"
- truce by Twenty One Pilots

We'll all die eventually. But while we have time, we can take pride in ourselves. It kind of goes back to the death inspires me like a dog inspires a rabbit, line. God's given us a lovely amount of time here on earth, and now we can do what we can with it.

I love the "take pride in what is sure to die" part of this line. We are the ones that are sure to die. And it's so easy to become insecure. Insecurity is huge a lot in my writing -- is this good enough? this probably is stupid. what if this book doesn't live up to the other one? Insecurity can be huge in life, too -- what am I going to do after school? am I just that weird writer person? am I making the right decisions? 

Taking a healthy amount of pride -- confidence for yourself -- is so important. God made you to be a certain way. Embrace that. I'm working to become better at that, and this song is such a good reminder. <3 

- - -
I'm going to stop the rambles, now, because I could seriously go on forever about this band. You'll probably see more about them eventually, since I can't ever imagine that I'll stop feeling this way about their songs.

I know this post was a little bit different than what I normally write, but I hope you enjoyed it or found a new band to listen to. <3 

// katie grace

Have you listened to Twenty One Pilots? What's your favorite song? Need some help with recommendations? 

And what are some of your favorite song lyrics in general? What do they mean to you?

*alllll the questions and thoughts for you today, mwahaha*