July Highlights // 2016

Saturday, July 30, 2016
And just like that, July is nearly over. o.o 

I am actually very sad for July to end, since that means that summer is nearly over. Which means school starts. Which basically means all the sadness and tears and less time and not staying up so late. *dies* (August will be a good month. It's just that school kind of hangs over my head. :P)

But this month, for the most part, was absolutely fabulous. Let's see what happened. (please note that 2am Katie wrote most of this post. you've been warned.)

(and I'm posting the monthly highlights a day early and keeping it simple this month. :P)

this image was all cute and summery and it make me happy. <3 

WELL THIS MONTH HAD A LOT GOING ON. Or, kind of? I actually didn't do too much, but with working now, that always makes my schedule pile up. :P

I saw Star Trek Beyond! I just love Star Trek and the characters and the different creatures and deep space and all. Yes, even more the Star Wars. (sorry to all the Star Wars fans. I love it, just... not as much. xD) Compared to the other two Star Trek movies before this, I didn't like it nearly quite as much. The general feel of it was not what I had hoped for, but I still really enjoyed it. ('cause it's star trek) The second one is my favorite. So much awesomeness.

I got new business cards! Now that it's 2am and it's dark and I can't really take pictures good enough for you to see them... Here's just the picture file. I'm happy with how they turned out and how they match my blog. :D

view it in all it's giant gorgeousness xD

HOMEMADE PIZZAS. My family has been doing this more recently, and I am forever thankful. Especially to my dad, because he's the one that makes up the dough and such. I just get to smother all the cheese on top, mwahaha. (but here's a picture because they looked very authentic in the grill. mmm, making myself hungry.)

And... I'm at Realm Makers right now?! I was terrified that I wasn't going to be able to post this on time, originally, since the wi-fi wouldn't work for the first couple of days. I've been keeping up this Saturday post schedule since last October, so I didn't want today to be the day to ruin the streak. xD 

But now it's working! So much relief. (I hate to admit how much I depend on the internet, but... it's needed! :P)  Realm Makers is awesome and I'll show pictures soon. Not sure if I'll do a separate post or smash them together in August's highlights, but it will happen! I'm with a bunch of awesome Christian speculative authors and writers and readers and it's making me all warm and happy inside. <3

This month, reading was basically like a rotten banana falling down a staircase. Slowly, and you never hear of that happening. (not really sure if that analogy even words. but it's 2am so lets just go with that.) (and as I'm rereading over this to "edit," I have no idea what I exactly mean. But I'm keeping it because the image of a falling banana peel is making me giggle, so.) (either that or it's making me giggle because now it's almost three. not sure. probably should just stop rambling.)

Here are the books! I read six published books this month, but I was able to read Aimee's, Anna's, and Abi's (they all start with A's, heh) fabulous novels. *major fangirl squealing* You should definitely check their blogs out. *nodnod*

Favorite (out of the published ones pictured about, ha): The Nest. Dude, this book was just amazing. It officially was a middle grade novel, but it didn't feel like that? It was creepy, weird, dealt with mental illness, dream-like, lyrical writing, and was basically all I ever look for in a book. So I'm definitely, definitely buying this one in the future. :D

Favorite cover: I LOVE ALL OF THESE COVERS SO MUCH. I love the font of Railsea and the general steampunk feel, I love the feel of "the Nest" and how it perfectly sets up the story, and the cover of Summerlost is gloriously illustrated and it makes me happy. :D

ALSO!! GUESS WHAT?! My favorite author everrr, Nadine Brandes, had her cover reveal this month for her third book in the A Time to Rise trilogy. :D The cover is amazing, and click the link to go preorder it. *brainwashes you* You know you want to, mwahahahaha.

ATtR Full Cover - IG - ST

More exciting bookish things! I GOT A NEW BOOKSHELF! Since I am away on vacation currently and kind of half set up my bookshelf before layering my floor in all the rest, I don't actually have pictures of the shelves. So for now you can just feast your eyes on the glorious piles of books that almost fell on me. xD

I only bought one book this month, which was Scythe by Neal Shusterman. It releases in November, and it has the epicest cover ever. Seriously. Ever. I think it might be in my top three favorites. I love the simplicity but yet how it just pops. (This whole section is turning into me rambling about covers. But I love covers so much I'm only a tiny bit sorry.)

I think that's all for the bookish stuff, so onto the wondrous world of writing. :D
I FINISHED EDITING MY BETA COMMENTS. *confetti and celebration forever* I was so excited when I finished, that I ran straight out into the thunderstorm (like, severe thunderstorm. Hailed for a little bit. #livingontheedge) and had a little dancing party. It was glorious. xD

So, what will I do in the meantime?  Edit the sequel. And not only edit the sequel, but rewrite. Ew. Much ew. Much cringe. Much gross. (rewriting is just about my least favorite thing ever if you didn't know)

But Camp NaNoWriMo came along with it's excellent timing, so I was able get lots done with it's help.

My original goal for Camp NaNoWriMo was 50 hours of editing. I started out with using hours for tracking my word count, but then I realized that I would have to scrap and rewrite my whole book. Yes, the whole sequel. *dyingggg* So I switched to tracking my word count instead. :P

I actually made a lot of progress. I have no idea when I want to finish this draft -- maybe by the end of August? We'll see.

ANYWAYS. Here's my Camp NaNo chart. Which is actually going to by highly inaccurate, because I'm doing another 10k on the 31st. Since I can. xD So my ending word count will be around 80,000 for the month.

Those big jumps in my word count? Those were the days I wrote fifteen thousand and twenty thousand. Possibly in one day. Not sure how that happened.

Overall, this month of writing/rewriting/editing went well, and I am happy. :D


Also, the ever talented Abbiee interviewed me on her blog! It was great fun and awesome and you should check it out. (click the pretty little picture she made)

A lot of awesome posts this month that you should definitely read if you haven't already:

Hannah wrote about the lie "I will never be good enough" we often tell ourselves.

Want to get started on bookstagram? What is bookstagram? Cait told us allll her secrets.

Jeniqua talked about using pain and the hard times in our writing.

"When I almost died and what I have to say about it." <-- a super powerful post by Rosalie.

There will be some design changes happening on A Writer's Faith! Mwaha, all the excitement. It won't be too different, but I'm excited for the changes that will (probably) be happening.

A recap of mine and Aimee's and Anna's insane #20k1day. 

MY BLOGOVERSARY. So this is super exciting, since I will have been blogging for two years! :D But... what should I do?! I'm thinking of having a giveaway (cause obviously giveaways are fun), but what else? I've seen a couple bloggers around the blogosphere do some Q+A video sorts of things. I think that might be fun, but... is anyone interested in that? Would that just be boring? Do tell me so I can plan ahead and ask questions and all that. xD (so you can see mah face and all it's random expressions)
// katie grace

Did you see Star Trek? What books did you buy (or read) this month?

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Foolproof Responses To The Question: "What's Your Book About?"

Saturday, July 23, 2016
One thing I've noticed through the writing community (with the occasionally exception), is that we all very much dislike being asked, "What's your book about?"

It's for a variety of reasons, but the two I've found to be true for myself, is the fear of it sounding stupid, and being unable to craft a 90,000 word novel into a few sentences. 

But never fear! I am here! (*hands myself cookies for rhyming like a pro) I've come up with a list of VERY VERY VERY serious answer to that question. (sarcasm, much?)

Oops. Good luck taking this advice to heart. Here we go.

(Also, before I start... my midnight mind was being, well, a tired midnight mind, and decided to use "failproof" in the image instead of "foolproof." What even. Why, Katie. Failproof isn't even a word. AREN'T YOU SUPPOSED TO BE A WRITER?)

Ahem. Anyways. Onto the post after you all laugh at my embarrassing typo.

what's your book about?
*starts screaming*

what's your book about?
*motions to ear* *mouths* "Can't... hear you."

what's your book about?
"I'll give you chocolate in return for me not answering."

what's your book about?
"I think you have confused me with my twin. I don't write. Heh. Definitely not."

what's your book about?

what's your book about?

what's your book about?
*mutter something about the weather*

what's your book about?
"You just asked about pizza, right? Oh, you didn't? Can we talk about pizza instead?"

what's your book about? 
"What do you want my book to be about?"

what's your book about?
"You don't want to know."

what's your book about?
*distant sobbing*

what's your book about?

what's your book about?
"Access to this question denied."

what's your book about?
*hands them this post*

what's your book about?
"I know my main character's name. That good enough?"

what's your book about?
"You tell me."

what's your book about?
"Death. Blood. Insanity. Feels."
^ feel like that could relate to most novels.

what's your book about?
"It's a secret."

what's your book about?
"It's a fantasy story."
or sci-fi, contemporary, etc. easy way out.
(and this is probably the most helpful response actually xD)

what's your book about?
"System failure. In my brain. Help."

what's your book about?
*whips out weapon* "Would you like to rephrase that?"
actually, don't do this one. the results may not be particularly positive.

And, when all else fails, you could answer like this:

what's your book about?
[insert perfectly crafted one sentence pitch]
But. I mean. Who even does that, right? Right? *nervous laughter*

// katie grace

Am I the only one that freezes up when someone asks me what my book is about? 
What do you usually say in response to this question -- if you're able to force out anything at all? ;)
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When Life Gets Busy

Saturday, July 16, 2016
Busy, busy, busy.

Life is just go, go, go.

Finish one task? Start another. Look at that never ending to-do list weighing down your soul. Cross one off and ten more appear.

It's just do, do, do. 

Clean, work, errands, school. Putting "reading" on your to-do list so you don't forget.

You know what I'm realizing?

Life is always going to be busy.

I'm always going to have to make time for writing. For plotting and editing. I'm always going to have
to make time for Saturday's blog post. 

I'm always going to have to make time for life tasks in the midst of school, work, church activities, eating... (Yes, eating. ha.)

I'm not going to get any less busy with time. I'll ALWAYS have things I want to do. Need to do.

And if I realize and accept that, instead of moaning about how much free time I had last year, it'll be tons easier. I won't be comparing current me to past me. 

Life is crazy. For everyone. Here's what I'm learning to do in times of craziness.

When life gets busy, prioritize. 

When life gets busy, b r e a t h e.

When life gets busy, ask for help.

When life gets busy, focus on the important things.

When life gets busy, include breaks.

When life gets busy, make the most of the time in the day.

When life gets busy, help those who are more in need of my time than I am.

When life gets busy, try to get "some" sleep.

When life gets busy, realize that everyone else is busy as well.

When life gets busy, remember not to overdo things.

When life gets busy, step back and try to enjoy. Stop fretting. Worrying.

When life gets busy, pray. trust God. be thankful.


a shorter, more life-y post than I usually do, but it's nice to do those every once in awhile. :)

// katie grace

Are you feeling the busyness of life?
What do you do when life gets busy?

How You Can Be A Helpful Beta Reader

Saturday, July 9, 2016
It is a Saturday, which means another blog post!

Today is a crazy busy Saturday for me, filled with coffee shops, relative's book signings, working, and new bookshelves. So an awesome day, but a busy day. xD What do you have planned for your Saturday?

Last year, I wrote a post on How Writers Can Help Their Beta Readers. So now I'm doing the same sort of thing, but from the other perspective.

Here's how to be the most fabulous beta reader ever.

The whole point of beta reading is to help make the book better. So when writer's give you their book, and you reply with, "AH THIS WAS SO AWESOME I CAN'T THINK OF ANYTHING TO SAY," is not helpful. One bit. Granted, it makes us feel nice, but saying, "Wow. This was really amazing because [reasons], but I think you can improve on these parts..." is a thousand times more helpful.

It's hard to be honest. When I beta read a book that needs work, it's hard to tell them the honest truth that the characters aren't personable. But when you tell them that -- in a nice way -- you are basically turning into superman and sharing your superpowers. Aw yas.

Most writers I've beta read for have given me a deadline. If you don't receive a deadline, you should ask for one (or make one up), because otherwise it's way too easy to let that novel grow dust in your inbox. 

Honor the writer's request.

Plus, it's great practice for when you're a famous author someday and have to finish your novel in a certain amount of time and send it to your editor. Deadlines are evil, but necessary. 

Also, if you can't make it within the deadline, let the writer know. It's a polite thing to do.

Let me make this clear: you don't have to make comments in the document, but it's really, really awesome when you do. 

Reader reactions are amazing. It helps the writer understand which scenes are the best, and which scenes don't gather as much excitement.

A couple of my beta readers made comments on basically everything -- good and bad. It was awesome. I had almost 2,000 comments between the readers. Which is a LOT, but the comments were ridiculously helpful. And fun to read when they started flailing over some of my favorite scenes.

So write all the comments. Spam the writer with all the messages. Make them feel awesome.

More often than not, the writer will send a feedback form or list of questions for you to answer. If you're anything like me, it's easy to forget what you disliked about the book and instead think about the awesome flail-worthy parts. (my memory is the size of a shrew. I'm actually not sure how big a shrew is, but it sounds tiny. So let's go with that.)

Often I'll fill out the questions as I find things to comment on in the book, so there's very little for me to do after I finish the thing.


Because writer's are fragile creatures, and too much criticism will send them into a dark hole of denial and sadness. So do please make sure to find several things you love -- several things that they can cling onto for hope. 

Hope is essential for writers, since crippling self-doubt is very common. Unfortunately.


If you haven't beta read a book before, you should definitely do the thing. You get to read a book for free by one of your writing friends, help make it better, see it evolve, and when it becomes a best seller, you can take pride in that you beta read the book in its earlier drafts. 

Plus analyzing plots with a critical eye will help you edit your own book. So go beta read all the things. xD

// katie grace

Can you think of any other ways in which a beta reader can be helpful?
What about you? Have you ever beta read a book?

Very Serious Tips On How To Write Fast

Saturday, July 2, 2016
Camp NaNo has begun! Whether your goal is 5,000 or 100,000, writing fast is very useful with helping to finish a story so you can edit write a new one.

I write very fast. It's just how I do things. 100,000 in a month or 60,000 in two weeks -- it's become my normal writing routine. Yes, I do get exhausted from all the endless typing, but... it's almost hard for me to write slow. Which can be a curse since that means alllll the gibberish. 

Do you want to write faster? Her are my very flawless tips on how to write like a superhuman.

It's very important to write where you can focus. That's why I do most of my writing at night. In a dark room. With no people or distraction.

Preferably I would lock myself away in a dungeon. Its' a rather great place to write a book. And most definitely no distraction.

Writing by a window IS great for creativity and inspiration... but when I'm trying to write fast, the neighbor mowing his lawn becomes the most interesting thing in the world. You probably won't see me during NaNo months. I'll be hiding inside away from the windows because THEY'RE EVIL.

Because who needs a plot when you can have lots of words? 

Write whatever comes to mind. Dragons in historical fiction? Five pages of your characters talking about pizza? Describing a sunset in the middle of a snowstorm? 

Do it. 

Piece together any random scenes you want. Words will come surprisingly fast once you start writing about nonsense.
Middles are hard and annoying. The plot often bogs down, and it's a huge hassle to write. So why not pass the cumbersome task onto someone else who's qualified?

Cats, dogs, ponies (??) -- have them take a turn at the keyboard and see what they can do. Their imagination might be surprisingly powerful. A few typing lessons and they're good to go.

Except, perhaps, for your goldfish. As entertaining as it would be to watch it's little form flop around the keyboard, maybe keep it in its tank. But just an idea. You do what works or you to get those "words" on the page.
Copy and paste will become your best friend during NaNo events. There's this site called Lorem Ipsum. And what does it do?

It generates random words. Er, random gibberish. Copy and paste 50,000 words worth, and wallah! You have a full novel. You can thank me later.
It's a known fact that unicorn horns are magical. I especially know from experience.

About a year ago, I had a dream. It was the night before Camp NaNoWriMo started. And in that dream, there was a shining, glowing unicorn. It came up to me and bent its head -- gesturing like it wanted to be petted.

I touched its horn. I woke up. My writing skills exploded -- my fingers couldn't stop writing fast for the rest of the month. 

The rest is history.

And, when all else fails, smash your head against the keyboard. Repeatedly. Over and over. 

Like so: hgbbnnhjgbvb nnm, nb nbvgbnn  m okikloikhyhbnb gtfrg uhyjjk hhjyj  brfttfft jnhmmk gvb  bnjkbfvghnjmj,kmjnhbgnhjm   hbhb jhnjbg.

(I'm not going to even comment on how ridiculous I looked doing that.)

But it works. And it's easy than writing a readable novel.

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Are you starting to understand the process? Sit in an enclosed room, don't bother with the plot, have a pet nearby, use copy and paste, somehow acquire the power of a unicorn horn through a dream, and smash your head against the keyboard repeatedly.

And this is why I complain so much about editing.

// katie grace

Do you have any very serious tips to add to this list? Did it help you understand how I write 100k in a month? 
(unicorn horns and keyboard smashes. that's all there is to it.)