Monday, December 17, 2018

2018 Recap - A Look Back at My Highlights and Goals


Am I the only one who’s in shock that Christmas is NEXT WEEK? And thennn we’ll be zooming straight to the end of 2018. THE END OF 2018??? HOW.

Since the year has apparently decided to just go and be nearly over without our permission, that means it’s time for a big ol’ 2018 recap! I’m doing this a little early because I’ve decided after today I’m going on a little hiatus until after New Year’s so I can properly enjoy Christmas and New Year’s. After writing a 129k book in 36 days and keeping up with the blog while I was at it I’m, well, tired. Just a smidge. XD But I’m also excited about CHRISTMAS. So yeah, I think it’ll be nice to have a break for just a few weeks. Thus this’ll be my last post for 2018. *LE GASP* I seriously can’t believe this year is almost over.

2018 RECAP

I have to say, 2018 was a wonderful year. So many blessings came my way in both 2017 and 2018, and I’m utterly grateful to God because the previous years were pretty hard ones. Obviously, this was not a perfect year by any stretch of the imagination. I mean, DUH. There is no such thing as a “perfect” year. Two really hard things that happened was my beloved dog, Navi, had to be put down and one of my dearest friends moved many states away (making that the 3rd friend I’ve had that had to move *sniff, sniff*). But this is also the year I broke fully out of a writer’s rut I had fallen into and got to go to REALM MAKERS, which was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever experienced.

Realm Makers was definitely The Big Highlight of 2018. But there were a million other little blessings and joys to be found each day that added up to a beautiful year. I really felt myself changing and growing for the better this year. I am most certainly not who I wish to be (I don’t think we ever reach that point though), but I’m really thanking God for all He brought me through and taught me this year. What exactly all these things are…it’s hard to put into words. I’d really like to sit down and try sometime though. Between Realm Makers and a few other circumstances and just spending a lot of time pondering life in general this year, there’s so much running through my head and shaping me. Perhaps next year I’ll have it all untangled enough to share in some blog posts with you. But for now I’ll say, 2018 was a year of growth in the best way possible, and I’m excited to dive into 2019 and see what’s in store.

But before I get ahead of myself, let’s look back at 2018! At the beginning of the year I posted my goals for 2018. I thought it’d be fun to revisit them now and see how far I got.




Achieved: YES!

This one was a big SUCCESS!!! One of the things I’m most pleased with for the year. I did a big ol’ revision of BT and am so very happy with how the story is shaping up.
It’s gone through so many edits, and will have another one soon (thanks to all the FANTASTIC suggestions I’m getting from my beta-readers. Love you guuuys! <3). But I really feel like this last revision got it so much closer to what it needs to be.

This was my main focus for the whole first half of 2018 and, though many headaches came with it, the overall process was actually a joy. I’m learning I actually like editing, and seeing this story shape up is delightful. It’s my most edited story I’ve EVER had, and it’s proving to me that editing does not have to be this big, scary thing to avoid (like I used to *cough, cough*). There’s such a satisfaction with it!

Doing this set of revisions for BT was my #1 goal for 2018, and I’m beyond happy I managed it.



Achieved: Yesss!

And just… *clutches heart* I’m still reeling from the utter amazingness of it all. Meeting some of you in person, talking with real life actual authors and having them sign my copies of their books, getting so much knowledge on the writing life from the professionals, pitching my book to literary agents for the first time EVER (o___o), and just being completely and totally encouraged in this crazy life of writing I’ve chosen was invaluable. Though it happened way back in July, I’m still filled up with all I gained there. It was an experience like no other and I can’t thank God enough for making a way for me to go. I felt His hand in all of it, and whenever I think of it, it just makes me want to cry happy tears over how much He cares about my writing journey. He really does care about every single aspect of our lives, guys. We have a good God!

This was definitely, definitely the highlight of 2018!


With so many of my amazing peeps at RM. <3

It also took up an exuberant amount of my time as I prepped for it, did immense amounts of research, made business cards and one-sheets and learned everything I could about writers conferences and the people I’d be pitching my book to and just yeah wow. I spent a good two months alone just prepping for the conference. But it was all worth it!

Okay, I need to stop blabbering since I already did a big Realm Makers recap post after the event! You guys don’t need to hear about it all again. XD



Achieved: Yes? No? Sorta?

Erm…eheh. I didn’t do this one as much as I should have. Though, like I said, I researched the two agents I pitched to at Realm Makers, and learned a lot more about agents and what I’m looking for via that. I also purchased a publishing market guide and though I haven’t looked through it much, just having it is definitely a start to finding agents to query to! So I guess you can say I kind of half did this one but…need to get more serious about it.



Achieved: Ish? But not really…

This is kind of another one I sooort of did but not really? I put together a proposal for someone I was pitching to at RM, which required a one page query-type letter. So I did a boat-load of researching on query letters, and threw one together buuut I don’t think it’s very good. I need to work on that more. But, again, I did some research and feel a bit more prepared anyway. It’s just a matter of sitting down and doing it.



Achieved: For the most part?

I actually almost sort of kept up with this one!
*LE GASP* Not perfectly, but I stuck with a routine waaaay more than I have in a long, long while, so I’ll take it. I could always do more though…



Achieved: Not…much

Mmmm… I didn’t read as much as I would have liked. Life kept getting in the way. Blah. Though I do feel like I made more of an effort to use free time to read this year than I have in a while. I tried!

Alsoooo, I’ve (almost) achieved something that I should have done yeeeears ago: I’VE READ THE HARRY POTTER BOOKS. Yeah, for the first time. o.o (Technically I’m still reading the finale, so no spoilers!) This has been a huge highlight of the year. Why have I never read these fantastic books before??? I’m in love.

If anyone’s wondering, Hermione, Fred and George, Luna, and Neville are my favorites (I also really like Remus and…well okay all of them!), I’m absolutely a Hufflepuff (yes, I took the official test on Pottermore, but I already knew I was before taking the test XD), and I thiiiink my favorite book is The Prisoner of Azkaban but UGH. I don’t know! They’re all so good! Also I haven’t watched the movies yet. I want to read the books first, and then do a big movie marathon and I’M EXCITED.

(Yeah, I’ve become a total Potterhead and I don’t foresee myself every clawing out. So hello! Looks like I’ve joined the rest of society. XD)



Achieved: OH YEAH!

Bwahahaha! I think we all know the answer to this since I haven’t stopped talking about it for like two months! But yes, my 9th NaNo was a success!



Achieved: *hides in shame*

*cricket, cricket* Errrr… Between editing BT, prepping for Realm Makers, and NaNoWriMo, I had a lot of stuff to do on the computer this year. Sooo yeah, I don’t think I unplugged all that much.

ALTHOUGH. I do feel like I did a little better forcing myself to turn the computer off at night and go read or something. Not always (and certainly not during NaNo lolz), but I did try. I feel like I’m on the edge of creating good habits, even if I haven’t quite reached them yet. XD



Achieved: A little!

I feel like I did do better this year keeping up with things and staying organized.
Not perfect in any form or fashion, but I got into the habit of making to-do lists every single day which helped me stay on track, and I set out certain tasks for each day (such as Thursdays I write my blog posts for next Monday, Tuesdays I stock up on book pictures for Instagram for the week, etc., etc.). These things helped a lot.

My organization skills could still use a mountain-sized load of work buuuut I did try! That counts for something, right?



Achieved: Yes, actually!

That was my word for 2018: Intentional. Because, no matter how good my intentions may be, I’m the wooorst about never following through. This year I wanted to change that. I wanted to work on being more organized, work on reaching my goals of being published, work on doing hard things instead of taking the comfortable route. Did I do that this year? I think I did.

I really put effort into editing Burning Thorns, I saved up to go to Realm Makers, I got up the nerve to pitch my novel, I tried my best to stick to my 2018 goals. And, honestly, this is the first time I can remember where I kept to my goals. Because usually they all fizzle out by March. Eheh.

There was so, so much more I could have done. I failed many, many, maaany times. But I did try to stay intentional, to keep stretching out of my comfort zone, and I feel all the better for it.

There’s still so much I want to do and accomplish and keep reaching for, but I feel like I’m getting closer to my dreams. That I’m actually doing something about them instead of just talking about them. My greatest hope for next year is that I’ll keep stretching and stretching. This year good habits were made, and I learned a lot. Hopefully I can apply it all and go even further in 2019.

And that was 2018. I feel like there’s so, so much more I could say about it, but to sum it up, it was a full year and a good year. Habits were formed, new experiences were had, things were accomplished, and blessings abounded even in the hard times. I look forward to seeing what God has in store for 2019.

Until then, I hope you all have the most amazing Christmas and a very, very happy new year! See you all in 2019! Aaahhhhh!!!!!



I want to know ALL THE THINGS. How was your 2018? What were some highlights? Did you discover any good books? What was your favorite thing about this year? And what are you most excited about come the new year? Tell me everything!

Thank you all so, so, sooo much for constantly being an encouragement to me. YOU GUYS are one of my greatest blessings and made this year an utter delight. I’m so grateful for all of you, and do hope the coming year will be a beautiful one for you each. <3

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Know the Novel Part 3 - The Writing of Kings Bleed Gold {NaNoWriMo 2018}


Annnnd I am back to go ahead and answer the questions to my Know the Novel linkup, which I posted yesterday if you missed it. *wink, wink*

I have news. Super excited, happy neeews…


Fiiinally. IT. IS. DONE. I mean, the first draft is done… It needs a total uber major rewrite but we’re not thinking about that right now because IT IS WRITTEN AND I AM SO RELIEVED. I feverishly kept writing through all this first week of December and Thursday night, December 6th, I made it to THE END. I may be a teeny tiny bit over enthused. But WHEW. I didn’t know if this beast was ever gonna get finished. Having to keep writing through some of December after non-stop writing alllll of November was, well, overwhelming. But I am stubborn and was determined to not stop until it was done! And strangely? All these last few days of writing went way better than almost any days during NaNo. GO FIGURE. I thiiink it may have been because I was writing super fast-paced, exciting climatic stuff, which always goes really fast for me. BUT STILL. If only writing had been so fast and easy during NaNo. *rolls eyes* Ah well, it’s finished and that’s what matters!

Annnd it ended up being 129,042 words. O_O Yeah. Just HOW? Because, if you’ll remember, this was gonna be a standalone but I decided to split the story into a duology or trilogy. And yet it still ended up being a 130k beast. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME??? But I’m just happy to be done. I wrote 36 days in a row. Like…every single day for 36 days straight. I think that’s a record for me. Which may sound pathetic to some of you who write every single day but, sadly, I am not one of those magical writing fairies. Writing every day is nooot I habit I have, unfortunately, so I was pleased with my 36-day record. XD

ANYWAYS. Kings Bleed Gold is FINISHED. AND I AM SO HAPPY!!!! So to celebrate, I shall be doing my own linkup (lolz) and telling you guys allll about how the writing overall went! Woot, woot!




1.) Firstly, how did writing this novel go all around?

Well, I think? We’ll pretend? There were some grueling days but, as with every NaNo, now that I look back at it, all I can think of is how fond I am of the story and how much I enjoyed being immersed in it for a month, instead of remembering all the maaany days I really just wanted to lay on the floor and whine instead of write. In fact, I already miss writing it, despite being so, SO ready to be done. Now I just feel kinda empty and desperately miss the characters… I tend to always do this when I finish a novel. Being a writer is an emotional ride. XD

But yeah, overall I’d definitely say it went well. I actually sorta kinda think it’s one of my most polished NaNo novels. Which is hilarious, because it’s a MESS. But I was a liiiittle more careful with the writing than I usually am during NaNo. Still though, I suspect every single word needs rewriting. Eheh.


2.) Did it turn out like you expected or completely different? And how do you feel about the outcome?

It actually stayed to my outline for the most part, thank goodness! Though there were a few things, once I started writing, that I realized weren’t going to work and had to be readjusted. I’m weird in that way. I’ll outline something that seems perfectly logical, then once I get in the story and write it, I see all the flaws and holes. Is that just me? I still think I’m a pantser at heart, despite hardcore outlining all my last novels for years now. I just see the story so much clearer once I write.

So the events all stayed along with the outline, but there was some backstory and certain aspects of like the world and magic system that shifted a bit as I wrote. But it all became much better than I had outlined, so that’s good! My stories tend to always tell me what should happen. XD Though some things I decided to change halfway through and just kept writing as if they had already happened so yeah, thank goodness editing is a thing.

Also, some of my characters’ motivations took me by complete surprise, mainly a couple of my antagonists. I thought I knew them, but apparently not???? I liked that though. It kept the process interesting for me.


3.) What aspect of the story did you love writing about the most? (Characters, plot, setting, prose, etc.)

I mean, OBVIOUSLY the characters. Is that any surprise at all? No, no it is not. Making Midas go from a totally bratty, immature prince to a sacrificial hero got my all emotional. You know how I feel ‘bout them character arcs. Korinna and Syram also had some arcs as they overcame their fears and just alkdjflsjldkjfs I LOVED IT. Characters is seriously the reason I write. I’m obsessed.

Though, I have to say, all the magic and Midas turning things to gold was a super fun aspect to work with. I was worried it’d be stressful having a character who turns eeeverything to gold with a single touch of his skin. Like…how was that even going to work? But, actually? The challenge was a BLAST. The amount of things that he kept accidentally turning to gold were hilarious, and working with someone who could have no physical touch was very interesting and different. This is super bizarre, but I was in his head so much, that when I had other characters interact I sort of forgot they could touch??? Like, I’d have a characters squeeze another’s arm or hug or something and my first instinct was like, “Wait they can’t touch!” And then I realized…they’re not Midas. They’re not going to turn to gold. Touching is fine. Yeah, I don’t even know. But that was a rabbit trail. (Also, Midas wears special fairy-made clothes and gloves, if you’re wondering how he functions day-to-day.)

All that to say, working with a character who turns everything to gold was a very interesting challenge that I surprisingly liked. A lot.


My Midas would be horrified to be depicted this way, oh my gracious. XDDD


4.) How about your least favorite part?

Hmmm… I kind of had a pretty hard time figuring out how the dragons’ underground home worked and how to describe it all. I had a good picture in my head of everything, but getting it down on words was a whole other story.


5.) What do you feel like needs the most work?

*points up* I think the whole underground world thing is gonna need some fleshing out. And, like I said earlier, I ended up changing some things halfway through the story, and I feel like there’s a plot hole or two involving the magic system and the villains’ plans that will need some more brainstorming and smoothing out. This whole plot just hurt my brain.


Me during the whole process of creating this book.


6.) How do you feel about your characters now that the novel is done? Who’s your favorite? Least favorite? Anyone surprise you? Give us all the details!

*see questions #3* Eheheheh. I really loved my bbys. I know I’ve been so subtle about it. *grins*

My favorite is Syram, obviously. (#noshame) Although, truthfully, I loved them ALL in different ways. Even the antagonists because, like I said, they really surprised me with their motivations and their thought processes intrigued me greatly. (So vague I know, but #spoilers.) I think ALL of the characters surprised me more so than any cast I’ve ever written. Usually I know my characters really well before writing the novel, and I thought I knew all of them but…wow. Apparently not. It was such a blast exploring them though. I ended up falling in love with them more and more the farther I got into the novel. I can’t really say I have a least favorite. Perhaps a certain villain or two, but they’re supposed to be unlikable so…

I think my most favorite thing was the 3-way relationship between Midas, Korinna, and Syram. Midas learned to care about Korinna and Syram SO MUCH, and Korinna and Midas were constantly like “Syram is our child and must be protected at all times” despite him being a little older than them. Lol. And Korinna and Syram kept teaming up to get Reckless Midas out of all sorts of jams, while Midas and Syram had such a fun buddy-buddy relationship. They all had different dynamics with each other, but worked the best when they were all together and UGH. THEY MAKE ME HAPPY. And break my heart… *cough, cough*


7.) What’s your next plan of action with this novel?

Let it sit in the dark recesses of my laptop for…a while. LOLZ. So exciting. But I have other projects clamoring for my attention now that it’s done. I 100% plan on coming back to it and giving it the big, major rewrite it deserves, because I seriously love this story idea and want to turn it into something readable. Buuut I don’t know when said rewrite will happen. For now I’m taking a writing break, then will be diving back into yet another round of edits for Burning Thorns come the new year. So yeah, poor Kings Bleed Gold will have to wait for a bit.


8.) If you could have your greatest dream realized for this novel, what would it be?

Well, my greatest dream for all my novels is to be traditionally published. I’d loooove that for this one. Though this one is a bit different in that, if I pursue publishing with it (which I hope to do one day!), I’d probably pitch it to the general market instead of the Christian market. Though, yes, naturally it’s got my worldviews in the themes, as anyone’s books would, it’s one of my few books that doesn’t have an outright God figure. And I think Christians should have more books in the general market. But that’s a post for a another day! Haha.


9.) Share a snippet of one of your most favorite scenes!

Wellllll, here’s Midas and Syram’s first ever meeting. I was so excited for this scene, because it was my first time to “officially” meet Syram as well. You can tell this is early on in the story from Midas’ bratty-ness. Hehe.

Are you thirsty?”

Midas’ eyes snapped open. When had he even fallen asleep? He winced at the pounding in his head as he pulled it up. A face peered at him through the bars. Sucking in a breath, he leapt to his feet, but the sudden motion sent spikes of pain down his body. He hissed and pressed his gloved hand against the wall to balance himself.

“Oh…dear. Sorry.”

He focused again on the person outside his cell, and was in for another shock. It was one of the strangest people he had every seen. The man seemed to be about his age and height, but with a wild head of shockingly red hair stuffed under a rounded leather cap. His skin was neither fair nor dark, but almost ashen, though that could have been the dim lighting. Though it was his eyes that was the oddest of all. The large, almond-shaped, amber colored things practically glowed in the dark. There was a boyish playfulness to them but something else as well, though he couldn’t pinpoint what. This man was clearly foreign. Or…foreign to Chrysafel anyway.

The man studied him for moment, his head cocked. “You’re the one with the golden touch?”

He blinked. There was now gold woven all throughout the floor and walls of his cell, as well as the floor outside it. “I would think that’s rather obvious.”

The redhead just grinned. “Would you turn something gold for me?”

He narrowed his eyes. “Just because I’m in a cell and you’re not, doesn’t mean I’m some form of entertainment for you.”

“No, of course not. I just thought you might would want some water.” He pulled up a water flask in his hand.

At the sight, his dry tongue scraped over his cracked lips, but even still, he wasn’t pleased with the treatment he was receiving. “So you’re going to let this wounded, dehydrated man go thirsty unless he does something for you?”

The other’s strange eyes flashed in what seemed to be pure surprise. “No, no. That’s not what I meant. I just…well… Never mind. Here.” He held the flask between the bars. “Take all of it. Free of charge.”

He stared at the flask for a moment. What if this was some sort of trick of the dragons? He eyed the man again, who smiled at him and shook the flask like an eager child. Sighing, he took it with his gloved hand, thirst winning out. The water was cold and fresh and glorious. After multiple gulps, he poured the rest down his back and released a sigh of relief as it trickled down his wound and cleared the dirt. Once he had used up every last drop, he handed it back to the man.

“Water does not turn to gold when it touches you?”

“No, liquid never does. Thank the heavens.” He grimaced. “Can you imagine never being able to take a bath?”

Mischief gleamed in the man’s eyes. “Well, truthfully, that’s why I asked. The way you look and smell—doesn’t seem like you’ve bathed in years.”

He opened his mouth to retort, but then looked down at his bloodied, dirt-caked clothes. Maybe it was the relief of the water or the exhaustion or just the completely absurdity of everything, but a laugh escaped him. “You have a point.” Now feeling far more clear-headed, he softened up to the person. “Thank you for the water, by the way. I…suppose it wouldn’t hurt for me to turn just one thing gold for you, since you did bring me water.”

The man’s face broke into pure delight and he dug into his stained, threadbare trousers and pulled out a rough rock with a short point.

Midas frowned at the thing. “That’s what you want gold?”

He nodded enthusiastically.

Shrugging, he reached out his exposed hand. The man dropped the rock into it and his eyes sparked in awe as the rock transformed to pure gold in a matter of seconds. Slowly, he pinched it between two fingers, careful to not touch Midas’ hand, and then held it up to examine it closely.

“It’s perfect!”

Despite himself, Midas couldn’t stop a chuckle escaping his lips. “You’d think I’d be pretty used to the sight of gold by now, but honestly, I never get tired of it.”


10.) Did you glean any new writing and/or life lessons from writing this novel?

Oh goodness, I feel like I learn something new about my writing and myself with every single book. Which is why I love doing NaNo. Because even though it always ends in a ridiculously messy draft that will probably need to be completely rewritten, I’ve grown and learned so much about writing through all my years of NaNo-ing.

I already mentioned in my after NaNo post last week that writing such a dark book in the span of 30 days kinda depressed me. My heavier books miiight should be saved for non-NaNo months, when I’m writing slower.

Another huge thing that struck me was a bit of a surprise. As I’ve said before, I used to be a hardcore pantser, but these days outline my novels to excruciating levels. But, as I was writing this, the few times I ended up having to pants a scene because someone’s motivations and/or backstories decided to change on me, it ended up being way better than anything I plotted out. That got me thinking to the last book I fully pantsed (which was allll the way back in 2014 yeah o.o), and how well the plot unfolded. And it hit me: I think my stories turn out better when they can organically come together, instead of me forcefully trying to come up with a full plot in like a month.


Me plotting.

What this means for my future novels… I don’t know. My outlines are my lifelines for NaNo novels, so I still may use them during NaNo. Buuut I might should try to be a little more loose with them, and perhaps attempt a bit of pantsing again and see what happens. I rather miss pantsing, honestly, even though the idea kind of scares me because, again, outline = lifeline because it helps me not run down rabbit trails and chase random subplots that lead nowhere (which deeefinitely happens while pantsing, for me at least). So I don’t know. It’s something I’m pondering right now.

I feel like there were a dozen other little lessons I learned while writing, because there always are, but I’d say that was the big epiphany for this novel. I always have at least one with each story. XD Writing is an adventure for sure!

And here we come to The End. Because…I think I may actually be done blabbering about NaNo and Kings Bleed Gold. :O I’ve only blogged nonstop about them for the past 2 months. *COUGH* You gotta love NaNo season. *grins*

But, well, I really do love NaNo season. It’s such an exciting, crazy time, and it makes it a thousand times better sharing with friends. So THANK YOU for putting up with all my crazed NaNo babbles and repeated talk of KBG. It’s been a wild ride, guys. But WE MADE IT!

NaNo is over, I’ve officially finished KBG, and now I’m allllll set to do all the Christmas-y things, have a refreshing writing break, and enjoy this magical month. I’M EXCITED!

Don’t forgot you can answer these questions and join the linkup yourself HERE!!!



Are you relieved I’m finally done with all my NaNo talk? Bwahahaha. Okay, but really, who’s excited that it’s Christmas time? (Meeeee!) What’s your plans for the month? Anyone still writing? Or are you taking a break for the holidays? (If you need me I’ll be over here reading and watching movies and eating Christmas cookies.)

Monday, December 10, 2018

Know the Novel Part 3 - Writing and Beyond {A Writers Linkup}

IT. IS. HEEEERE! The 3rd and FINAL installment of my 3-part writers linkup Know the Novel. And I’m super excited about this one!

It is officially December (WUT???), and a ton of us have just finished NaNoWriMo and have new novels under our belts (and probably some wild stories about writing them to go with it), and thus this last part of Know the Novel is alllll about how writing the WIP went and what our next plan of action is.

If you missed any of the parts and have no clue what I’m talking about, here’s all the details!


Know the Novel is a 3-part linkup series, one for each of these last three months of the year. Each one will feature ten questions you can answer on your own blog (or anywhere else on social media if you’d like!). The questions will be focusing on different parts of the novel/your writing.

It goes as followed:


  • Part One: Introductory – These questions were centered on you telling us all about your novel and giving the fun, juicy details. And GOOD GRIEF, do you guys have some epic ideas. I looooved reading about them! Do check out all the links because there’s some seriously awesome stories being created out there.


  • Part Two: Within the WIP This one focused on how the writing was going, what problems and victories you experienced, your writing process, etc. Basically all the fun behind the scenes writing things! We had another fantastic turn out with this one! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go and comment on everyone’s posts like with part 1 because, well, #NaNoWriMo. BUT I was thrilled seeing all the links come in. You can go HERE to see everyone’s posts.


  • Part Three: Writing and Beyond AND HERE WE ARE. This last part’s questions are all about how the writing went overall and what’s next! EXCITING.

The gist of it is, I throw ten novel/writing-related questions your way each month, and you can answer them on your own blog.

Though I am doing this during NaNo season since, ya know, a lot of us were participating in NaNo, you DO NOT have to be doing NaNoWriMo to participate. You can answer these questions for any WIP you have. And you DID NOT have to participate in parts 1 or 2 to do this one. It’s all just for fun! There are basically no rules. Plus I love seeing what all my writer frens are working on. So share away!

Onward to the last set of questions!




I’d be honored for you to use the graphic above for your own posts, but it’s certainly not required!



1. Firstly, how did writing this novel go all around?

2. Did it turn out like you expected or completely different? And how do you feel about the outcome?

3. What aspect of the story did you love writing about the most? (Characters, plot, setting, prose, etc.)

4. How about your least favorite part?

5. What do you feel like needs the most work?

6. How do you feel about your characters now that the novel is done? Who’s your favorite? Least favorite? Anyone surprise you? Give us all the details!

7. What’s your next plan of action with this novel?

8. If you could have your greatest dream realized for this novel, what would it be?

9. Share a snippet of one of your most favorite scenes!

10. Did you glean any new writing and/or life lessons from writing this novel?


Now for the most important part, sharing your link! Once you’ve got your post written and up, come back here and add a link to it with the widget below so others can see!

The linkup will be open through all the rest of December, but do feel free to take the questions and answer them ANY time!

Putting these linkups together has been a joy. But what made it so special was YOU GUYS. I did not expect such a big turnout. Everyone’s enthusiasm has made it 10000x more fun. I’m thrilled so many of you have joined in and enjoyed it! *GIANT GROUP HUG*

I’m thiiiinking about making this an annual thing??? Whadda think? Would you guys like to do this again? And if you DO, do you have any suggestions for improving how I run it or did you have some questions you’d like me to ask? I would LOVE your input! So do share away!



Are you excited? (Because I am!) I can’t wait to see everyone’s posts and hear about your writing experiences. Have you enjoyed this linkup? And would you like to see it return next year? I’d love to hear from you! Thank you all again for joining in! IT’S BEEN SO MUCH FUN!

Monday, December 3, 2018

NaNoWriMo 2018: Thoughts, Stats, and Snippets

IT’S DECEMBER. December. DECEMBERRRR. NaNoWriMo is over. WUT???? We have made it through the insanity that is November a.k.a National Novel Writing Month and I MAY BE A LITTLE SHOCKED.

NaNo is always this weird paradox of time in that it feels like 3 days long and a lifetime all at once. I think it’s because the days are zipping by in my life, but I’m also so immersed in my characters lives, I feel as if I’ve gone on the same ginormous, life-changing journey as them. When I think back to the beginning of November, it seems like yesterday, and yet also so much has happened since then. It’s weird. NaNo is weird. EVERYTHING IS WEIRD.

But hi! We have made it!!! AND IT’S DECEMBER.

Except, erm, NaNo is still basically going on for me because I didn’t quiiiite finish my story. Yeah. It’s a beast. As of right now I have just FIVE chapters left and am right in the midst of the crazy climax so I’m excited to wrap this thing up. It shouldn’t be much longer now… Icandothis Icandothis Icandothis.

Ahem. Anyways. Just because my story isn’t finished, doesn’t mean I can’t do a big ol’ NaNo wrapup post with some thoughts on the experience and stats (because who doesn’t love stats?)! And yes, snippets shall also be included. *wriggles eyebrows*




This was both a wonderful and stressful NaNo, as all NaNos are. Although this one did feel a bit rougher than some of the others. Or it may have just felt like that because last year went so smoothly it gave the illusion of this one being hard. I DON’T KNOW. But still, I definitely enjoyed this one.

I think a big thing was that I have been in total editing mode pretty much all year long, so shifting into that first draft mentality didn’t go well. I keep pausing and stressing over every single wording choice, and bemoaning how dumb my sentences are. Some days I threw caution to the wind and wrote like a rabid monkey, but mostly that inner editor would not shush.

And yet, despite all my stressing, I still think this draft is a total disaster. XD I should have just enjoyed making a mess and accept it which is what I usually try to do during NaNo. But, again, I’ve been so focused on editing this year, more so than any other year, my inner editor has ingrained itself in my brain and won’t go away. >.> I also feel like the words were harder to get down because, despite my enormous outline, the absurdly complicated plot hurt my poor wee brain and it took a lot of effort to bring everything together in a (hopefully but probably not really) logical way.

But I also discovered something that surprised me while writing this. Usually, I am all for dark, emotional stories. Those are my faaave to write (should I be worried?), and I was extra excited about this book because ooooh boy, was it gonna be a feels-slayer. Bwahahaha. I had a playlist full of dramatic instrumental music to tug at my heartstrings, and was totally ready to destroy some fictional people’s lives. But then something happened. I…depressed myself with my own plot. Which has never really happened before. I do get very emotional with my stories, but I usually kinda…like it. We like to feel. And I love when I feel deeply over my novels. But this time, everything was so ridiculously sad, it actually made some cracks in my stony author’s heart.

And I realized…spending 30+ days straight in a depressing story may not be a good thing. If I was writing this slow, and not immersing myself in it during every. waking. hour. for a whole month, I doubt the dark side of it would have bothered me. I like how dark and emotional it is, I don’t want to change that. I think it really brings out the themes. BUT, it may have been a bit much for a NaNo novel. Because this is, without a doubt, my darkest book I’ve ever written. My other stories have some prettyyy emotional things, but I have to say Kings Bleed Gold won as far as deep, heartbreaking themes and a constant flow of sad circumstances. Eheheh. Hurray? XD

But seriously, I don’t regret writing it like that. This is a story I felt needed to be told, and I’m pretty happy with the outcome. Buuut I’m thinking for something like NaNo, where it’s filling my days and thoughts and life for a complete 30 days, writing something a liiiittle lighter may be better? Or at least not writing something super dark every year. I’m already considering a much more light-hearted and super fun idea I’ve had for a while for next NaNo. *griiiins*

Overall though? I really, really love this story. It definitely has not been the easiest to write, and it’s going to need a lot of work, but it really is a story I want to tell. It’s been a pleasure watching Midas go from bratty prince to hero. Seeing Korinna overcome her debilitating fears and taking a stand. And rooting Syram on as he finds his place in the world. It’s been a journey for sure, and I have no regrets writing it. Every single story is going to cause hard days, long days, stressful days. But, in the end, writing them is always, always worth it.

But enough of my blabbers! Onto the fun stuff!




My final NaNo ‘18 stats.

- Number of Days I Wrote:
30! I managed to write every single day this November. Some NaNos I’m able to do that, some I’m deeefinitely not, but I’m always happy when I can. Despite some insanity, I actually didn’t struggle to find writing time most days this month, which was definitely a happy surprise. And it proved to me I can make time for writing every day if I put effort into it.

- Wordiest Day: November 1st with 7,031 words

- Least Wordiest Day: November 10th with 566 words

- Number of Character Deaths: BWAHAHAHAHA!!!

- Hit 50k On: Day 13!

- Hit 100k On: Day 28! (Yes, I did a double NaNo because sanity? pssshhh. Who needs it?)

Total Words Written: 107,280 words



So many of you sweet people actually kept requesting snippets. Like…of my messy, ridiculous novel. Just SDKJF:LJSD:LJF. I AM HONORED. I kept telling you I’d try to share more and…HERE WE ARE! Just remember I wrote 107k words in 30 days of no sleep so yeah. These are nooot exactly New York Times bestseller worthy. Or even sharing-on-my-little-blog worthy but here we are.


A mock cover I made just for funsies.


First up is one of Midas and Syram’s first conversations (because Syram).

Are you a slave? I mean, is everyone here a slave?”

“Everyone?” He raised an eyebrow. “Of course not.”

Hope fluttered in Midas’ chest. “Really? Who’s not a slave?”

“The dragons.”

He groaned as the hope instantly deflated. Was this person serious? His name was becoming more and more fitting by the second. “Of course they’re not, but what about the people?”

“Oh them? Yes, they’re slaves.”

“Where in Ellador even are we?”


He furrowed his brow. “Beneath what?”

“Ellador. Well, somewhere in the west of Ellador I think.”

“Wait, wait, wait.” He mind spun. “Do you mean to tell me this place is underground?

The man cocked his head again and looked at him as if he was the strange one. “Naturally. Where else would dragons live? The sun is poison to them you know. Well…for now. But I better get going. I doubt they’d be happy if they found me here. Goodbye.”

“No, wait!” But it was too late. The man was already down the tunnel and climbing right off…the edge? Was there a ladder of some kind there? He called to the man again, but his wild head of hair and leather cap had already disappeared from view.


And part of Midas and Korinna’s first conversation.

It’s nice to meet you, Midas.” The genuine warmth in her tone startled him.

“Is it? No one else seems to think so.”

“Well.” She moved her gaze toward the fire where most of the slaves had gathered to eat and talk amongst themselves, though they didn’t seem too busy to shoot Midas a nasty look every now and again. “You’re our worst nightmare, really.”

He almost choked. “Oh, well that makes me feel better,” he said, coughing up bits of fish.

“Sorry.” Her eyes sparked with a hint of amusement, but the moment was fleeting and her tone dropped again. “It’s just we have hoped for so long the dragons would never reach their goal. We were encouraged when the gold in the mines seemed to run out. But now that you’re here…” They locked eyes, and that strength he had seen in her seemed to seep out, leaving nothing but pure terror. “I fear it will only be a matter of weeks.”

Syram and Korinna were obviously making Midas feel very comfortable with this whole enslaved-by-dragons thing. *cough, cough*


The earth-shaking roar of a dragon startled him awake. “Get to work!” The dragon’s cry echoed through the sleeping quarters like a boom of thunder.

Midas squinted at the gold light now gleaming from the threads. It was day time already? But didn’t he just get to sleep? They couldn’t possibly expect him to get up already. But judging by the sounds of men shifting out of their cots and clumps of feet on ladders and stone, they did.

He really, really, really hated dragons.


Things were looking brighter. At least as bright as being enslaved by dragons below the earth and aiding them in bringing the end of the world could be.


His other source of companionship was Syram, who, unlike Korinna, lingered on the farm for long amounts of time and often aided Midas in his tasks. The man was utterly fascinated by the upper world, and asked Midas a hundred questions a day about his life there. He didn’t mind a bit talking about his kingdom and, odd though the man was, welcomed the company. It helped distract him from his own thoughts.

One day, he was sitting outside the stone building and pulling feathers out of a dead chicken (not his favorite task) with five more piled up, when the redhead bounced down the path to him, a book in hand. He plopped down in front of Midas with a grin.

“I thought I’d entertain you today.”

Midas stared wide-eyed at the enormous volume in the man’s lap. “Where did you get that?

“The dragons’ library,” he said matter-of-factly.

“They have a library?” His mind whirled.

“Of course. The dragons love knowledge.”

“But where do they get the books?”

“Mmm…” He looked up, scratching his head. “They steal them a lot. Dragons do like collecting things, you know. They go above at night quite often to take things.”

“Including people,” Midas murmured.


Syram has a knack for dragging Midas on crazy escapades…

It looks safe,” Syram whispered. “Come on, quick.” He lowered the plank off the ledge, looped the part of the rope around the hook and held the other end. Then he hopped on and pulled at the rope, keeping the plank from plummeting.

Midas’ heart skipped. “What are you doing?

Now Syram’s impish grin made an appearance. “I’ve done it tons of times. Though usually I’m by myself, so you better keep a good grip on the rope too. Once we’re both on, we’ll slowly lower ourselves.”

“This is insane.”

Syram cast a nervous glance behind him at the guard dragon. “We need to go.”

With a huff, Midas reached down and took the end of the rope Syram held to keep the plank steady. He took a deep breath, held his foot out, and stepped onto the plank behind Syram. It jerked down, nearly throwing him off his feet, and the rope slipped between their fingers. “Whoa!” He snagged it tight and they halted. The plank rocked underneath them.

“Shhh,” Syram hissed.

He gritted his teeth, more concerned about falling to his death than keeping quiet.

“All right, on the count of three loosen your grip, then grab hold of it again. One, two—”

“Wait but.”


Midas grunted as both their weight tugged on his arms. Slowly, heart pounding, he loosened his hold. The plank shot down as the rope slid across his gloves. With a yelp, he snagged it again, but Syram did as well, and they lurched to a halt.

Syram tossed a grin over his shoulder. “See? It’s easy. Ready to go again?”

“Not really.”

“One, two, three.”

Midas loosened his finger despite himself, and his stomach flopped as they jerked down farther, but now he was getting the hang of it. After four more session, the plank plunked to the ground. Breaths heavy and arms sore, he stumbled to the earth. “This better be extremely important.”

“Very. Come on.” Syram dashed down the path, ducking in the shadows of the hills.

Groaning, Midas hurried after him.


Introducing Princess Ahleri (and her odd pet) of my African inspired kingdom. I only just met her officially at the tail end of November and may totally love her. XD

Something black and white hurtled toward Midas’ face. He cried out and snatched it from the air before it made contact, but even as he held the wriggling thing before his eyes, he couldn’t comprehend what it was. At first appearance, it seemed to be a white rabbit with black tipped ears and specks along its lower back. But that wouldn’t account for the wings sprouting from its back and three tails. Its wings and tails, too, were tipped with black. It wrinkled its noise and made chirping noises as it continued to writhe in his grip.

“Suru! What do you think you’re doing?”

He pulled the odd rabbit down just as two young woman bustled into the room through a door to the left. One was the young female warrior who had escorted them to the castle. The other appeared a year or two younger than him. Dark hair piled atop her head in a haggard up-do and a smudge of something black streaked across her cheek. Her robe resembled the Queen’s in style, but had patterns of green and brown, save for the stain of black across the front. She wore no jewelry, and rough leather gloves covered her hands.

“I’m so sorry about that!” She ran up to Midas and took the winged-rabbit and held it up to eye level. “Will you please behave?”

Queen Malkaya cleared her throat.

The young woman snapped her head up and seemed to notice Midas for the first time. “Oooh, are you him? The one that can turn things to gold?” Her mouth spread into a delighted smile, and that’s when he saw the resemblance, and it took him by surprise. Was this Queen Malkaya’s…daughter?”

“I am,” he said slowly, offering a slight bow.

She gasped and scowled back down at the winged-rabbit. “See what could have happened, Suru? You could have become a gold statue to stick on the mantel.” The rabbit just squeaked. Rolling her eyes, she placed the creature on her shoulder. It clung there obediently, eyeing Midas with enormous black eyes.

Queen Malkaya stepped forward. “Midas, Korinna, Syram, this is my daughter Ahleri.”

So she was a princess. Amusement tugged his lips up. Her appearance reminded him of the days he and Nikolas would come into the castle after one of their “adventures”, tracking in mud and their clothes ripped, much to Mother’s chagrin. “It is an honor to meet you, Princess Ahleri.”

“Oh, you as well!” Despite her rather disheveled appearance, she curtsied with all the grace of her mother, and grinned wide. “Can I see you turn something to gold? It sounds fascinating!”

“Ahleri, dear, this really isn’t the time,” the Queen said in a long-suffering tone.


Ahleri handed the book to Syram, whose grin reached all the way across his face. “Thank you,” he breathed, holding it on top of his other book.

“I think we have more like that in the library,” she said.

He snapped his eyes up from the book at this. “Library?”

Midas shared a grin with Korinna. The keyword to Syram’s happiness.

Syram, a man of my own heart.


I’m going to fix this,” Midas said, and he meant it with every bit of strength in his being. “If I leave, the dragons will just come searching for me again, so I’m going to stop them. Forever.”

Korinna’s brow furrowed. “How?”

“I highly doubt any person on Ellador will be too happy to hear that there is a horde of dragons right under their feet, just waiting to rise up, block the sun, and take reign. And so I’m going to rally forces, all the forces I can across Ellador. And we are going to fight.”

Slowly, Korinna rose to her feet, as did Syram, and the looks on their faces fueled his determination like a burning fire. Hope. He had given them hope.

“Syram.” He held his hand out.

Wordlessly, the man dropped his golden rock into his palm, but a smile crept across his face, and Midas smiled too.

“Let’s get me up on that pillar. It’s time to make a war.”


And there we go! I’m honestly proud I managed to find so many lighthearted ones. XD (And, yes, I may have just picked ones featuring Syram. *cough*)



Despite some bumps in the road, I had a wonderful time this NaNo. I was talking with some of my NaNo-ing buddies and one of them asked us to describe this NaNo in one word. It took me a minute to think of a single word, because this NaNo had so much. And then I realized, that was the answer right there. FULL. I’d describe this NaNo as full. Full of hard days, full of amazing days, full of all around cRaZy days, full of sleepless nights, full of emotions good and bad, full of words. Just very, very full in every sense of the word.

I think that’s what makes NaNo so special. It is an experience, and though sometimes it’ll make you want to pull your hair out and wonder whyyyyy you took on such a ridiculous challenge, in the end, the memories made, lessons learned, good writing habits formed, and novels created is invaluable.

I’d definitely call my 9th NaNoWriMo a success. I’m already looking forward to next year!

Buuut we’re not quite through with the NaNo talk yet. Yeeeah. You guys are gonna have to put up with it for just a bit longer, because next Monday I’ll be posting the 3rd and final installment of the Know the Novel linkup! And will hopefully be answering questions about it for Kings Bleed Gold soon after. Hope you don’t mind!

But seriously. Sooooo many of you have been cheering me on, encouraging me, praying for me, and just all around being a huge, huge, huge blessing to me through this crazy venture. I am utterly grateful for your friendship. I love my internet community so, SO much! Thank you for being the most supportive, enthusiastic friends in the world! <333

Also, I have to give out a huge CONGRATS to alllll of you who participated in NaNo. I watched so many of you conquer those words, carve time out of some craaazy days to write, and do insanely amazing feats to get those words on the page. I’m so beyond proud of ALL my writing buddies. And whether you hit that 50k mark or not, you WROTE. You took the initiative to get words on the page, even when it was hard, and that is the greatest accomplishment of all. I’M SO PROUD OF YOU GUYS! CONGRATULATIONS!!! Now go, take a nap, say hi to your family, eat some well-deserved Christmas cookies, CELEBRATE, because IT’S DECEMBER AND WE MADE IT TO THE FINISH LINE!



If you made it through this beast of a post, you get another congratulations! Now TELL ME EVERYTHING. How was your NaNo??? Because I MUST KNOW. How was your November? Are you excited it’s December? (I AM. *cranks up the Christmas music…even though I’ve been listening to it since the beginning of November #NOSHAME*) Let’s discuss all the things!

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