The Blogiversary Giveaway — EXTENDED!

good morning, cyberspace!

Due to an unforeseen glitch with our submission form and our lovely and esteemed writer’s inexplicable infatuation with the number 19, the Three-Year-Blogiversary Giveaway shall be running until the 19th of October, with the winner announced–as previously mentioned–on the 23rd.

Also, our smol writer would like to mention that this extension of the giveaway’s deadline has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that she has not yet managed to write a short story for her own contest. Absolutely not. She is on top of everything and is not panicking at all.

Ahem. Anyway.

Anyone wishing to enter the contest now has until the 19th, and if you so wish to write a short story for 13 extra entries, you may submit that story either within the form below, or email us personally at with a subject title of SHORT STORY ENTRY. Guidelines for short story entries are posted here.

Thank you for your support, and good luck.

Yours Sincerely,

The Smudged Thoughts Team


Eight Types of Creatives: A Very Non-Exhaustive List

good morning, cyberspace!

Are you a creator? Do you like making something out of nothing (or something new out of something old?) Do you find yourself looking at a pile of tin soda cans and thinking, “Huh. That could be a three-legged crab!”? Do you write books, paint pictures, or draw squibbles with crayons?

Well, then. You, my friend, might just be a creative.

But the question now remains–what KIND of a creative are you? It is my firm–and possibly false–belief that while there are millions of creatives out in the universe, there are also many different types of creatives. So today we shall splay all the many different creative types out on a thick foam slab and dissect them like a frog in biology class!

Let’s dive right in!Read More »

GOOD MORNING, OCTOBER!: ft. All About That Pitch Wars & My Plans For October!

good morning, October!

I mentioned very briefly in my last post (which you should DEFINITELY check into if you haven’t already, because there are PRIZES and a WRITING CONTEST and ME SCREAMING FEROCIOUSLY INTO THE VOID) that I was going to be entering Pitch Wars. So today I’m here to go into a little bit more detail regarding that. But just a forewarning, this is mostly me just ranting and squealing and ripping my hair out over the anxiety that is Pitch Wars. So if you’d like to hear about which story I entered, what I’m working on now, and my mediocre plans for October, read-on, my peasant!Read More »

Happy Blogiversary, Peasants!

good morning, cyberspace!

Oh my, this post is late.

alice in wonderland disney GIF

To be honest, I actually wrote this post up on the 13th of September–which is precisely the day when it was supposed to go live. Buuuut, since I am a complete and utter failure of a person, I wasn’t able to finish the giveaway prize until the 16th. And then life and work and a super secret project (more on that later) got in the way of me taking photos of the prize and polishing this blog post up and figuring out the minor details of the giveaway and . . . yeah. Here we are today. On the 22nd of September.


I guess this is the part where I should apologize and try to explain away my absence or whatever, but in all reality, I’m sure you guys know exactly how this is. Us bloggers are very fickle creatures. I’m not the only one who’s taken an unexplained hiatus, or disappeared from the blogosphere for an odd amount of time only to reappear weeks later with a bang and a clang and a handful of apology cookies. Disappearing during stressful life seasons is normal for bloggers, and I think it’s high time we started accepting that, rather than feeling guilty for not being as “involved” as we usually are.

SO. Even though I am very sorry for disappearing, I know you guys understand and love me anyway, so instead of rambling incessantly about all the reasons why I haven’t been on here, let’s hop right into why I’m very excited to be here today!


Dance Dancing GIF by The .GIFYS


As promised, today I shall be hosting my very first ever blogiversary giveaway! This is something that I’ve wanted to do for quite some time now, so getting to do it for my third blogiversary feels a little bit surreal.

That, and the prize we’ll be giving away today is something that I never would have dreamed I’d be able to do. I always thought it would be something small–something not all that great, but still cool.

But let me tell you, folks, I am one severely lucky duckling–or rather, you could potentially be–because not only did I make something not very great for this giveaway, but my dad was kind enough to make something absolutely supremely awesome for me, and it is my absolute greatest honor to be able to share it with you all today.

(or one of you. . . one of you is going to get this. oops.)

But anyway. Enough chit-chatter about how amazing this prize is. I’m sure you’re all dying to actually see it (seeing as though I’ve kept it a secret for the past three thousand years). So without any further ado, it’s time for me to finally announce the giveaway prizes!!!!!!

excited clapping GIF by Cheezburger

Blog Divider

First up, we have this kinda funky looking notebook, crafted and loved by Yours Truly. I was initially going to do something a wee bit different (it was a whale, folks. I was painting a whale. [and also props to Jethan for figuring out those were watercolor pencils??? how did you do this???]), but as I mentioned in The Blogiversary Disaster, that kinda took a dump and I had to re-evaluate my options. BUT ANYWHO. We now have this sort of splotchy looking notebook with a happy little quote on the front, and obviously this is the perfect notebook for any creative looking to write–or draw!–magical and whimsical things. SO! You should 10/10 want this, right? Right.


AND LOOK! I drew an extremely pale and wobbly cookie on the back!!! Don’t you just adore it???? (*sweats nervously*)

All right, all right. So that is my contribution to the giveaway. But what, you might be wondering, is the prize that my wonderful father made? What is the icing on this already decadent cake of mediocre painting and calligraphy? Well, my dearest friends, it is something that any writer should be absolutely honored to have in their possession.

It is. . .

. . .a fountain pen!! A hand-turned, 100% magical, absolutely GORGEOUS fountain pen, perfect for slaying dragons or crafting anti-heroes or penning the world’s next literary masterpiece in honor of the authorial legends of yore.

I’m . . . kind of jealous of this portion of the prize, to be honest. Although, I’m not too jealous, because he made me one, too, and it’s blue and swirly and my favorite pen of ever, so. I’m appeased. XD

BUT ANYWAY. If you would like to win this magical fountain pen and add it to your treasure trove of writerly goodness, then read on, fellow creative! If, however, you no longer have any interest in this giveaway, go ahead and click off the page now.

Because I no longer have any interest in you, either. Ahahahahahahahahahahaha.


but not really.



“Okay, Kenzie,” you say, straightening your tie and sniffing dubiously. “So I’ve seen the prizes, and I’m pretty sure I want that. Now, how am I supposed to enter this contest, hm?”

Well, my dear, you have asked a very important question here. Entering the giveaway is simple, easy, and doesn’t even include signing away your firstborn son in goat’s blood on the eve of a full moon. (although this is definitely an option if you’d rather.) In fact, I’ve made it so simple that you might even be entered already . . . and you don’t even know it*.

In order to enter the Smudged Thoughts blogiversary giveaway, you must do the following:

  • have a valid mailing address . . . after tossing and turning and trying to figure out whether this giveaway should be international or not (*cough* horrendous shipping *cough*), I finally talked to my parents, and they agreed that since I have so many wonderful friends who DON’T live in the states (you guys know who you are. <333), we should make it international! (although, I clearly owe a huge thanks to them. they’re the most wonderful humans on the planet and offered to help pay the shipping cost, and I honestly don’t know what I would do without them. . . so.)
  • be following this blog (obviously)
  • comment down below and tell me your absolute favorite weird or quirky thing about yourself! (because not only do I want this to be a celebration of my blog, I want it to be a celebration of all of you, as well! and in order to do that, I’d love to know something about you guys. So! Tell me about yourself!)
  • ORRRRRR, tell me about your current WIP! (because that’s also interesting and I love talking about writing. So.)
    • kind of an add-on to the last bit, but make sure to include the WordPress username (or email, if you’re not a WordPress member and you followed me through email) you used to follow Smudged Thoughts in your comment, please! Because I WILL be checking to see who’s actually followed the rules, and knowing who’s who will make this process so much easier. . . 

And that’s literally it, folks! Three-ish steps, and you’ll be entered to win this gorgeous pen and notebook by Yours Truly and Yours Truly’s wood magician of a father.

. . .however, there is a slight catch.

You may have noticed, but the prizes for this giveaway are sliiiiightly writer-oriented. You know. Just slightly. And this, my friends, is because this blog is–in case you did not know–a writing blog. Where writers congregate to talk about the joys and woes of writing.

Now, this is not to say that I don’t think non-writers should enter!!! If you’re a non-writer and you’ve been following my blog and want to enter the giveaway, that is 100% perfect and I would never tell you not to enter for the world. HOWEVER. Because the prizes are–for the most part–intended to be used for a writer, I think it’s only fair to make the giveaway a little bit writer specific, as well.

SO! The best way I’ve thought to do this is by giving the writers out there a little bit of an edge on the competition! (or perhaps this will serve to convert the non-writers???) Basically, anyone can enter the giveaway, but if you want to get 13 EXTRA ENTRIES towards your name, you need to write a story.

short story, specifically–a short story that is anywhere between 300-750 words, and includes one of the following words/topics: cookies, bean, pitchfork(s).

(These word choices were absolutely random and have nothing to do with me or my weird obsessions/nicknames. Aha.)

This short story, once written, can then be sent to me–the glorious, most magnificent of Kenzie’s–to be read and squealed over and stashed away in my super secret email folder until October, when I will announce the winner of the giveaway and post ALL of the entries here on the blog. (though they can definitely remain anonymous if that is something you’d prefer!!!)

And you might be thinking . . . “Kenzie . . . why on earth would you post all of the entries? Shouldn’t you just do the actual winner?”

To which I say . . . “No.”

Because here’s the thing: the winner of the giveaway is going to be random no matter what. I won’t be judging story entries–I’m just going to give those who write a story more entries, which will give them a better chance of winning this writing-centered prize–and my personal view for this giveaway is that it doesn’t matter what level of writing you’re currently at. What matters is that you have the passion and drive and desire to write, and no matter what, that love for writing is going to shine through in your work. (otherwise it will look like you just slapped something together to get more entries, and believe me, folks, I WILL KNOW.) So whether you’re a novice or a beginner or one of the great masters themselves, you have just as much a chance of winning as anyone else.

HOWEVER. If you truly do not want your work seen by anyone (other than me, of course), then just put a note at the top of your entry that says something along the lines of >> IF YOU SHOW THIS TO ANYONE I SHALL CURSE YOU AND YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY WITH THE PLAGUE OF A DISEASED SWINE << and I shall know by this polite, simple gesture that you do not want me posting your entry along with everyone else’s in the winner announcement post.

(even though I would absolutely love to post it, but whatever. it’s your work, my friend.)


  • absolutely NO swearing/profanity or explicit content of any kind — this is a family friendly place, folks, and I don’t want to have to filter all that junk out of the writing entries. Keep your stories clean and polite, please. that is literally all I ask.
  • no really. that is literally all I ask of you.
  • oh wait. but also use this form to send me your short stories, if you don’t mind. . . *points down*


  • THIS GIVEAWAY IS OPEN UNTIL MIDNIGHT ON THE 13TH OF OCTOBER. Short story entries MUST be submitted by this date.
  • Winners will be announced on the 23rd of October.
  • The prize will be shipped as soon as the winners are announced and a shipping address is retrieved through email correspondence.

And that, my friends, is pretty much everything! I am so beyond excited for this giveaway, and I really hope you guys are, too. I know you’ve waited FAR too long for me to finally get to this, but I can assure you that it was not for lack of trying, and–hopefully–now that this giveaway prize conundrum is finally out of the way, we can start settling back into our regularly scheduled programming.

Or perhaps NOT, because as you will learn in my next post . . . I’M ENTERING PITCH WARS, PEASANTS!!!!!

scared boy meets world GIF


All righty, folks! Hopefully I made this giveaway thing easy to understand, but if you have ANY questions at all, feel free to drop me a comment down below! I’m going to start going backwards through my comment list, so hopefully I’ll get to all these beautiful comments I’ve been missing in my inbox.

And as always, thank you all SO MUCH for all of your kindness and support over the years. You guys are the absolute best, and I would never be where I am today without you. <333

And now, without further ado, go ahead and drop a comment down below and tell me a weird fact about yourself or your WIP! Whether you’re writing a story about pirates, or you, yourself, are a pirate king, I’d love to know a little bit more about you and the stuff you write.

Until next time. . .

_flings cookies in the air and disappears_

Good Morning, September!: In Which I Make Absolutely No Plans, Whatsoever

good morning, Cyberspace!

Despite all my best intentions, I have once again failed you.

Remember when I said I was going to be posting photo hints once a week? Aha. Ha. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Yeah. THAT never happened. But never you fear, my dearest beans, for I’ve got a whole slew of photo hints for you today! Which . . . you know . . . I’m kinda hoping will pitifully make up for my lack of presence here on the blogosphere.Read More »

Seventh City Book Tour Stop: Interview With Emily Hayse!

good morning, cyberspace!

Today is a very, very special day for the blog, my friends! This past January, I had the absolutely remarkable privilege of getting to beta read indie author Emily Hayse’s newest book baby! This turned out to be not only an amazing opportunity to flex my beta reading muscles, but also an opportunity to discover what would quickly become one of my absolute favorite indie published books to date: Seventh City.

Now, eight months later, Seventh City has finally been released out into the great wide world to stand on its own two feet, and its author–the ever-lovely Emily–has contacted me (me!!!) to be a part of the Seventh City Book Tour!

So today we are inviting Emily over to Smudged Thoughts to talk all about her newest book and authorly life! So without further ado, let’s get into the interview!Read More »

The Blogiversary: Part One

good morning, cyberspace!

Three years ago, a girl had an idea. A stupid idea, really. More of a whim than anything else. Yet out of all the ideas that floated around her sometimes psychotic brain, she snatched this particular one out from among the throng of thousands and held it tight, refusing to let it go even as it squirmed and wriggled in her grip.

That idea was to start a blog.

What she would write for this blog, our young protagonist had absolutely no clue. (and to be perfectly honest, sometimes I’m not sure she has a clue even now.) But a blog she was determined to start, and so with a touch of determination, a dash of madness, and a brief brainstorming session with her best friend (a.k.a. her absolutely amazing mom who is the epitome of creativity), the girl created a blog–a blog more commonly known as Smudged Thoughts.

And I–in case you’re still confused–am that girl.

harry potter book GIFRead More »

20 In 2 Days

good morning, cyberspace!

I’m turning 20 in 2 days, folks.

That is . . . very bizarre for me to type. Up until this point, my entire life has been split in two: childhood and teenagerdom. “20” was the proverbial age I would someday be–the age when I would finally be doing all of the adventurous, outlandish, sometimes preposterous things that I always dreamed of doing in my younger years.

“When I’m 20 I’ll know everything.”

“When I’m 20 I’ll travel the world.”

“When I’m 20 I’ll be a published author.”

(that last one, I’ll admit, kind of stings.)

Well, now I’m turning 20, and I still feel like I know nothing. I feel like I’ve done nothing. I feel like I’ve seen nothing. There’s this great, big, impossibly wondrous world right at my fingertips, and I feel like I’ve only poked my head into one tiny crevice of it.

But the truth is, after living for almost twenty years, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned how to write books. I’ve learned how to play the ukulele. I’ve learned math and science and discovered that no matter how hard I try, I will never be good at geography. I’ve learned that fondness is fickle, but love lasts forever. I’ve learned and forgotten how to speak French. I’ve made friends. I’ve lost friends. I’ve found friends again. When I stop to think about it, I really have seen and done and experienced so much, and all of that has been within the span of 19 years and 363 days.

I used to think my life was small, that for whatever reason, it wasn’t as big and beautiful and magical as everyone else’s. I used to think there was something missing, and I spent days upon days wondering what was wrong with me–why I wasn’t on the same track as everyone else my age. Why I felt so different.

It’s taken me almost twenty years, but I’ve finally realized that while we all may be running the exact same race in the end, each and every one of our tracks is different. Some are made of concrete and skyscrapers, and others of moss and dirt. Some are paved with obstacles and fiery hoops, while others appear to be smooth sailing (even though we all know they’re most definitely not). Some have trees and some have fireflies and some are swamped in moonlight. Some of us get head starts, and others are late bloomers. Some of us travel the world and see the stars from every angle, and some of us walk barefoot on our own land, planting our favorite flowers and drinking in the sunlight before the it falls in the exact same patterns all around us as we fall asleep each night.

19–nearly 20–years have passed, and I still don’t really know who I am yet. Part of me wants to travel the world (and part of me believes that I will one day, at least to an extent), and part of me wants to stay home with my books and my bird and let the world slip away outside my window unnoticed. Part of me wants to go out in search of adventure and magic, and part of me knows that I can create those things right here where I am already.

I have two days until I turn 20–practically one, really, seeing as though I’m writing this in the evening–and I most definitely do not have everything figured out. I haven’t traveled the world (though I have been to North Carolina), and I obviously have not published a book. In two days the death of my dream to be a published teenage author will arrive, and I will wake up and smile and eat a slice of cake in its remembrance. Because right now, it doesn’t matter that I’m not published. It doesn’t matter that I haven’t traveled the world yet. It doesn’t matter that there are a million things on my bucket list that I haven’t yet managed to check off. What matters is that every day I get up and take one little step closer towards the me I want to be tomorrow.

19 years and 363 days have brought me to this exact moment. And as I sit here in this chair, staring out the sun-stained window and finally acknowledging the beautiful, slightly messy, absolutely perfect life I’ve been blessed with, I can’t help but realize how so very lucky I am, after all.


What kinds of things have you learned in all the many years you’ve been alive? Do you want to travel the world someday (are you ALREADY traveling the world?) or would you rather stay home and read books and eat cake and listen to the sound of rain pattering down your windows? IS YOUR BIRTHDAY COMING SOON??? (or has it already passed like mine? we can commiserate together and eat stale cake. it’ll be great.)  And most importantly. . .


AHA. This is because I just recently got my first ever job and am now trying to find my groove. But it’s fine. Things are finally beginning to fall into place again, so I guess this post is me reentering the blogosphere. I hope y’all didn’t miss me too awful much. (and also–if everything goes according to plan–I’ve got a fun announcement coming soon, so keep your peepers peeled for that!)

As always, let’s talk about ALL OF THE THINGS!!! down in the comments below! And until next time. . .

_flings cookies in the air and disappears_