Introducing A 12-Hour Read-a-thon Fundraiser!

Hello, Cyberspace! This is just gonna be a quick little post to help promote a 12-hour read-a-thon/fundraiser hosted by my lovely friends, Ally and Stassia, tomorrow afternoon at 12 pm EST! All donations received during the read-a-thon will go towards building a group home for orphans in North Macedonia, and the book they’re reading–My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry–looks absolutely adorable, and I just. . .!!! I am so excited for this, guys, you have no idea.

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If you want to find out more about the read-a-thon, you can do so here. And if you’re interested in the overall project of building a home for orphans in North Macedonia, then you can find information about that and how to help on this page right here!

And for anyone interested in following along with the read-a-thon tomorrow, here’s the link to the youtube channel where the read-a-thon will be held!

(also also also, that amazing graphic up there was made by Stassia, and I just. . .??? IT IS GORGEOUS??? Please teach me your skill, girl, because my graphics are never this amazing. XD)

But anyway, I think that’s everything! If I remember something I forgot to include, I’ll pop it into an edit later. XD Wishing you all the bestest of Wednesdays and the most beautiful of weeks. . .!

Kenzie

An Echo Of The Fae Book Release Tour!: An Interview With The Author

good morning, cyberspace!

Remember a few weeks ago when I helped reveal the cover for Jenelle Schmidt’s newest release, An Echo Of The Fae? Well, today I was given the chance to go even deeper into the creation of this story! I’ve never really been part of a book release tour before, but if there is one book that I seriously want to help boost out there in the great, wide Cyberspace, it is this one.

I was initially supposed to do an author interview/book review post today, but because Life is a cruel mistress and Time hates my guts, I am unable to do the review portion today. I will, however, be posting that in the near-ish future, so please stay tuned for that! (seriously. y’all NEED to read this book.)

But, despite my inability to complete my tasks on time, I still have an absolutely LOVELY author interview to share with you all today! And I am so so excited for you to read it, because–as I’ve mentioned before, and as I shall keep mentioning until it is known world-wide–Jenelle is literally the Fairy Godmother of Indie Publishing. She is an absolutely hUGE inspiration to me in my own writing journey, and I am so incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to get to know her better over the course of the past year or so.

(not to mention we actually KNOW PEOPLE IN EACH OTHER’S IRL CIRCLES??? the world is eerily small sometimes, my dudes. XD)

So when the chance came for me to help promote her book and interview her on ALL OF THE WRITERLY things, I couldn’t pass up the chance. I still have a multitude of things I’m going to have to pick her brain on in the future, but for today, allow me to introduce you to our first ever Smudged Thoughts Author Interview!

(I feel so profesh now. look at me, guys, I’ve actually interviewed a real-life author!!! …ahem. moving on.)

LET’S CHAT!: featuring Jenelle Schmidt

Kenzie: Good morning, cyberspace, and welcome back to yet another episode of LET’S CHAT! This is a very special episode, however, for today, our interviewee is actually alive.

*collective gasp from the crowd*

Kenzie: I know. It’s quite shocking even to me. So before our lovely star has a chance to completely rethink this entire decision, let’s dive right into the interview! Ladies and gents, boys and girls, let’s give a giant, warm welcome to the one–the onlyJenelle Schmidt!

Kenzie: First thing’s first, our first question! How do you balance family and overall chaotic crazy Life-ish-ness with your writing life/goals and dreams? (I would absolutely love to hear how you juggle family and life with writing and blogging and just ALL OF THE THINGS, because you are a huge authorly inspiration to me, not gonna lie.)

Jenelle: Aww, well, thanks! 

Balance is always a hard thing to find, and it’s not always easy to keep things properly balanced. I will be the first to admit that there are many things to do, and at any given time in my life, there’s at least one important thing that’s not getting done or being neglected.

Usually it’s house work.

Pretty much always house work, actually. And sometimes it’s cooking. We probably eat take-out more often than we ought to. Which is a bummer, because I actually like cooking and am pretty good at it.

But, that aside, there are a few things I do that I think help me.

  1. God comes first. When I slack off in reading my Bible or spending time in prayer, everything else in my life suffers. Usually, when things begin to tip out of balance, this is the reason. I’m not making time in my day for my Lord and Savior, and that throws all the rest of the things out of whack.
  2. Limit time on social media. This one has been a major problem for me the past few months during the quarantine, and my time on social media definitely got way out of balance, which meant that a lot of other things did not get done in a timely fashion… or at all. So it was a good reminder and wake-up call to set limits on how much time I spend on social media.
  3. Protect your writing time and do whatever you need in order to make sure that time is spent writing. This is a two-fold key, because when those moments come that you’ve set aside for writing, you have  to be proactive to make sure that you actually WRITE during that time. Don’t let other things get in the way. If you know you’ll be distracted by a messy house, make sure you do your cleaning before you get to your writing time, otherwise you’ll spend your writing time cleaning! (And nobody wants to do that!)

I also have a super incredibly amazing supportive husband who loves my stories and loves the fact that I’m an author and helps make sure that I get time to work on my writing.

Kenzie: Oh my word, I LOVE this answer!!! I definitely need to start limiting my social media time, as well. (specifically youtube…aha.) And THANK YOU for mentioning the part about putting God first. That is such a crucial point and I feel like it really needs to be discussed more…

Kenzie: What does your writing process typically look like on a day-to-day basis? (I’m probably being kind of selfish, here, because I absolutely love insider looks into author lives.)

Jenelle: I’m never quite sure how to answer this question. I just… erm… write. I open my computer, pull up my document, and pick up where I left off. (If I’ve been consistent and disciplined, I don’t even have to re-read much of what I wrote before… though lately so much time has passed between writing sessions because of getting ready for this release that my other projects have suffered a little).

I used to be a revise-while-you-draft writer, where I would spend a couple of hours writing, then the next day I would start out by going over what I had written the day before, editing and tweaking before moving on to write new stuff, but then I discovered the amazingness that is word sprints (thank you, Anne Elisabeth Stengl!) and ever since then, I have implemented those into my writing process with a lot of success. I don’t do much revising or editing when I’m drafting now, though I definitely do a lot more outlining! 

I tend to have a very basic overall outline for the story, and then as I’m writing I’ll create more detailed outlines for the next scene or the next several scenes so that I know my next immediate destination with regards to the overall plot, and then I write as fast as I can to get there.

Kenzie: *INTENSE FLAILING* WORD SPRINTS!!!! YES!!! I absolutely ADORE those, as well! Goodness, next time I’m going to have to ask you about your outlining process. I definitely need help, there. XD

And finally: they say that each new book teaches you something new. Did this particular novel teach you something about writing/your creative process that you hadn’t yet realized?

Jenelle: Yes! An Echo of the Fae taught me a lot of things. But the thing it taught me the most was the beauty of creating something with my Creator. I really feel that God laid this story on my heart, and He was with me every step of the way throughout the entire process. I didn’t write a single scene without talking to Him about it first.

If you haven’t read Allen Arnold’s “The Story of With” I highly recommend you get a copy of the audio book and give it a listen. (Or you could read it, but the audio book is fantastic). It’s a book about what it can look like when you choose to pursue your creative identity with and for God, rather than for yourself or for the acclaim of the world. It’s one of the things that has been extremely inspirational in my own life over the past couple of years. 

Why do I bring this up, a book recommendation sort of randomly in the middle of my answer to this question? Well, I felt like the things I learned while listening to The Story of With sprang to life in my own creative process as I wrote An Echo of the Fae. It was a transforming experience, and one that I am sure I will have to relearn again and again. I don’t know if I’ll ever have the same sort of writing experience I had while writing Echo… but I’m glad I got to experience it once.

Kenzie: …I absolutely love this, and am totally checking out that book now. Thank you so much for chatting with me today, Jenelle! All of your answers were so inspiring and helpful, and I cannot WAIT for the world to meet Echo!

Kenzie: As for the rest of you, don’t forget to snag your own copy of this amazing book over on Amazon, and also make sure to check out this post right here over on Jenelle’s blog to find the rest of the blog tour stops! There’s an insta challenge and a TON of fun content coming your way, so head on over to Jenelle’s site so you don’t miss anything!

Kenzie: As always, let us talk about ALL OF THE THINGS!! down in the comments below, and until next time. . .

Kenzie: *flings cookies in the air and disappears*

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talk to me, peasants!

GUYS!!!! AN ECHO OF THE FAE IS OFFICIALLY OUT IN THE UNIVERSE!!!! I am so impossibly exited about this, and I can’t wait to get my own copy… Having this book on my shelf is going to be my reward for finishing my own novel, methinks. XD

But anyway!!! Questions!!!

  • how do you balance life and family and the overall chaotic craziness of existing with your writerly dreams?
  • have you ever read The Story of With? (I’m gonna be checking my library for this as soon as I can. It sounds like a book I’m desperately in need of right now…)
  • do YOU like writing with word sprints? (if not, you should really try it. I’m gonna form a word sprint club that meets every Monday night. I’ll bring the cookies and the punch. XD)

And finally, most important of all–

ARE YOU GOING TO READ ECHO?????

I am ridiculously excited about this book, guys. I don’t think I’ve been as excited for a new release since The Boy Next Story came out last year. XD But anyway. I DIGRESS.

As always, let’s talk about ALL OF THE THINGS! down below, and until next time. . .

FALLING DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE: reacting to my blog search histories

good morning, cyberspace!

Today’s post is one that I am v e r y excited about, my friends. Recently I read a post from my enviously talented friend, Kate, in which she went through her blog search histories and commented on all the weird and wacky searches that brought slightly grammatically challenged Googlers to her blog. As she said in her post, this is something that Cait from Paper Fury has done on numerous occasions in her monthly recaps, and something that I–inspired by Cait–have also done in the past. (I’m a pirate, what can I say. [although one could argue that it’s not true piracy when I blatantly admit that the idea is 100% not my own? but whatever. LET ME BE A PIRATE, PEASANTS!!!!])

Ahem. Moving on.

Today, as you could probably guess, I’m going to be reacting to my most recent search histories! I feel like a sufficient amount of time has passed for me to have some decent pileage to sift through, so without further ado, let’s crack open that Search Terms bar and find some things to comment on!

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— FALLING DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE: reacting to my blog search histories —

i. gif of wicked witch of the west saying curses

Um. . .? I’m not entirely sure why this particular search brought you to my blog, but I think I may know what you’re looking for.

Wizard Of Oz GIF

There you go. It’s always my goal to make sure my readers are taken care of.

ii. the pros and cons of the boy from wonder going to school // pros and cons of the book wonder // what were the cons and pros of august of wondergoing to school // strength and weakness of the book wonder // pros and cons of auggie going to school // what are some cons of auggie going to school

Fun Fact: I definitely don’t know what the pros and cons are for August Pullman going to school in the book Wonder. But I can definitely tell you some cons to writing a pro/con review of the book Wonder!

Con #1 – THIS.

iii. super villian cliches

Okay, so technically I wrote a whole post about Villain Cliches about three thousand years ago (it was initially going to be part of a series, but . . . lol. that has unfortunately not happened yet), but holy guacamole. I never even thought about doing supervillain cliches???

Someone get on this. I need this list in my life STAT.

iv. reviews of amazingflings.com

Uh . . . okay, so I have absolutely no clue what this website is, and honestly, I’m a little scared to look?

*one google search later*

Aha. Okay. So to save you the trouble of googling this and having it forever scarred in your search history (as it is now in mine), I’m just going to put it politely and say that it looks like a “dating app”. But since you’re apparently here for a review on this particular website, allow me to give you what you came for.

KENZIE’S REVIEW OF NOT SO AMAZING FLINGS

PROS none

CONS this site exists

OVERALL OPINIONS — Don’t use this website. It’s creepy and looks like something my great uncle Carl would use to try and find his next serial murder victim.

The end.

v. otp writing challenge

Yesssssss!!! This challenge was SO much fun to do! I highly recommend it to any writer out there looking for a fun, easy post to draft. Of course, my version of this tag was slightly weird because I *cough* don’t write romance, but you can still check it out right here if you’re interested!

vi. bookpub a scam

I believe we’re missing an important ‘is‘ in there, and the answer to that is YES. Anything with the word ‘pub’ in it sounds like a scam to me. (although this is coming from the girl who thought the NaNoWriMo site was going to give her a virus, so….?)

Now, if you were asking me about bookbub, on the other hand . . . then the answer to that is probably still a yes. I wouldn’t trust it.

Be safe, people. Scams are everywhere.

vi. an experiment is a beautiful thing it is an adventure

Oh my word, I wholeheartedly agree with your rather strangely worded and grammatically incorrect sentence! (there should be a semi-colon in there, friend.) But I digress. An experiment IS a beautiful thing, and it is most certainly an adventure. What a wonderful way to phrase that!

vii. am ia pile of disappointment

Well then. This is probably the saddest search term I have in my inbox.

No, friend. You are most definitely NOT a pile of disappointment. And I sincerely hope that if this search term really and truly did bring you to my blog, that you come away from my posts with a smile on your face and the knowledge that you’re worth more than diamonds and rubies and the whole force of a dragon’s hoard.

Whatever made you google this, just know that it does get better eventually. Okay? Okay.

. . . and lastly, our final search term of the day. . .

viii. smudged thoughts

AHA!!! See??? At least someone knows what to put into Google to find some quality content.

Whoever did this, you’re my new favorite. <333

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talk to me, peasants!

And there you have it, friends! This post is rather short and sweet, I know, but there have been Things going on in my life–things to prepare for, things to do, things to REMEMBER–and I’ve just kinda been hiding from the internet like the scared little chameleon that I am. This is what happens when I get stressed out, apparently. I HIDE. (does anyone else do this? No? Just me? Okay then…)

But anyway! On to the questions!:

  • what is the weirdest search you’ve ever found in your history?
  • have you ever read the book Wonder? and if so, DO YOU KNOW THE PROS AND CONS OF HIM GOING TO SCHOOL? because I seriously get like eight of these every month, apparently.
  • have you ever tried bookpub (or even bookBUB), and is it a scam? the public needs to know.

And lastly, most important of all–

DO YOU KNOW OF ANY SUPERVILLAIN CLICHES????

Because holy guacamole that would be so much fun to draft. . . *eyes messy drafts folder warily*

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

A BOOKISH BEANS REVIEW: The Girl and the Witch’s Garden by Erin Bowman

good morning, cyberspace!

Today I’m coming at you all with a book review, which–in case you’re kinda confused with all the general bookishness that I’m flinging at you this month–has absolutely nothing to do with the book cover that I helped reveal last week. (however, if you’re interested in beautiful covers and want to join me in my mass excitement for Jenelle Schmidt’s new release coming out later this month, GO CHECK THAT SMUDGE OUT, PEASANTS!)

However, sallying forth, let’s talk about The Girl And The Witch’s Garden! (a.k.a. the novel I shall be providing a non-spoilery review for today!)

(special thanks to Netgalley and the publisher–Simon and Schuster–for sending me a free e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review!!)

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THE GIRL AND THE WITCH’S GARDEN – A BOOKISH BEANS REVIEW

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THE BLURB

taken from goodreads

Mallory Estate is the last place twelve-year-old Piper Peavey wants to spend her summer vacation. The grounds are always cold, the garden out back is dead, a mysterious group of children call the property home, and there’s a rumor that Melena M. Mallory—the owner of the estate and Piper’s wealthy grandmother—is a witch.

But when Piper’s father falls ill, Mallory Estate is exactly where she finds herself.

The grand house and its garden hold many secrets—some of which may even save her father—and Piper will need to believe in herself, her new friends, and magic if she wants to unlock them before it’s too late.

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THE REVIEW

Rating: 3 out of 5.

SO. I’m going to be perfectly blunt here and say that this particular novel was . . . not exactly what I expected when I requested the arc for it. I’m sure this is yet another prime example of judging a book by its cover, but looking at the adorable illustration pictured above, I was expecting something soft and whimsical and–dare I say it–childish between the pages. That’s what I love most about Middle Grade, after all. Of course it has deep themes and hard truths of life and all that “fun stuff” about what it’s like living through your Youngin’ Years, but there’s also a simplicity and innocence lurking there, as well–something that Young Adult novels are strikingly without.

However, this book in particular felt more like a read for fans of the Percy Jackson series than fans of The Girl Who Drank The Moon, if that makes any sense. Whereas they’re both Middle Grades with an emphasis on magic and the fantastical, they both have drastically different tones to them.

HOWEVER! That being said, this is definitely not a bad thing and should not be taken as a knock against this book! Despite the fact that it wasn’t the tone I was initially anticipating (something that is entirely my fault), I still thought this book was very well done.

The theme, in particular, stands out as one of this book’s shining qualities. For one thing, it is deep for a children’s book. Not in a “this is gonna fly right over this kid’s head” kind of way, but in a “this is something that kids should really have more access to/conversation about” kind of way. It was nice to see a topic of such importance handled with such grace and tact, and I truly believe that somewhere out there, there’s a child who will benefit greatly from having a book with this particular message in their life. (not to mention that it IS filled with magic and wonder and enchantments, which is clearly what all of us readers are here for anyways, amiright? XD)

While the theme may have been my favorite aspect of this book, the characters were probably my least favorite. (which sounds harsh, but I promise it’s not as bad as it sounds.) Actually, the more I think about it, I’m not entirely sure whether it was the characters or the plot which fell a little flat for me–in some ways I think it might have been a mixture of the two working together–but there was definitely something about this novel that felt . . . “off”.

Our main protagonist, Piper Peavey, started off with quite a bit of promise. And for the most part, she was a likable protagonist. She was smol and young and sassy–a beautiful combination, truly–but as the story progressed, she began to develop a trait which I’m seeing more and more in the fiction world, and one that I just canNOT get behind, no matter how many times it crops up: lying.

My goodness, if there is one thing we can change in the future years of the publishing industry, can it PLEASE be the storylines that revolve around lies? Like??? Please??? I can’t even tell you how many books I have read that have “conflicts” which could easily be resolved in three minutes flat if the characters would just TALK to one another openly and honestly. I’ve actually considered flinging books at the wall because the characters are acting like utter imbeciles.

But I digress. These characters were not quite as bad as that, and the adorable motley crew of children living at Mallory Estate were, as a matter of fact, my favorite characters of the bunch. Especially Teddy and Kenji. (which is probably why it bothered me so much that Piper, who had JUST MET THESE SMOL PRECIOUS BEANS, started lying to them, even if I can understand the reasoning behind her secrecy.)

If you’ve been a reader of my blog for any length of time, you’ll already know that characters MAKE a story for me. Plot is important, of course, but if your characters are flat, chances are I won’t enjoy your story, even if it IS the coolest concept I’ve ever seen. So, with that being said, I truly believe that the smol beans of Mallory Estate brought the story together in a way that wouldn’t have otherwise happened had they not been included in the cast.

Piper’s grandmother, on the other hand . . . well, she’s part of the reason the story felt a bit off, simply because her and her daughter’s character arcs felt slightly unnatural and forced. (Sophia Peavey, especially, was a bit of a disappointment as far as character development goes. I didn’t really understand the reasoning behind her choices, even at the resolution of the story. it felt inorganic, in a way. definitely unnatural for the woman I had initially believed her to be, but maybe that was the point. . .?)

Overall, if I can stop thinking about the plot and characterization from a writer’s perspective and view it as a reader simply looking for a good dose of the fantastical, I can honestly say I found this book to be a rather pleasant read. I wouldn’t say it’s an absolute favorite, but for readers looking for a sweet, enchanting Middle Grade novel with deep themes of love, loyalty, and family, I’d definitely recommend giving The Girl and the Witch’s Garden a try!

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talk to me, peasants!

Have you read any particularly good middle grade novels recently? (I’m currently trying to devour as many of these as I possibly can for some reason?? Middle grade is SPEAKING to me right now, and I think I’d like to try my hand at writing one someday…? *hint hint*) What kinds of themes do you like to see in books? Soft themes? Deep ones? And do you prefer softer, more whimsical MG novels (like The Girl Who Drank The Moon), or more hardcore fantastical ones (like Percy Jackson)?

And most importantly of all. . .

IS IT BAD THAT I’VE NEVER READ PERCY JACKSON?

I feel like not reading this book is semi-akin to the sin which is never-having-read Harry Potter. So. Tell me if this is something that needs to change immediately. XD

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

An Echo of the Fae Cover Reveal!

good morning, cyberspace!

Today, I have a very, very, very, very exciting post for you all! Recently, Jenelle Schmidt–author of The Minstrel’s Song series, ‘Twas an Evening in Bethlehem, and many other delightful books which you can find right here–sent out a call for bloggers to help spread the word about her newest release–an original fairytale titled An Echo Of The Fae. And I–being the very lucky bean that I am–was able to sign up to help out with the cover reveal!!

(and also the actual book release, but shhh. you’ll hear more about that later. . .!)

Obviously, if you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know that I absolutely adore Jenelle. She’s like the fairy godmother of indie publishing, and her Self-Publishing Summer School series is something that I think every aspiring author should read–especially if you, like me, are interested in learning more about the indie side of publishing. So when I discovered that I actually had the chance to help celebrate the release of her newest book baby, I was over the moon excited.

And I’m possibly even MORE excited for you guys to see this cover today!!! I don’t even know the right words to describe it. Whimsical? Enchanting? Absolute perfection in every way? I’m honestly squealing just looking at it in my email. Which DEFINITELY ISN’T WEIRD AT ALL, HOW DARE YOU.

Ahem. So I should probably share it with you all now, right? Right. I’m pretty sure that’s how a cover reveal works. . . *laughs nervously*

All right, folks! Without any further ado, allow me to introduce you to the absolutely stunning cover for An Echo of the Fae!

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THE BLURB

Echo enjoys the peace and solitude of the Faeorn forest, regardless of how strange spending time in the “haunted” wood seems to others.

But on the cusp of her thirteenth birthday, the discovery of a family secret reveals why Echo has never been drawn to the sea like her mother. This discovery shakes the foundations of her world and sends Echo on a quest, not merely into the forest, but into the heart of the fae-lands themselves, to rescue the sister she didn’t know existed.

Elves, dragons, and fairy courts will put Echo’s wit and resolve to the test. But with time running out for her sister, will Echo even be able to save herself?

A fairytale adventure perfect for fans of The Secret of Roan Innish and The Girl Who Drank the Moon.

PRAISE FOR AN ECHO OF THE FAE

“Enthralled by the terror, charm, riddles, and beauty of a richly depicted fae world, I devoured this marvelous book in two sittings! Readers of all ages will love Echo, a heroine strong in her weakness, clever and resolute amid her doubt and fear. An Echo of the Fae is sure to satisfy lovers of adventure and faery!” — J.M. Stengl, author of The Faraway Castle Series

OH. MY. GOODNESS. First of all, let’s talk about the cover, shall we? Because is this the most beautiful cover in the whole entire universe, or what? The font. The forest. The whole enchantment of it all. . . I am literally in love with this cover, okay? I’ve been squealing ever since I found it in my inbox.

BUT CAN WE ALSO TALK ABOUT THAT BLURB, THOUGH??? I don’t know about you guys, but this sounds like it’s going to become one of my all-time favorite books of ever. It has the makings of everything I absolutely adore in a book–a precious protagonist, mysterious fae, creepy forests, FAIRYTALES. Not only that, but it’s geared towards 12-to-13-year olds, and that’s kind of where I’m finding my reading tastes to be leaning towards lately???

(I’m not entirely sure what this means for my mental state, but it’s fine. I’m sure this is perfectly normal for a twenty-year-old.)

So yeah. Suffice to say, this is a book that I am very excited about. Later this month I’ll be back with my full–hopefully non-spoilery–review of this book, but until then, allow me to leave you with a beautiful snippet from this beautiful book!

A SNIPPET FROM AN ECHO OF THE FAE

My earliest memory returns often in my dreams. My mother’s soft smile caresses me as she bends down to kiss my forehead, my own tiny hand reaching up and trying to capture a lock of her long red-gold hair between clumsy fingers that refuse to obey my wish. A soft, sweet humming fills the memory, a tune that is both dear and yet unfamiliar. Eyes filled with love gaze down at me, and a gentle laugh, a man’s laugh, fills the room. Strong arms encircle us both, my mother and me, and I know I am perfectly safe. Perfectly loved.

Another sound permeates the memory: a rhythmic, rushing, liquid sound I do not recognize, but which fills me with a deep longing that threatens to burst out of my chest and leave me completely hollow. In the dream, it is merely a subtle noise in the background, but when I wake I feel a desperate need to find its source. Sometimes the longing clutches me so tightly that it leaves me gasping, desperately sucking in each breath as if through a narrow reed, my lungs screaming as though they have forgotten how to breathe the very air I need to survive.

It is rare to have a memory from such a tender age, especially one so vivid. And yet, that moment is locked in my thoughts with perfect clarity. During the day it grows distant and faded, but it has haunted my sleep in full, vibrant detail each night for nearly thirteen years.

So why is it that the face in my dreams is wholly unfamiliar to me? Why is the mother from my memory a stranger?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jenelle first fell in love with stories through her father’s voice reading books aloud each night. A relentless opener-of-doors in hopes of someday finding a passage to Narnia, it was only natural that she soon began making up fantastical realms of her own. Jenelle currently resides in the wintry tundra of Wisconsin—which she maintains is almost as good as Narnia—with her knight-in-shining armor and their four adorable hobbits. When she is not writing, she homeschools said hobbits and helps them along on their daily adventures… which she says makes her a wizard.

Follow Jenelle around the interwebs to get news about latest releases and her writing adventures:


WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

GOODREADS

NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP

AMAZON AUTHOR CENTRAL

FIND THE DESIGNER!

This beautiful cover was designed by Savannah Jezowski from Dragonpen Press! You can find out more about Savannah at her website down below, as well as join the Dragonpen Press Facebook group!

WEBSITE

FACEBOOK GROUP

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talk to me, peasants!

  • is anyone else super excited about the arrival of this book? I have had SO MUCH FUN getting to be a part of this cover reveal, but I’ll be honest–it’s making me super impatient for this book to be released. XD Only 19 more days until it’s out in the universe and I can squeal about it without worrying about spoilers!!! MEEP!
  • what sorts of things compose your favorite kinds of books? For me it’s a mixture of the fantastical, the whimsical, and the strange. Fairytales are a wonderful example of this, which is probably why I love them so much. . .

and most important of all. . .

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THIS GORGEOUS COVER???

I’ve seen a lot of covers in my day, but my goodness. This probably has to be one of my personal favorites.

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

The ‘You Made A Difference’ Tag! — Celebrating The Bloggers Who Brought Me Here

good morning, cyberspace!

Today, my dearest peasants, is a day of pure celebration. For today is the day in which I post Smudged Thoughts’ 200th blog post!

*internal screaming*

I honestly can’t believe we’ve made it this far, guys. Smudged Thoughts started out as just a smol little hobby of mine in 2016, but since then I feel as though it’s grown into so much more. It’s become my safe space, my tiny corner of the internet in which I can scream and rant and fangirl about all of the writerly/bookish things. And over the past 3+ years, I’ve found community here on the blogosphere. It’s been a wonderful, beautiful, magical ride, and I wouldn’t trade away these past three–almost four!–years for anything in the world.

So today, in honor of our 200th blog post and all the wonderful peeps I’ve met here on the blogosphere, I thought today would be the perfect opportunity to do a tag!

But not just ANY tag, however. This tag in particular was created by the ever mischievous, forever enchanting Jem Jones, who just so happens to be one of my favorite humans on this whole entire earth. (hint: this means you definitely need to go follow her blog, peasants.) Secondly, it’s a tag about other bloggers–specifically the blogs and bloggers that influenced us in our blogging/creative journeys. And if THAT doesn’t sound like the perfect way to honor my life here on the blogosphere, then I don’t even know what is.

Unfortunately, I cannot, however, don my spare ski mask and eye-patch and become the thieving pirate burglar that I’ve always dreamed of for this tag, because Jem was an absolute dear and ACTUALLY TAGGED ME FOR THIS. So alas. I’m doing this, not under the guise of piracy, but with a gentle pat on the head and a soft, “Hey, Kenzie, you should totally do this tag!”

Very disgruntling, I can assure you.

But I digress. If you are reading this and find I did not tag you, BY ALL MEANS please tag yourself and go for it! This tag actually takes your answers and turns them into the taggees, which I find a very delicious concept.

Let’s begin!

Read More »

Kenzie’s Chaotic Return To The Blogosphere!: Ft. Where I’ve Been & What’s To Come

good morning, cyberspace!

*crashes through brick wall*

*skids to a halt*

*whips pitchfork onto the sofa*

I’M BACK, PEASANTS! Didja miss me? Didja not even notice I was gone? Do you wish that I would stay away for the next three thousand years and ne’er return because I am an amorphic blob of a mess who needs continual emotional support?

actually, don’t answer that.

Anyway, anyway. I am officially back, and it feels so so so SO good to finally be posting again! I mean, I realize I was only gone for a total of two weeks, but this past two weeks has been interesting, my friends. I broke a ukulele string (the horror), had a pre-midlife-crisis, and also started drafting a super secret project which I’m super secretly excited about! (shhhhh. it’s a secret. [but also more on this in a moment.])

I’m also still in quarantine. Which–I’ll be honest–is kind of making me lose my mind at this point. I COULD go over to the calendar and count how many days I’ve been in quarantine–I vividly remember my last normal day outside–but I’m pretty sure in doing so I will literally lose my mind. SO. We shall refrain from counting the days and instead focus on the fact that–with any luck–quarantine for my state will soon be over.

Hopefully.

Probably.

Please get me out of here. . . .

. . .moving on.

Seeing as though we are now halfway through May (excuse me, yes, I would like a refund on the year 2020, please. . .), I thought it would be fun to not only look back and reflect on the past two weeks of my absence, but also on the past four months.

If y’all remember, I made a list at the beginning of the year of all my super mega awesome goals for 2020. This post–alongside a giant, totally-doable timetable, also outlined a step-by-step plan that I fondly called The Four Month Fandangle Fantastic.

i am also beginning to deeply regret this name, so let’s just ignore that for now. XD

This plan was to ensure that I kept my aforementioned “totally doable” goals within check all throughout the year, and since we’ve just stepped across that first four-month threshold, I think now is the perfect time to take a peek back at that list and see how we’re doing!

And also make some much-needed revisions, because goodness knows we’re gonna need it.Read More »

THE END OF CAMP NANOWRIMO: Episode VII – The Final Interview

This episode of LET’S CHAT! is sponsored by Miss Marple Syrup! When your pancakes and attitude could use some sweetening, pour on the Miss Marple! Guaranteed to be your family’s favorite since 1949!Read More »

THE END OF CAMP NANOWRIMO: Episode VI – Finish Your Sprint

GOOD MORNING, CYBERSPACE!

Today I have some very exciting news to share! And it is NOT, as you might have guessed, the fact that I’m actually posting on a Tuesday for once. Aha. No no. That would be far too short of a blog post. . .

. . .

Actually, now that you mention it. . .

*end credits start rolling*

OKAY OKAY, THAT ISN’T MY ANNOUNCEMENT. Ahem. It’s something a lot more exciting, of course, and–*adjusts invisible bow tie*–something I am very excited about. . .

My friends, on April 26, 2020, I won Camp NaNoWriMo with 60,292 words!!!

*insert intense flailing here*
Read More »

CAMP NANOWRIMO CONTINUES!: Episode V (and a half) – Wordcounts and Laptops

GOOD MORNING, CYBERSPACE!

Today I’m popping in to say that I really don’t have a blog post this week.

. . .which is kinda weird, since I’m technically posting this as a blog post, but . . . you know. Ignore that oxymoron.

Basically, I’ve been really enveloped in my Camp NaNoWriMo story, Project Sunset, and haven’t exactly made the effort to carve out any of my writing time for blogging. I could say that I deeply regret this decision, but honestly? The fact that I’m so in love with my book is a wave that I’m going to ride for as long as I possibly can, because soon enough I’ll be absolutely dreading even trying to write a single word. And at that point, I’ll probably bust back into the blogosphere with all the force of a thousand suns.

(oh, look at that. I’m finally beginning to understand my own brain! hallelujah.)

So instead of an actual blog post this week, I thought I’d just bullet-point a few highlights from the past week of NaNo!!! Because that’s both simple AND recap-ish! It’s a win-win situation, amiright?

*claps hands together* Let’s go!Read More »