good morning, 2022 – my plans and plots for the new year!

good morning, cyberspace!

Happy New Year, my friends! I can’t believe it’s already 2022–or January, for that matter–but here we are on the cusp of another shiny new year, hoping (I think) that perhaps this one will be just a little less terrifying than the past couple have been…

To be honest, I don’t think ANYONE expected the 20’s to be… whatever it is the 20’s have been lately. But hey! We’re making the most of it! And what better way to focus on the good than by thinking about plans and plots for the oncoming year? and simultaneously kicking all terrible things that have happened underneath the rug, ne’er to be seen again. this is fine. Specifically, of course, ones in regards to writing, reading, and any otherwise creative pursuits!

Goal creation is one of my favorite things, especially at the start of a new year. Not only is it new and exciting–the very fuel this chaotic creative thrives on–but it also helps hold me accountable to the very many things I want to accomplish within a calendar year. At least, it should hold me accountable. As we discovered last week, sometimes I’m not very good about staying true to the goals I’ve set for myself. XD But! That’s all part of the learning experience, amiright?

So this morning, for our very first post of 2022, I’m going to pull back the curtains of my mind and show you all a sneakety peakety of what I’m planning for this year!

What will I be writing within the coming months? Are there any new stories in the works? Do I have a publishing plan(lol wut)? What about secret projects? Are there any of those? (trick question. there are ALWAYS secret projects in the pipeline.) There’s so much to be excited about in the coming months–some of which I’m not even covering in today’s post–so let’s dive right in and take a look!

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2021 Reviews & Reflections

good morning, cyberspace!

Today, as 2021 draws to a close, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the multitudes of goals I created for myself at the start of the year. January held all the potential a new year can present, and it’s pretty obvious by my intentions for the year that I had… high hopes for how 2021 would progress. XD

Unfortunately, I also have a tendency to forget about these new goals about halfway through the year, but ya know. It’ll be fun to review them and see how many I actually managed to accomplish!

For anyone wanting to read the original post to get a sense of how horribly oblivious Past Kenzie was to the challenges this year would present, here’s a handy dandy hyper link for you to follow through the wormholes of the internet. However, if you’d rather just snatch the highlights and enjoy my PRESENT reactions to such goals as these, keep reading, sailor!

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WINTERTIDE ALBUM TOUR – Announcing The Release of a Delightful Wintry Album!

good morning, cyberspace!

Y’all, I have some INCREDIBLY exciting news to share today! Recently I was contacted by a dear friend to help spread the news of a brand new Christmas Album, WINTERTIDE, which released just last week! Ever since the album dropped on Friday, I’ve been streaming the music on Spotify and falling absolutely in love with the beautiful guitar and vocals… It’s honestly the perfect wintry backdrop to the cozy snowfalls we’ve been having here in Michigan, and I could not be more excited about sharing this release with you all!

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Good Morning, September: Agendas, Outlines, & The Return of Lofty Goals

good morning, cyberspace!

It’s September, guys. Yeah. You read that right. Today is the first day of September. This is happening, folks. There’s no going back now. We have entered the months of Fall.

To be honest, I’m less excited about this approaching month than I normally am. Typically I LOVE September, but this one is… not gonna lie, friends, this one’s a lot.

Awkward Season 4 GIF by The Office
my sister walked past me while this was on my screen and said “I’ve seen you make this face”. This is unfortunately not a lie.

I thought August was going to be a complicated, project-filled month, but goodness… it doesn’t even come CLOSE in comparison with September. There’s so much going on in both my work life and personal/creative life, and while I very much would like to just to crawl into a hole and DIE sleep for a good long while, I know that all the stuff happening this month is going to be an adventure.

…whether or not it’s a good adventure is highly subject to change at any given moment, and I should probably note that there is also a very good chance that I may disappear without a trace somewhere in the middle of the month. Haha. Hahahahaha. Heh. Moving right along.

Anyway, I used to love writing goal-oriented posts at the beginning of each new month, but all of that sorta flew out the window recently, what with my unexpected hiatuses and the occasional random post flung here and there. But today, I thought it’d be fun to bring it back! Because Goals! And Life! And Potential Screaming! So let’s talk about September, shall we?

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The Five-Year-Blogiversary! (feat. blogiversary giveaway winner!)

good morning, cyberspace!

My deepest apologies for not posting last week! It was my intention to put out something at the very least, but it turned out that I had far less time to write than I’d anticipated. I always seem to forget how BIG August is around here. For one thing, there’s the birthday of my blog, and then there’s my birthday (hello, yes, hi, that’s why there was no post last Tuesday. XD), and then I’m also preparing for fun bloggy things in September… (more on THAT soon!) And then, of course, as if all of THAT isn’t enough, Life decided to throw yet another curveball my way this year and not only present me with new promotional tasks at my job (which I’m actually very excited about), but also… other things in regards to my job that I currently cannot speak about. XD All good things, of course, all good things. But also exceedingly stressful and a wee bit terrifying, nonetheless.

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A Happy Birthday To ME! – Smudged Thoughts’ 5th Blogiversary!

good morning, cyberspace!

I have some VERY exciting news for you all today, my friends! Smudged Thoughts–this precious bean of a child which I have painstakingly nurtured since 2016–is having a BIRTHDAY! We’re turning 5 years old this month, folks. FIVE. YEARS. OLD. That’s half of a decade. (if I didn’t feel like a hobbled old blog witch before, I certainly do now. XD) And since this is clearly a momentous occasion, I wanted to do something EXTRA special to celebrate! None of this would ever have been possible without you guys, so this month, we’re doing something extra special to give back to this beautiful community which has accepted me as one of its own…


August is officially a month of celebration, my friends, and I’m asking you to bop along with me for this beautiful, magical, wonderful ride!

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For the first few years of Smudged Thoughts’ existence, I didn’t really know how to celebrate a blogiversary. I tried, of course (assuming I remembered it was happening in the first place), but I didn’t know how to make it an event to remember. Then 2019–my third Bloggy Birthday–happened, and we celebrated with a giveaway and short story contest!! It was a wild, slightly manic time–and the notebook I made was, I’ll admit, a wee bit rusty in regards to skill level XD–but goodness, it was fun. It was the only blogiversary I can remember that I really, truly put effort and time into, and that was only for my 3rd year of blogging.

This time, at 5 years old, I really want this to be a blogiversary to remember. Which is why, in a similar vein to two years ago, we’re going to be hosting a giveaway here on Smudged Thoughts!

Notice, however, that I said we. For this giveaway, my dear peasants, is also a collab.

I am so, so, SO extremely excited to announce that my Five Year Bloggy Birthday is going to be in partnership with my dear friend AND favorite sister, Marissa from @hodgeandpodgestudio!

Marissa Keene is a dream-chasing, convention-crushing creative with a passion for making her mark on the world. Her obsessions include any variant of fiber arts, crafting, and other such wabi-sabi-ness, and she uses her many skills to weave handmade creations for her Etsy shop, Hodge & Podge Studio!

I’ll hopefully be tormenting interviewing Marissa here on Smudged Thoughts later this month in a deep dive expose about all of her creative talents, so if you’re interested in getting to know more about the maker of our giveaway prize, please keep your eyeballs peeled for this exclusive Meet The Maker coming soon!

And speaking of the prize, I just so happen to have a sneakety peakety of the VERY THING you could win!

Ready to see what it is? Ah? AHHHHHHHH?

MEEP! I am so unbelievably excited about this giveaway, you guys! I personally have one of Marissa’s notebooks on my own shelf (it’s Alice In Wonderland themed. Yes, I squealed. XD), and I can tell you from experience that these notebooks are otherworldly. The fact that she was willing to create a Smudged Thoughts themed notebook for my smol little blog is just … I’m over the moon happy, you guys. The colors are perfect. The details are perfect. I am just so so excited for one of you to win this. I promise you won’t be disappointed. <3

So now, without any further ado, HERE’S HOW TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY! Technically this giveaway is a two-parter–you can enter both here and over on instagram–so if you want optimal prize winning potential, I highly suggest checking us out on Instagram after you’re done here! Meep!

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  • follow this blog–Smudged Thoughts (you can follow either via email or through the handy dandy blue button over on the side!)
  • like this post and leave a comment!
  • follow me (@thesmudgedthoughts) and Marissa (@hodgeandpodgestudio) over on instagram


And that’s it, folks! The winner of the giveaway will be announced on the 17th both here and on Instagram, so make sure to check back to see who wins! (and for an EXTRA chance to win, don’t forget to enter over on Instagram, too! Not only will it give you a better chance to win this beautiful handcrafted notebook, but it also helps two very smol creators in a very big way! XD)

talk to me, peasants!

And that, my lovelies, is all I’ve got for you today! Let’s get the ball rolling, shall we? Answer my question down in the comments below and get a headstart on entering our splendorific blogospherical giveaway! Are you ready? On your marks … get set … GOOOOOO!


As always, let’s talk about EVERYTHING down in the comments below! And until next time…!

* flings cookies in the air and disappears *

Life & Other Disasters! – an update

good morning, cyberspace!

So! Some of you might have noticed that I have not posted for a couple weeks. This was in no way supposed to happen, and I am really quite sorry that it did. However, as I am sure you will come to see in the next few paragraphs, life has been a little funky lately, friends. XD It’s in no way a bad thing–actually, two out of the three major circumstances are really quite good! But as it is, sometimes life prevents us from doing the things which we love.

Fortunately, the things we love have a way of sticking around until we can make it back to them.

So! Today, in leu of the fact that I don’t currently have a super amazingly epic blog post lurking around my drafts folder waiting to be posted, I’d thought I’d give a smidgen of a writing/life update!

Because clearly y’all love hearing me ramble, yes?

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LIFE (and other disasters of similar quality)

Soo. Where have I been, you might be wondering? Where could I–the great and powerful Kenzie–have disappeared off to for two whole entire weeks? (the horror!)

The answer, my friends, is really quite wonderful:

I went on a writing retreat! And technically it was a virtual writing retreat, which … you know … means I didn’t even have to leave my couch. so the fact that this kept me from blogging is entirely irrelevant *cough* but I MUST POINT OUT that during this writing retreat, I was simultaneously having a series of the worst weeks of 2021! So like?? I feel like I should get some slack there, yes? It’s really difficult for me to be productive and creative when my IRL existence is in shambles and crumbling down around me, but I digress. Life moves on, I discovered some really amazing writing advice from the curators of the writing retreat, and here I am today to tell you all about my progress in both my WIP (project goblin, for those keeping score), and my real life! (more on both of these things below).

But first, I want to tell you guys the reason that I missed a post for this specific Tuesday. Because technically the writing retreat ended last weekend, so I should have had plenty enough time to draft something. But I sorta kinda completely blew off writing a blog post for Tuesday to … er … go to a trampoline park?

…and then I completely busted up my ankle. While bouncing on a trampoline. At said trampoline park.

I didn’t say I was proud of it, okay? XD

So Tuesday after work, instead of following my initial plan to sketch up a blog post and throw it onto the internet, I decided to spend the evening with a whole gang of coworkers and friends. It was a jolly, high-energy time which I’m SO thankful for, but then, towards the end of the night when we were all beginning to crave Chick-Fil-A, I took a leap of faith on one final trampoline, stumbled, tripped, and face-planted into a giant foam mattress that completely absorbed me into its comforting embrace.

And suddenly there was an intense burning sensation in my left ankle.

Fast forward to today (Friday night), and I’m sitting on the couch sporting a deliciously galaxy-like bruise and questioning not only my sanity, but the sanity of anyone who dares enter a trampoline park.

And yet? I have no regrets, my friends. Absolutely none at all. XD #noregerts (except, you know, for the GIANT BRUISE ON MY ANKLE. But like it’s fine. I had fun. 10/10 will not be going back.)

But yeah, that’s about it for the life update! There are some Other Things going on behind the scenes that I don’t feel quite comfortable talking about yet (nothing but good things, of course!), but to give a conclusion on that aforementioned terrible series of weeks I experienced recently, I’ve been on the receiving end of God’s grace and His everlasting kindness the past couple weeks, and everything that was piling up around me to the point of near-suffocation has–despite all odds–been completely flipped on its head. Life is good. My heart is full. My foot looks like the backdrop for a wormhole.

I’m happy, guys. I’m really, really happy.

And also slightly in pain.

And now, on to the writing update!

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WRITING (Behind The Scenes of Project Goblin)

Okay, so this is something that I’m EXTREMELY excited to talk about, guys! I don’t have a whole lot to share right now (bummer), but I do have a lot of excitement for this story and where it’s headed!

I think the last substantial update I gave for The Girl and The Goblin King had something to do with my revelation/breakthrough, in which I discovered that this story had a slight Wizard of Oz vibe to it. Now, a month or so and 12 chapters later, I’ve finally reached a spot in this novel that I had yet to reach.

My friends, lords and ladies, children and hobgoblins–we have officially reached the hall of the goblin king.

I’ve been waiting for this moment for YEARS now. Never in all my rewrites, in all of my drafts, in all of my half-finished NaNo’s, have I gotten to the goblin king’s castle. Never. Not even once.

And yet….here we are. Technically I haven’t exactly stepped foot into the castle yet, but rest assured that this will be happening tonight. I have a wee bit of writer’s block at the moment from this being such a momentous occasion in the drafting of this novel, but the good news is that since I know the cause (MOMENTOUS OCCASION, YEET!), I know exactly how to fix it.

…just keep writing.

And since I’ve got a bum leg and a Saturday of doing nothing before me, I have a vaguely good feeling about what I’m going to be working on over the weekend. XD

Aside from the fact that we have now entered the hall of the goblin king, I’d also like to mention that my main terror child, Annalora, has decided to completely shut me out. She won’t talk to me–or even look at me, for that matter–but this is all fine and dandy since Todd has decided to become my new best friend. He’s a nervous mess, and apparently becoming a nervous mess about potential death and hallucinatory nightmares is enough to crack him open and get him talking? To be honest, I’ll take it. Annalora I can fix in a later draft. Todd is the man carrying this story at the moment, and I kinda need my leading guy to develop some sort of a personality within the first draft.

But I digress. Of more notable quality, Todd’s sanity is slowly whirlpooling down the drain, my walking tree got left behind because he couldn’t fit inside a tiny secret passage, and WE HAVE FINALLY DISCOVERED MY CREEPY TRIPLET BOYS!!

I’m probably most excited about that, quite frankly. My triplets are some of the most disturbing creatures I’ve ever dreamed up, and getting to flesh them out further on the page has been an experience. I’m not sure they’re quite up to par with the vision living inside my head, but you know what? This is a first draft. It’s allowed to be a little subpar every now and then!

As far as wordcount goes, I am very, very behind on my goals for June, but my progress through the story has been so substantial recently that I can’t bring myself to be disappointed. Currently, I’m deciding to focus on scenes rather than wordcounts. It seems a little less harsh on my mentality towards writing, and though I may not be progressing as quickly as I want to be, I know that I’m filling out these chapters in a way that feels right. Every book is different, I guess, and for right now, slow and steady is how this book is demanding to be written.

I do–as I might have mentioned previously–have a hard deadline for this book, but as of right now I’m not going to be sharing it anywhere on cyberspace. It’s not only a protection for my own sanity, but also to keep me from stressing about breaking yet another goal deadline in front of everyone on the internet. XD But rest assured that you will all know the moment the first draft of this book is completed! I am extremely excited to have the first draft of Project Goblin FINALLY under my belt, and though it might take a little longer than initially expected, I’m pushing forward with everything I have, and am determined to complete this manuscript before the year is out…!

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talk to me, peasants!

And that, my friends, about sums up my life update for today! Personal injuries, fun writing plans, and a whole slew of messy life-ish-ness… I gotta say, this year is really shaping up to be quite the whirlwind. But that’s quite enough about me! Tell me something about YOU!

Have you ever blown off writing priorities to spend a night with friends? Are you working on anything special during the beginning of these glorious summer months? What is the WORST injury you’ve ever sustained as a human? (not gonna lie–this one is ranking uip there)

Let’s talk about ALL OF THE THINGS! down in the comments below! And until next time…

*flings cookies in the air and disappears*

January, 2021

good morning, cyberspace!

It has come to my attention that I failed to write an update for the first month of 2021. And since one of my goals for the year is to become more involved on the blogosphere–and also lowkey keep better track of the months as they slowly slip through my fingers–I thought giving a recap on how January went for me was better late than never!

Honestly, not a whole lot happened during January. It was a rather unremarkable month. But being the first month of this brand new year, I still feel it’s worth acknowledging! This will most likely be a shorter blog post than we’re used to around here, but like … I’m not gonna say that’s a bad thing. XD

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january, 2021


First up, let’s talk writing statistics! As far as writing goes, January wasn’t all that great for me. I definitely did not write near as much as I wanted to, and I’m still relatively behind on my first drafting for PROJECT GOBLIN. However, winter is a pretty strange season for me in general, so productivity typically falls out the window during these colder months.

All that said, though, I definitely did write some words! And though it wasn’t as much as I might have wanted, I’m still proud of the progress I did achieve!

word goal — 15,000 words

total words written — 12,786 words

projects tracked — project goblin

best daily writing streak — 12 days in a row

My main goal for January was to work on PROJECT GOBLIN and get a solid headway into the story. This … did not happen, exactly? But I definitely did work on it, and 12.5k story words is nothing to sneeze at, if I do say so, myself. Of course, I would have LIKED to write that extra 2,300 words and hit my goal of 15k, but I’m not going to beat myself up about it. Life happens, and I’m learning to embrace the chaos, accept the end result, and give myself grace in the midst of disappointment.

However, all that being said, I’m definitely planning on having a comeback in February. Which is saying something, since we’re already 7 days in at the time of me writing this, and I most DEFINITELY have not had any sort of comeback at all yet. But there’s still time! I have 21 days, peasants! I CAN DO THIS.

*distant sobbing*

Ahem. Anyway.

I also blogged a little bit last month, but since I didn’t track those words, I can’t exactly tell you how much was put towards blogging and how much was put towards actual story work. However, I can tell you that February has seen much more intent towards blogging than it has actual writing, and that … probably is not a very good thing. But since it’s been a while since I’ve actually been serious about blogging, I’m trying to ride this wave for as long as it will carry me.

Hopefully I’ll start writing more story words soon, though. I kinda need that if I’m going to meet my self-inflicted deadline.


As described in my 2021 Goals & Aspirations post, I’ve kept up with my goal of reading books which are actually on my shelf, rather than obtaining more and … not reading them.

This, of course, comes with a wee bit of a caveat, because while I definitely read books on my shelf, they both also happened to be rereads… Which means I’m literally not any closer to narrowing down the list of books I own which I have yet to read.

But this is okay, because at least I haven’t been going out and obtaining new books, right? Haha.



OKAY, FINE. I went out and bought three new books, okay? But it’s not my fault. I take one step into a Barnes and Noble and suddenly I’m having an out-of-body experience in which I’m incapable of stopping myself from adopting at least one new child. It’s … it’s not good. But also I have NO SHAME, PEASANTS. NONE WHATSOEVER.

Awkward Season 4 GIF by The Office

Okay, I honestly have a problem. But it’s fine. I’m excited about the books I bought, and even more excited about my two rereads, so let’s just celebrate the bookishness that happened last month, yes?

Yes. Let’s do that.

books read


3. sy475

Technically I’m buddy-reading this one with Christine, and GUYS. First of all, this story is absolute whimsy on a page, and secondly–CHRISTINE IS LITERALLY ONE OF MY FAVORITE HUMANS EVER. After reading this book, we had a Zoom call and squealed about all things Harry Potter and life-ishness and writerly, and guys. It was magical. I adore this girl with my whole entire heart, I swear.

ENTWINED by Heather Dixon


This book, guys. It’s magic and romance and enchantment and whimsy and sisterhood and just…!!! This book has my heart, and it’s had it ever since I read it for the first time a few years ago. I think there’s a more detailed review of my first reading lurking somewhere on this blog, but I’m too lazy to find it, and I’m also a little too terrified to try. (my early reviewing days were … um … *distant screaming whilst my blog backlog goes up in flames*.)


books obtained



This is my first Gaimon, and GUYS! I am so so excited to read this one! I’ve been wanting to read The Graveyard Book ever since Phoebe told me my goblins (from PROJECT GOBLIN) sounded similar to some characters (ghouls, I think?) from this story. And I FINALLY found it at Barnes and Noble and it was like 10 bucks and I’m just!!!!! Over the moon thrilled is what I am, my friends.

READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Clime

12600138. sy475

This one was–not gonna lie–a severely impulsive buy. But I went to a Barnes and Noble with a new friend, and she told me she absolutely adored this book and thought I’d really like it, so … obviously I had to buy it. XD I’ve heard mixed reviews about this book, with the majority of it being positive, so I’m really eager to read it and form my own opinion!

Also I’ve just discovered that me, aforementioned friend, and yet another new friend might be starting our own little book club, with this being our first read, and I just???? This sounds adorable? I’m very excited about this, not gonna lie.

And finally, the book I’m probably MOST excited about right now…

AN ECHO OF THE FAE by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt

54198875. sy475

I was part of the cover reveal for this story, as well as an arc reader (though I didn’t finish the book in time, and I wasn’t able to write a review like I’d wanted to for the blog tour), BUT. I hadn’t gotten my own copy of this book yet. However, it’s one that I knew I wanted to add to my collection this year (despite my self-inflicted book-buying ban), and just recently I saw that the hardcover had gone on sale for a limited time!

…you guys can probably piece the story together from here.

Technically, my copy of ECHO hasn’t arrived in the mail yet, but I’M STILL REALLY REALLY EXCITED FOR IT TO GET HERE…!!! I’m so excited, guys… Jenelle is one of my favorite humans ever, and her stories always have this element of whimsy and adventure within them that just speaks to my very soul. I know for a fact that once ECHO gets here, I’m probably going to bump it to the top of my TBR almost immediately.

(smol update: my copy of ECHO came!!! and as predicted, this is going to the top of my TBR. #oops)


So! In keeping with my goal of staying connected with the blogging community more this year, I’ve decided that I’m going to add a “community” section to each of my monthly recaps! (very smart. much wow.) This, of course, is a wee bit of an experiment at the moment, but I’m eager to see how it will change and grow over the course of the next few months!

Unfortunately, January was a bit of a “dead month” for me, so I once again wasn’t super active here on the blogosphere as I would have liked to be. BUT. I’m still going to highlight some of my favorite bloggers, because even though I haven’t been reading and interacting as much as I want to, I’ve definitely rediscovered some of my favorite blogs this past month, and I want to share them with you all today! (even though y’all are probably already following each other, but IT’S FINE. I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING. MWAHAHAHAHA. #help)

i. Jenelle Leanne Schmidt

If you’re not following Jenelle yet, you are SERIOUSLY missing out. This girl is an absolute FAIRY. Her stories are magic and fairy dust, her blog posts are clever and incredibly insightful towards all things writing and indie publishing. She’s a wonderfully talented writer and an even greater friend, and I am so incredibly honored to have this beautiful human in my life.

Jenelle is also currently hosting something called Fantasy Month, so you should definitely hop on over to her blog and check it out before February ends!

ii. Sarah Seele

Sarah is one of the wittiest, cleverest (yes, it’s a word) bloggers I know. I don’t even remember how we stumbled across each other’s blogs, but I swear hers is one of my favorites to just binge on a rainy day when I’m hit with the sudden, inexplicable desire to just read some blog posts. She also has this really beautiful, almost magical way of writing, and I just *clutches heart*. She’s precious and I adore her and you NEED to go give her a follow if you haven’t already, okay? Okay.

iii. Christine Smith

For almost as long as I’ve been a part of the blogging community, Christine has been one of the sweetest, most encouraging voices. She is sunlight and kindness and I truly do not deserve to have her in my life. But oh my word, am I thankful for her. I literally cannot envision being a part of the blogging world without Christine. She makes every day brighter, and having her as a friend is legitimately one of the greatest things to have come from my time as a blogger.

Oh. And not to mention the fact that her blog posts are actually the most wonderful posts you will ever read in your whole entire life. (not even joking) Christine is one of those bloggers who I feel like everyone already knows, but GUYS. If you’re not following her already … please go follow her. She is actual sunshine in a bottle, and you need to read her posts.

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talk to me, peasants!

and that’s that for my January, 2021 recap! I … don’t exactly know how we’re already nearly halfway into February, but here we are. (are you scared? I’m scared.)

Anyway! Some questions for you all to ponder whilst I go have an existential crisis!

how did your january go? did you get any writing done? read any good books? have you read any of the books I’ve mentioned here, and–if so–what were your thoughts/opinions on them? and for all my fellow bloggers/readers of blogs out there (which is obviously you since you’re reading this), what are some of YOUR top favorite blogs to read?

Let’s talk about ALL OF THE THINGS down in the comments below! And until next time…

*flings cookies in the air and disappears*

February Is Fantasy Month Challenge!: in which kenzie screams about fandoms (oh no)

good morning, cyberspace!

Somehow–whether it’s by luck or sheer force of will–we survived my least favorite month of the year (*hisses vaguely at January*) and have arrived upon one of my favorites: February! I don’t know what it is about February that I love so much. Perhaps it’s the fact that everywhere you look, things are pink and purple and heart-shaped. Perhaps it’s that February First signifies the fact that I actually survived January, which has been habitually known for being the worst month of the year for me.

Or perhaps it’s the fact that every year, the internet explodes with a whole assortment of fantastical blogs and social media posts, because–as those in this circle of the internets know–February is Fantasy Month! And obviously anything to do with Fantasy deserves to be celebrated!

Back in 2016, the ever-lovely Jenelle Schmidt created Fantasy Month, and every year since, there have been prompts and blog posts and a whole host of fantasticalness to celebrate! And this year, I’ve decided to actually commit to participating all month long!

Or…sort of all month long? I’m not sure that all of my posts this month are going to be fantastical, but WE SHALL SEE, PEASANTS! (mwahahahahahaha)

I’m also going to be talking about all things fantasy over on my Instagram, so if you like pretty pictures to go along with my incoherent fantasy squealings, I’d highly recommend checking that out, as well!

But for today, I’m going to be answering all seven prompts in Jenelle’s #fantasymonth challenge! So if me screaming about fantasy fandoms sounds like a good way to spend the next six minutes, stay tuned, because we’re about to dive deep into my fandom past!

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i. what was the first fandom you fell into?

Uggggggh… This is a really tough question! (which doesn’t bode well since this is the first one. XD) Honestly–though I think this is going to be the answer that many bloggers give–I think the first fandom that I truly fell head over heels in love with was Harry Potter. There truly is no describing my obsession with not only that book series, but the movies, the characters, the video games. Anything and everything Harry Potter, I absolutely devoured. And I’m happy to say that even though it’s been years and years and years since I first discovered this fandom, I’m still just as in love with it as I was when I first fell down that rabbit hole.

I don’t think anything can truly compare to my overwhelming love for the world of Harry Potter. It takes me back to a time when anything was possible, and rereading those stories and revisiting that world is like stepping back in time to my childhood.

ii. what is the most recent fandom you’ve become a part of?

Bold of you to assume that I can remember the fandoms I enter on a daily basis. XD

I mean, to be perfectly honest, though I’m obsessive and fangirl about a LOT of things, I must admit that most of the fandoms I’m a part of, I’ve been a part of for years. I don’t generally develop hardcore obsessions very easily, but when I do … well. Let’s just say that I take my obsessions to the extreme.

So in regards to this question, in order for me to count something as one of my fandoms, it has to hold the same weight as Sherlock, Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland, etc… Which obviously means that I talk about it at least once per day, possess multiple merch items from within said fandom, and become over-excitable whenever such a fandom is mentioned within general conversation.

It’s a difficult bar to hit, which probably explains why nothing has been hitting it recently.

However… I HAVE started watching FMA: Brotherhood with my friend, Phoebe, and LET ME TELL YOU, FOLKS. This show is very nearly becoming one of those obsessive fandoms. I haven’t collected any merch yet, but I desperately want to continue watching it and–potentially, since this is a genre I’m very skeptical on–read some of the graphic novels that go along with them. And also collect merch.

All of the merch.

(“cAn I eAt ThEm NoW?”)

iii. star wars or star trek?










I honestly don’t know if I trust anyone who chooses Star Trek over Star Wars*. I’d have to do a thorough examination of our friendship if they prefer Spock to R2D2.

(*pssh, lies. but also I will convert you.)

iv. marvel or DC?

Oh, absolutely Marvel! I mean, how can you choose anything other than Iron Man and Spider Man and Thor and Loki and Black Widow and Hawkeye? Batman is great–don’t get me wrong–but Marvel is forever and always where my heart will be.

(also can we just pretend that Endgame never happened? Because I’m totally down for choosing to believe that whole fiasco was just a nightmare my pre-apocalyptic brain dreamt up one night for my sheer amusement.)

v. what is a fandom you love enough to want to live inside that world?

This one may garner some strange looks from acquaintances, but Alice In Wonderland. 100%, hands down. I can’t even tell you when my adoration for this story first began, but I have a vague feeling it happened sometime around 2010, when Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland officially hit theaters.

Coincidentally, I also think this is when my obsession with all things Tim Burton first began, so really I have Alice In Wonderland to thank for introducing me to the world of Tim Burton, and also for showing me that it’s perfectly normal to be perfectly weird.

And not only that, but can you imagine living in the same world as the Mad Hatter and Absalom and the Bandersnatch? I want to paint roses red and cut off heads and wear floofy blue dresses and wonderful hats and have slightly insane tea parties. It would just be so magical and beautiful and impossible–the perfect combination. And you wouldn’t have to worry about sane people coming ’round and ruining your fun, because everyone in Wonderland is perfectly unsane.

I just … I love Wonderland. I would live there for an eternity, if I could.

vi. if you could hang out with a character from one of your fandoms, who would it be and why?

I mean, aside from the obvious (since, you know … he’s a villain and also quite possibly psychotic), I’d probably have to choose The Doctor. Who, granted, isn’t any less insane, but at least you know his intentions are good. XD

I’ve always had this wild fantasy of becoming part of the Doctor Who family, actually–whether that’s by someday writing episodes for the show or by starring as a background cameo–and although the logical part of my brain knows that this will most likely never happen, he’s constantly overshadowed by the much larger, wilder side of myself which feeds off delusions and the most unbridled of fantasies.

However, even if my dream of writing for Doctor Who never happens–which it mostly likely will not–at least I can still choose to spend a Day with the Doctor. Which will most likely end up being years, because time travel travel and time-space continuums and all that wibbly wobbly … timey-wimey … stuff.

(my mom would like to add the comment that I would absolutely NOT pick the Doctor, and would, in fact, choose Moriarty. whether or not I want to, I must admit she’s probably correct in this assessment. but alas. I’ve already typed up my answer, and therefore we are sticking with it. XD)

vii. unknown fandom (something you love but nobody else seems to have heard of)


Narrator: and it was within this exact moment that Kenzie realized she’s a most basic peasant, and therefore knows nothing unique or unknown

So. This is awkward. Tbh, I’m not that unique in my fandoms. I like a lot of overhyped things, which honestly makes me rather lame. BUT. I talked to my writing group, and they sort of collectively agreed that The Lunar Chronicles is a lesser known fandom, so therefore THAT IS MY ANSWER.

Anyone who knows me knows I absolutely ADORE The Lunar Chronicles. Cress and Thorne and Iko and Cinder and Kai and Jacin and Winter and Scarlet and Wolf … they are all my precious children, and I adore them with my whole entire heart. (also would 10/10 murder a small man to get to play Cress in the live-action remake but YA KNOW. Previous obligations and whatnot)

Also–and I only just remembered this one–the show Fringe is definitely another fandom of mine, and literally no one seems to know about it whenever I bring it up in conversation. (also this one is lowkey science-fiction, so whether or not it actually counts is highly up for debate. but since this is more fandom-themed than fantasy-themed, I’m going to assume that it does…? yes…? *nervous sweating*)

I also think Kyle Robert Shultz’s Afterverse is highly underrated, especially by people outside of this wonderful writing community, so could we PLEASE get this man the recognition he so clearly deserves? Please and thank you.

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And that, my friends, was the #FantasyMonth challenge! Definitely check out Jenelle’s blog for more Fantasy Month goodness, and also keep an eye out on instagram for more fantasy-ish-ness from me! (and also the blog, obviously. but I have some fun behind-the-scenes ideas for my instagram that I’m really excited to experiment with! Whether they’ll actually turn out is another thing entirely, but we shall see. XD)

talk to me, peasants!

what are some of your favorite fantastical things? do you enjoy overhyped fandoms, or do you prefer to find the obscure and anonymous before pledging your loyalty? what was the first fandom YOU ever fell in love with?

Let’s talk about ALL of the fandom-y/fantasy things down in the comments below! And as always, until next time…

*flings cookies in the air and disappears*

GOOD MORNING, 2021!: goals, aspirations, and just a pinch of pixie dust

good morning, cyberspace!

Well, folks, we made it. 2020 is finally over, and we’re standing bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the sparkling sunshine of a brand new year!

….lol, okay, so maybe that’s an over-exaggeration. To be quite honest with you, I stayed up a ridiculous amount of time on New Year’s Eve in order to A) finish this blog post, and B) finish my goodreads reading challenge for 2020. Which, since I still had 4 books to read before midnight, obviously means that I downloaded a bunch of children’s picture books off Libby to binge whilst eating jalapeño popper dip and watching my family work on a 3,000 piece Beatles puzzle. So to say that I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on the first? Eh, no thanks. Red-eyed and cowlicked would probably have been a better descriptor. XD

But despite the fact that I’m more than a little sleep-deprived, I’m still extremely excited for this new year we’re in! I know it’s a little cliché and perhaps a bit annoying to some, but I LOVE the new year. To me, it really does feel like a fresh start. Or…as close to a fresh start as we can possibly get. *side-eyes skeletons in my closet warily*

And what better moment to start completely overriding how you perceive and challenge your goals than on the day when the rest of the world does the exact same thing! New Year, New Me, after all, amiright?

lolololololololol *distant sobbing*

Season 2 Phil GIF by CBS All Access

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Okay, okay, in all seriousness, while I don’t believe that your entire being can change with the simple twitch of a clock at midnight, I do believe that setting goals and aspirations for yourself at the start of a new year is a somewhat fun practice, and therefore that is precisely what we’re gonna do today!

Of course, if there’s one thing that 2020 taught me, it’s that Life has a way of completely switching everything up on you without a moment’s notice, so while I’m making these goals with the intent of accomplishing them, I’m definitely giving myself grace in the odds that I fail them, and will NOT be critical of myself if I don’t manage to complete them all.

A least, I’ll try very hard not to be critical of myself. That’s probably something I should set as a goal, to be honest. *nervous laughter*


a.k.a my favorite goals to set!!! I have … quite a lot of writing projects I want to work on this year. Which means that either A) I will complete them all and be a very happy bean in one year’s time, or B) I will complete absolutely none of them and be a ball of absolute stress in about a month or so.

It’s naught but a coin toss as to which one we’ll end up with, but this is a risk I am willing to take, peasants.

live dangerously austin powers GIF

i. complete the first draft of PROJECT GOBLIN

You will most likely remember that the past two months have been spent in the epic failure of me trying to write the first draft of Project Goblin. First NaNoWriMo, in which I wrote a solid and respectable 10,000 words, and then my own personal project called NaNoWhyTho, in which I wrote … 2,000 words.

Yeah. That’s December, for you.

However, now that the holidays are behind us, I figure now’s as good a time as any to really start cranking out the words for Project Goblin! I’m currently a wee bit stuck plot-wise, but I’m sure it’s nothing a good brainstorming session can kick loose!

Of course, as any good task-completer will tell you, it’s always wise to create a deadline for yourself as to when you should complete your project or goal. But since I find that blurting all the gory details of my plans to the world then results in me not lifting a finger to COMPLETE said goal, I will be keeping my makeshift deadline a secret for the time being.

Y’all will know when I finish the book. When you hear the pterodactyl screeching in the distance, you shall know.

ii. read and revise the second draft of PROJECT SUNSET

Not gonna lie, Project Sunset was a super fun book to write.

It is also a massive garbage fire and I must burn it down completely before rebuilding it into something glorious. Thus the reason that I would REAAAAAALLY like to read through the first draft and then revise a second draft of Project Sunset this year! Of course, this might not actually happen, since it IS a rather large undertaking, AND it’s been quite a while since I’ve tackled a second draft. But I’m confident that I can at least start it, and that’s half the battle right there, is it not?

iii. outline and draft PUMPKALAGOO

…..okay, so literally no one has heard about this story yet, but LOOK, MA! I HAVE A NEW STORY SPROUT!

I’m not going to say TOO awful much about this project quite yet, but I CAN tell you that it’s A) a middle grade novel about a witch, and B) was greatly inspired about the weird poem about a king eating a raven in a pie.

…or something along that line, anyway. XD

iv. thorough readthrough and revision of EVERLOST

This one is going last because, in all honesty, this isn’t a SUPER big priority for me…..which obviously means this is a massive priority, and if I don’t get this done this year, I might cry.

Or throw a pitchfork and a tantrum, but I digress.


OOOH, LOOK! A new one! Usually I do Writing, Reading, and Life, but this year I wanted to switch it up a bit and make some writing community goals, as well! Especially since we all know I need some accountability when it comes to being present in the community… *nervous sweating*

i. post to blog 1 time a week (excepting any hiatuses I might feel convicted to take)

This is a big one for me. If all else fails, I’d really, REALLY like to start blogging again. This community has helped me grow so much as a person and as a writer, and it’s through blogging that I’ve found some of my closest, most deepest of friendships.

So to say that I’d like to keep up with blogging this year is a massive understatement. I need to do this. This is my community, and when I’m away from it, I don’t really feel very much like myself at all. So 2021…please let this be the year that I dig my roots in deep and thrive.

ii. post to instagram 3x weekly

As I’ve continued to dip my toes into the depths of Instagram, I’ve realized that this is another platform I’d really like to get involved with! For the longest time I used Twitter as my means of outside communication with the writing community, but–if I’m being perfectly honest–the negativity on there is rather astounding. So I’m switching gears (for now) and focusing more of my intent onto Instagram, where I can share aesthetically pleasing photos and write captions that are longer than 150 characters. XD

While posting three times a week is definitely a goal that I have, I’m not going to kill myself over it. Blog posts and my personal writings are going to be my main focus this year, and social media is just going to be a side project for the time being.

(however, if you’d LIKE to follow my instagram, it’s @thesmudgedthoughts *hint-hint*)

iii. become more involved with the writing/blogging community as a whole

THIS. This right here is something that I’ve been wanting to do for FOREVER. But somehow I just keep…failing? There are so many wonderful blogs that I’m following and want to support, and yet???? For some reason I keep getting in this rut where if I haven’t read ALL of the posts on someone’s blog, I …. shouldn’t read the new ones? And honestly this is a very toxic way of thinking, and I’m KICKING THAT OUT in 2021. So if you’ve seen me poking around your blogs more … this is probably why. I sincerely apologize for not being as supportive and involved as I should have been the past year or so, but I hope that this year I’m finally able to become a part of this beautiful community in the way that I’ve always wanted to–which is by supporting everyone else’s blogs in the way y’all have continued to support mine. <33


As per tradition, I’m going to keep up with my goal of reading as many books as the new year suggests, which is–in the year of our Lord, 2021–21 books!

Last year (lol) I barely finished my goal by reading 4 picture books before the clock struck midnight on the 31st, so like….that was fun. But this year, I’m planning on doing some things a little bit differently. (lol, lies)

i. read 21 books

This is relatively self-explanatory. Moving on.

ii. read mostly from the books that are currently on my shelves

Ahem. I have a lot of books. This is good, of course–I’m very blessed to have the books I have! But like….I tend to collect them rather than read them, and, my friends, this should not be so! So this year, I’d love to start reading from my personal collection … which has started seeping into every room of our house. (it’s fine. i’m not worried, or anything. [someone please send help, the books are taking over my life])


Notice how this goal is in caps, whereas the rest of my goals have been lowercase? THIS IS TO MARK HOW IMPORTANT THIS GOAL IS TO ME.

Guys. Seriously. I need to start reading more Indie. There are SO. MANY. Indie Authors who I want to support, and like??? Why am I not doing this???? (i mean obviously it’s because i have very limited funds to spend towards books, but PSSSH WHAT IS MONEY IF NOT TO BE USED FOR BOOKS, AMIRIGHT [*weeps softly*]) I definitely have some ideas as to how I can start to fix this, but I think my first step is to read and review the indie books I already have on my shelves! (hello, goal #2!) Authors always talk about how much a simple review will do for the visibility of their books, and guys … I still don’t think I review enough books, especially indie ones. Trad authors have a lot of visibility, I feel like, but sometimes I think Indies get overlooked in the excitement for larger, more well-known titles. AND, MY FRIENDS *slams fist on table* THIS. SHOULD. NOT. BE.

So! I’m going to try and read and review more books this year, but mostly books by indie authors. Because they deserve credit for the amazing things they’re doing, and–not gonna lie here–some indie books are LEVELS above traditionally published fiction.

Y’all know it’s true.


Every year, I like to choose a word for myself–a word which helps symbolize what I want to truly focus on in the year to come. Last year, I chose “whimsy” and “enchanting” (I may or may not have stolen that second one from my mom. the debate is still out, however, and I’ve hired a very good lawyer. XD) Suffice to say, I can’t say as though last year was either enchanting or whimsical. At least, not so much in the way I had imagined. But even so, I still found whimsy and enchantment in the little things, and I think maybe that’s more worthwhile than anything I could have dreamt up.

This year, however, it took me a few days to land on the word I wanted to focus on this year–or rather, the quote I want to focus on. Because apparently 2021 is so immense and unpredictable that I can’t choose a single word for it:

“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”

– Alice

I love this quote. The minute I saw it for the first time–or rather, truly noticed it for the first time–I knew that it was one to tuck away inside my pocket. And now, months later, I’m finally able to pull it out again.

I am no longer the person I was a year ago. I’m no longer the person I was yesterday. Yesterday Kenzie made mistakes and wrong turns and had more than a few mishaps, but it’s no use going back to then, because who I am today is a little older and wiser than who I was before. It’s fun to look at where we’ve been and see how much we’ve grown, but we can’t continue to live there, wishing for things to be the way they were or fretting over the situations we could have handled differently. We have to accept the fact that yesterday is gone, and today is only here for a moment.

I have to learn to live more in the present, and let the past go.

And this is something that I’d like to intentionally focus on this year. Whether or not it actually happens remains to be seen, but I have every hope that this year will be one filled with making memories in all the many today’s to come.

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And those, my friends, are my (current) goals for the year! Obviously I’m anticipating on failing in a lot of these, but as far as Januaries go, this year has been off to a rather decent start! I’m excited to see where it leads me, and I’m eager to keep moving forward and writing ALL OF THE THINGS. 2021 is going to be one wild year, but with a little faith, trust, and pixie dust, I anticipate it’s going to be one of my favorite years yet. <333

talk to me, peasants!

what sorts of things are YOU planning on doing in this new year? do you typically make goals for the new year, or do you just go with the flow and knock things out as you feel like it? (knowing my track record with goals, I should really do this. XD) do you have multiple projects you’re hoping to complete this year? and if so, what sorts of methods do you use to track and accomplish them all? i’m still relatively new to the world of project juggling, and i could use all the help i can find. XD

And most importantly…

do you have any indie book recommendations?

I’d love any and all recs you guys are able to throw my way!!

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

* flings cookies in the air and disappears *