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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GOALS AND ASPIRATIONS

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*

WRITING

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.

COMMUNITY

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

READING

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])

iii. READ. MORE. INDIE.

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.

WORDS & QUOTES OF THE YEAR

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 *

Goodnight 2020: Saying Goodbye To One Of The Strangest Years I’ve Ever Encountered

good morning, cyberspace!

I sliced my finger open on a bagel cutter this morning at work. Which means my pointer finger now screams for the sweet release of death with every single letter I type.

lol, this is fine.

Read More »

NaNoWhyTho: In Which Kenzie Tries Again

good morning, december!

Well, it looks like the WordPress editor has undergone another drastic change. HUZZAH! It really must be a new month up in here. XD

So! Yesterday I told y’all about my smol little book gremlin–Project Goblin. And also about how I kinda sorta failed NaNoWriMo. This was, of course, an unfortunate circumstance. But in true Kenzie fashion, I have decided to bounce back, and bounce back strong.

And this time around, I will not fail.

After some chatting with my lovely writing group–known currently as The Cabinettes (shhh, it’s an inside joke)–we the people decided to partake in a new sort of NaNoWriMo. A second chance NaNo, you could say.

A NaNo which we have fondly stole the title for from twitter dubbed NaNoWhyTho.

I’m not sure if we have a specific goal for the month, but I think the general concensus is trying to write 15,000 words in the month of December–either in the 24 days leading up to Christmas or in the 30 days of Decmeber excluding Christmas.

Honestly, at this point it’s sort of like a free-for-all for all participants involved.

season 3 chaos grenade GIF by Billions

However, for me, personally, I’m going to be trying the latter option–which is to write 15,000 words within 30 days.

Again.

See, November did not go well for me. This I have mentioned before. (see: yesterday’s post) But I don’t want to let this year go by without participating in some sort of creativity challenge! I want to write and be merry and watch the snow fall down outside while cozying up in warm fuzzy socks and lowkey panicking because Christmas is less than a month away and I still haven’t found presents for every single person I’ve ever met… I want to work on my book and feel like an author and simply create. And it’s been a ridiculously long amount of time since I’ve felt this way.

So naturally I should milk this for all it’s worth, amiright?

Sad The Office GIF

But I digress. This is a relatively small post to announce a greater act of epic and complete idiocy and chaos, and I’m lowkey extremely excited about this, folks. This is NaNo: Take Two. And if I have anything to say about it, this time around I’m going to win.

(also, I know better than to make any major promises, but I’d really like to keep you guys updated on my word count throughout the month! so I will try my best to do regular posts with–at the very least–word count updates. but if this blog happens to go stagnant silent again this month, you can find updates over on my instagram page, @thesmudgedthoughts. I’ll be doing daily updates in my stories [hopefully], so come check us out on the ‘gram, my friends! [ew ew ew ew i will never use the phrase “the ‘gram” again, I swear)

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talk to me, peasants!

what sorts of crazy, chaotic things are you up to in this new month, my friends? hit me up in the comments and let me know what books you’re reading, what stories you’re working on, and all the many exciting Christmas-y things you’re planning for this last and final huzzah of 2020!

As always, until next time…..

photo credit: Ben Kolde on Unsplash

Know The Novel – Part Two: Project Goblin’s Steady Decline

good morning, cyberspace!

Aaaaaaand we’re back! Turns out November was not the month of intense creativity that I had so auspiciously predicted back in October. November has miraculously come and gone in a blip, and I’m sitting here at the end of it wondering how on earth we ended up here so quickly.

Back in October, I told y’all that I was going to be participating in National Novel Writing Month. I even went so far as to announce which project I would be working on, shared many of the story world’s nifty details, and even promised that a whole bunch of NaNo crazy was going to be coming your way within the coming weeks.

Unfortunately, none of this happened. Which is a shame, obviously, but–as I mentioned above–November was nothing like I had planned. There was a lot of personal growth done, as well as hitting a severe creative slump during the first half of the month which crippled me creatively for a solid two weeks. But I’ve finally started to break through it, and even though my manuscript isn’t near as plump as I would like for the final day of NaNoWriMo, I am definitely all the wiser and–dare I say it–healthier than when I started.

So today, to jump back into blogging and reorient both myself and you guys into the project I’m working on, I’m going to be participating in Part Two of Christine Smith’s Know The Novel linkup! You can read Part One right here, or just dive right in to find out how my writing went–or, more accurately, didn’t go–this month!

KNOW THE NOVEL – PART TWO: PROJECT GOBLIN’S STEADY DECLINE

i. How’s the writing going overall?

Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhmmmmm…. To be honest, not very well. XD As I mentioned above, this month was pretty bad creativity-wise for me. I totally thought I’d be able to crank out a solid 15-20k before the end of November, but it turns out that I’ve barely managed to write *checks notes* 10,000 words.

…which is actually a lot less depressing than I thought it would be.

Knowing what I’ve been going through this month, I’m actually really proud of the progress I have made on this story, and also with all the love and enthusiasm that I’ve continued to hold for this project. I still have a LONG way to go before hitting the end, but I’ve been wanting to write this story for so long that I know without a shadow of a doubt that I’m going to keep plugging away at it until I eventually find my way. It just might take a little longer than initially planned, and that’s okay. Every story is different, as they like to say, and if this book takes me a whole year where Project Sunset only took me a few months, I’m going to be okay with that.

ii. What’s been the most fun aspect about writing this novel so far?

The discovery! I’ve made many little discoveries just within this month alone–such as the fact that my one character, who, for as long as I could recall, was mute, actually can talk. And not only can she talk, but she’s also extremely snarky with what few words she chooses to say.

Or the incredible epiphany I had about my villain, which I wholly and 100% owe to the beautiful Phoebe, who introduced me to this song right here.

10,000 words isn’t a whole lot to find discoveries within, but the ones that I have found have made what little progress I’ve made so entirely worth it.

iii. What do you think of your characters at this point? Who’s your favorite to write about?

Okay, so this one is easy: I adore them. Each and every one is so weird and quirky and odd, and it’s so refreshing to write a cast that freaks me out as much as they fascinate me.

As far as who my favorite is to write about … I would probably have to say Todd. He’s by far the toughest nut of a protagonist that I’ve ever had to crack, but there’s something about his confusing personality that intrigues me. And I know that once I finally crack him open, I’m going to absolutely fall in love with this weird, awkward individual.

iv. Has your novel surprised you in any way?

I don’t think I’ve written enough of it yet to truly be surprised, but I definitely have had some AHA! moments that really helped deepen my love of this universe. As I mentioned above, I had this absolutely delicious idea for my villain, who–up until this point–had been nothing more than a vague blip on my radar. But now I have his character pinned down a little better, and I am SO. STINKIN’. EXCITED. to get to him within the narrative!!! It’s going to be amazing…

Another thing that surprised me was the fact that my goblins have voices. And use English. I was thinking I was going to have to create an entire goblin language for these weird little creatures, but alas. They popped into the story speaking words and talking about ripping out spines and I just adore them to pieces already.

v. Have you come across any problem areas?

I have, actually! My main problematic area has been struggling to get into Todd’s head, especially within the first few chapters of the story. These are the pivotal scenes where we learn his character and motives and what and who he’ll risk everything for, and I feel like I’ve done a rather poor job of setting that up before the adventure begins.

However, as I write this, I now realize that things like this take time and finesse–two things which don’t typically come with a first draft. So maybe my problem is more my inability to let myself to move forward and enjoy the discovery of it all. Maybe I’m clinging too much to the idea that this draft has to be perfect that I’m not giving myself the chance to discover who Todd really is.

….and I think I just blogged myself out of my writer’s block, guys.

vi. What’s been your biggest victory with writing this novel at this point?

Aside from the fact that I just figured out where my writer’s block came from, I think my biggest victory has been in creating an outline that works for me, rather than against me. I suppose this could be attributed more to the planning stage of this novel, rather than the writing of it, but outlines have always been so negative for me. So the fact I’ve been able to create one which I actually enjoyed writing and–more importantly–following feels huge. I love my outline. I love how vague yet stable it is. I love knowing that if I’m ever stuck, I can follow my Plot Checkpoint map and get myself back on track within a matter of minutes.

But as far as actual writing goes, I just really love getting to know my characters better. They’re all so strange and different, and I’m loving every second I get to spend with them.

vii. If you were transported into your novel and became any one of the characters, which one do you think you’d be? Would you take any different actions than they have?

Okay, Christine, WHO GAVE YOU THE RIGHT TO ASK SUCH FASCINATING QUESTIONS. I am in awe over here, okay.

But I digress. I’d really like to answer this question as truthfully as possible, and I’m not entirely sure what the answer is.

Part of me says I’d be Iniko–the strange old wizard who likes hitting people over the head with his cane and saying things like “aye” and “ye bloody idiot”. But then another part of me says I’d be Jasper–a scarecrow with a horrible sense of humor and a penchant for setting things on fire.

And then, clawing in the back of my head like the annoying little turnip that he is, Reality tells me that I would most definitely be Todd. Because he is awkward and strange and does virtually nothing with his life until two knobbly goblins come crashing through a crack in his wall.

And I mean, if that isn’t me, I don’t know what is. XD

As far as actions go, I honestly can’t say I’d do anything differently than any of these characters. If I was Iniko, I would 100% do everything he’s been doing (including dying, which … I mean, we’ll get into that later). If Jasper, I would probably accidentally set my hair on fire, but I’d definitely still pester Martin to the end of days and continue to make a fool out of myself willingly.

And if I were Todd … well, I think I’d still make the choices he’s going to make. What those choices are, I’m not entirely sure yet, but I have p l a n s, and out of most of those plans, I think I’d make the same calls as he will. After all, it’s not like I’m giving him much of a choice…. *insert mysterious snickering*

viii. Give us the first sentence or paragraph then 2 (or 3!) more favorite snippets!

And here’s where things are gonna get scary. XD Oh goodness. I hate sharing first draft material, but I guess I must. You know, since it’s part of the tag. please don’t judge me, peasants

OPENING PARAGRAPH

She wouldn’t smile. That was the thing about girls—no matter how hard you tried, they refused to smile, especially if they were in a a sour mood. And the girl staring back at Bartholomew Todd was in the sourest mood of them all.

SNIPPET ONE

A gush of wind whooshed through the room, whipping Todd’s hair back against his forehead. The crack in the wall was now a solid three feet wide—large enough for Todd to make out the creatures standing on the other side of it.
There were two of them. Short and crooked, with long legs and stubby bodies that sat plumply above their thin, knobbly knees. Thick, square heads perched atop their chubby torsos, made even larger by the size of their enormous, gleaming eyes, thick as dinner plates. Cinched ears poked out on either side of those enormous heads, thin and stumpy in comparison with the rest of them.
Todd’s heart snagged in his chest, and his hand instinctively reached for the first thing he could think of to defend himself: the desk light.
The plug yanked out of its socket, and the metal burned cold into Todd’s skin, but he hardly noticed it as the creatures within the crack poked their large, knobby heads into his apartment. Their giant eyes caught the moonlight and reflected black, catching on Todd almost immediately.
“It’s another one,” the first one hissed, his nose cinching in disgust. “Rotten smellies. Should have known from the stench.”
“We should takes it with us. Give it to his Highny-ness. He wouldn’t chop our toesies off if we broughts him a present…”
“Or perhaps we could eats it. Snap its little head off and drink from its inner juices. It’s been far too long since we’ve eaten real flesh…”
“His Highny-ness wouldn’t like that very much, no-how.”
“His Highny-ness wouldn’t have to know. We could break his spiny ridges and make his Highny-ness a nice new comb.”

SNIPPET TWO

“Is he dead?”
“Uh-huh.”
“How do you know?”
“He looks dead, don’t he?’
“That don’t mean he’s dead.”
“Yeah huh.”
“Nuh uh.”
“Does, too!”
“Prove it.”
“How?”
“Poke him with a stick.”

SNIPPET THREE

“Yer the one who dodged in front of that curse, my dear,” Iniko said from the fireplace, where he was throwing an extra bundle of wood onto the sad smoke pile. “I didn’t ask you to do it.” His voice broke through Todd’s examination of the room, startling him enough to make him jump. The shadow eyed him warily, and Todd fidgeted, wringing his hands together to keep them from trembling.
The potted tulip was not amused.
“I saved your life, you idiot,” she sniffed. “You didn’t have to ask. But a simple thank you would have been appreciated.”
“I did thank ye.”
“You put me in a pot!”
“And thereby saved yer life in return. Yer welcome.” Bouncing up onto his tip toes, Iniko grabbed a watering can off the mantel and waved it towards the flower, driblets of water plopping to the creaky wooden floor. “Speakin’ of, ye need a drink, love?”
The tulip scowled, her eyes becoming slits in her petals. “I loathe you.”
“You look dry.”

…I’m not entirely sure what to think of these snippets, to be honest. XD

ix. Share an interesting tidbit about the writing process so far! (For example: Have you made any hilarious typos? Derailed from your outline? Killed off a character? Changed projects entirely? Anything you want to share!)

Oh goodness, I wish I’d changed projects entirely. That might have helped me through some of my writer’s block. But if there’s one thing I know about myself, it’s that switching projects this early on only feeds my bad habit of never finishing anything, so the only choice I have is to persevere.

However, I think the most interesting thing that I’ve witnessed so far with the creation of this novel has been how difficult it is to sink into this story world I’ve spent so much time dreaming about. It’s like I’m so invested in what I want this world to be that I can’t allow myself to write the world as it is. I know in my heart that things never come out on the page as they are in my head, but that doesn’t stop me from wishing that I could just splat everything I’ve ever conjured up about this book into a document and sift through it, stitching the pieces together until its in some semblance of coherency.

So I guess that’s my next step moving forward: stop pressuring myself to write everything perfectly from the get-go. Stop romanticizing the perfect worldbuilding and plot twists. Stop holding myself up to a standard which will come in later drafts and just write.

I feel like I go through this with every single first draft I write, but now that I know this is what’s causing a block, perhaps I’ll be able to actually write through it.

x. Take us on a tour of what a normal writing day for this novel looks like. Where do you write? What time of day? Alone or with others? Is a lot of coffee (or some other drink) consumed? Do you light candles? Play music? Get distracted by social media (*cough, cough*)? Tell all!

Oh goodness. A normal writing day this month looks like me glancing at my computer, yawning, and then picking up my kindle to watch Netflix before inevitably taking a nap. XD

This month has been a strange one, guys, I’m not gonna lie.

But a typical writing day for me normally looks like me grabbing my laptop and bullet journal sometime in the afternoon or early evening, sitting down at either the desk by my bird cage or our dining room table, and popping in my earbuds before writing for a solid hour or two. If I’m REALLY trying to push a specific wordcount, I’ll stay up until 10 or 11 writing. If I have to work the next day, I’ll write earlier in the afternoon so that I don’t have to worry about not getting enough sleep.

Back when I worked at a thrift store and typically worked the night shift, staying up until well past midnight was the norm for me and my writing. I would camp out in my room with a blanket and my laptop and write late into the night, listening to the night sounds outside and reveling in the fact that I was doing something magical while the rest of the world slept. Now that I work at a coffee shop and open, however, I’m in bed by 9 o’clock. Which, you know, makes writing into the night a tad bit difficult. XD

It does come with its perks, though! For one thing, I’m typically home by 2:30, which means that the rest of the day is open for my creative endeavors. and now that I’m finally beginning to settle at my new job–YEET!–I’m excited to start using those afternoons for my writing.

So, swiveling back around to the point of this ramble, I don’t really know what my current writing day looks like. But by golly, I’d love to find out. Perhaps I’ll have to experiment and write a blog post on it someday…. *side-eyes teetering future blog post pile*

>>> <<<

talk to me, peasants!

And that, my friends, was part two of the Know The Novel linkup! I know my answers were a bit vague and mysterious, but like … I really haven’t written that much this month. XD Ah, well. There’s always December, right?

Anyway, let’s talk, shall we? What kinds of projects have you been working on this month? Have you been productive, or did your brain–like mine–decide you needed some unforeseen rest? Is anyone else sort of freaking out that Christmas is only 26 days away? And what sorts of books have y’all been reading? (i’m on a massive book binge, so any recs are wholly and completely appreciated XD)

For everyone participating in NaNoWriMo, I’d LOVE to hear all about your stories! And if you’ve written any blog posts about your current projects, PLEASE send me links! I’d love to read them!

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

SUN

I wonder if the sun ever has a bad day.
If its alarm clock goes off
And it rolls over in bed
And that sinking pit develops in its stomach
As it remembers all of the wrong which occurred the day before.

I wonder if it considers simply never getting up.
If it would rather stay indoors
And wrap itself up in a nice cozy blanket
And eat some ice cream to feel better for three minutes
And then guilty for twenty.

I wonder if it asks the moon for just a few more hours
Minutes
Seconds
So that it doesn’t have to face the pain of simply existing
Anymore.

But then I remember
That even after the hard days
The tough days
The days that make me wish there were no more days to follow
The sun continues to rise
And pull itself out of bed
And brush its teeth
And hang itself nicely in the sky
So that it can smile down on me
And remind me that there’s still a little patch of good left in this world.

And if
Even after the bad days
The sun can continue to rise
Then I suppose I can try
To get up after the hard days
Too.

twenty-one

Twenty-one is such a funny age, isn’t it?
It’s poetry and ink-stained fingers
Hopeful eyes and broken dreams.
And yet
Scattered throughout the pages of this chapter
There is a wish
A dream
A captured breath
That says maybe, just maybe
What I’ve wanted all along will come to be.

I’m older and wiser than I was at seventeen.
Stronger and fiercer than ever.
My dreams are clutched tight in both hands
And this time I refuse to let them slip through like water.
This time I will release them into the air
One by one
Watch them sprout wings and fly
Flutter through the wind like dragonflies.
And maybe
Just maybe
They will come back to me
Land on my fingers and tell me stories of faraway lands
And long-lost hopes now forgotten.
They will tell me to wish upon a burning star
And continue to dream the most dangerous dreams.

Because the only dreams worth chasing
Are the ones with the potential to break you.

TO THE DREAMERS – a letter from me

“If I see you still working here in another five years, you might as well quit writing. Because at that point it’s clearly not for you.”

Ah. Words. Such funny little things, aren’t they? Sometimes I really love words, and sometimes–sometimes–I really, REALLY hate them.

This sentence in particular makes my very skin fibers tingle with self-righteous anger. Firstly, because the mere thought of someone putting a time limit on another’s success makes me furious. And secondly, because this very sentence was aimed directly at me a few months ago.

But in order to tell the story properly, we must first go back a few months to a drizzly February day. This day in particular hadn’t been the best thus far, mostly because I was nursing a horrid head cold which would later dissolve into the flu. But I digress. It’s February. It’s drizzly. And an older gentleman has just waltzed up to my counter.

The man seemed mild, at first. A quiet sort, with one of those “knowledgeable” voices that makes you automatically grin and nod because anything else is going to start a debate. (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you are l u c k y.) He also had a head full of questions. Something I found out the hard way as he started badgering me with them relentlessly. Under the disguise of harmless checkout chatter (something the employers are constantly trying to strangle out of us), I did not foresee what was happening until we were already knee-deep into the dark, tumultuous waters of dangerous conversation.

He found out I like to write.

This, of course, has never been something I’ve kept hidden. I will forever scream at the universe that I–the great and powerful Kenzie–love to write. Fiction, blogging, some weird little poems that will never see the light of day. . . You’ll know I like to write, all right, but actually getting to see some of my work will be where the main hassle lies.

But this kind soul did not have any interest in seeing my work. Instead, he wanted to impart on me his wisdom.

And hoo boy, did he have some wisdom to share. . .

As fate would have it (I despise you, Fate), he was a writer, too! What were the odds? He then proceeded to tell me about his own writing adventures–about how he’d sent out his own work to a local, trusted librarian, and how I should do that with my writing, as well, because it’s what Stephen King suggested people do with their writing. Getting feedback was important. It was necessary.

He then completely ignored the fact that I was–at the moment–rounding up beta readers for my novel.

He also said I should attend a writing conference.

What was holding me back, aside from the cost? Taking care of a bird? Don’t let the bird stop me. You only get one chance at life, you know.

Oh, I hoped to go someday? When is someday? Someday is going to slip me by, because I’ll keep saying “I’ll do it someday” my entire life until I die.

50 cent laughing GIF

All throughout this exchange, I was trying my best to view his additions to the conversation in a positive light. Perhaps this is God sending me someone to get me thinking about my books and career after such a long hiatus in December, I thought, whipping out one of our store bags to start bagging up his merchandise. Perhaps this is the push I need to forget about this blasted cold and start writing again. . .

And oh, it was a push, all right. Just not the kind of push I had anticipated. Not the kind of push anyone would anticipate, because instead of a gentle nudge in the right direction, I was most ungraciously flung head-first off the cliffs of aspirations to land face-down in the murky swamp of spite.

For as this man was leaving, after wishing me luck in my writing ventures, he imparted unto me one little phrase that I will never, in all my life, forget: “If I see you still working here in another five years, you might as well quit the writing. Because at that point it’s clearly not for you.”

. . .

. . .

*awkward cough* Okay, then. Well. Here’s the moment in which this post could branch off into one of two directions.

Direction A) I snarkily roast this poor unfortunate soul for all he’s worth in a blog post he will never see, or–

Direction B) I use my spite and frustration at having experienced this to build up other writers and encourage them to follow their dreams no matter what.

SO, since I am nothing if not a conundrum-centric pickle, I believe I will choose Direction Cwhich is to combine the best of both worlds. Meaning I shall encourage other writers to follow their dreams no matter what, while also layering in a bit of snark.

I’m sorry, random writer man, but you kinda sorta deserve just a little bit of spite from me.

So without further ado, here is a list of all the things I would like you–whether you’re a seasoned writer or a smol sapling freshly risen from the earth’s core with dreams and aspirations the size of a unicorn–to know. About writing. About yourself. About what it takes to follow your dreams to the ends of the earth. These are the things that I feel everyone needs to hear, even if we already know them in our hearts. It’s kind of like affirmations. Except, instead of talking to myself in the mirror (which I already do on an eerily regular basis), I’m writing it down. Which makes it a lot less creepy and a lot more helpful for the people out there like me.

Just Kidding Finger Guns GIF

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TO THE DREAMERS - a letter from me

To The Dreamers. . .

“no one can put a time limit on your success”

And how DARE they if they even try. You were given a gift for creativity–and even if you don’t feel your gift is as advanced as another’s, you were still given the passion and drive to continue learning and growing, and that’s even more precious than raw talent. You were created and designed to make art. Beautiful, glorious, sometimes messy art. And if anyone has the audacity to put a time limit on how long you have until your art actually means something? . . .well, the joke’s on them, because your art already DOES mean something. To you. To your family. To the people who truly love you.

Goals and aspirations are amazing, but don’t look so far ahead that you forget to relish in the moments you have now–the late nights hunched over your keys, the early mornings with steaming mugs of hot cocoa by your side as you wrestle through plot holes, the sheer joy of getting to write down the words spoken by characters taking over your mind. If your only goal as a writer is to publish, then you’ll never find true joy in each of the many writing stages. And there is so much joy to be found in all of them, my friend. Don’t let the chance to truly fall in love with your craft slip you by in the name of chasing stardom.

“write what makes you happy”

Do what makes you happy. Be the kind of creative that drives you to produce the kind of art YOU love.

Everywhere you turn, there’s another blossoming method for “10 Ways To Be Your Most Productive Self”, or “How To Use (fill in the blank) To Plan Your Entire Month!”, or what have you. Everyone everywhere is looking for hacks and tips to do the most they possibly can in their time on this earth. And while I can’t necessarily blame them, I’ve noticed that this mindset is a little bit toxic, especially to a creative like me who thrives in the chaos.

Planning out my entire novel before I write it HORRIFIES me. It cripples my creativity, and I’m lucky if I barely scratch the surface of 30,000 words before calling it quits. But there are people out there who swear by plotting out your entire novel and discovering your characters’ backstories before writing a single word.

Planning out my entire week hour-by-hour also horrifies me. I need flexibility. I need randomness. And while I love setting goals for myself and making checklists of all my To-Do’s for the day, going any further than that causes a mental block. But, again, there are people out there who think this is the greatest thing since sliced cheese. But–and here’s the interesting thing–for them, it is.

That’s the beautiful thing about art, isn’t it? The fact that all of us are so different, yet are absolutely in love with the same thing: writing beautiful books. Some of us love plotting out every inch of our stories and our lives, some of us thrive better with a general direction and an overabundance of curiosity. However you write, however you live, make sure the life you’re leading is the kind of life that helps you create the kind of art which sets your soul on fire.

You were not created to be some kind of rehashed version of your favorite artists. You were created to be perfectly, beautifully, uniquely your own kind of wonderful. So don’t let someone else’s process define who you can be or what you can write. Be yourself, be true to who you are, and–because I am nothing if not an oxymoron–don’t be afraid to try new things while finding your style.

“ignore the naysayers”

Now, there’s a very distinct line between “naysayers” and “critiquers”. The latter are people who are going to give you feedback on your work in order to improve your craft. Some–if not most–of the feedback they give isn’t going to be what you want to hear (no one wants to hear that they’re main character is a whiny baby who needs some massive revision, but alas. if it’s true, it needs to be stated. *glares at Peter from everlost*), but the beautiful thing about this feedback is that, even if it hurts to hear it at first, it’s all given out of love. It’s given to you by people who care about you and your craft, and  who understand that this precious book child you have entrusted them with means the universe to you. Trust me: them giving you honest feedback is almost as scary for them as it is for you to receive it. So whatever you do, L I S T E N to them. Take as much time as you need to process–they’ll understand–but in the end, objectively look at the feedback you’re given and listen. (this is something I’m still trying to get better at. it’s . . . a process, folks.)

BUT! We are not here to talk about the critiquers, because those people you definitely, 100% SHOULD listen to. Instead, we’re here to talk about the naysayers. The people who exist solely to drag you down and tell you that your dreams aren’t worth pursuing. That you’re not going to make it. That you’re not good enough.

I’d like to give these people the benefit of the doubt and think that the only reason they’re this pessimistic about someone else’s dream is because they, themselves, had a similar dream once upon a time. But they–like you–had someone tell them they couldn’t, or that they weren’t good enough, and instead of rising like a phoenix from the ashes, they actually listened.

Or maybe they tried, and they failed, and they didn’t have the strength to get back up and try again. So now, in their own weird little way, they’re trying to save you from the same heartache that they experienced.

I like to give the benefit of the doubt. I try to give the benefit of the doubt. But at the end of the day, the only thing you can really do is ignore them. Sure, they’re going to try and persuade you with their words and their bullet points, but the truth is it doesn’t matter what they think of you or your dream. What matters is that you continue pushing forward no matter how hard they shove back. What matters is that you write the stories of your heart. Because if what you write matters to you, inevitably it’s going to matter to someone else, and all those naysayers are eventually going to have to eat their words.

“write like the wind, bullseye, and don’t you dare look back”

At the end of the day, everything I’ve said boils down to one thing: write. Write all of the things. Write like the wind, and never look back.

Write, revise, rinse, repeat. Because no matter what anyone says, you were given this gift of storytelling for a reason. You were designed to write. It’s in your blood. And despite what anyone else thinks of you or your abilities, the only way to prove them wrong is to do the thing that everyone says you can’t do.

So write a book, a blog, those short stories burning inside of you. Write the things you love, and then write some more of them. And if you don’t get published today or in thirty years, you are still as valid of a writer as anybody else. And no one–especially not some random stranger wading through your checkout line–can tell you otherwise.



talk to me, peasants!

  • have you ever had someone tell you that you weren’t cut out for writing? (and if so, how did you respond? I highly recommend not responding like I did, which was to laugh awkwardly and internally daydream about stabbing him in the pinky toe.)
  • what is something you wish every writer knew? a piece of encouragement, a bit of knowledge you’ve picked up on your own writerly joureny, a quote that inspires you, etc. . .

and most importantly. . .

. . . is there anything I can do to help/encourage you?

Even if it’s as simple as praying for you and your writing or just overall life-ish-ness, let me know what I can do for you down in the comments below! My inbox is a l w a y s open, so feel free to hit me up anytime you wish!

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

_flings cookies in the air and disappears_

Featured Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

Another One Bites The Dust

good morning, cyberspace!

Well, here we are! The post you’ve all been waiting for. I hinted last week two weeks ago now (lol, oops) that I had some exciting news to share, and this post right here is the one in which I spill the beans. *rubs hands together gleefully* I may or may not be a little too excited about this…

But anyway! Some of you may already know my news. Some of you may not. I’ve been trying to keep it a secret until this post could come out, but if you’re in my inner writing circle, you proooooobably already know what this is. Maybe. I don’t know for sure. But we’re all here today and I’m ready to finally–officially–announce it to the universe.

So here we go!

Drumroll please…!

Here it comes…!

I FINISHED THE FIRST DRAFT OF PROJECT SUNSET!

Oh my goodness. OH MY GOODNESS. I can’t believe I’m actually typing these words right now! But it’s real and it’s true and I finished it! I mean, of course the first draft is kinda … you know … less than ideal. But it’s mine. This tiny child of trash and sunshine is mine, and oh, how I love it. It’s everything I never knew I wanted it to be and so much more. And–not to give spoilers away or anything–the last three chapters that I wrote almost made me cry.

Like actual, eye-burning, cheek-wetting tears. Of course, I was able to suck it up like a man and didn’t actually shed anything, but it was still really weird to have something that I wrote make me tear up. There was one specific moment where I literally shoved my laptop away from me in frustration (not from the writing itself, of course, but an event within the story that was … unexpected), and I’m pretty sure in that moment I realized how horrible of a human I truly am.

i’m sorry, my children…

It was, in a nutshell, an all around strange day.

But I digress! Now that the first draft is done, I’m forced to reflect on this project as a whole, and I just … what a whirlwind this story has been. I first began drafting this book in April of 2019, tried NaNo-ing it in November, scrapped the majority of what I’d written (with the exception of exactly two chapters), and then wrote 90,000 words during quarantine, with 60,000 of that being written in April alone.

Just… *head implodes* This has been a crazy experience. And today I’d like to share some of the whirlwind with you all! (and also some sneaky peeks into the story itself, but SHHHH. that’s a surprise.)

PROJECT SUNSET: THE FIRST DRAFT

37 chapters

125,000 words

much death

Where to begin, where to begin. Project Sunset first came to me on a Saturday morning about two years ago, when I was reading through blog posts and thinking about basically nothing at all. I think that’s when the best ideas come to us, actually. Those spare snatches of time when our brains are filled with a blissful nothingness, perfectly open to whatever random, beautiful ideas may come knocking.

The idea for Project Sunset wasn’t my typical plot bunny, however. It wasn’t a scene or a character. Not a setting, a theme, or even a plot twist. Instead, it was a single, specific sentence. One sentence–a concept, really–so intriguing that the minute it fluttered into my brain, I knew there was no hope of shaking it.

In my experience, there are many forms of plot bunnies. Some of them are “maybes”, some of them “somedays”, and others are bunnies so floofy and smol that you just know this was a book you were always meant to write. It’s like it was designed for you, waiting for you to finally think the right thought to blossom it into existence. That’s what happened with The Dragon Elements. It’s what happened with everlost. And it’s what happened with this particular manuscript, as well. As soon as I had the idea, I knew that this was it. Project Sunset was supposed to be my next novel.

black and white love GIF

As with all things in my life, though, there were many detours along the way to this manuscript’s completion. But now, almost two whole years later, it is here–rough, choppy first draft though it may be. Project Sunset is written, and while I’m sure a road filled with excruciating editing is before me, I’m still so excited to be able to have something to edit. Something hard and concrete–more than just a few blank pages and an idea.

I won’t go into the details of the plot right now. (some things must still remain secret, of course! mwahahaha!) but–as promised–I will be sharing some snippets from the book! (but please keep in mind that this is VERY rough draft material. like, so rough it could probably impale you if you touch it. Ye’ve been warned.)

And for anyone who enjoys playlists, I’ve got one of those coming your way, as well! *thumbs up*

— SNIPPETS —

Ed woke up with a frown on his face. It was there when he first looked in the mirror as he rolled out of bed, there when he got dressed—his green-checked flannel shirt fit a little bit tighter around the middle than he remembered—there when he smoothed back the grey wisps of hair crowning his head, there when he yanked his cane off the hook on the wall and plunked it into the carpet, and there—more pronounced than ever before, shrouded beneath two thick grey eyebrows and one big, bulbous nose—when he finally found himself squished at the rickety table in Setting Suns’ sunlit dining hall between Samuel Plinkett and Eugene Crandall.

As it turned out, Eleanor was not joking about the ice cream. Much to Shelby’s shock and Ed’s very transparent, very audible displeasure, Carlos whipped Stanley’s van into the teeny parking lot of Mel’s Ice Cream Shack, nearly hitting a child on a glistening green tricycle in the process.
The child, quickly attended to by his frantic mother, dropped his baby-sized mint chocolate chip ice cream cone and proceeded to promptly have a temper tantrum right in the middle of the parking lot.
“Nasty kid,” Carlos muttered, jamming the stick into park and dislodging the key from the ignition. “Has no one taught him the rules of the road?”
“He’s three years old, Carlos,” Eugene pointed out from the back seat.
Now that Liam and Beau were absent, everyone fit perfectly on the back bench, and for the whole fifteen minute drive back to the city center, no one bothered to complain about the cramped quarters.
The silence had nearly been deafening.
“And I’d be willing to bet my left foot that he knows more about the rules of driving than you do,” Sam added.
“Your left foot is the one with the fungus, right?” Eugene asked.
“Yep.”

“What are you ladies getting up to over here?” Eugene sidled into the booth beside Shelby, handing her a slightly lopsided Super Mega Chocolate Fountain Sundae with a plastic spoon stuck into the side, its indent already dripping with gooey hot fudge and a few dislodged sprinkles.
Shelby blinked down at the sundae, and her eyes caught on an already scooped out section, where someone had clearly taken a scoop and a bite.
“Hey!” Shelby said. “You ate my ice cream!”
Eugene licked hot fudge off his thumb and bit a section off his mint chocolate chip cone without acknowledging her.
Eleanor and Juanita pulled apart begrudgingly as Sam puddled in beside Eugene, his hands cradled around a massive milkshake in a Styrofoam cup.
“You two look like you’re scheming,” the old man said knowingly, draping his white cane across his knees. He pointed his milkshake towards them, jabbing the straw their way like an extendable finger. “Spill.”
“We’re not scheming anything,” Eleanor answered. “We’re talking. There’s a difference.”
“When two women get to talking, rarely anything good comes out of it,” Sam said, and shot Shelby a wink.

“You can’t just leave me here!” Shelby’s bare feet slapped across the kitchen floor after her brother, but Stanley was doing a fine job of ignoring her. Grabbing his wallet off the counter, he walked out of the kitchen without even bothering to glance her way. “Stanley!”
Stanley sighed—she could see his shoulders rise and fall with it—but even though he spoke, he still didn’t turn to look at her.
Maybe he couldn’t.
“Shells… You know I don’t like being the bad guy, but—”
“I wasn’t just wandering around!” Shelby argued. Plowing forward, she pushed herself in front of him and spun on her heel, forcing him to look at her.
Or, at the very least, to stop walking.
Stanley sighed again, and this time he turned his gaze out the front window. “Those people you were with—”
“They weren’t trying to hurt me!” Shelby insisted. “They were protecting me!”
The words slipped out before she could stop them, and she froze, her teeth chomping down on her bottom lip far too late.
Now she’d done it…
Stanley’s eyes met hers now. The confusion inside of them was tangible. “What?”
“They wouldn’t hurt me,” Shelby repeated, dodging his question. “I know they wouldn’t. They’re kind.”
“How much did you talk to them?” Stanley asked. “Shells, if you told them anything about us—”
“Why are you so concerned about a bunch of old people?” Shelby asked. “You’re always telling me to make friends. I’m just doing what you wanted me to.”
“Yeah, make friends with kids your age, not some crackpot band of old folks rotting away in a nursing home.”
“Retirement village,” Shelby muttered.
“Whatever.” Stanley waved her away. “People were talking about them, Shells. They were telling stories about the strange group at table two, and I just … I don’t want you hanging around with them anymore. I don’t trust them.”

Maria was late. Shelby had time to make popcorn and find the perfect angle of squish from the couch before the doorbell rang.
Tossing a slightly burnt kernel into her mouth, she rolled her eyes. “COME IN!” she screamed, her voice rising above the television, which she’d cranked up to 20. Captain Blade reruns were supposed to be enjoyed at maximum volume—a fact her mother had taught her, and one that Stanley greatly disagreed with.
Why was Maria even bothering to use the doorbell? She was always Shelby’s babysitter—not that she really needed one. Maria was more like a super cool older sister who typically barged right in, throwing assortments of chocolaty snacks and watercolor supplies everywhere with a soft, “Today—we create.” She was an amazing artist, and an even better friend—one who wouldn’t complain that Shelby’s breakfast of choice had been buttered popcorn—so it was no surprise that Stanley had a huge, secret crush on her. Of course, he denied it every time Shelby brought it up, but the beet redness of his cheeks was enough of a tip-off. And why else would he insist on Maria always coming over whenever he left? Shelby was almost twelve. She could totally take care of herself by now.
The doorbell rang again.
“COME IN!” Shelby screamed. This time she was positive her voice exceeded that of Captain Blade, who was mid-battle with a zombie from planet Gorgon. “THE DOOR’S UNLOCKED!”
The doorbell chimed for the third time, and this time Shelby groaned, pulling herself off the couch with some difficulty.
It was rare she was able to find the perfect amount of squish. She’d have to wriggle around for another thirty minutes just to find it again.
Her bare feet padded across the wood floor, and she whipped the door open without thinking to check the front porch first.
“The door was open,” she said, swinging it back so that a warm autumn breeze swept in. “Are your hands full or somethin—”
Shelby stopped short. It wasn’t Maria standing on her front stoop. Short, beautiful Maria with the caramel skin and the hair that always seemed to be changing colors.
It was a man. A tall, thin, horribly familiar looking man.
“Well. I must say I was hoping you would have better manners for someone your age,” Casey said, staring down at her. He was neither smiling nor scowling. It was a sizing-you-up kind of stare.
The kind that made Shelby’s heart drop like a stone.
“You’ve been taking lessons from Sam and Eugene, no doubt.”
Shelby’s fingers tightened against the door, but something kept her from slamming it closed in his face. She was frozen. Completely, utterly frozen.
“Oh, come now, don’t look so frightened,” Casey said cheerfully. His voice was like a strange, methodical coo. “I’m not here to hurt you, my dear. Not yet, anyway. Aren’t you going to invite me in?”
Shelby’s heart hammered against her ribs, and her eyes flicked out into the street.
Please, please come, Maria. Please, please, please, please…
“That won’t do you any good, Miss Westburn. Let’s just keep this little thing between you and me, yes? We wouldn’t want anything to happen to that special big brother of yours, now would we?”
Shelby’s eyes widened.
Stanley…
“What…” Her voice cracked, and she tried again, forcing her legs to remain steady beneath her. “What do you want from me?”
“Ah, nothing much, my dear. Nothing much at all.” Casey smiled at her now, and the sight was so warm and genuine that it almost had the reverse effect—it was cold and cruel and horrid and welcoming all at once. Slowly, he extended one wrinkled old hand towards her, veins flashing blue beneath the sunlight. “All I ask is that you come with me.”

I can’t remember if I’ve shared the playlist of this book before, but either way, I’m pretty sure there have been some new additions to the lineup. So, here’s the newest version of the Project Sunset playlist! (for all you peeps out there who enjoy listening to music…)

I also have a few songs that are “character specific”, so for anyone who’s into things like that, here are some of the songs which my darling have adopted for their own:

ED – Song for Ten

SHELBY – Song for Sienna

EUGENE – Honeycomb

LIAM – Time Warp

CARLOS AND JUANITA – Sway

CASEY – Who Wants To Live Forever

SAM – The Show Must Go On

>>> <<<

Obviously I’ve left out some major factors of this book. The plot is still something that I’ve been meaning to tweak, the characters are still going by their pseudonyms rather than their actual titles, and there is–I’m not going to lie–something rather obvious that I’m not ready to share yet. But I’m so beyond excited to share this story with you all someday–because I WILL share the entirety of this story with you all someday–and when that time comes, I can’t wait to spill every single bean I’ve been collecting over the course of the past two years.

For today, however, I hope this is enough to tithe you over until the book is a little more polished and “shareable”!

>>> <<<

talk to me, peasants!

  • Do you have any questions about Project Sunset? I can’t promise I’ll share ALL of the gory details, but I’m definitely open to answering any non-spoilery things!
  • How long does it typically take you to finish a first draft?
  • How long do you wait after finishing a first draft to dive into edits? I’m thinking I’m going to wait at least three months for this one, but I’m not entirely sure yet. (I may or may not have a smol goblin story that I want to write next, so we’ll see if that happens or not!)
  • Is there a particular character you would like to see interviewed for a sort of celebratory interview post? I’m open to anyone as long as we don’t pit Sam and Eugene together again. I don’t think I can handle that right now. XD

And most importantly…

WHICH SNIPPET WAS YOUR FAVORITE?

Assuming, of course, that you had a favorite. XD

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

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 »

When We Struggle

photo credit: Hello I’m Nik

good afternoon, cyberspace!

You guys, I’m going to be blatantly honest with you. I’ve been having a really hard time getting posts written up lately. As I believe I briefly mentioned last week, it’s not that I have a creative block when it comes to blogging. I’m actually more excited about being a blogger right now than I have been in quite some time. But for some reason, every time I go to write one of the many posts I want to get scheduled, I just sort of. . .fizzle out of inspiration and drive.

Lately, my writing has been feeling sub-par at best. Every word I write feels wrong or forced somehow, and each time I think I’ve finally hit the right track, I end up backing over myself and deleting the paragraphs I’d spent the last fifteen minutes working on.

In fact, as I’m writing this right now, it’s Monday night. Mere hours before the deadline for this week’s blog post. And yet, even though I’ve been working on a blog post all day for tomorrow — a delightful little romp about what it’s like having a bird bean as a friend — something in my heart is telling me that that is not the post I should be writing.

Something is telling me that I need to be writing about the struggle I’m currently facing.

So guess what, peasants? Today we are going to talk about the struggle

Read More »