As of this week, it's been a year since I opened my online freelance editing business Kira B. Edits. It's been an interesting and enjoyable experience, and today, I wanted to talk about what I've learned.
Editing is something I've long enjoyed, just like writing. I went into college vaguely thinking I might become an editor for my day job, although my main dream has always been marriage, kids, and a career as a novelist. (I wasn't sure anyone could really succeed as an editor outside of NYC, though, which did not seem likely to suit me.)
While at Adams State University (the college I attended my freshman year), I was hired as the head copy editor of the school paper. I enjoyed that job a lot more than I'd expected to. I like being able to work fairly independently and on my own schedule, and I love the feeling of fixing up written text so that the words and ideas flow. I was definitely a beginner in terms of style rules (and comma rules), but I felt the job suited me.
When I transferred to BYU-Idaho, I decided to try going freelance as both a copy editor and copy writer on Fiverr. At the time, I was not aware that you were supposed to register yourself as a business when doing that sort of thing, but I didn't make taxable income anyway. In fact, I was quite underpaid, and that combined with the stress of copy writing led me to quit that job after a summer.
All right! It's time for my monthly update, given through a series of "-ing" verbs. Here's what's up in my life this January. (You can review December here.)
Eating: grapes and jicama
Wearing: a dark green long-sleeved dress with pockets
Reading: Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Writing: blog posts and diary entries
Editing: #OCDStory, at page 153, and some
Listening: to my latest jam, "Blinding Lights" by The
Watching: the last few episodes of The Clone Wars
Bookmarking: most recently, some resources for my
job with Scribbr
Playing: not June's Journey anymore, because I
decided it was a (delightful) timesuck
Wanting: my dinner
Wishing: my body wasn't so invested in its sleep time
Deciding: what changes to make to #OCDStory
Admiring: how adorable my cat is
Enjoying: my life
Hoping: to accomplish my 2020 resolutions
I forgot to post this on Wednesday as I'd planned! Sorry about that. Here are the twenty-five funniest posts I saw on the Internet during the last three months, plus one video and a bonus link. Enjoy them!.
It's time for me to share the most interesting and useful posts I came across online during the last three months. Check it out!
First, in animals in need, the tweet pictured below has been making the rounds:
The next image shares websites of many different groups that help people in need of financial support for their sick/injured pets.
Welcome to 2020! Today marks not only the beginning of a new year but also the beginning of a new decade. I started this blog in mid-2012, which doesn't quite bring us to a decade ago, but there's still a lot of content here to explore if you'd like to review. A good place to start is with my past resolutions!
New Year's Resolutions
January Humor and New Year's Resolutions
Top Ten Tuesday: New Year's Resolutions
New Year's Resolutions 2017
New Year's Resolutions 2018
New Year's Resolutions 2019
For me, this decade was largely marked by illness, with 2010 being the year that I first started seeking help for my developing fibromyalgia. According to my journals, I started showing possible signs of interstitial cystitis as early as 2013, with chronic fatigue syndrome and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome possibly making their appearances around 2015. In mid-2016, I became ill enough that I could no longer perform substantial gainful activity, which continues today, although I saw a great deal of improvement after visiting Mayo Clinic in 2017. It's been an adventure, that's for sure!
âââNow we've got the Roaring 20s ahead of us.
As we move into 2020, it's time to share the books I'm most looking forward to that release during the winter quarter! These picks will be published between January and March. Check them out, and if any catches your eye, add it to your reading list.
1) A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer. This YA fantasy novel continues the story started in a favorite read from 2019, a Beauty and the Beast retelling that crosses between our world and a cursed fantasy world. The sequel will move past the retelling into new territory and promises some drama, too! It releases on January 7th.
2) Hollow Dolls by MarcyKate Connolly. This MG fantasy novel from the dark and whimsical MarcyKate Connolly features a mind reader who discovers a man with two minds--one the original and one a bodywalker. This book also releases on January 7th.
For my second best of 2019 list, I've decided to broaden things a bit. Instead of just sharing the new movies and TV shows I enjoyed most this year, I'm going to share all sorts of different content from this year (besides YA novels) that I recommend! Please enjoy, and have a happy Christmas if you celebrate!
1) Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia. This five-star MG fantasy novel takes the Rick Riordan formula and adapts it using a combination of West African mythology and black American folklore to astonishing effect. I've never read anything that better depicts the incredible power of stories or the harrowing echoes of history. This is one of those books where I, as a writer, cannot understand how a human mind formed it, and I think everyone should read it.
2) Captain Marvel (PG-13). Going into this, I was thrilled to have a female-led film from Marvel at last but also worried that Carol Danvers would prove to be too much of a tough, stereotypical Strong Female Character for me. Luckily, that was not the case! Though Carol is physically strong, a part of the Armed Forces, and a tomboy type, she also has a lot of personality--plenty of sass and wit to hook me in. Though Wanda Maximoff will probably always be my top Marvel girl, Carol Danvers has a solid place in the lineup. This movie also expresses an important and relevant political message, and there's a cat! Every movie should have a cat.
3) Spider-Man: Far From Home (PG-13). This movie raises some questions about Tony Stark's wisdom (or lack thereof), but it's also such a delightful story for the YA crowd that I can't leave it off this list. It captures that high school/teen spirit perfectly and provides some fun twists, as well as Marvel's usual top-notch characterization. The villain has the most fantastic flamboyant vibe, there's a stunning CGI sequence in the middle, and the Spideychelle ship sets sail in adorable fashion. All in all, this is a great movie to push the MCU past the Infinity Saga and into a new phase.
2019 is coming to a close, which means it's time for my end-of-year lists! First, today, I'm sharing my picks for the best YA books of 2019. Naturally, I have not read every YA book that was released in 2019, but these are my favorites from the ones I have read. If Goodreads had a half-star system, these books would be rated 4.5 stars or more! So please check them out, and enjoy.
Since the Skywalker Saga will be ending next week when The Rise of Skywalker opens in theaters, today I'm sharing my twenty-five most favorite Star Wars fanart pieces! I'm only sharing pieces for which I can find an artist. You can click on each image to go to the source. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
The Prequel Trilogy
I've decided to start doing these "taking stock" updates on a more regular basis. I think they'll be more meaningful when there's more context. (Besides, they help me get my blog queue filled up. 😉) So here's the update for December as told through a variety of "-ing" verbs.
Eating: out at Twister's Burgers and Burritos for a
Wearing: a long sleeve dark green dress and
Smelling: hints of chocolate and peppermint
Reading: Suggested Reading by Dave Connis
Writing: blog posts and diary entries
Editing: #OCDStory, at page 105
Listening: to The Nutcracker as played by the
Bonn Classical Philharmonic
Earworming: "All I Want For Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey
Watching: The Mandalorian, a handful of CW shows, and The Clone Wars
Bookmarking: most recently, a couple of potential jobs
Playing: June's Journey and other game apps
Looking: forward to Christmas
I'm always shocked, somehow, when the weekend arrives! It feels like this year has been moving so quickly. Perhaps that's just what happens when you're chronically ill and have a simple life spent mostly at home. 😋
Today, I want to talk about an epiphany I had when I was writing this blog post. In the post, I wrote about trunking #ProphecyStory and the bright possibilities I saw moving forward in my writing career. As I did so, I suddenly realized why it's taking me so long to write something good enough to get a literary agent.
A little while back, I wrote a different blog post about how my books have lacked the originality necessary to succeed on the market. At that point, though there are reasons why I'm glad my career hasn't taken off yet, I was feeling fairly discouraged. I kept thinking, How can I be such a slow learner in my writing career when I've always been a fast learner in everything else? But now I understand that it's not an issue of being a slow learner. I've likely been learning and improving at a decent enough pace.
The problem is that I wasn't writing in the way that works best for me.
I've known for a long time that, when it comes to writing advice, the cardinal rule is that you need to do what works for you. Not every piece of writing advice will be right for every writer, though most advice has its place. What I didn't realize was that this doesn't always come naturally. You have to put in effort to find the way that works for you, and it won't always be the first way you try. You have to test it. You have to apply those pieces of writing advice and see if they improve your work.
Thanksgiving is coming up on Thursday, so today I'm sharing my yearly gratitude list!
Like last year, I'm thankful for my friends, my family, and my cats.
As a disabled rights supporter who follows many activists, I sometimes see posts online talking about "inspiration porn" and how it's ableist. For a long time, I didn't totally understand why. But I do now, and I thought it would be a good idea to talk about it here on my blog. So let's get into it!
What is inspiration porn?
Inspiration porn exploits disabled people and their accomplishments in order to inspire abled people. Though it may seem harmless at first, these articles, images, and posts contribute to the distorted vision of disability that we have in our society.
Why is inspiration porn ableist?
There are a few different reasons why inspiration porn is damaging to disabled people.
First, it focuses on a person's disability to an extent and in a way that is dehumanizing. While disabilities are a real part of life and can have a significant impact, it's important to always remember the human living with the disability. Instead of constantly focusing on what makes them different, talk about the things that make them relatable!
Second, inspiration porn ignores the fact that disabled people are always achieving amazing things, just like abled people. We aren't as incapable or as unusual as society often thinks. We have our own interests and dreams and ambitions, and we're out there making things work every day.
Third, the central message of inspiration porn is that "if this disabled person can do it, anyone can do it." This sets up a weird conflict between abled and disabled people where abled people are always supposed to be better and more achieving than us disabled people. If they aren't, that means they're failing. How messed up is that?
Hey, everyone! Recently I wrote a post listing middle grade novels that I recommend. As I was writing this post, it occurred to me that I could also offer some good picks for younger YA readers. Young teens, around the thirteen/fourteen age, are often overlooked in the publishing world, but it is super important for them to have good books to read as they transition from middle grade to young adult literature.
For me, this transition was a really big deal. I wasn't ready for older teen books that had sexual content or that delved into darker issues, so I struggled at first. I'm really grateful for all the softer/younger books that helped me get into reading YA lit. Without them, I may have never had the chance to fall in love with the category!
With that in mind, I present to you my picks for transitioning young YA readers. Don't forget to also check out that middle grade post! I included a few book series there that transition from middle grade to YA as the story progresses, and they would also be good picks for this age group.
1) The Giver by Lois Lowry. People don't really seem to be sure whether this one is MG or YA, which makes it a good pick for this post. It does star an MG-aged character, but it also addresses many serious topics that may push it towards YA. As the series progresses, it quickly moves into definitive YA territory. Wherever you choose to categorize it, this sci-fi/fantasy series about a a broken, multi-dystopian future is both thought-provoking and beautiful. I've loved it for years and years, and I absolutely recommend it for young teens.
2) Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz. As a young teen, I was a big fan of Anthony Horowitz's work. I first discovered him through the Alex Rider series, a YA thriller about a fourteen-year-old boy who becomes a spy for the UK after his uncle's suspicious death. It's an intelligent and fascinating series--I even wrote a post here about similar books that fans might like. I also loved Horowitz for The Gatekeepers, a YA fantasy series about five gifted teens who have to take on a horde of ancient, eldritch monsters to save the world. Though these books have some intense and violent parts, they're well-suited to a young YA audience.
Coming in on the heels of last week's more in-depth update, today I'm sharing another Taking Stock of My Life update, where I answer a variety of -ing questions!
Eating: a bit of chocolate!
Drinking: my usual water
Wearing: a navy "Current Mood [Low Battery]" t-shirt and
Smelling: not a whole lot, since I have a cold
Reading: Six Goodbyes We Never Said by Candace
Writing: blog posts and diary entries
Editing: #OCDStory, at page 79
Listening: to some of Taylor Swift's latest work
Earworming: "Kill This Love" by Blackpink
Watching: a Star Trek movie that's overdue at the library 😬
Bookmarking: nothing new recently
Playing: the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets video game with my brother
Wanting: to not have a cold anymore
Wishing: for a better world
Today, I have a few updates to share, so I'm going to devote a post to them!
First, an update to My Writing Career So Far. When I wrote that post, I was planning to stop writing #SnowQueenStory, as I didn't feel like I was in the right frame of mind for the story, and start editing #ProphecyStory instead--once I finished the latest edit of #OCDStory. I had a lot of edit ideas for #ProphecyStory that had been building up over the years, and they were haunting me every time I tried to read an epic fantasy novel.
I'm still plodding along in my #OCDStory edit. I'm doing a close line edit, because the prose at the beginning is better than the prose in the rest of the book. It's actually pretty normal to be slow on this kind of edit, which makes me feel less frustrated, LOL! There are a few other things I'm adjusting to. So It'll be a while yet, but I am making progress towards being able to hand the story over to my next beta reader.
However, I realized this week that #ProphecyStory won't ever be what the market needs, no matter how many edits I pile onto it. Like all my past work, though it has plenty of heart, it's too tropey and unoriginal. The premise also relies on big-level conflict that I'm not really suited to--I'm trying nowadays to follow the advice of this Tumblr post because it's really good advice that I haven't been able to get out of my head.
So I'm left now with just #OCDStory, the first part of #SnowQueenStory, and a hoard of ideas.
As I promised in my post about books I like that came from outside my comfort zone, today's post is going to list my recommendations for middle grade novels! For those who don't know, middle grade is the age category that comes before young adult. MG stories are for preteen kids, mostly between the ages of 9 and 12.
I don't read as much middle grade as I do YA, but I do have some favorites from when I was that age. In fact, my most favorite series (Harry Potter, a classic) starts out middle grade! I also continue to read new MG books that catch my eye today.
Here are the ones I like the best! (Skipping Harry Potter, because that's obvious.)
1) The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis. The Chronicles of Narnia is a classic MG fantasy series that, like Harry Potter, transitions into YA towards the end. It presents a Christian allegory full of meaning and magic. The Magician's Nephew is the first in the series (though C.S. Lewis wrote it sixth out of the seven books), and it's terribly underrated in my opinion. Kick off your reading of the series here, and explore the incredible world of Narnia!
2) The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. If you're a fan of language and/or philosophy in search of a fun and clever read, this MG fantasy novel might satisfy your craving! It follows a grumpy boy into a wild land full of puns and metaphors, where he goes on a quest to save a magical kingdom. My second grade teacher read it to my class, and I enjoy it as much now as I did then.
It's been a while since I've done this, so I thought I'd give it another whirl. Today, I'm going to share the last ten photos I took!
In all honesty, I don't take very many pictures nowadays because I mostly just spend time on the computer and read--and I'm not very good at setting up cool #bookstagram photos. When I do take a picture, I usually post it on Instagram, so these will be drawn from that feed as well as from theKira B. Edits editing tips that I post sometimes on Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr. (I always add a pic of Spartacus to those. â¤) Check them out!
Finally, today we have our humor roundup for Fall 2019, where I share the twenty-five funniest images and one funny video I saw across the last three months! Be aware that there are Marvel spoilers ahead.
It's time for me to share all the coolest stuff I saw on the internet this last quarter!
First of all, I wanted to share this fantastic language-related video where bilingual people take on Google Translate:
In the writing world, this Tumblr post gives some great advice for white people drawing/writing characters of color. This Tumblr post looks at fictional animal design, while this one looks at the causes of war. This one offers an interesting cheat sheet for how plot, character, and setting interact.
Why I Hate James Pat...
Hitler and Mother Ter...
The Lesser Evil: Femi...
Guest Post: 5 Fandom...
PTSD and the Hunger...
Successful People W...