In February 2013, as an almost nineteen-year-old, I wrote a post where I described my dream for my future life when I would be around age thirty. Seven years later, a lot has changed, including my vision of what I'd like my future to be. So I thought I'd share a 2020 update of what I, twenty-six-year-old Kira, dream for my future! This future vision could happen really anytime, and I would be happy with it, so I won't be specific about what age I am here. Life happens on its own timeline, after all.
First, in line with the previous version, here's a terrible Paint drawing of my dream!
It took an unfortunate amount of time for me to find and read enough appropriate books to create a sizeable list here. Now, I have so many, I'm limiting this post to my 4.5+ star reads, instead of the usual 4+ stars! It is my pleasure to present recommended YA books that have central characters with disabilities in them. These disabilities do not include mental illnesses, which are instead represented in this list and in this list.
I hope you'll give these books a read and support their disability representation!
1) Neal Shusterman's Unwind Dystology. You already know how much I love this wild and brilliant YA sci-fi dystopian series about a future America where abortion is outlawed and replaced by the "unwinding" of unwanted teens for body parts. The first book doesn't have disability representation, but in later books, all four of the main characters have something going on. Connor gets a transplanted arm, Levi has permanently stunted growth, Risa is briefly paralyzed but then cured against her will, and my boy Camus has to "relearn" a variety of neuromuscular skills. (5-star average)
2) Marissa Meyer's The Lunar Chronicles. I've mentioned this series here a hundred times already, but somehow, it keeps fitting with my post themes! In this futuristic YA sci-fi retelling of four different fairytales, one of the main characters, Cinder, has various cybernetic parts, including a prosthetic leg, while a different main character, Cress, lives with a much maligned fictional disability. One of the love interests, Wolf, has to deal with the lifelong results of human experimentation, and a different love interest, Thorne, is stricken with a temporary blindness. (There's also a main character, Winter, with hallucinations. This book has it all!) (4.75-star average)
Now that we're in May (how wild), it's time for a life update! You can review April's update here.
Reading: Reverie by Ryan La Sala
Writing: #SnowQueenStory, on page 54
Editing: my blog archives, at October 2014
Working: most recently on a book description
Watching: The Half of It on Netflix
Playing: Hogwarts Mystery on a brand new save file because I decided to delete my Facebook
Earworming: the main theme from Us
Bookmarking: some websites about flower language
Following: most recently on Twitter, Joanna No Banana
Wearing: a navy tank top dress and black shrug with white pearl earrings
Eating: too many Chips Ahoy
Smelling: almond sugar lip balm
Hearing: my youngest brother thundering around
Welcome, everyone, to the latest installment of On This Day in My History! As usual, I will be going through my many diaries (which begin in November 1999) to see what has happened on May 2nd throughout my life so far. I will then provide a summary here.
No May 2nd entry in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005.
May 2, 2006, Twelve Years Old (Sixth Grade)
Today, one of my friends was absent from school. We did the shuttle run test in P.E., and as usual, I did not do great on it. In language arts class, we played Kid Biz and talked about Greek mythology, which was one of my favorite topics. We sixth graders then got some information about a ROPES trip we were going on the next day. In GATE class, my publishing mentor told me she was impressed with #IceEnchantressStory! I also drew some pictures of my cat in my diary. .
Back in 2013, I wrote a post sharing my favorite quotations. Since then, my interest in quotes has declined a bit--context is quite important, and it often gets lost amidst these pithy phrases! Nevertheless, I've written a handful of other posts about good quotes since then, and today, I'd like to add a few more to the list, drawn from my Goodreads and my Pinterest. Because words are beautiful!
Everything you can imagine is real. -- Pablo Picasso
Life is made up of marble and mud. -- Nathaniel Hawthorne
The most beautiful stories always start with wreckage. -- Jack London
Nothing great in the world was ever accomplished without passion. -- Georg Wilheim
Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality. --
Edgar Allan Poe
The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is
always more mystery. -- Anais Nin
If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable
explanation is that we were made for another world. -- C.S. Lewis
The absence of violence is not love. -- from Still Life With Tornado by A.S. King
As I mentioned in my last post, I'm currently making minor edits to my blog archives, which means I'm getting all sorts of inspiration from my past blog posts! Today, I'd like to write a post based on my short bucket list post from 2013.
Since then, my life has changed a lot, and many of those wishes are no longer feasible because of my disabilities and/or no longer fit my interests. However, my vision of what it looks like to be a successful novelist has expanded a great deal. So I thought it'd be a good idea to write an updated bucket list focusing mostly on what I want to achieve as an author!
1) Sign a contract with a literary agent. I have yet to achieve the very first step towards traditional publication despite many attempts. I look forward to making this professional connection and having another person on my team!
2) Publish a novel. This is the big one I've been looking forward to for years and years! It's only the hoped-for beginning, of course, but it's a huge step all by itself.
3) Run a book giveaway. Once I have a book to promote, I plan to run at least one giveaway on this website, if nowhere else, and since I've won many books from giveaways in the past, I'm excited to offer the same chance to others.
4) Hold a book release party. I'm not sure where I'd have one--the library is the only place in my little town that seems appropriate--but I've seen photos from the parties authors hold when they release a new book, and it looks delightful. There are cupcakes with the book cover design on them, y'all!. Even if it was very small, I'd love to have such a party.
Things are rough right now, and it is time for another life update! (Check out March's here.)
(Re)reading: Persuasion by Jane Austen (thanks to the library being closed, there are a lot of
rereads going on right now!)
Writing: blog posts and diary entries
Editing: my blog archives for formatting and consistency (at September 2013), because I
finished the #OCDStory edit!
Working: most recently on a personal statement from Scribbr
Watching: random shows to see if something grabs me
Playing: lots of Hogwarts Mystery
Earworming: Victorious's take on "Don't You (Forget About Me)", for some reason
Bookmarking: NetGalley, most recently
Following: mostly recently on Twitter, Am I the Buttface?, which shares posts from that Reddit
Getting: cool birthday gifts like these earrings
Wearing: this Baby Yoda shirt and black sweatpants
Eating: too much sugar because I am seriously stressed out
Smelling: nothing in particular
Hearing: keyboard sounds and a fan
It's time for our Spring 2020 roundup of interesting and useful posts that I found online during the last three months! Check out the links below.
Starting with this quarter in interesting diversions: This Tumblr post presents a chart of different sun gods worshiped in different time zones. This one proposes a super cool way to propose marriage! This New Scientist article talks about a tiny new moon the Earth recently (temporarily) gained.
Onto the important current issue of coronavirus: This Scientific American article presents a reasonable look at preparing to flatten the curve that is still helpful today. This University of Washington website shares coronavirus projections for different U.S. states. This Twitter thread talks about the unknown loss of possibility we will experience, while this thread from fellow chronically ill person and YA author Natasha Ngan gives advice on coping with being stuck at home for an extended period.
Meanwhile, this chart compares the death tolls of different pandemics across history (the coronavirus numbers have since risen to at least 88k):
It's time for some much needed humor today. Here are the twenty-five funniest posts I saw on the Internet during the last three months! Please enjoy.
My 26th birthday is tomorrow, so I'd like to take a look back 26 years at what the world was like on my birthdate! Let us return to Saturday, April 2nd, 1994:
Bill Clinton was the U.S. president. Some very typical tensions were occurring between the U.S. and areas like North Korea, China, and the Middle East, and there was unrest in South Africa, Haiti, and Bosnia. Tobacco's power in our country seemed to be waning (yay for not smoking!). Stocks had taken a recent dive, but March had been good in terms of hiring numbers. In New Mexico, the pilgrimage to Chimayo was happening.
Michael ("Who is Like God?") and Ashley ("From the Ash Tree Field") were the most popular baby names of 1994. However, in New Mexico, Jessica ("God Beholds") was the top female name.
The top song was "The Sign" by Ace of Base, which I think is a pretty decent tune. I'm actually familiar with it! Other names on the charts included R. Kelly, Mariah Carey, and Celine Dion, along with other performers whom I do not know.
The top movie in the box office was Major League II, a baseball-related comedy sequel that does not sound like my kind of thing at all. Critics weren't into it, either, so. 🤷🏻♀️ Four Weddings and a Funeral (rom-com, of course) was the highest grossing film of the year so far.
This has been such a month. For once, I'm not surprised that it's ending. I guess that's how you slow down time--with a pandemic. 😬
Anyway, with the end of March comes my list of top to-read books that are coming out during the spring quarter! I have eighteen new YA releases from April through June for you all to get pumped up about. These authors could especially use promotion right now seeing as social distancing has cut down their opportunities to attend events. (You can also support the Winter 2020 releases seen here.) So let's check them out!
Hey, friends! Hope you're all doing well despite the ongoing pandemic. I've been dealing with a lot of lower respiratory symptoms this week, including breathlessness, which culminated in me going to a clinic and finding out I was having my first ever asthma attack! I don't even usually have allergies, but apparently my lungs are mad right now. That was a fun time.
Now for today's post: I share fanart in themed posts on this blog every so often, I reblog it on my Tumblr all the time, and I've also talked about my Art & Words Pinterest board in the past. Visual art is amazing to me! But I have yet to write a post introducing you to my favorite artists. I thought today would be a good time to remedy that.
Some of these artists primarily create fanart; some primarily create original works. There are photos, paintings, papercraft, and more! I hope through this you find some great visual artists to support. Art is such an essential part of human life: it educates, it enriches, it evokes, it inspires, it distracts! We need it most in difficult times like these.
Paola Pieretti has developed a style for her commissioned character portraits that really speaks to me, though I can't explain why. I just know that she's at the top of my list for artists I might commission once I have a published book to promote. I don't have any single favorite, but here are a few pieces that show off her abilities:
In the past, I've analyzed the selection of books that I was required to read in school, and I've expressed my frustrations with it--primarily with the lack of diversity in both the authors and the main characters. That led me to write this post, where I shared some classics I enjoyed that are by non-White-and-male authors.
Since then, I've had the chance to read many more classics on my own. So today, I thought I'd create my ideal list of classics for students to read while in school. The rule is that I'm not allowed to include any author more than once (not even Shakespeare!), because the lack of diversity in English curriculum is even worse when you consider how many of the authors are repeats. Books that I actually was required to read anytime from elementary school through my English BA are marked with an asterisk.
Let's get into it!
1) Hamlet by William Shakespeare.* This is my Shakespearean pick: a historical tragedy written in 1603 about an indecisive Danish prince who is told by his father's ghost that the uncle who married his mother and became the new king is, in fact, his father's murderer. This story's downward spiral into chaos and death fascinates me. (If I was allowed to also include a Shakespearean comedy, I'd pick Much Ado About Nothing, but that's against the rules, so. 🤷🏻♀️ )
2) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.* I've enjoyed every Jane Austen book I've read, but this one is the most famous: a regency romance published in 1813 that tells the hate-to-love story of an intelligent and independent young woman and a rich, awkward, and aloof young man who each have pride and prejudice that adds strife to their relationship. Jane Austen's famous wit and feminist social commentary are well-displayed in this novel!
Welcome to March! Here's the update. (You can review February here.)
(Re)reading: The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater
Writing: blog posts and diary entries
Editing: #OCDStory, at page 213
Working: on a few scattered freelance projects
Watching: Hoarders episodes on YouTube
Playing: more Choices and Hogwarts Mystery
Bookmarking: the Ch21Con Discord!
Following: YA author Margaret Owen on Twitter
Getting: I was just gifted a framed picture of the Christus statue
Wearing: a navy blue tank top dress with a long-sleeved black shrug and blue goldstone
studs with dropping stars in back
Eating: pumpkin seeds again
Smelling: nothing in particular
Hearing: Zoey the cat eating cat food and Hogwarts Mystery background music
WriteOnCon 2020 was last weekend, and as usual, I am sharing my notes from the conference! For those who don't know, WriteOnCon is an amazing low-cost conference for children's book writers (including YA novelists) that takes place entirely online across three days. Which means my chronically ill butt can participate in it! I do it every year, and I love it. Here are last year's notes if you want to check them out!
This year, because I've gotten critique on my #OCDStory query documents during WriteOnCon multiple times and am now satisfied with them (but not yet ready to query), I did not post my own stuff on the forums. However, I did offer a few critiques on the YA query letters that I found most interesting. It's always so cool to see what people are creating!
I also did not do great time management in keeping up with the main conference content, which means I missed out on some of it. Boo! I'll have to be smarter about it next time. There's a lot of it to get through, though!
Here are highlights from the pieces I did catch:
Today's topic, as I participate in this weekend's WriteOnCon, is another Top Ten Tuesday prompt: books I read because of the hype. Originally, I was the kind of person who avoided hyped books. I don't do that anymore, thank goodness!
I do read a lot of YA,. Most traditionally published YA novels are on my TBR as soon as they sell to a publisher. But I might fast-track my reading of a book or add one to my list that I was uncertain about (or one that isn't YA) if I'm seeing a lot of hype about it online.
Here are ten examples:
1) The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. Holly Black's past work hasn't really been for me--tricky fae amorality doesn't fit well with my personality. But this YA fantasy trilogy has been EV. ER. Y. WHERE. in the YA lit world, and one of my trusted friends recommended it. So in December 2019, I read the first book. I enjoyed how passionate and intriguing it is, and I look forward to where the the story goes!
2) Wilder Girls by Rory Power. This YA sci-fi horror novel was already on my TBR, but when I saw all the hype about it after its release, I bumped it up and read it earlier than I might have. In October 2019, it became one of my recommended books--brilliant, fascinating stuff.
3) The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson. If it was released nowadays, this YA fantasy trilogy probably would've already been on my TBR, but in 2014, I was new to Goodreads and not yet following book deals on Publisher's Weekly. Later, I heard how popular it was, and I gave the first book a read in October 2019. I liked it!
Hey, friends! This blog post idea is taken from the Top Ten Tuesday archive. It's a thought that's never really occurred to me before, but it marries two of my favorite things: fictional characters and social media. I'm excited to get into it!
1) Wanda Maximoff (MCU). Since she's my current favorite, this pick is unsurprising. I'd love to follow her adventures with the Avengers in real time and get more of an insight into her life and her personality. I imagine her being an Instagram kind of person.
2) Vision (MCU). As the other half of my Avengers OTP, Vision is another obvious choice here. In all honesty, I'd probably follow all of the Avengers, because I love them, but these are the two I doubt I'd ever unfollow, even if their feeds somehow became boring. I imagine Vision being active on Twitter.
3) Newt Scamander (Wizarding World). I don't know how he'd do on social media, seeing how socially awkward he is, but I adore Newt. I'd at least have to check his feed out. I can imagine him posting lots of videos and pictures of magical animals on YouTube or Instagram (if that weren't illegal and technologically impossible in his time). His granddaughter-in-law Luna would also be an interesting one to follow!
It's time for my February "taking stock" update! You can review January's update here.
Reading: Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves
Writing: blog posts and diary entries
Editing: #OCDStory, at page 175
Watching: That Chapter and other channels on YouTube
Playing: Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery
Earworming: "Blinding Lights" by the Weeknd, thanks to me reviewing last month's post
Following: most recently on Twitter, Maddie Williams
Wearing: a grey long-sleeved dress with pockets and black cat cameo earrings
Eating: a new 45-day diet via Viome with more protein in it
Smelling: pumpkin seeds
Hearing: cat snores
Today, we're looking through my diaries for the events of my life that occurred on February 1st throughout the years. I don't think I've done the first of any month before, so that's kinda cool! For anyone interested, the previous installment (September 7) can be found here.
February 1st, 2000, Five Years Old
I drew a picture of my doll "Carm" outside a little house.
No February 1st entry in 2001, 2002, or 2003.
February 1st, 2004, Nine Years Old
My youngest brother threw up. I worked on making valentines for my friends.
February 1st, 2005, Ten Years Old
I had a fight with one of my friends--no details written about it.
February 1st, 2006, Eleven Years Old
I was somehow "off schedule" and not interested in writing much. However, I'd gotten some beta reader critiques on #DragonStory and an invitation to my best friend's birthday party that I put in my journal.
I don't recall having much trouble with time management in my life before now. (Keep in mind that my chronic illnesses have wiped a lot of my memory, so that's worth taking with a bit of salt.) However, since descending into severe chronic illness and then a little ways out again, I've been struggling. It's kind of funny because my chronic fatigue means I'm much more limited by my energy than by time, unlike most people, but of course, any change in life means adjustments to how you manage time.
When I became extremely ill in 2016, I was so low on energy that I couldn't do much with my time besides sleep, watch Netflix, and scroll through social media. (I also did read books and do a little writing, both in a lower amount than before.) By the time I started improving, I was almost running out of movies/TV to watch, which is not a common complaint. I was also very thoroughly entrenched in social media. I've always loved it, after all, ever since I first illicitly joined Facebook in high school. I love being able to interact with others through writing, which comes more naturally to me than in-person interactions, and I love learning from and enjoying content from people all over the world. Social media is perfect for someone like me, and with my disabilities, it's become most of my social life as well. It's proven to be pretty effective at keeping me from feeling lonely or isolated.
However, as my illnesses have improved, making it possible for me to spend more time on editing and writing and the like, social media in particular has become an issue. Most people aren't active on six different social media websites--with two profiles on one of them and three on another. I've been loathe to let go of my beloved social media, with how much I enjoy it, but time management, like life with chronic illness, is all about prioritizing. Social media is a priority for me, and a pretty low-energy one at that. But keeping up with my reading is an even higher priority, and I've been struggling there (well, struggling for me). Church, writing, and editing are also higher priorities for me than social media.
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