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.
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?
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