Books I Wrote as a Kid

Did you guys write a lot as a kid? I know I did. In fact, when I was a child, the first thing I ever wanted to be when I grew up was an artist, so I could draw my own stories. (Spelling was too hard back then–I would never be able to finish a story if I had to pause and ask my mother how to spell every other word!)

But once I did start writing, I didn’t stop. In looking through my old journals and notebooks, I couldn’t help but be amused at my early attempts at fiction…

…and so decided to share them.

#1: The Island

Okay….I don’t actually know what the title of this one was, because it is the name of the story I infamously shredded and burned later, but it was basically born out of my obsession with Swiss Family Robinson and the whole idea of being stranded on a deserted island, which has been a particular favorite daydream of mine since I was a small child. Seriously, if there was any type of story about surviving alone on an island (Island of the Blue Dolphins, Flight 29 Down, etc.) I. Ate. It. Up. Which is funny, since I’m not an outdoor person…at all.

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However, I love being by myself, so the whole “deserted” part of the “island” was, I guess, the attractive part, as well as the self-sufficiency. The story was basically about a group of kids my age at the time (that is, between the ages of 9 and 10) who get stranded on an island through means I cannot precisely remember, and have to work together to survive and find their way back home. I found this story again when I was 13 and was so horrified by my misspelled words, childish sentence structure, and overdramatic dialogue that I destroyed it.

I learned two things from this book:

  1. 9-year-old kids are generally not as smart as 9-year-old me thought and probably would not do very well on an island all by themselves….BUT a story about such improbably mature kids would probably be greatly enjoyed by fellow 9-year-olds. (If I was able to write about improbably mature nine-year-olds at that age…then was I an improbably mature nine-year-old? The world may never know.)
  2. I learned that I love writing about teamwork, and groups of bickering, diverse people who have to learn to work together. This hasn’t changed in the 14 years since I first wrote this story.

(also, should I watch Lost? Because I feel like I should watch Lost. I just….have heard about the ending, so ???)

#2: The Mystery of The China Shop

A mystery set in the 1940s. This one was handwritten between the pages of a tiny composition notebook heavily decorated with Lisa Frank stickers.

I also illustrated it with colored pencil drawings. This one had to be written within a year or two of The Island and was probably heavily influenced by the American Girl history mysteries.

I actually found and re-read this one because all I could remember about it was that my heroine’s older brother had a picture of Hitler on his wall that he would throw darts at. Because obviously no historical fiction book set during the 40s is complete without a little bit of obligatory Hitler-hate.

#3: Grace

I had completely forgotten about this one until I accidentally found it looking for The Mystery of the China Shop. It says “2005” at the beginning, which meant I was about 11 at the time of writing. It was about a girl named Grace (duh) who had a big family (because apparently I only know how to write about big families) and had to deal with starting school when (gasp!) her mom was going to be TEACHING AT THE SAME SCHOOL SHE ATTENDED. This is something I actually knew about (In the first grade, the only year I attended public school, my mother taught third grade across the hall from my classroom). There was also a new girl at the school, I think, and somebody had a wedding. I never got to go to any weddings as a kid, so I think I was living vicariously through the story at that point. (I just wanted to save the wedding rings like Ramona did in Ramona Forever, okay? *looks over at my newly engaged younger sister*) Overall, there was not much of a plot.

However, I still had room in my little notebook after I’d finished the story, so I used up the rest of the pages for a little picture book about my sister. Using gel pens, of course.

There was also a picture book I wrote in the back about the history of the United States of America called America the Beautiful because I am, and always have been, a history nerd.

#4: The Stevens

That isn’t actually the real title- I might have come up with this one when I was 12, but the title was actually really good and….I kind of want to save it and use it someday. I’m actually still quite fond of this one and its characters. It was set during the Civil War about this large, eccentric family living in the south who was generally so eccentric and weird (but also from old money) that they could get away with suspicious stuff…like helping runaway slaves escape to freedom. Sadly, this book didn’t have a lot of great writing in it, but there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to give up on this story completely, even though I know it’s been permanently buried in the story graveyard. Some of the scenes and plot points actually hold up after a decade’s inspection.

#5: Finding Adelaide

Oh man, here’s where I really decided to get serious and write a Grown Up Novel. This one was started when I was 13, around the time I started reading Christian Historical Fiction. It’s fairly obvious in that I was way too influenced by that genre, but I did have some good ideas of my own. The plot also grew out of my slight annoyance that such fiction has where ALL arranged marriages are always horrible and must be avoided at all costs–like, didn’t they work out sometimes? Why are all the guys girls get betrothed to old and gross? So this one was about a likable betrothed couple who didn’t know each other but there was a heavy dosage of evil uncles and mustache-twirling villains and disguises and passionate piano-playing with tears and joy and rage AND YES I AM A LITTLE MELODRAMATIC I GET IT.

Also, I’m only now realizing that the core idea of this one–girl runs away to hide from danger and start a new life elsewhere, boy tries to find her in a race against time before the bad guy does–actually got recycled in January Snow. huh. Maybe my writing hasn’t changed as much as I thought it has…

And there we have it.

Around this time is when I began coming up with ideas for Hidden Pearls. In a lot of ways, Hidden Pearls is a good example of my older writing. (I was still not a very good researcher and sometimes I lie awake at night dreading that a British person is going to read the novel and be horrified by its absolute American-ness)

But overall, each one of these stories had something that helped me on my writing journey in showing me what “clicks” for me and what doesn’t. The Island taught me that I love writing teamwork/friendship stories. The Mystery of the China Shop cemented my love of writing historical fiction and mysteries. Grace taught me that, while contemporaries aren’t really my thing, I do like writing about big families. Working on the The Stevens let me know that 1) I like to mix comedy and tragedy in one story and 2) eccentric and unusual characters are my favorites. And finally, Finding Adelaide was a lesson that, while romance is all very well and good, for me personally, writing it is also going to entail adding a lot of danger, swashbuckling action, and plot twists.

What are some of the stories, however regrettable, that you wrote as a kid?

The Jar of Good Things


Have you ever kept a jar like this? I did it back in 2017, but skipped last year. However, in 2019 I committed myself to keeping track of good things that happened and putting them in the jar to read at the end of the year…and today’s the day!

I love doing this, because sometimes its so easy to focus on the bad things. The last half of 2019 hasn’t been easy for me (job uncertainty, mainly) so I was looking forward to reminding myself of all of the good this year brought. And as I went through these, I saw so many events that I had completely forgotten about. Some of the BEST times in my life happened in 2019…and that’s something to focus on and remember, right?

Here are just some of the best things that happened to me in 2019:



Went out to dinner with my parents on Valentine’s Day (I don’t remember this…did I crash their date???)

last final EVER!!

Performed in “Shakespeare in Suburbia”

Saw Avengers: Endgame


Trip to Disney World!!!!

Went downtown with the parents for waffles and a museum trip on my birthday

Started writing for Fairy Tale Central

Started my first DnD campaign with my brothers

Had my first author table at Otrantocon

last day of my eyedrops (from my eye issues during the summer)

Baby Yoda

Saw Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

There’s plenty more, although I admit I didn’t keep up with it as much as I could have these past few months. But this year also brought coffee dates with friends, a few weddings, and lots of trips to the movie theater! I don’t want to throw all these slips of paper away, so I may put them in a bag and save them for another time, since I didn’t keep a journal, like, at ALL this year (I’ve kept one, on and off, since I was about seven but I’ve really neglected it these past few years).

My favorite thing that happened in 2019? The Disney World trip, hands-down…although my second favorite event wasn’t actually my college graduation (as one might expect), but the day I finished my last ever final, lol!

What were some of the best things that happened to you this year?

the end of july, 2019

So July turned out to be an incredibility busy month punctuated by a specific period of absolute inactivity.

To elaborate:

That month I started a wonderful freelance job that I’ve been driving to once a week. I’ve been interviewing and listening to the grandparents of some friends in order to write their biography, and though we’ve only had a handful of sessions, it’s been incredibly rewarding. Of course, it helps that they are genuinely wonderful people with great stories, and I love getting to spend time with them!

me settling in every week to hear stories of their childhood shenanigans

As I already mentioned, I started writing for Fairy Tale Central. Since I’ve been doing origins posts, it means that I get to research a new fairy tale every month, and I looove doing that. Research for fun is something I don’t want to give up now that I’m now longer in school.

Speaking of fairy tales, I’ve been troubleshooting a lot of scenes in January Snow. There are a handful of “necessary” scenes that are just plain uninteresting + boring, so I’ve been analyzing why that is and then rewriting them. I’ve also been working on upping the suspense in it, so we shall see how that turns out.


Additionally, I went to my first con a little over a week ago. One of my local libraries had its own convention with local artists & vendors, and it had a good turnout, even though it’s only the second year that they’ve done it. I got to sell and sign some books, and I look forward to doing it again next year. I’ve never had an author table/booksigning before, and it was really a great experience!

HOWEVER (dun dun DUN)

The week of the con, I’d been having really bad headaches concentrated behind my right eye. When I looked up my symptoms, it seemed that I had a pretty classic case of cluster headaches. Except then the severity of the headaches went away…and the pain in my eye did not. After five days of redness, sensitivity to light, and soreness around my eyebrow and eye that felt a lot worse than it looked, I went to the eye doctor and found out that I had, not a headache problem, but anterior uveitis (inflammation of the iris & middle of the eye). I spent the first week basically spending my days with sunglasses on in a dark corner of the room, avoiding monitors and trying not to use my eyes. Thankfully, my eyes feel much better and the light doesn’t hurt anymore, but treatment lasts awhile. Currently, I’m still on eye drops two times a day. (I started out with eye drops six times that first day, then four the first week, three the second, and so on, so going down to two is kind of a relief)

ANYWAY…July wasn’t bad, but I am ready for the fresh start of a new month. That being said, I’m already itching for August and September to be over so we can get to MY FAVE TRIO.

(October, November, and December are the best months and no, this will not be up for debate at this time)

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Disney 2019

20190522_181921Last month my family had the opportunity to go on our FIRST EVER family vacation. (I mean, we’ve done some camping and once we went to Myrtle Beach for the weekend. But generally, we’ve never done a big family vacation in my life). Since my sister, brother, and I all graduated this year, my parents thought it would be a good excuse to go to Disney World.

I went to Disney World once. In 1997. So, suffice to say, it’s been awhile.

The first park we went to was Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This was probably my least favorite day, not really because of the park but because I realized that I pretty much can’t get on a single moving ride without getting motion sickness, yay. The Slinky Dog ride will haunt me for a while. “But it’s a baby roller coaster, Hayden!” you say. Well, you may not be aware of this but I am, in fact, a baby.


The best part was all of the Star Wars! The Star Wars section of the park still isn’t open yet, but there was plenty of themed stuff around the park, including shows throughout the day. We also watched the Indiana Jones stunt show, which was fun and not what I was expecting at all! My favorite ride in Hollywood Studios was actually Toy Story Mania, which is like a moving video game. (which I did not get sick on). My favorite part of the day was the nighttime show, though. It was on the water and there were floats and Disney princesses and villains and they projected scenes from Disney movies on the water and it was just really cool. Look at me, I’m even breaking out the italics.

Don’t worry, Dad. They always miss.

61187973_891999101147401_7545742447939158016_nEPCOT was the second day. I manged to go on a few rides that didn’t bother me, like Mission: Earth and Soar (that last one which was AMAZING and which I highly recommend). My mom and I skipped out on Mission: Mars, which turned out to be a good choice because it made the rest of my family get motion sickness. (haha, now you guys know how it feels) We all split up for lunch at the World Showcase, so my mom and I headed to Norway for sandwiches and pastries at the bakery there. Norway was definitely one of my favorite countries at the park! They had a gods of the vikings museum which I really enjoyed looking at, and I FINALLY got to try cloudberry jam, which I’ve been wanting to do for a while. Later we ate dinner in France, and got to spend some time looking around England, Japan, and Morocco. Sadly, we didn’t have time to linger in a lot of the other countries, since it was really hot that day and we waited until it got a little darker to wander around the showcase. But hey, there’s always next time, right?


Magic Kingdom might possibly be my favorite park. There’s just so much to do and it had a lot of my favorite rides! I LOVED the Haunted Mansion and while I was really nervous to go on Splash Mountain (I did not want to get sick again) it ended up being really fun. This was probably our fullest day as far as the number of rides we managed to go on. We didn’t get a lot of pictures with characters (those that we did get were all in Hollywood Studios), but I did see a lot of them throughout the park! I also loved it because I could remember little bits and pieces of the park from the last time I was at Disney- like the It’s a Small World ride (my brothers hated that ride. It scarred them for life, I think). However, the highlight of the day was the Happily Ever After nighttime show where they lit up the castle. It was so magical I cried, guys. It was quite possibly my favorite event of our entire vacation.

Yes, I’m hiding because that Slinky Dog ride TRAUMATIZED ME and I wasn’t sure if I could handle any roller coasters. Splash Mountain turned out to be fun, though.

Also, the biggest surprise of the Magic Kingdom was when my parents and I went to the Laugh Floor, an “interactive comedy” experience. It didn’t sound like something I’d be really interested in, but I’ll try anything Monsters Inc. themed (what can I say? It’s my favorite Pixar movie). It. Was. A. HOOT. The show was made even better by the fact that we had a really great audience in there with us, since a lot of the humor depends on audience participation and reaction. Anyway, if you have a chance to go down there, try it!


By the time we went to Animal Kingdom on Thursday, my feet. were. so. done. Each day we stayed at the park from at least 9 to 9 (and we were at Magic Kingdom until at least 11:30 on Wednesday) so I was pretty beat and got to the point where I couldn’t walk anymore. My dad and brothers were troopers, though, and managed to push my mom and I around in wheelchairs throughout the day. (And that was a whole other experience. Y’all who have to use wheelchairs every day amaze me). Animal Kingdom had some of my favorite experiences, though! The safari was one of the coolest things I’ve ever been on- the giraffes walked right next to us, and it was incredible! The rapids ride was also outrageously fun, especially because we were able to go on it twice. The first time I got splashed just a little. The second time I got soaked. I also loved the Dinosaur ride, and walking through the Pandora area of the park at night was gorgeous because everything lights up!

look! how! close!

Throughout our time in the park, I thought it would be fun to keep track of the accents and languages I heard. Not counting the World Showcase (since the people who work in each country are actually from that country) I heard English, Scottish, Irish, French Canadian, Australian, Indian, and Chinese accents. As far as languages go, there was predictably a lot of Spanish, but also a lot of Portuguese! I heard some Italian, German, French, Mandarin, and one Indian language that was possibly Hindi. I probably could have heard more had I devoted a little more time to my side quest, but I was pretty busy otherwise enjoying myself 🙂

Though our trip was absolutely exhausting, it was fun and exciting and, uh…maybe we can go again sometime, Mom and Dad?


Am I Back? Maybe.

I have officially made the transition from “student” to “unemployed.”

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In all honesty, though, it feels SO GOOD to finally be done with college. Graduation went well (I think? There were a lot of names to sit through. I may have zoned out a couple several times) and now I have an official-looking diploma as physical proof that I have paid enough dues in papers and exams to be considered Educated™. Of course, this also means…

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I also saw Endgame, which I thought about reviewing, but decided not to, less because of spoilers and more because of the fact that I just have too many feelings and thoughts. I really don’t think my review would be completely coherent–especially because SO MUCH happened in the movie that I would just get frustrated if I tried to cover everything. Long story short: all things considered, I thought it was both good and satisfying. There are genius throwbacks to the previous movies, fabulous instances of poetic justice, and some truly cheer-worthy scenes. Though Marvel won’t stop making movies (of course) it really does feel like “The End.” The non-spoilery spoiler is that I only felt myself getting emotional at one point– during a specific portion of the end credits (and no, there’s no end credits scene. I mean the actual credits). I guess it was then that it hit me that this really was the last Avengers film and…those stories have come to mean a lot to me over the years.

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Speaking of stories, I’m trying to read for fun again. and…it’s hard ??? I’ve always been the type of reader who could fly through books in less than a day (sometimes, within an hour or two) but ever since I’ve been in school, my reading life has slowly been deteriorating. Last month I read a total of 5 books, which doesn’t seem too bad until you realize two were for school and two were comic books.

So yeah.

As far as comics go, I went to my first comic book store on Free Comic Book Day! It was a lot of fun and I really loved it. I normally get my comics through Hoopla Digital, but it is really nice to get paper copies rather than digital ones. I’m still a pretty new comic reader, but they’ve been my main source of fiction this past year or so of school. And a word of advice to anyone contemplating getting into comic books for the first time: literally the only way to enjoy them is to ignore 90% of comic canon at large and what an utter mess it is, and focus on the 10% that’s really, really good.Image result for it's true gif

This is a lesson better learned earlier than later.

In other news…Christine at Fairy Tale Central gave a lovely review of With Blossoms Gold as part of this month’s fairy tale theme of “Rapunzel” AND my interview with FTC is up today! You can check it out here.

Also, my family is gearing up to embark on our FIRST EVER FAMILY VACATION. I’m not going to be posting much on that until after we get back for safety reasons, but rest assured I am beyond excited.Image result for excited gif

Until I come back with a summer tan & vacation stories,



YALLFest 2018


All right, despite being in the “writing community” for years, for some reason I didn’t know about YALLFest until LAST YEAR. I suppose I’ve always assumed that major writing events like this just don’t happen in my area. But boy, was I wrong. THIS IS A MAJOR THING THAT HAPPENS ONCE A YEAR LIKE THIRTY MINUTES FROM MY HOUSE.

Anyway, this was my first year attending YALLFest, and it was definitely a bit of a learning curve, but I really enjoyed it! For those of you who don’t know, YALLFest is a young adult book festival held every year in Charleston (South Carolina) where there are tons of book signings, author panels, and giveaways. This year I wasn’t familiar with a whole lot of the authors, but I still had a lot of fun (I wasn’t able to attend last year, which I’m still super bummed about because Marissa Meyer, Jennifer Nielsen, and Maggie Stiefvater and several other authors were all there and I WASN’T #stilldevastated)


I went with a couple friends, and pretty much right off the bat we picked up a free book! We got ARCs of Last of Her Name by Jessica Khoury (which sounds like it’s basically an Anastasia retelling set in space??? Plus I have read a couple of Jessica Khoury’s books before and enjoyed them) so that was a pretty excellent way to start the day. Then I headed off to the first panel I wanted to hear: “Palaces From Paragraphs, Worldbuilding Done Right.” It was such a fun panel, and all of the authors sounded like they’d created such interesting books that it gave me more to put on my to-read list.


(a terrible photo of (L to R) Adrienne Young, Veronica Roth, Lisa Maxwell, Dhonielle Clayton, and Stephanie Garber. I was one of the last people in the room, so I had a seat on the back row)

I checked out the “Rebellions & Reconciliations” panel next, and then there was a panel/waffle giveaway and it was honestly my favorite part of the whole day because those waffles were amazing. Apparently they came from Sweet Belgium which is where I will be spending all of my money  from now on.



Then, my friends were gracious and followed me as I took a detour to fulfill a geology extra credit assignment that involved tracking down specific buildings downtown and identifying the types of stones they were made from. It was a bit more difficult than anticipated, but I got some lovely (and unexpected) help from the folks at the Francis Marion Hotel when I went inside to ask them what stone their floors are made of (It’s marble, btw).

picture proof for my professor that I did, indeed, go downtown to do the assignment 😉

Then it was off to lunch at Panera, and then back to the ARC tent where we got two more free books, a free tote, and free candy, pins, and lip balm. (yeah…after that first free book it took us like 3 hours to figure out how to get another one)


(“Rebellions and Reconciliations” panel with (L to R) Veronica Roth, Victoria Aveyard, Danielle Page, Destiny Soria, and Adrienne Young)


(I apologize for another terrible photo! “Myth Making” with (L to R) Jimmy Cajoleas, Alex London, Stephanie Garber, Roshani Chokshi, and Renée Ahdieh)

I didn’t attend any of the signings, since the lines were crazy long and I hadn’t actually read many of the books by these authors. We did attend a couple more panels, though: “Myth Making” and “And We’ll Never Be Royals,” both of which were a lot of fun. Also, it was a little odd but fantastic to just…see the authors walking around? At one point I almost walked into Ally Condie.


(“We’ll Never Be Royals” panel with (L to R) Renée Ahdieh, Danielle Page, Emiko Jean, Robin LaFevers, and Laura Sebastian)

Afterwords, one of the English professors from school invited us over to her house for dinner, which was so kind and lovely and then I went home and probably should have gone to bed, but instead I stayed up and wrote this, except it took me another two days to get around to adding the photos to it so I could post it.

Overall, the day was exhausting, but fun. Even though YA is a genre that can be pretty hit-and-miss with me, I really enjoyed hearing all of the authors speak, and any event that has a chance for free books is good with me. I definitely plan on going next year…but hopefully I’ll be a little more savvy at getting those free books.

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a talk over coffee

I really haven’t updated on here very much, have I?

I’m sitting here, coffee in hand (yes, I drink coffee now and I hate myself for it, thanks) while we prepare for a hurricane that may or may not force us to leave. I’ve got a pile of college assignments to keep me occupied, although if the power goes out I’m in trouble, since most of them are submitted through the internet. Basically this means I’ve spent the last five hours doing every assignment I can, just in case. Yet strangely, this is one of the few moments where I find I actually have a couple minutes to spare to write a blog post.

élégance noire

School was rough last month–the entire first week I was shocked at how hard it was to get back into the swing of things. I was depressed, tired, and cranky, and then just as I finally acclimated to the stress of my final fall semester, I came down with a bad cold that’s only now lessening. I’ve also been incredibly slack with my writing: the entire summer was a struggle. I’ve barely written a word since July and felt drained, as if I didn’t have anything to offer. Also, like a lot of us, I struggle with writer’s guilt, that pesky thing that can motivate but more often just nags at me when I spend my leisure time doing anything that isn’t writing. I knew that January Snow, which I had hoped to release in December or January, would definitely not be ready on time. That’s one announcement I have to make–Jan is pretty much going to be put on hold until after I graduate in the spring. Lord willing, it will still be a Dec/Jan release…only in 2019/20 instead of 2018. I apologize for that, but I feel so relieved about it. I’ve got a lot to handle this year (Senior Thesis time!) but for the past few months I’ve also been feeling hopelessly dull about my writing. In fact, Christine’s most recent post encapsulates a lot of what I’ve been feeling lately.

Legit me right now. My characters are fully developed, my world has been built, I have plot... And nothing.

About a month ago, I came up with a story idea that I really, really liked. It was more contemporary, but had lots of elements taken from a bunch of things that I love. The only problem? It seemed better suited for a comic that a novel. Three days ago I decided, “What the heck- I’m going to plan it out anyway.” I’m not sure where it’s going to take me, but since it takes place in a fictional city, I’ve been playing around with it. Naming buildings and my characters’ workplaces, fleshing out my heroes’ backstories and just, frankly, having fun. Brainstorming is always one of my absolute favorite parts of the writing process, and I’m running with it. Today, after I read my allotted chapters of Pride and Prejudice (I’m in a Jane Austen class–yes, be jealous!) I’m going to spend some time mapping out this city. Writing mostly historical fiction, I haven’t done this since my long-abandoned fantasy attempt six years ago, and I hadn’t realized how much I’ve missed it!

☽p i n t e r e s t : kgfamilyg☾

Dealing with disappointment in my writing, I’ve been watching a lot more TV- perhaps a little too much, but some good has come out of it. I’ve recaptured my love of story. In some ways, my recent TV viewing habits have prompted me into writing again by inspiring through a different medium of storytelling. Instead of dreading writing, I’m looking forward to it–because I’m excited again by the stories I have to tell.

Basically, I’m changing the way I write (or rather, the way I go about writing). I have a bunch of short story ideas I’ve never pursued because I always wanted to finish my “big” projects first. Now? I’m going to tackle them. Additionally, I’m taking a break from the publishing/advertising side of the indie author scene. Instead, I’m going to start writing for enjoyment again, and finish a handful of first drafts that I’ve never completed before entering into the publishing world again. It’s a break I need. It’s not that I’m becoming less motivated or slacking off in the self-discipline department; if anything, I’m getting my act together. But right now, that means focusing on school (and later, getting a “regular” job). In the meantime, I’ll be discovering the joy of writing again.

On the go. Write anywhere & everywhere.
Also on the list? Embracing my tendency to write things down quickly–even if it’s only a sentence–whenever I have a burst of inspiration or a spare moment, instead of trying to wait until a block of designated “writing time.” Because right now, designated writing times waiver between “rare” and “never.”

For instance, the project I’m working on now? I don’t have any snippets for you yet (obviously) but I can share the description for it that I have on my secret Pinterest board…

A tale of science-y conspiracies, heists, and superhero shenanigans. Like if you put the x-files, batman, and leverage in a blender…but added cinnamon rolls. Lots and lots of cinnamon rolls.

(Did I basically just combine a bunch of my favorite things? Of course I did! What else is writing for, after all?)

That’s another change I’m making–to be brave enough to tackle the weird projects I have, not just my historical and fairy tale retellings. To, you know, work on that time-travel spy novel, that fantasy trilogy, even that middle grade book that I abandoned after half the story I’d already written got eaten by my computer.

It’s all got me rather excited XD

Anyway, thanks for sticking with me. And now? Well, now I’ve got a hurricane to protest–er, prepare for.



2017: The End

Every year, Maribeth at Trekking Through Hobbit Holes  does a year-end tag; while I’ve occasionally done “year in review” posts, they’ve been pretty scattered and disorganized. So, I’ve stolen hers 🙂 I’d forgotten so much that had happened over 2017, and it took diving into my journal to remember everything that happened during the first several months of the year. 2017 wasn’t an easy year, but that doesn’t mean it was a bad one.

What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before? I auditioned for a play at my college! I haven’t acted in over four years (and then it was for a school drama program, so the auditions were a bit different) so this was a big step for me. I’ve got a small part in a student-led production of Romeo and Juliet, and I have a feeling it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and do you have any for next year? The only resolution I made was to read more classics than any other book genre; I actually succeeded. (though it was a close one!)


My resolutions for 2018: I don’t really make resolutions so much as goals. I want to keep up with my journal writing more, and I want to get physically fit. As far as writing goes, I want to get January Snow ready to be published by the end of the year, and I want to finish the first draft of my Little Mermaid retelling. There are other writing-things I’d like to work on, but if I just get those two accomplished I’ll feel like I made real progress.

Did anyone close to you give birth or get pregnant? My cousin announced at our Christmas celebration that she and her husband are going to have a baby, so that’s pretty exciting!

Did anyone close to you get married? Yes. One of my dearest (and oldest) friends tied the knot this summer. Their wedding was beautiful.

Did anyone close to you die? Only my sister’s two goldfish. Alas, Finn and Rey are no more. 😦

Travel? Nope.

Did you move anywhere? YES. Finally, after living in rentals (one in particular a terribly small little place) we moved into our brand-new beautiful house this past spring. It’s been such a blessing to have a place of our own.

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What was the best month? My sister Emily, my brother Harrison, and I had the house to ourselves two weeks in late July. Despite missing our parents and two youngest brothers, we had so much fun. We saw three movies in the theater (Spider-Man, Dunkirk, and Wonder Woman) rented one for home (The Dark Knight), made our favorite foods, and tried our hand at being Independent Adults.

What date(s) from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? December 13, 2017. My family and I stayed out late watching the meteor shower. Think blankets on the ground in the backyard, squealing, spilled coffee (sorry, Joey), siblings piled on each other and so much laughter as we all watched the stars and chatted. I tried to remember astronomy facts I learned in my spring course (but mostly just spouted Greek mythology facts instead), my sister fought for the electric blanket, and my youngest brother just tried to keep us all plied with coffee.

What was your biggest achievement of the year? What was your biggest failure? My biggest achievement was finishing the first draft of my first sci-fi novel. The accomplishment wasn’t just in finishing, but in the fact that I consistently wrote nearly every day and finished in a month. Another achievement would be the fact that I started working out at my school’s gym two days a week this fall and miraculously stuck with it. My biggest failure was probably in neglecting my journal. I hardly wrote anything.

Did you suffer illness or injury? Aside from some typical season-change colds, not really. Whoops-I had almost forgotten during that last week of July I suddenly was struck with severe back pain. I still don’t know what it was, but it lasted days and I could barely move. It finally got better around day 5, and then the next month it happened again. I still don’t know what the deal was.

Whose behavior merited celebration? My dad’s. He, my mom, and my two youngest brothers traveled up to Tennessee so he could donate stem cells to his brother, who had cancer (but who is now in remission!). It was a pretty grueling process, and I’m so proud of my dad for doing that.

Whose behavior made you appalled and/or depressed? Uhh…almost everyone on the internet? Whether it was on politics, fandoms, or religion, it seemed I couldn’t click on a single site without seeing profane, nasty, and idiotic comments on everything. And I’m just so sick of everyone celebrating sin.

Where did most of your money go? School books and clothes.

Who or what did you get really, really, really excited about? The end of the fall school semester. It was the most stressful semester that I’ve had thus far, and I was so ready for it to be over.

What song(s) will always remind you of 2017? So, my brother started college this fall, which meant that he, my sister, and I all carpooled. Since he was the driver, we’d listen to his Spotify playlists, and we’d turn up his “Girl Power” playlist which consisted of mostly Kelly Clarkson, Katy Perry, and Taylor Swift. It was either that, or we’d sing along to 70s & 80s tunes. Fun times.

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What was an unexpected surprise? Um, my brother’s music choices?

Did you fall in love? *laughs* no.

What was the best concert you’ve been to this year? I didn’t attend any; I’m not much of a concert person. They get a little loud for me.

What were your favorite TV programs? I got Netflix this year, and as a result watched way too much TV. I can’t deny how deeply in love I fell with some of the stories, though. Leverage, Person of Interest, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,White Collar, and The Flash were the most notable ones.

What were your favorite films? I feel like this was a year with a lot of movies I really liked and enjoyed, but none that I fully loved. I (finally) saw The Dark Knight for the first time. I liked it, but not as much as I thought I would, probably because my expectations were so high because everyone always says that it’s the best of the Batman trilogy. It’s philosophically fascinating, though, and I’d like to watch it again. Wonder Woman was good. Thor: Ragnarak made me laugh a lot and  I *think* I liked The Last Jedi.

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One-eyed lightning Thor for the win

What was the best book you read? Maggie Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races stands out as being the most absorbing and dare I say magical? read that I dived into this year. You can read my review here.

Who was the best new person you met? I’m always meeting new people because every new class has a new crop of faces. But this year I’ve been blessed in cementing some wonderful friendships. Two of my friends and I were in a British novels class during the spring semester (yes! A British novels class! It was amazing) and I got to know them much better and we’ve had a lot of fun together this year.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? For my 23rd birthday my parents and I did our usual thing of hanging out in downtown Charleston, getting my birthday chocolates at the Godiva store, and then going out to eat.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017? This year I weeded out a lot of my older clothing that was faded, dated, or just not my style anymore and actually started spending money on clothing that I like. My personal style is definitely a bit quirky-librarian-ish. I enjoy browsing because even if I don’t watch a show, I can usually find a TV character with a style similar to mine. I probably resemble Kara Danvers, Clara Oswald, and a toned-down Cassandra Cillian the most. (Clara’s one of my style icons, y’all. I don’t think there’s a single outfit of hers I don’t like.)

What political issue stirred or exhausted you the most? I’m not sure who I find more annoying: the hysterical Trump haters who think the man literally eats children, or the hysterical Trump supporters who would still defend him even if he did. I’m just tired of it.

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What valuable life lesson did you learn in 2017? That I’m human, and I make mistakes. That seems like such an obvious life lesson, because of course I know that I’m imperfect! But there are imperfections that I am, for lack of a better word, comfortable with. I know I can be thoughtless and selfish, for instance. But those are Faults™ that can be overcome. This year I’ve been trying to come to terms with the fact that being human means that sometimes I say stupid things, sometimes I’m horrifically awkward, and sometimes I just might embarrass myself. Those aren’t sins, but troubling, humbling imperfections that will plague me for however long I’m on this earth, and sometimes I just have to take a moment, sigh, and know that God loves me even when I say something ridiculous.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: I can’t think of a song, but if I was to take a symbolic snapshot of 2017, it would be of a galaxy full of stars. I took an astronomy class, enjoyed a meteor shower, wrote a science fiction novel (and watched several scifi TV shows). Learning about the vastness of outer space and our universe has only strengthened my belief in God and how incredibly amazing and creative He is.

Carina Nebula star system picture. #starsystem #space Please like and follow Rag Doll on pinterest and  @RagDollMagBlog @priscillacita subscribe to
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What I’ve Been Up To


I’ve finally gotten back into the habit. It took me much longer than I was expecting, since I’ve done zilch since December. I had to come to terms with the fact that I just wasn’t getting anywhere with the stories I had it in my head to work on this summer. Once I opened myself up to possibly working on something else, everything has been going a lot more smoothly. It is bad news for those of you who’ve been curious about my next fairy tale retellings, though! Sorry. :/ But, if you like just straight-up historical novels, I’m working on something just for you.


I knew I wanted to work on this over the summer, and I have- plus, I’ve just opened an etsy shop to sell some of it! If you are interested, you can check out my shop here. This is really my only job this summer, so I’m hoping I can actually make some decent money off of it, but I’ve never intently pursued this before, so we’ll see how it goes.


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I enjoy watching TV while working on aforesaid embroidery, and since I’ve gotten Netflix, a whole new world of options has opened up. Mainly I’ve been keeping up with DC’s superhero lineup, Agents of Shield, and I kind of binged watched Terra Nova (Which sadly only had one season. I’m very bitter about it). I also recently started White Collar, which I’m loving. SO MUCH FRIENDSHIP. (and, ya know, thieves.)


I recently finished my first Anthony Trollope novel, which I liked much more than I expected (judging from The Warden‘s synopsis, I didn’t think it’d be half so interesting as it was) and I’m about to start Rudyard Kipling’s Kim. I also just checked out a load of YA novels from the library, which I’m looking forward to, and finished my first comic collection. I like the idea of comics, but I’ve just never gotten in to them, but I’m really going to try this summer.


No, not me! But the month of May was pretty much taken up with preparations for my brother Harrison’s graduation from high school. I stole the above picture from his instagram, but then I think he stole this picture from my phone in the first place, so I guess we’re even.


My family and I moved about two months ago, but a lot of our stuff has still been in storage, and now that the smoke has cleared from finals and graduation, we’ve been bringing stuff in little by little. I’ve gotten most of my books out (though I’m still waiting on a box or two) and so I’ve had a lot of fun–and frustration!–shelving and re-shelving my books. I’ve also purged a good box of them from said shelf, and am trying to figure out a way to get rid of them. I’ve traded books in at my local used bookstore before, but they don’t really give you cash (only credits to get their books) and I just don’t have room for more books right now! I was selling a few of them through Amazon, but they charge so much in fees I think I literally earned about a cent after selling my last two. So if anybody knows of a good retailer that you can sell used books to, I’d be happy to listen. If all else fails, I guess I could go the ebay route.


I got an instagram! I mostly just post pictures of books, because books are pretty and I love them. All of this post’s pictures (except for the Flash) is from my account.

And that’s pretty much what my last month has looked like. How about you? Was your May as busy as mine was?