Thursday, June 30, 2016

Goodbye June

So June was the opposite of May. Less busy, less productive (or at least a different kind of productive). Let's take a look, shall we?


Some pretty cool stuff happened in June, but nothing too exotic. I attended another friend's graduation which was literary themed and awesome. I almost cried, but not quite. There were cool mushrooms at her super awesome venue and then we played fun games and ate a cake that looked like a stack of her favorite books. Cool? Very :)

I named laptop Sir Percy (it's official :D). The vote was overwhelming. He'll get to go on his first trip with me tomorrow :)

I had my choir performance of the semester. It was our best performance yet, despite the fact that the facility had not turned on the air conditioning for us or told us how to find it. My grandfather also had choir performances with the last of the choirs that he directs. It was their last performance ever, as he is retiring from being a director after 19 years.

We got a dog! My parents gave in only because it was my aunt's dog that she's had for 8 years. He's a fantastic toy Aussie, but he wasn't working in her second story apartment, so all my little bros have someone to boss around now. His name is Atticus :)

Then there was Father's Day, which I hope you all celebrated! It was fun to get to celebrate with my dad and my grandad. We mainly ate a super big lunch (with no leftovers) and had dessert immediately after :D

I am a part of a book club this summer! It's my first, so that's exciting. I'm semi-in charge of it, but all that means is I've made the cookies and had it at my house. I finished the first book, Listening from Lions a few days ago and I loved it! We're focusing on strong, female characters :) I also gave book journaling a shot and it went really well. But I'll have a whole post on that at some point ;)

The only other super-epic event of June was a birthday party for a friend that consisted of dodgeball, capture the flag, a water balloon fight, a bonfire, hotdogs, cake, and smores. It was ridiculously fun, just like it sounds. And it only got more interesting when my mom had a blowout in our 15-passenger van on her way to pick us up at 10:30 pm. Friends had to take us to meet her on the side of the road and help us change the tire. We made it back home by midnight, but everything actually went as smoothly as it could have. We even got a neighbor to stay at the house with all the bros that were asleep so Dad could come help. All-in-all, a pretty adventurous and groundbreaking June. :)



faience: noun glazed ceramic ware, in particular decorated tin-glazed earthenware of the type that includes delftware and maiolica
amphora: noun a tall ancient Greek or Roman jar with two handles and a narrow neck
galena: noun a bluish, gray, or black mineral of metallic appearance, consisting of lead sulfide. It is the chief ore of lead
sisal: noun a Mexican agave with large fleshy leaves, cultivated for fiber production.
the fiber made from the sisal plant, used especially for ropes or matting
wastrel: noun a wasteful or good-for-nothing person. a waif; a neglected child

What can I say, things happen when I read. The word I am currently obsessed with is defenestrate which means: throw (someone) out of a window; remove or dismiss (someone) from a position of power or authority. Pretty cool, huh?


"Sweet. Delicious. It was like the best of honey and spices all mixed together. it melted on my tongue with a smooth, velvety texture. Craving more, I bent down to scoop it up, for it was thick on the ground . . . It was warm as sunshine and smooth as butter going down my throat." ~ Counted with the Stars's definition of manna.

"Later I heard the growls of a lion, faint and coming from a distance. It was a familiar sound and almost comforting, for I thought of lions as soldiers of the night, patrolling all the dark places." Listening for Lions

"Scared is what you're feeling, but brave is what you're doing." ~ Room

"This was more alarming to me than the illness itself. It was Sunday and there must be church." ~ Listening for Lions


~Cover to Cover: 3~

Counted with the Stars by Connilyn Cossette
Room by Emma Donoghue
Listening for Lions by Gloria Whelan

~Middle to End: 1~

1776 by David McCullough. Now that I've put it in here, I'll have to finish it tonight :P

~Front to Middle: 3~

I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Josh Harris
Just Write by James Scott Bell


~Words: 8,263~

So since my phase is editing and not writing anymore, this is "words edited." Or the sum word counts of the chapters I edited :)

~Chapters: 3~ 

Yay! I edited three chapters (or will have by tonight). I was really lazy on this aspect, obviously. So it's just as well that Camp NaNoWriMo is going to give me a break :)

~Progress Update: 9%

In other words, 3/34 increments. I would still like to get the second draft to all of my betas sometime in September.

~Biggest Problem: Multitasking~

Editing requires lots of multitasking. Lots of it. I have to remember to check punctuation, word choice, structure, number, tense, person, point of view, dialogue tags, character parallelism, passive voice, adverbs, foreshadowing, condensing . . . you get the idea. It's a lot to keep in my head at the same time. Thus, I am refining a multi-step process to keep me sane. The plus side is I should know my chapters really well after this.


~Followers: 47~

That's +8. I was aiming for 50 as a grand total, but I figured out this thing about followers and I have 11 separate e-mail subscribers. So that makes 58. *victory dance*

~Views: 10,058~

I have followers from Germany and Ireland now, which is mindblowingly awesome. Also, have I mentioned my skill of turning anything into an adverb? That was a good example back there. I am also a master of redirection. Do you remember what we were talking about? Mwahaha.


My June goals were:

1~ Edit my WIP
Success. I thank myself for not being any more specific here xD
2~ Read 3 books from start to finish
YES! This was the best feeling ever. Starting a Goodreads account really helped me waste time with reading accoutability
3~ Finish Emily's The Sorceress and the Squid
Ah, I finished. I didn't even realize I was on the last chapter and then everything was so beautiful. I had a panic moment when I realized it was the end. But it was lovely, so we're all good ^.^
4~ Research self-publishing
I still feel like I'm in the dark, but I read an data-packed PowerPoint (read it here) that confirmed my decision. I also started a list for price comparisons for every resource I come across. I'm looking into promotion, cover, and editing at the moment. Share any recommendations!!
5~ Host a giveaway
Oooh, yeah ;) I suppose that's my cue to announce the winner. *enter dramatic music* And the winner of my first ever giveaway is

~~~ Rebekah Eddy! ~~~

Congratulations to Rebekah! For everyone else, I hope you enjoy the e-books :)

My July goals are:

1~ Edit for myself and others
This is a safeguard to make sure I don't disappear on everyone :)
2~ Read 3 books
I have at least that many that I'm in the middle of :P
3~ Win Camp NaNoWriMo
I will not lower my word count, I will not lower my word count, I will not lower my word count. I found that I am tied for the highest word count goal in the cabin. That should tell you just how delusional I am . . .
4~ Go to a writer's conference
Hehe. This is happening July 9, so unless I get struck by lightening or a plague, I should be able to check this one off my list ;)
5~ Remember to post at least once a week
Again, I don't want to vanish just because I have 30,000 words to write. Wish me luck!


Did June feel like summer for you? It did for me in many ways--it finally hit 100 degrees D: I hope you all have a fantastic July!! :)

Saturday, June 25, 2016

A Brief NaNo Announcement

Just a quickie. I have decided (officially) to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo. And I have some things I need to run by y'all :)

I know what you're all thinking. Better late than never? I didn't even decide on the story I'm going to do until today :P But now I know and it's all planned out and beautiful and I am PUMPED for this :D

So. First, what do you think?

Andora's Folly

a retelling of Pandora's Box

Andora is a beautiful but careless young woman with insatiable curiosity. The only unmarried girl in the village, she has suitors aplenty. When a letter is slid under her door from the son of an old enemy, Andora's father seizes the chance to settle an old score. His plan rests on one thing: Andora's folly.

It's medieval, epic, and will be novella length. My goal is 30,000 words for the camp! :)

Second, I want to be in a cabin with at least one person I know. So should I do my own cabin? (I hesitate since this is my first time to do anything NaNo). Or will someone awesome invite me to theirs? Because that would be amazing! ;)

Looking forward to giving this a shot and putting my editing on hold.

Hope you're all enjoying the giveaway! :D Are you doing Camp NaNo? (((can I join your cabin?))) Any tips are welcome :)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Celebrating 101 Things (With Presents!)

I'm finally hosting my first giveaway! And I even warned you two days in advance, so no complaining about being surprised. :)

Did you honestly think I had 101 things to celebrate? I probably do, but I'm not going to type them all out. :) Here are the real celebrations:
  • 4 months of blogging
  • 35 posts
  • 44 followers and 19 subscribers
  • Finishing my first draft
  • Super fantastic internet friends who deserve free stuff!
Because you all deserve something awesome for your summer, I'm providing the links to my two favorite books of all time. The great news is they're free e-books!

An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott 
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy

Now, only one lucky winner will get the bundle of amazing things I have here :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The prizes are
  • a hardcover copy of The Scarlet Pimpernel
  • an unlined, watercolor 5x8" notebook. You can choose if you'd rather have the yellow-green or blue-purple color
  • an adorable, watercolor postcard. Again, choose between the cameras and the world map
  • an extra prize of your choice (options disclosed to the winner)
I got all all of my prizes (except the book) via this Etsy shop. It was my first Etsy adventure, and I am very pleased with everything! The book I got in Like New condition from Thriftbooks, which is where all my income has been going of late ^.^

This giveaway will be going on until June 30 (through the 29th). I will announce the grand winner in my "Goodbye June" post on the 30th and mail you your stuff! So, I guess anyone can enter as long as they can provide me with a mailing address. Until then, share away, because oxymoron alert lowering your chances earns you extra entries!


Did you enjoy the giveaway? Thanks so much for participating! :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Thing About Followers

Everybody has followers and subscribers. I just figured that out today. Here's what I've learned about them in my few months of blogging.

~How To Get Them~

Method #1:
1. Visit blogs
2. Comment on said blogs
3. Return to said blogs (multiple times)
4. Follow the bloggers on social media

Eventually, they should bite if they're human (see above).

Method #2:
1. Do nothing

Trust me, this works just as well most of time. It's okay for people to follow you first sometimes :)

~They Are Your . . .~

audience ~ entertain them.

responsibility ~ they don't come and go by accident. They're real people, too.

friends ~ like I said, they're real people. Internet friends are most definitely a thing.

everything ~ you have to have readers, guys, and readers may as well be followers.

~What I've Learned~

Know that even if you don't have a ton of followers, you always have more readers. That's what I realized today when I wondered if all my e-mail subscribers were showing up as followers. The answer is no, unless they followed me as well. That meant there are 19 more of you who actually let my words flood your inbox several times a week. (Which means you're amazing!)

Keep in mind that numbers aren't everything, though. You don't need a throne of purest gold to impact people. Maybe one little blog post blew their mind and they have to process it before they come back. (Don't burst my bubble on this one, please.)

To me, followers and subscribers are like your friends in life. They are the people you know by name and face and spend time with continuously. But there are a gazillion more people in the world that come under your influence as you live your life. Those, my friends, are you readers. Influence is a power that should not be taken lightly.

~A Random Announcement~

Now that I've given you my impromptu post, I am going to prepare you for what's coming (because I've actually planned ahead). I have my first giveaway coming Thursday! That's two days. Less than that, really. So I hope you're ready! I'm very excited about this and promise it's some good stuff I'm handing out. What am I celebrating? Awesome followers, obviously. I'll save the list of other things for Thursday :)


How many followers do you have right now? Have you worked for them or just let them find you? Have you figured out how to number your subscribers with FeedBurner yet? Are you excited about my giveaway? Too many questions? ;)

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Alternatives to Writing in Your Books

So a while back I mentioned writing in books as a good method of reading with intention. Most of you about died or killed me in the comment section xD But that's good, because I want honest feedback. This post is a result of your reaction, and I hope you enjoy it :)

~Ask Yourself~

Maybe you don't have any problem underlining. Ask yourself these questions to know whether or not underlining is a good option for a particular book:
  • Will anyone else read this book after you? Some people really hate having to read what someone else enjoyed in a book.
  • Is underlining too vague for a reread? Sometimes underlining doesn't tell you what you were thinking when you underlined.
  • Is it a hardback or very nice copy? Collector's editions with fancy covers should not have neon yellow highlighter in them.
  • Are you going to resell the book? I don't know why you would do this unless you really hated it, but you wouldn't know that before you started marking . . .

If you all your answers were no, then you can underline. But you're going to have to go bright, because pencil is virtually useless when you're trying to find a quote! If your answer to any of those questions was yes, then you should not underline. Here are your alternatives.

~Alternative #1: Commonplace Notebook~

This is such a neat idea, if you ask me. It involves keeping a corresponding notebook for each book you would like to take notes on. Who doesn't want another notebook? Instead of making all your notations in the book itself, you put them in the notebook, with the page number. The nice thing about this is you have unlimited room and your book still looks nice and clean and new! Anything from quotes, thoughts, disagreements, lessons--all of that can go in your trusty notebook. You have the freedom to do it however you want to. And the notes will be really easy to turn into blog post ;)

~Alternative #2: Sticky Tabs~

So you're not much of a writer, or just don't want to take the time for the whole notebook idea. No problem. Use sticky tabs instead of having to write anything down. They mark your place and can even be color-coated if you have that sort of free time and coordination. If you get the kind that are pointed on the sticky end you can even point them right to the sentence that stood out to you. There you have it, mark free. The only disadvantage is that tabs are pretty easy to lose. I mean, the toddler decides to play with your book and all your notations are lost. That would not be fun. D:

~Alternative #3: Do Both!~

This is the best idea ever. You put tabs on the sentence or paragraph that was meaningful to you and then you take the corresponding notes in your adorable little notebook. This is the method I will be trying for a book club I'm leading this summer. My novels will remain sparkly clean and I will have a use for all the notebooks I got for graduation. Because, let's admit it: underlining is for those overachieving students (me). No one wants neon in their novels :)


What methods do you use to take notes when reading? Do you want to join my book club? We're going to be reading Listening for Lions until July 12 and An Old-Fashioned Girl until August 9. (Shoot me an e-mail if you do and we can make it a link-up or something :D). What do you think about the new blog design?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Novel Progress Update

Hello! I totally didn't forget to post on Saturday, so I'm giving you a post today. If you follow me on Twitter, you've probably already figured out what I'm going to tell you in this post (but pretend like you don't know).

So the big news is . . . that I finished my first draft!  I stayed up ridiculously late one night and knocked it out and I am still so happy ^.^ And tell me that picture doesn't work awesomely. I know it's probably a wedding invitation or something dumb like that, but to me it's a diploma because I am now the "better half" of the way through the create-a-book process :D

Here are the stats on where the first drafts stands.

Pages~ 179
Chapters~ 33 and an epilogue
Words~ 94,870
Started~ September 9, 2015 in the 10 am hour, I think
Finished~ June 9, 2016 2:06 am
Total Time~ Precisely 10 months. It makes my OCD heart happy :) update: it was actually 9 months

Oh my goodness guys, can I just say wow. I really had no idea how long this was because I had written each chapter in a separate Google Doc. When I copied them all to my Word Doc today that holds my first draft, I was shocked. My initial goal was 50,000 words and 20 chapters. Do you think I surpassed that? My goal is to have beta readers (*nudge*) by September and the story self-published by Thanksgiving so I can distribute it to family.

It feels so rewarding to finish my first draft!! I am so blessed by all of your encouragement throughout the process. I seriously would not have finished as quickly as I did (don't laugh) without all of you by my side! I have written twice as much each month since starting this blog because of the accountability of all of you awesome guys. You all mean so much to me, so thank you :D

My note of advice to you is this: once you finish your first draft, ignore it for weeks (I haven't looked at it since) and treat yourself to some relaxation and possibly therapy. My wonderful author friend, Jamie Foley, actually sent me an accomplishment/care package and it was so amazing. I mean, goodness guys, she's just amazing, okay? Dark chocolate, fuzzy socks, and new earrings are exactly what I needed. And the classy file folders and notepad will come in handy when I get back to it :)

As for all the other aspects, I am looking into getting a professional edit and format, with the goal of having this as an e-book as well. I know what the cover is going to look like and it just needs to be sketched by my brother . . . still. My rendition just wasn't quite up to par. This is basically what I want, though, so if anyone of you wants to spend time on it, go for it!

I hope despite what interest you have in my story that this can be my encouragement to you because you can do it and it will be so worth it when you do.

Now for the delightful editing phase . . .


Any questions? If you want to know more about any of my process, leave me a comment or shoot me an e-mail. (I finally got all my media buttons working!) What is your writing status? Have you self-published? Impart your wisdom, I'm clueless!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Text Tag

I have a pile of tags that have been collecting dust for quite a while now. If it's been ages since you tagged me, don't worry, I probably haven't forgotten, since I draft a post every time I'm tagged. Today, I bring you The Text Tag, courtesy of Emily.

1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to them
2. Answer the original 6 text-themed questions
3. Add a typography/word related question of your own, for those that you tagged to answer
4. Tag 6+ bloggers and notify that you tagged them
5. Include these rules in your post


1. What is your favorite letter of the alphabet?
I and Z
They're fun in lowercase, capital, cursive, and print :)

2.What are three words that you love?
tumultuous, effervescent, and quirk

3. What are three words that you hate?
scab, tete-a-tete (no one has time for this one), and towards

4. If you could create a word, what would it be, and what would it describe?
Tirspuchi- cow.
(My cousin and I created this one while trying to spell Italian words.) 

5. What are your three favorite punctuation marks?
~ & ?

6. What are your three favorite fonts?
I like pretty simple fonts. Lucida Calligraphy is one of my favorites, too, but it wasn't an option on my new computer ;)

Emily's question: What is your worst pet peeve when it comes to writing?
For my own work: when I lose my progress because my computer glitched and didn't save.
From others: the use of cliches. Dialogue or not, no thank you. You're an author! Do something original! Also, when there's a huge cluster of typos at the end of a published work because the editor got lazy :P

My question: What time of day are you most productive in writing?


This is such a fun tag! So I'm not tagging anyone and you can all do it if you want to ;) Or leave the answers in the comments!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Introducing Miss Maddy Cakes ~ A Guest Post

Hello, everyone! I'm back with another post. Well, hardly. It's actually a guest post from a good friend of mine, because I love showing off my friends. You don't want to miss the chance to check out her awesome blog!

Madison and I have been friends for . . . about 11 years? So, yes, before the days when I met all of you via the internet. We're real flesh and blood friends, from the same county. As such, she's also one of my trusty alpha readers. So she knows all my writing flaws and secrets. Even though the sketch above is not either of ours (or actually of her) it reminds me of her so you should already like her. Without further ado, welcome Madison!


Thank you so much, Abi, for giving me the chance to post on your lovely blog! I've never written an introductory post before so I'll cross my fingers this is okay. :) 

~The Girl~

Hello! I'm a homeschooling girl from Texas who likes to play around with anything creative. Drawing, painting, name the art medium, I've probably tried it.  And I love writing. Specifically, I LOVE characters. They are my absolute favorite part of any novel. You can create an entire world - or more than one in most cases - in your head with a variety of characters, every one different, every one yours. I have so many planned characters without stories (too many to count on both hands), yet I still imagine, develop, and post dozens of pictures on Pinterest that remind me of them.  It's a problem. *sighs*

~The Blog~

The focus of my blog is writing - planning characters, cranking out those last 1K words with crawls, making collages for novels, conducting character interviews, coming up with new stories, developing plots, etc.
I try to come up with a variety of posts each month since I may not get to post writing-related content every week. To give you an idea, here are a few of last month's posts: a peak inside one of my novels, a couple life updates, tips on developing characters, DIY open when letters, a writing/character tag, an overview of writing crawls, and a lovely guest post on creating characters (Thanks, Abi!). 
As you can see, random posts such as tags, updates, and tutorials will slip in occasionally, but the goal is to write about my adventures with writing. 

~The Goals~

  1. Improvement. One of my blogging goals is to help me improve in writing. MissMaddyCakes is a jump start to force me brainstorm, write, and edit regularly. Although I've been able to write more often recently, editing isn't my strong suit. *shivers* Or I should say, editing my own work isn't my strong suit. I could critique other works all day (sorry), but I'm practically blind when it comes to looking over my stories. I know the story like the back of my hand so surely I couldn't have left any plot holes, right? Hahaha. Thanks, brain.  Having to edit posts on a weekly basis will hopefully help me improve on this.
  2. Friends.  Blogging is also a way for me to branch out into the writing world to find people like me.  I'm still new to the blogging world, but I can't wait to make new friends who share their writing experiences through a blog of their own.
  3. Feedback. This is where you - the amazing followers - come in! While I'm attempting to improve my editing skills on my own, I need feedback. Just scrolling through the blog for a few minutes and leaving a comment helps. It helps a lot. I don't always love writing - it can be a real pain in the rear - but hearing from others that share my passion and struggles is so supportive. Plus chances are if you find me and leave a comment, I'll spend the next few minutes (or hours - I'm obsessed) reading through your blog! I'm always on the search for a new blog to check. :) 
Phew, that wasn't as confusing as I thought it might be :) Thanks again, Abi, for the great opportunity!


She had some great things to say, didn't she? And isn't she awesome?! And sweet? The correct answer is yes. But I don't really care what your answer is, because you shouldn't even be reading this. You should all be following her snazzy blog! Horrible things could happen if you don't. I hope you enjoyed her guest post as much as I did!