i got to visit the bookstore

i got to visit the bookstore

Last week, J and I visited Bookmans, aka reader wonderland, aka budget-friendly haul time. 😍

I spent most of my time in the middle-grade section (of course), but luckily for me teen fiction and religious fiction were right around the corner, so I barely had to navigate the maze of shelves to find exactly what I wanted.

Train I Ride by Paul Mosier looked like something I’d be highly interested in, so after some Goodreads scouting, I added it to my stack.

Shuri by Nic Stone… well, let’s just say I’m a huge Wakanda fan, and I want to experience more of this gorgeous world and characters. 😍

Two books by Eoin Colfer? Yep, they both looked interesting in their own right, but I also really enjoyed his standalone Airman, so I picked up The Supernaturalist and Half Moon Investigations.

Room for Hope by Kim Vogel Sawyer is an interesting but rather sordid concept but I know she will handle it with her signature grace and hope.

My poor bookshelves, but my happy heart. 😉

Body // A Short Story

Body // A Short Story

I have a new story for you all, but before we get into it, I just wanted to share two things.

1. Trigger warning for disordered eating, fatphobia, and body image issues.

2. Whatever body you’re in, you are dearly, fiercely, and ferociously loved. I hope you feel that today. 💚

Now for the story…

Everyone dressed the same but in different colors. The bright neons, earthy browns, and sophisticated blues served to show personality, but the bodysuit was the same. 

Thick fabric, fitted perfectly to your frame, protecting from the heat and sun and sand of the planet.

She drew in a breath and let out part of it, feeling the flex of her own deep purple suit. It fit. Right now, anyway.

If she breathed just right. Since she’d skipped breakfast. Only if she had a small snack for lunch. 

But no matter how much she tried, it wouldn’t fit this evening. It wouldn’t fit at least one week out of every month, and sometimes on other days too.

She smoothed the slick fabric and joined the line to the learning pod. 

Everyone her age had gotten a new suit at the beginning of high school, and most hadn’t changed since. A few wanted different colors as they found new aspects of their personality. Another had been injured and needed special accommodations. Another had the newest experimental model and everyone’s eyes on her.

She let her eyes skim the line of peers, just slow enough to take in what she saw but not slow enough to weird anyone out. 

Everyone was long, straight lines, smooth suits with no wrinkles or puckers.

Except for her.

The moment she got home that evening, she slipped out of her suit and let out a heavy sigh of relief. It was hard work keeping in her breath, standing just right, trying to blend in.

To keep everyone from seeing what was so wrong with her body. 

She put on a comfortable house-robe and stepped out to the kitchen where Mom was serving up dinner. Inwardly, she groaned. Spaghetti and meatballs—her favorite.

And with her gnawing hunger and no discomfort from the suit, she knew she would eat as much as she wanted to. There was no stopping it.

She lay in bed that night, feeling her sides, imagining that when she laid on her back some of her disappeared. Her stomach definitely seemed flatter. 

The second she rolled over, unfortunately quite comfortably, her stomach was round again and she knew tomorrow would be a struggle to get her suit on again. 

She sighed and sat up, then pulled her phone off the charger and typed into the search engine, “people who don’t fit into bodysuits”. She couldn’t be the only one.

A list of people came up with the headline “These Bodies Don’t Suit”. She opened it, but dinner stirred guiltily in her stomach. 

There were plenty of people that looked like her, but the article and the rest of the internet seemed to think there shouldn’t be. How hard was it to keep it all tight, exercise enough, eat “normal” amounts, everyone asked. 

Another article said that these people, especially one of them, encouraged children to be unhealthy and not try to change themselves. 

Tears were slipping down her cheeks as she copied the name of the woman, the worst “villain” of them all, and pasted it into the search box.

A woman, much larger than the others she’d seen, smiled at her from behind a microphone. The singer’s gorgeous pink bodysuit fell in ripples and curves around her body, and she clicked on the video to watch. The woman began to dance, moving freely and confidently, and her smile seemed to light up the room. 

And her breathing! The singer had nothing to hide, so she pulled in and let out every breath with fearless power.

She looked down at herself. It was time for a new suit. One that fit her. Maybe a pink one.

She could be free.

A Very Bookish Easter Is Here! (+Thank Yous)

A Very Bookish Easter Is Here! (+Thank Yous)

IT’S HEREEEEEEE!!!! Our anthology is finally born, and ebook copies are going out with paperbacks soon to follow. 😍😍😍

I hope you enjoy diving into this anthology this Easter season. 💖

I’m so overwhelmed with joy to be a part of this (and to be back as an author!), that I’m honestly out of words and emotions except happy dances and hugs. 🤷‍♀️

I think I’ll let my acknowledgments from the novella speak for me.

The author wishes to thank…

My Joshua—for your support, encouragement, and adorable face while I was trying to concentrate at the coffee shop that one time.

The Very Awesome Mikayla—for letting me send you chapters for motivation and for giving me the cupcake mascot.

Lillian Keith—for your encouraging comments on my blog throughout the whole process.

My A Very Bookish sisters, Sarah, Kelsey, and Abigayle—for having me as part of this anthology. It means so much to be in your company. 

My fabulous beta-reading team, Perry, Rosy, Kaitlyn, Havelah, and Rebekah—for your enthusiasm, thoughtful questions, and grammar skills. It’s been a delight to have you on my team. 

Kelsey—for the always amazing editing and encouragement.

Birkenfeld, Oregon—for being such a beautiful, dynamic place to grow up. Your people and your flowers fill the world with color.

God—for resurrecting me.

May hope invade your heart! 💖

Let It Fade

Let It Fade

For the longest time, I’ve had a really, really good memory. I remember details from twenty years ago as if they happened yesterday. I could describe the layout of every house I’ve ever lived in (and there’s been quite a few). I seldom re-read books because I can look at the spine and recall the entire basic plot.

As life has gotten exponentially busier, my responsibilities and relationships grown, my access to and use of the internet quadrupled, my spending less time just observing and actually participating, and my age just a little bit higher…

I feel things sliding by me. What was the name of that movie? I can’t remember the exact month and date when that happened. I’m sorry, I can’t answer that question, I don’t think I remember the exact details. Wait, that event is already next week?

It felt a little bit frightening, especially early on when we first moved back to the city from a very small town where something interesting happened once a week and you could talk all angles of it to death. 😉

Was I still the same person? Was I appreciating life as much as I could, or was I just skating through it, grabbing pieces here and there? Who was I, if not a holder of stories, collector of memory, observer of life?

I didn’t really grow up with cameras so a cellphone was actually a huge step for me. I found it a little bit insane how easily it was to document everything, to make sure I remember it had happened, and to look back through years with just a scroll of the screen.

But somewhere in there, I started consciously choosing not to take a picture or post. Maybe to not even tell the story to anyone later. To let things happen naturally, sit in my heart, then fade.

Some moments are so unique and precious in this world, I know they are just for me. And the fragility of them, like a spring flower or a crunchy leaf, makes them that much more beautiful. 💖

My Nostalgic Book Haul

My Nostalgic Book Haul

Recently my family was going through their books, and I got texted pictures of some they were planning to donate/give away. Looking through them brought back such beautiful memories, and I chose my favorites to keep and share with my own family someday. The oldest book here is one I first experienced almost 20 years ago and the newest are some I read in ebook or from the library and couldn’t pass up the chance to own.

I know it was a lot of work for my mom to take these pictures then sort out what I wanted, so I’m very grateful she reached out. 💖

Here are the ones I chose…

  • The Elements of Style by Strunk and White, a smart, amusing, and helpful grammar guide
  • Daddy Long-Legs by Jean Webster, a newer copy and one I didn’t have in paperback (shocker, I know)
  • Word of Mouse by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein, an adorable newer find
  • The Cats in the Doll Shop by Yona Zeldis McDonough, one of the sweetest WW2 books I’ve read from the library
  • Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink by Gail Carson Levine, a very inspiring book that helped fuel my love for writing
  • Cherokee Run by Barbara Smucker, my first introduction to non-resistance but I’m conflicted about the land-grab history and will be looking at it more critically 😉
  • Structuring Your Novel by K.M. Weiland, aka a book my parents bought for the family but mostly to help me with my writing (it made Kiera possible!)
  • Twinepathy by C.B. Cook, one of the greatest superhero books of all time and a favorite indie
  • At the Foot of Windy Low by May Justus, a book my oldest sister read aloud to me before I could even read 💖
  • The Beautiful Culpeppers by Marion Upington, the most adorably unique book ever (a paper doll family?!)
  • Finding the Core of Your Story by Jordan Smith, another helpful writing book my parents bought

They also found my long-lost copy of The Book Thief which is going on the TBR for this year. 😉

I’m enjoying the memories as I find shelf and closet space for them all. 😉

Do you have a favorite nostalgic read?

Shalom and Goodbye to 2022

Shalom and Goodbye to 2022

If I had to choose three words to describe this year, they would be “sorting”, “softness”, and “new” memories. 💙

Year one of marriage has been great! We’ve had so much fun getting settled in our little house, bringing his dog Nugget into the mix, and becoming pros at grocery shopping and communication (almost). Also, hospitality makes us feel like really cool adults. 😎 My favorite new memories have been us sitting on the porch watching it rain and our very bookish vacation this summer.

My mental health journey has been a ride. Oh boy. 🥴 Lots of coping with comfort shows, a cute computer game, and amazing naps, lol. I feel like I lost a lot of time this year to survival mode, but I’m so grateful to be six months into treatment and feeling way better. And just this month I got answers and a plan for 3+ years of “mysterious” physical illness. 🙌😍

It’s been an amazing author year in ways I could have never expected when I dove back in! It’s been encouraging and fun to find you all stuck around, and growing my bookish Instagram community has been great too. 💙 I released the special second edition of Kiera, a literal dream come true, published Enjoy the Poodle Skirt in adorable tiny paperback form, and wrote Operation Robin and most of a novella. I’ve also been gaining confidence (and a low-key obsession) with cover design. 😎

So much more reading happened this year! And a huge percentage of it was indie, which makes me ridiculously happy. 😉 From debuts to short stories to years-in-the-making comebacks, I’ve been delighted to support my authors and discover new fictional worlds. I’ve also gotten to experience a couple buddy reads which is always quite fun. Check out my Goodreads “Year in Books” to see what I enjoyed.

My husband and I really bonded over movies while we were dating, and the fun has continued into our marriage. Thanks to him, I’ve seen a TON of really good movies this year, so I had trouble choosing my top 5. (That’s why there are six. 😂👀) If you have any questions about a movie/content, I’m happy to share my thoughts. 😉

I got to bake a lot more this season, and my favorite repeat recipe has got to be these cookies. So delicious and light. 🤤 I had to buy a new computer early this year, and collecting stickers on it makes my nerd heart so happy. 😍 As does my growing Funko Pop family and the book sleeve collection I accidentally started. 😊

It’s been quite a year, and I’m really, really grateful for it. 💚 I’ll be back next week (next year! :O ) with my nebulous goals for 2023.

Thank you for being part of my 2022!

I Feel Christmas

I Feel Christmas

Christmas has come to our cozy little home. 💚

The stockings I bought when we were still just dating now hang by rental-friendly hooks and are framed by twinkling Christmas lights.

Ornaments old (this one from pre-y2k) and new sparkle from our small Christmas tree.

The little touches are scattered throughout our house, a sleigh full of pinecones and a jolly hedgehog here, a nativity ornament hanging there, and my tiny Christmas trees for the squirrel shakers and my Funko Pops.

Cheerful packages have been showing up at our door (except one at the post office), and we decorated them together with cute and humorous messages.

Cozy beanies and happy selfies after an evening out with family made the season come even more alive.

Soon I’ll be feeling the joyful reality of Advent and adding Chanukah candles in the mix. I hope to make my first-ever gingerbread and some other goodies I’m sure will test my skills and my family’s tastebuds. 😉

Christmas is here. 💚

Obsessed with Yes

Obsessed with Yes

“Want to join my cover reveal team?”

Ahhhh, she seems like an amazing human, and I want to support her, and I’ll see the cover before anyone else.


“Do you do beta-reading?”

I love helping out newer authors, and it’s so rewarding to encourage and critique at such a critical stage.


“I’m having a [sale, party, social media team, Instagram challenge, blog tag, etc.] and I thought of you, would you like to join?”

Aw, they thought of me. I absolutely love getting to interact with so many other bookish people… This could help grow my audience too.

“Yes! Thanks for the invite!”

*notices they need help with something*

“I am available, and yes, I am going to help you.”

I’m obsessed with saying “yes” to things. Mostly because I love my indie authors and my bookish humans, and I want to support everyone in every way possible.👏👏 Also, a tiny bit because I miscalculate my schedule and am a mess at boundaries and feel guilty saying “no”.

I’ve been reallocating my energy lately. Taking a good long look at what I actually *want* and can do with the time I have. Leaving space to pour into people, in big ways and small, but also taking time to read, to write, to work, to be human Kate.

I’m learning to give an honest answer immediately or eat humble-pie and apologize when I can’t follow through on something I previously agreed to.

It’s been nice. 🧡

(P.S. — Don’t ever feel guilty for asking me to do something/something I’ve done for you in the past. I love working with you, and it’s on me to honestly evaluate what I can do.)

My Cozy Fall Decorations

My Cozy Fall Decorations

Fall is my absolute favorite season, and since I missed out on a lot of it last year due to Covid, I’m extra excited to celebrate this year. 🧡

J and I pulled out our tote of fall decorations, many leftover from our wedding, some old items I’ve owned forever, and got to work decorating our apartment.

One of my favorite things is our little welcome sign paired with the “H” pumpkin my sister just gave us. It’s like we’re a little family and it’s so cute. ☺️

We keep our blanket basket out year-round, but I had to add one of the largest pumpkins on top for maximum cozy vibes.

I’m obsessed with this tea tray we set up on the chair we never use unless there’s company. Aren’t the sweater pumpkins from my wedding adorable? 🧡

My absolute favorite decoration is the bread bowl full of pumpkins, large and small, twig and sweater, with my hedgehog figurine nestled happily in them.

J filled in this empty spot next to the (dusty) candle with his boutonniere from the wedding, and it’s officially the perfect touch. 😉

And speaking of perfect, his letter board sarcasm is unmatched. 😂

The mixture of memories, small pumpkin figurines that used to live atop my desk years ago, sweater pumpkins from our dating years and wedding, and now fresh pie pumpkins I’ll definitely be baking into something scrumptious…

I feel so at home in our little apartment, and decorating for a new season always brings such joy. 🧡

Happy Five Fall Favorites!! (Intro and Everything)

Happy Five Fall Favorites!! (Intro and Everything)

Hello everyone, and happy Five Fall Favorites! Before we get started, I just wanted to say I’m so happy you’re here, and I know our fabulous bloggers have some really good book recs to share with you. 😉 Have fun browsing and don’t forget to check out the giveaway and daily FREE ebooks!

I also wanted to be clear that anything I link out to is not an across-the-board endorsement from me. 😉 Each blogger is responsible for their own recommendations.

All right, all that housekeeping out of the way… PARTY TIME!

Fall is my favorite season. Something about the melancholy lighting, cooler temperatures, earthy foods, and cozy, cozy sweaters just bring my creativity and bookishness alive, and I’m never happier than when this happens. 🧡

Today we’re all sharing our top 5 books that have inspired us, feel like home, and make us who we are today.

Go meet your new bookish friends!

Katja 🍁 // Abigail 📚 // Kelsey ☕️ // Lillian (her book is FREE today!)🍂

Sarah🧣// Bella 🥧 // Jana ☕️ // Ryana Lynn🧣// Mac 📚

Sophia Ellen 🍁 // Heaven 📚 // Hannah 🥧 // Mikayla 🍂

And I’m Kate! Your main host, home base for the giveaway and #details. 😉

Borrowing my husband’s hardcover copy of The Book Thief 🧡

My Top 5 Favorite Books That Make Me Me

1. The Shield Ring by Rosemary Sutcliff

I’ve mentioned this book a couple times here on my blog, but it’s always one I come back to. The copy I grew up on was so worn it didn’t even have a dust jacket anymore, but eleven-year-old me was obsessed with the medieval setting, loyal characters, hope in a hopeless place, and platonic but absolutely shippable main characters. 😉 It pretty much became a core part of my personality (and teenage crushes, oops) and is the reason I still adore writing medieval stories. 🧡 (Read my review.)

2. Evangelists in Chains by Elizabeth Wagler

If you’ve been here a while, you might recognize this one too. *smile sheepishly at my predictability* This book was incredibly inspiring to me as a teen. The strong Christian love shown in the Moravian Anabaptist community, their strength and trust in God as they were asked to go completely against their nonviolent convictions, and the way God used their trials to spread the Gospel. 🧡 I *believe* this is based on true events, but whether or not it is, it’s still definitely worth the read.

3. Red Rain by Rachel Newhouse

This book (the first edition, that is) was one of the first ever indie books I experienced, and I’ve been in love with the genre and the creativity it allows ever since. I’m so excited to see the series rebooted and continued this year, and I can’t wait to read more about these compelling characters and their complicated world. 👏👏

4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I experienced the movie first and fell completely and utterly in love with the setting, characters, message, and ultimately just the bookish vibes. 🧡 I bought the book without knowing much about it, and when I read a (censored for language) it just brought all the tears, sank into my soul, and both broke me and inspired me. (Yes, I have made it part of my personality. Yes, I adore Max. 🥺) Truly one of the most beautiful books ever, and the writing style showed me how there really are no limits to creativity. (Read my review.)

5. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

I wasn’t lucky enough to grow up with this book, but I decided to try it as an adult when I heard all my Goodreads friends raving about it. I could not have enjoyed it more. 👏👏 The brilliant puns and puzzles, the wonderful, dear characters, and hopeful themes just wrapped me up and felt like home. 🧡

I also rarely relate to fictional characters, but I felt a kinship with Reynie, and I loved watching his growth. I also got to buddy read the rest of the series with Mikayla and then buddy watch the show too, so I like to think it’s been a big, important part of our friendship. 🧡 (Read my review.)

Grand Prize giveaway!

The Five Fall Favorites giveaway includes…

  1. Decorative fall items (pumpkins, gnomes, and blanket scarf)
  2. A fall mug (there will be tea!)
  3. Annie’s Life in Lists by Kristin Mahoney
  4. Hedgehog journal
  5. Kiera by Kate Willis (hardcover)
  6. Brothers and Betrayal by Sarah Holman (paperback)
  7. Should We Tell Her? by Lillian Keith (paperback)
  8. The Road to Bremen by Kelsey Bryant (paperback)
  9. Anthology including a story by Abigail Harris (paperback)

Most books are contributions by participating authors. Ships to contiguous US only. Winner will have 48 hours to respond after being contacted.


Today’s FREE ebook is…

Grab on Amazon!

Happy Five Fall Favorites! We’re going to have so much fun. 😁🧡