Gold and Silver Stars (Excerpt from Imperfect)

Draft 2 of “Imperfect” is getting so close! I’m just four chapters away from finishing making the changes I marked up and finding some good solutions to problems I previously identified. *rubs hands together*

Just for fun, here’s a (rough) excerpt of one of my favorite scenes. 😉

• • •

I walked across the grass, tracing the outline of the museum with my eyes. As I neared the Giganticus Somethingus, Chrystal waved and called out to me. I waved back and merged into the group

    Half a dozen Perfects turned to look at me. 

    I smiled. “Hello, I’m Kylee. I know Joss and Chrystal from school.”

    “Pleased to meet you, Kylee,” one of the boys said, reaching out shake my hand.

    The others followed, and I breathed a sigh of relief. Introductions over. Art time. 

    My mouth fell open like a broken backpack the moment I stepped inside. The domed ceiling was painted with constellations, silver and gold and blue and white. I recognized a few just from their shapes, but a hunger grew in me to know more. First mental note of the night: ask Mom to help me find a book on stars.

    The tile underneath our feet was a smooth, almost black gray. If I walked lightly enough, my shoes slid along it and I could almost taste the silkiness on my tongue. I made a tight circle around the lobby and craned my neck to look at the stars. If there had been a ladder, I would have climbed and touched the lines of paint that represented things so far away.

• • •

What do you think? Tell me about the most beautiful piece of visual art you’ve ever seen. 😁

It’s Red All Over

A month or two ago, I printed off the first draft of my WIP “Imperfect”, stapled it together in chapter-sized bites, found my red pen, and let the lovely stack haunt the top of my desk.

Eventually that stack turned into two: “marked up” and “to mark up”. I’d grab a chapter or two when I had the time and willpower, and reading through my story looking for improvement became a little tradition I’d look forward to.

Last week, the “marked up” stack became the taller one, and I decided to push toward the finish line. 😁

My bedtime felt slightly betrayed, but I knocked out the remaining chapters and figured out how to salvage the messy epilogue. (It was easier to mark what to keep that what to get rid of. 😂)

I’m pretty happy with it, y’all. I know what I need to keep, rework, throw out entirely, and when this WIP comes back up on my informal rotation it’s off to the races. 😉

Here I am posing “happy Kindergartner” style. 😂😂

Tomorrow night I get to hang out with a writer’s group (really excited and grateful), so now comes the part where I stare down my other projects and choose which is up next. 😉

Upcoming and Exciting

I’m excited about two word-related things right now…

#1? The other day, I printed off draft one of “Imperfect”. You probably heard me cackling in excitement. 😆 Then I stapled it together in segments of a chapter or two, located my red pen, and got to work. 😉

I haven’t had a lot of time to devote to it, but I’m already to chapter six and suuuppppper excited.

Aesthetically messy ^^

I posted this on Facebook, and it’s painfully true…

#2 on word-related things I’m excited about…

Paperbacks will be available this upcoming weekend in connection with a very special blog party. 😍😍

My fellow A Very Bookish Christmas authors and I are releasing our books separately, and I can’t wait for you to see the full amazingness. 😀

Stay tuned for a giveaway and some pretty fun blog posts! See you then. 😀

Excerpt Time!

I just broke 42k words on my novel this week! I’m so excited to be so near to the end. It feels a little scary that there’s less than one-tenth of the first draft left to write, but if I forget something, there’s always second drafts, right? XD

Also, the message of the novel is one I could have never planned for this time we’re in right now. I plotted it over two years ago and began writing it last October, so I think its definitely a God thing that I’m currently writing scenes about trusting Him for protection and provision. 😉

Over on Goodreads, I’ve been playing an excerpt game with my followers, and I thought it might be fun to play here too. 😀

Comment with your choice, and I’ll reply! 😀 (If you’d like to see excerpts I posted on Goodreads, you can find them here.)

One of my younger sisters and one of my best friends have been reading through my story as I write it. It’s been so fun to see their feedback and excitement, and I’m really glad to have them along for the ride. ❤

In other writing news, I signed up Camp NaNoWriMo today. *pretends to breathe into paper bag* I’m looking forward to the creative “play time” after drafting this novel (yes, I hope to finish this month XD 😉 ) and the chance to try out some genres in short story format.

SCI-FI HERE I COME. 😀

I’m a little excited. 😉

What are you writing or reading or dreaming up right now? Are you doing Camp NaNoWriMo? Has God ever spoken to you through your own story?

2019 in Review ;)

A long time ago in 2016, some friends and I were commenting on a sci-fi looking outfit. “Woah, that looks like it’s from 2020 or something.” Seconds later, we all freaked out when we realized that sci-fi-sounding date was only four years away.

And now 2020 is today. O.o.

Start practicing writing it on papers now, y’all. 😀

At the very beginning of this year, I want to take a few moments to share some of my highlights from the last one. 😉

(Such a silly Kate)

In the blogging sphere…

2019 felt a little bit different for me as far as blogging goes. With all the writing/publishing deadlines I had this year, there were some rough patches with fatigue and a lack of inspiration, but I’m excited to see that fading. 😉 Thanks for sticking with me through it! I also did my first vlog with My Face in it and got to reveal a ton of really pretty book covers. 😀

I looked up my stats for the top five posts of last year (minus giveaways/collabs cause those naturally get more hits), and here’s what the numbers show…

  1. Shipping Is the Best is actually one I posted in late November 2018. It was super fun sharing memes about shipping (as in wanting two characters to get in a relationship) and sharing my tips for shipping books in the mail. XD
  2. Do I Have That Book? Challenge was super fun. I enjoyed searching through my books to find ones that answered the questions.
  3. The End of the Line: My Thoughts on Avengers Endgame. Okay, this one took so much work to write and put together, and I loved every moment of it. The movie was definitely a highlight of my year. ❤
  4. I Love Book Thrifting (and You Can Too) was disguised as a thrifting tutorial, but it was really just an excuse to get to go book shopping. 😛 😉 (Also another one that was posted late 2018 and took off the next year.)
  5. A Smorgasbord of Writing Music is a collection of some of my favorite songs to write to. (Obvious from the title, but this needed a description to match the others, right? XD)

And if I had to choose two favorites, they’d probably be #3 and My Shoes Have Bows. 😉

(Books, books, books…)

In the reading sphere…

Last year (it feels so weird to type that!), I found soooo many good books! Some really fun experiences this year were my very first buddy reads with my friend Mikayla, getting to finish reading some serieses (wooohooo!), and trying Kindle Unlimited for the first time. 😉 Goodreads put together a fun summary of my reading year (you can view it here), but I’m gonna go ahead and choose five keep-these-in-my-heart-forever books to highlight. 😉

  1. Legends by Denver Evans was something I was absolutely not expecting, and I still struggle to review it properly. Is it too cliche to say that it broke my heart and put it back together? Knocked my socks off? Asdfjkl; and other random gibbering? It’s full of ordinaryness and identity and identity found in Christ. 
  2. The Mysterious Benedict and the Prisoner’s Dilemma by Trention Lee Stewart is one of my favorite books out of the trilogy (I haven’t read the new book or the prequel yet), and it’s here happily representing all of them. Guys, I love the feel of these books and the characters and the themes so much. ❤
  3. Red Rover, Red Rover by Perry Elisabeth Kirkpatrick. So, I already warned you all that I read a lot of series this year, right? 😀 My summer was full of this book and the other five that followed in quick succession. So satisfying and brilliant and hilarious.
  4. In 27 Days by Alison Gervais gave me so much to think about and I absolutely love the cover. Also, it is reaaaallly heartbreaking. 
  5. Remarkables by Margaret Peterson Haddix… How do I explain it? It messed with my classic sci-fi expectations and have me a big dose of hope. 😉

And because I read quite a few picture books this year, I want you all to know that Hair Love and How to Bake a Book are amazing. 

(That moment when you upload the book!)

In the writing sphere…

My writing year in one word: surprising. I’m so grateful for all the writing that I’ve gotten to do this year, and the places God has taken it that I could never have imagined. Some favorites…

  1. Completing the first draft of my novella “Imperfect”. I love this book soooo much, y’all. 😉
  2. Finally publishing The Night Archers, sequel to The Twin Arrows, and taking it to the homeschool convention with some fellow writing friends. ❤ I’m so happy to have this book out in the world, and I’m so grateful for everyone who has cheered me on (and given me the hard truth XD) as I revamped and edited it.
  3. Brainstorming, drafting, redrafting, and finishing a brand new novella in just eight months. I’m so excited to have been published in A Very Bookish Christmas with some of my favorite authors, and I’m so grateful to Sarah Holman for inviting me. ❤
  4. Getting to write some spur of the moment essays to process and/or enjoy some things I was thinking about.
  5. Writing ¼ of my fantasy novel. I AM SO EXCITED about this one! I didn’t expect to be able to get this far on it so soon, so it’s been a nice surprise. 😉
(I went to a cookie decorating party at a local coffee shop this year. So much fun!)

Besides the things I regularly talk about on this blog, life has been full of new experiences. A mixed bag for sure, but I’m sooo grateful for it. We joined a new church, and I’ve been loving the healing/convicting sermons, getting to sing in the choir, and doing volunteer childcare. I also started another online job (which has been a stretching and wonderful gift) and discovered gluten-free flour which is pretty fun. XD 

I’m sure that’s a pretty incomplete sketch of all the gifts I’ve been given last year, but God has blessed me so much, and I feel very loved. ❤ Here’s to the rest of this year! 😀

How was your 2019? And what are you grateful for?

Voted Most Likely Blogger Tag

The super awesome Abigail Harder tagged me for this, and it looked like so much fun, I couldn’t resist. 😉 Thanks, Abigail!

I hereby introduce you to… the Voted Most Likely Blogger tag!

RULES

Rule 1: The Doctor lies. Oops, sorry, that wasn’t it…

Real Rule 1: Thank the lovely blogger who tagged you. (Thanks again, Abigail! 😀 )

Rule 2: Include this link to the original tag (phoebeamorryce.wordpress.com/2018/10/15/voted-most-likely)

Rule 3: Use your own lovely Original Characters (OC’s); don’t use a friend’s characters or characters from your favorite fandom. They can be from any project, so long as you created them. For more fun, try to use as many different characters as possible.

Rule 4: Tag at least five lovely blogger friends to play along.

I’m gonna do my best to use characters from my published works and two main WIPs “The Night Archers” and “Imperfect” so hopefully y’all know who I’m talking about. 😉 This is gonna be so much fun!

Here goes…

Most Likely to Become a Poet

Gavynn from “The Night Archers”. While he seems really practical and put together on the outside, he has a hard backstory and some personal angst which pretty much spells poet material. And he does get downright poetic while describing a sunrise.

Most Likely to Dance in the Rain

Destiny!!! The amazing best friend from Kiera. She is a farmgirl princess, and you can bet that she would dressup and go dance in the rain. 😀

Most Likely to Look Good in a Kilt

I honestly don’t know… My artistic Kylee from “Imperfect” could probably pull it off in her own way. Knowing her, she’d probably pair it with a chunky gray sweater double braids.

Most Likely to Get Punched in the Face

It’s a tie between Kent (from Kiera) and Sir Larkin (from The Twin Arrows) for very different reasons. Kent, because, well… He gets pretty obnoxious during the kitchen scene. *shudders* And Sir Larkin because he would be protecting someone else. XD

Most Likely to Drop Everything and Become a Sheep Herder

Destiny, again. Seriously, would she not be the most capable, fashionable, and hilarious sheep herder ever? She already takes care of the family cows, anyway, so I think she’d be good at this.

Most Likely Found in a Library

Brennan is probably my most bookish character to date. I can just picture him getting lost in a library, leaning one elbow on a stack of books while devouring some fantastical but richly deep book.

Most Likely to Sleep Through an Earthquake

I feel like Aric (from Kiera) and Caelan (from “The Night Archers”) would both do this. Aric because he’s a teenager, and Caelan because he’s a teenager and suuuupppperrrr exhausted the entire book. #mypoorbaby

Most Likely to Steal Food from Other People’s Plates

Destiny. 😀 Nuff said.

Most Likely to Cheat on a Test

I don’t know, actually. If you have an idea of who, comment with it.

Most Likely to Say “Oops” After Setting Something on Fire

My dear Canary (from Enjoy the Poodle Skirt) seems most likely to be both klutzy and super calm about weird situations. Also, she works at a restaurant, so I feel like she’d have more opportunity to do this…

Most Likely to Open an Orphanage

Kiera and Brennan would soooo do this together and be adorable doing it. ❤

Most Likely to Run Off to the Circus

I’d say, Drewin (from The Twin Arrows), and not just because he runs away in his book. Even after his character arc, he still craves adventure, so I feel like he’d fit best with the circus.

Most Likely to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse

Sir Larkin, hands down. He’s got skills. 😀

Most Likely to Fake Their Own Death

Definitely Ian (from Kiera and my brother’s novel Crossroads). He’s got all the tech, contacts, and reasons to do this. *wants to write a short story now*

Most Likely to Die and Haunt Friends

Joss from “Imperfect”. I feel like if he were to die, his friends (and I) would be pretty heartbroken and be haunted by it happening. And he would definitely go out in a self-sacrificial way…

***

And there you go! That was super fun (and a little hard) to answer! If you have alternate answers, I’d love to hear them in the comments. 😀

I tag:

Allison @Allison’s Well

Anna @A Storynerd’s Life

Rebekah @Read Another Page

Kellyn @Reveries

Malachi @Brainstorms with Rain

And anyone else who wants to give this a try! 😉

Plate Update: Hedgehogs Again, Family, and Cold Weather

I just realized that February is over, and I almost can’t believe it. Maybe that’s because it’s two days shorter than all the other months? XD February was a nice, COLD month.

This month’s full plate was a nice mishmash of cold weather food, Valentine’s Day snacks, and victory chocolate.

Anyway, here’s a quick update on my full plate last month…

Pleasure read:

Ogre Enchanted (two stars)

Such a Tease (four stars)

Found (four stars)

The Great Lab Escape (five stars)

Read for review:

Live Without You (three stars)

Answered:

Emails and texts

Trivia questions at a baby shower XD

Author questions on Goodreads

Googled:

Caldecott awards

Holocaust survivor and veteran from SOTU address

Christian books about introverts

Books in the public domain

Avengers trailers 😀

Tinnitus changing pitch

Catholic medals (story research!)

Masala tea

Vocal ranges

Hugging with a height difference (also story research XD )

Aphids

Wrote:

10,952 words on “Imperfect”, completing draft one!!

A Valentine’s Day newsletter

Blog posts (the top five being It’s Not a Romance… Oops!, Vote for What We Read! (Collab with Lilian, Part 1), What a Haul!, Victory, Thy Name Is Chocolate, and Curiosity (Almost) Killed My Writing Time.)

REVIEWS

Miscellaneoused:

Played dolls and taught my youngest sister to make doll skirts

Welcomed home all my new books XD

Enjoyed our crazy (for the Southwest, anyway) weather ❤ ❤

Deep cleaned the house and weeded the yard

Named my new stuffed animal Book Hedgehog “Oregano” ❤ (Thanks, Perry!)

Bound minibooks

Loved the movie “The Kid Who Would Be King” (Arthurian legends for the win!)

I also had tons of fun putting together a giveaway, hung out with my amazing nephews, and celebrated Valentine’s Day with my siblings by eating cool snacks and binge watching a kid’s show. I also filmed a really goofy video with Anna and Paul that should be up sometime soon. 😉 We had too much fun. XD

This month, I’m looking forward to overhauling “The Night Archers” and getting it ready for beta-readers, planning a new writing project, sharing part two of my collab with Lilian, and celebrating the beginning of spring. 😀 And whatever else God decides to bring me. 😉

How was your February? What are you looking forward to this month?

Victory, Thy Name Is Chocolate

This is the story of a girl, her chocolate, and the first draft that brought them together.

Once upon a time, I spied a good sale on candy bars and decided to buy a couple, write goals on them, and eat them when I reached the goals. (I felt so cool writing on their wrappers! XD ) The first candy goal? Finish draft one of “Imperfect”, approximately 3k words away.

(Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. That 3k ended up stretching into 9k… XD I grossly underestimated it.)

A couple days ago, my sister Perry came over to have a writing/editing day with us, and that was the extra encouragement I needed to write the last two chapters. We had a ton of fun together, and my words seemed to just flow. 😀

I tied up the ending, ate my candy bar, and sang “I’m the Happiest Christmas Tree” around the house, announcing too many times to any family member that would listen that I had finished my draft.

Because I’m feeling generous and I can’t share chocolate over the internet, here’s a quick excerpt for y’all…

(In this scene, Kylee is at a highschool soccer game with her family and friends.)

Mom sat down behind me and handed over a bag of popcorn for us girls to share, then handed another to Dad and Esther’s grandparents. It was the first time I’d met them, and I’d already decided that if they were hiring out to be grandparents, I’d take them up on the offer. They were the sweetest, jolliest older people I’d ever met.

Sometimes if I turned my head just right, I could hear the adults discussing the game, and that helped me feel a little less lost. Though I still was a dunce about soccer in general. If I ever needed to start a conversation with Joss, I’d ask him to explain the game.

Esther reached for popcorn, and I hugged it to myself.

“You wants to take the preciousss popcorn?!!” I teased.

Esther laughed and I relinquished it quickly.

We were all mumbling through mouthfuls when just before halftime, something pretty amazing happened. Just feet from their goal, Joss managed to steal the ball, and with the help of number 17, a player after my own height, brought it down the field. Crystal was yelling next to me, and Esther was on her feet smiling.

I clenched my hands tightly and squeezed them together between my knees, eyes never leaving the ball. You can do this, Joss. You can do this. It was times like these when I wished for telepathy powers.

One swift kick and he had it past their viciously awesome goalie. Our entire section was cheering their heads off, and I clapped both hands together. I didn’t need to know much about soccer to know that that had been amazing.

Joss turned and waved at the crowd, and I grinned to myself, turning to look at Mrs. Gilbert. She tore herself from her phone for a second to wave then quickly pressed a button and brought her phone to her ear.

They called halftime, and we pulled ourselves to our feet, stretching and yawning and still crowing over Joss’s move. Esther’s granddad offered to treat us all to ice cream, and as we walked to the concession stands, I added this to my growing list of reasons he was awesome.

There you are!

I’m so grateful to have completed this draft (though I’m already missing my characters), and I can’t wait for what’s next. 😀 Already sequel and companion book ideas are spinning in my head.

Though, if the next candy bar has anything to say about it, it’s time to finish up “The Night Archers” once and for all. 😉

Curiosity (Almost) Killed My Writing Time

I sat down to write the other day and got so happily derailed. 😀 NaNoWriMo emailed me about their new beta site with a snazzy video about how it worked, then my sister emailed me about it, and then, of course, I had to go see what the buzz was all about.

GUYS, I LOVE IT. It’s still buggy of course because it’s a beta site, but I love what they’ve got so far.

Here are just a few of my favorite things…

Our profiles are so much prettier! Yay for header pictures, and I’m weirdly pleased with the little symbols next to favorite books and authors. 😉 I’m also excited to see what my stats at the top are once I’ve written more on the new site. 😉

The project pages are soooo snazzy! You can have one for each project with several goals nested under it, and there’s a spot for the cover to show up full size. 😉 There are also a ton more genre options, and you can specify if your book is “Ready for Progress”, “In Progress”, “Drafted”, and so on. Really a lot of options. 😀 You can even mark a book as “Published”. Squee!!

Now comes my absolute favorite part–the wordcount updating tools! Not only can you update your wordcount after a session, but you can supply your mood while writing (thanks to the cute emojis), where and how you wrote, and what time of day you wrote as well. If you use their timer, it automatically records what time you begin and end. Eventually, it’ll be able to tell me what time of day (and where) I write best which is really exciting because I’m hoping to find out what time works best for me and capitalize on that. 😉

I was so excited by this tool in particular, that I was actually more motivated to write than usual and knocked out another chapter and a half of “Imperfect”. Just 4k words from the end of draft one!!! ❤ Things are getting climactic. (Pray for me. 😀 )

Have you experimented with the new NaNoWriMo site yet? How do you like it?

Plate Update: Picture Books, Canvases, and Libraries Galore

January, a month full of beginnings and course corrections and wondering about more course corrections. 😉

This month’s full plate was jam-packed with special foods (cheesecake, peanut butter cookies, gluten-free cake, etc.) since it was our most birthday heavy month. 😉

Anyway, here’s a quick update on my full plate last month…

Pleasure read:

The City of Ember (five stars, read-aloud)

The Wreck and Rise of Whitson Mariner (four stars)

As Stars Shine (three stars)

Reintegration (three stars)

Annie’s Life in Lists (four stars)

I also binged on picture books (yes, it’s true) and read The Day the Crayons Came Home, The Day the Crayons Quit, Sheep 101, Counting on Katherine, Thirty Minutes Over Oregon, and Can I Be Your Dog?.

Answered:

Emails 😛

Googled:

An author’s pen name

Tessa and Scott ice dancing

Body language

Downs Syndrome

British way of writing dates

Average age of mothers when they have first child

Postcrossing

List of classic books

Suburbs of Portland, OR

Skirt length guide

Seating on a school bus (story research!)

Drawing on canvas with pencil

“Rewrite the Stars” scene from the movie

Wrote:

12,471 words on “Imperfect”!

Last month’s newsletter

Blog posts (the top five being Look What’s Coming! (Cover Reveal + Giveaway), The 20-Question Book Tag, A Smorgasbord of Writing Music, Doings of Kate, and Halfway!!! (+Excerpt).)

Entries in my book journal

Some random essays

Miscellaneoused:

Celebrated the last day of peppermint shakes with a sister and friends

Wrote at a coffee shop with sibs

Made a thank you card

Weeded the yard

Went to the library three times in one week!

Loved “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” with my family ❤

Bought way too many books (I’ll post about later)

Visited a Little Free Library (and got us terrific-ly turned around on the way XD)

I also started a new devotional and Bible reading plan, celebrated three family birthdays, formatted my new short story as a minibook, and ventured into visual arts with a sketch, a painting, and trying to take better pictures. 😉

This month, I’m looking forward to wrapping up the first draft of “Imperfect”, sharing a collab and an author interview with you, and possibly making more thank you cards because that’s still a goal. 😉

How was your January? What are you looking forward to this month?