Sunday, January 26, 2020

MY 2020 BULLET JOURNAL

Hello everyone! Happy weekend!

Remember last week when I said I was still talking allll the 2020 things? Yeah, well, that's not over. xD If you're like me, January is always the month of planning and making goals and getting organized to the best of your ability and just trying to set yourself up for a great year.

I've made it no secret in the past that I rely heavily on a bullet journal to help me with such things. I wrote a post about my bullet journal last year. But I decided to change some things up and try new layouts and ideas for 2020, so today I'm going to share with you guys my new and (hopefully) improved bullet journal! (It's not really a new journal... just new pages in the same one I've been using. Hehe.) (Also this post is a bit of a monster. Soo, if you don't want to read a lot of me rambling about bullet journals, you might want to leave now. xD) (ALSO... I apologize in advance for my fingers being in like all of these photos. xD)



2020 Layout



I... am not a fan of this page. xD

"Emily, this is the first page you're showing us in your new and improved bullet journal and you don't even like it?" Yeah, I know. But, well, that's a page that happened.

I was going for a nice, aesthetic, organized layout of the year, and I ended up using all these crazy colors and crowding my months together and drawing all these seasonal pictures and... it just didn't turn out the way I wanted it to. At all. xD But it's not a page I'll refer back to much and I don't like wasting pages, so. There it will sit. Forever. And ever. *whispers* unable to be erased from time...

Anyway. I wanted to do more with that page, which obviously isn't happening. But who knows, maybe I'll take another stab at it.

2020 Goals



This is one of my favorite pages. I was looking for different ways to make my headers and things look more interesting and artsy, and I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. I don't know if I'll stick with this exact design; I'll probably keep experimenting throughout the year. But I'm allowing myself to be indecisive and try new things. Even though it can help keep you organized, a bullet journal does NOT have to be a place of strict patterns and unchangeable habits!

I have six different categories of goals here (yes, six. am I crazy? probably.): writing, faith, fitness, savings, random, and reading. (yes, it does bother me that random is not the last thing on the list. please don't bring it up.) I chose not to put check boxes next to these like I normally would with my goals because I don't want to discourage myself if some of those boxes don't get checked.

2020 Movies and Books



This page is pretty self-explanatory: just a list of all the movies and books I'll consume this year! I have a side for new viewings/readings, and a side for rewatches/rereads. (You'll notice that most of the movies I've watched so far this year are Marvel movies... and then there's one Scooby Doo movie. My friend made watch that. I still don't really know why. xD)

January Goals/Blogging Schedule



This isn't a new page to my bujo (do I even like the term "bujo"?? I'm not sure, but I'm going to use it because I don't want to keep saying bullet journal HA), but the design's a little changed up. Here are just my January goals and my blogging schedule. (Which, as you can tell, has nothing written on it even though I've been blogging all month. I'm always terrible at keeping up with that page. xD)

January Sleep Tracker



I never thought I'd do something like this. But y'all know that one of my goals for this year was to get more sleep, and I thought this would be a nice addition to my bujo. Not only does it help me get the right amount of sleep (nothing like a stat page glaring up at you to inspire you to do the thing), but it's also pretty and aesthetic.

All I do is draw a bar for every night of sleep, starting at (roughly) the time I went to sleep and ending when I woke up. It's actually very satisfying. xD As you can see my sleep schedule isn't the most consistent... with my job, it's almost impossible for me to adopt the same sleeping habits every night. But I've been putting forth an effort to getting ENOUGH sleep, and that's what I mostly care about right now.

Daily Layouts



You all know what these are! Here I record my goals for every day, my work hours, etc. I keep check boxes for the vitamins I take and the water I try to drink. On the right side I like to write down special things that happened, little moments, or just thoughts that I want to carry into the next day. These are also some of my favorite pages.

My bullet journal layouts for last year were much more structured, and involved a whooole lot more using a ruler. That's okay if you like that. But I found that I really wanted to look forward to journaling and creating my layouts, and all those straight lines were making it a drag. Now I'm just kind of going with the flow, making squiggly lines or whatever I feel like. It still looks nice but it's a lot more relaxed, and actually fun to do.

Weekly Recap


Just a little record of how my week went. I like this a whole lot better than the way I was doing it before, too. I never could find a format I liked, and although it's still toootally likely to change, this one's working pretty well. I just write down the highs of the week-- good things that happened, small victories, etc.--, and the lows-- not-so-good things, or things I need to work on.

Weekly Goals/Bible Reading


This is simply where I keep my goals for the coming week, as well as the Bible chapters I'm to read. (This year I started a two-year plan for reading the whole Bible. I didn't like the idea at first of not reading the whole Bible in a year, but since I'm reading less daily, it allows for slower reading and more absorption of the words rather than just getting tired and speed-reading.)

Writing Log




This was a page I added in later in the month, because I didn't think to do it at the beginning of January. :P This month's writing log is really super ugly, because I tried one format at first, realized it was TOTALLY stupid, and then just drew a different format over it. I also haven't filled in some of the boxes yet. I might keep the second idea for next month. I really don't know. But don't look too hard at this page. xD



And that's pretty much it! Like I said, there might be more added in later months, because I'm always coming up with new ideas and new things I want to keep track of. (Which might be a problem. But oh well.) Hopefully you enjoyed seeing my very imperfect but helpful bullet journal, and it'll inspire you to give it a try yourself! AND if you've written a bullet journal post, link it in the comments because the only thing I love more than bullet journaling is looking at other people's bullet journals! ;D

Also, I want you guys to let me know what you think of this post's banner? header? honestly what even do we call those things? The thing that says the title of the post. xD I mentioned a week or two ago that I was experimenting with different designs, and I need your input! I like that this one matches my main blog header, but I'm not sure I want it to match so much.

Do you bullet journal? What's your favorite page of your bujo? What kinds of things do YOU like to keep track of? And what are you thoughts about the banner (or whatever it's called xD) for this post?


Saturday, January 18, 2020

COLD-HEARTED (A SNOW QUEEN STORY!)

Hellooo, beautiful readers! Today I'm super excited to be sharing another Trentley and Jynnia story. Feels like it's been a minute, yes?


If you didn't already know, every month The Fairy Tale Central features a different fairy tale. (This month it's The Snow Queen!) And then Arielle, one of the ladies behind FTC, shares a writing prompt on her blog inspired by that fairy tale. Here's this month's prompt:



And the original post: HERE

It's tons of fun and if you haven't taken part yet, you totally should!!

So, before you read this story, just a reminder that these are FAAAR from perfect. Lol. xD They're actually quite a mess and parts of them make no sense. I don't put a whole lot of time into making them cohesive with each other, because I just try to have fun with them and get to know my characters a little better. I'm also writing a full-length novel about Trentley and Jynnia that will eventually be the first book of a series, but many of the elements in these stories are inconsistent with that. Like I said, these are just for fun. And thank goodness for that because WOW are they a mess. xD (Honestly, it's like I take them less and less seriously ever time I write one. :P)

This story may have been the longest of these so far... and HA, I had to change my original idea because it would have been ever longer. xD There's just so much going on in the Snow Queen story, and so much to work with. But I did get a bit inspired for a book later. ;D I just looove the snowy atmosphere and I'm excited about someday writing a much bigger story for this world.

Well, anyway. A warm welcome-back to Trentley and Jynnia, and I hope you enjoy!



 "Ready?" Trentley smiled at Jynnia, his face brighter than the dazzling snow covering the world around them.
 "Ready." Jynnia laughed for the pure joy of the day.
 They sat on their sleds, pushed off, and flew down the hill. The sound of the runners whooshing across the snow filled their ears. Soon two more sounds joined: the sound of a body hitting the snow and then of said body groaning.
 Jynnia saw Trentley's tumble just before she took her own, and rolled off her sled laughing. When she sat up, Trentley was sitting in the snow rubbing his eyes. "Are you all right?" Jynnia called, still smiling. Her smile died when she saw that he kept rubbing his eyes and did not answer her.
 She stood up and rushed over to him, holding a hand out. "Are you okay?"
 Ignoring her, he shook his head and opened his eyes, blinking as if there was sun shining in his face. He looked around him, a disgusted look on his face. "Ugly," he said under his breath. "Ugly, ugly..." Finally his gaze rested on Jynnia, and the repulsed look on his face didn't go away as his voice rose. "Ugly, ugly, ugly!"
 Jynnia's mouth dropped open. "What? What's ugly?"
 Trentley stumbled to his feet, nearly knocking her over as he tried to get his balance. "You! You... everything!" He blinked, as if it pained him to have his eyes open.
 Jynnia tried to comprehend what he was saying, but all she could see around her was beauty. Snow, white-blanketed trees, the sparkling spectacle of winter. "Trentley, I don't understand. You're not making any sense."
 Trentley was clutching his chest with one hand now, his other hand rubbing his eyes vigorously. "Did you get something in your eye?" Jynnia asked. "Let me see!" She stepped toward him and tried to pull his hand off his face.
 "No!" Trentley swiped at her. Jynnia gasped and jumped back, tears immediately blurring her vision. Trentley never acted this way. Something must be seriously wrong.
 Something nagged at her mind, but her foggy, distracted mind couldn't identify it. Tears streaming down her face, she rubbed the back of her neck and thought hard, but she felt numb.
 Her eyes fell on Trentley's sled that he had tumbled off of moments earlier. Just a few feet away from where the sled had come to a clumsy stop, something sparkled in the snow, casting a bluish light on the white ground. "Yes," she whispered, her eyes wide. "That's it!" She pressed her fingertips into her temples trying to will thoughts into her head. "Snow," she muttered. "Ugly. He says things are ugly."
 "Be quiet!" Trentley yelled. It sent a pang into Jynnia's heart, but she ignored it and kept racking her brains, mentally flipping through her big fairy tale book at home.
 Heart.
 Jynnia gasped and stood up straight, whirling around to look at Trentley. Snow. Heart. Eyes.
 "Trentley!" she cried, not caring if he yelled at her. "Trentley, there are splinters of the mirror in your eye! And your heart! We have to get them out!"
 Just then, Jynnia heard something approaching, and turned to see a sleigh pulled by a reindeer coming through the trees toward them. Jynnia gasped. There was no doubt now that she had thought of the right fairy tale, for there on the sleigh sat the Snow Queen herself.
 After all, it couldn't be anyone else in the world.
 She sat impossibly tall in her seat, wrapped in snow-white furs and looking down on Trentley and Jynnia with a severe look on her face. The only thing around her that wasn't white was the brown animal that pulled her sleigh.
 "Touch him and die!" the alarming woman yelled, her expression changing little.
 Jynnia gawked at her. "Excuse me?" she yelled back at her, turning to face her head-on. The confrontation called to her, but she changed her mind and went back to Trentley. That was more important right now.
 "Trentley," she said, her voice shaking. She was not sure what was happening, but she had a feeling that somehow the stakes had just risen several notches.
 Trentley was standing there, no longer covering his eyes, but gazing at the Snow Queen as though she were the most beautiful thing he had ever seen in his life. Jynnia, personally, thought she was rather unbecoming, with her harsh white skin and lack of a smile.
 And then she saw what was happening. With the shards of glass in Trentley's heart and eye, the queen was taking advantage of the situation and enchanting him. She wanted him for herself. For what, Jynnia did not wish to think about.
 The queen descended from her sleigh and advanced toward Trentley quickly, determination in her eyes. Deadly determination.
 "He is mine," the woman said. Her voice boomed, and the world around them crackled like a frozen lake. Trentley began stumbling toward her.
 "No," Jynnia said. Tears began to choke her, and she reached out for Trentley. "Trentley, don't go to her! She's got you under a spell!"
 The queen turned her icy eyes on Jynnia, making her feel quite cold. The woman lifted a hand to her lips, kissed it, and then blew the kiss toward Jynnia.
 Jynnia frowned. Why on earth was this woman blowing her a kiss?
 She was surprised to actually see the kiss floating through the air, in the form of a bundle of snowflakes hurtling toward her. Before she could dodge it, the kiss landed on her forehead, and could spread throughout her body as if ice was flowing through her veins. She cried out and faltered, nearly falling face first in the snow. She called Trentley's name again, but he didn't even acknowledge her.
 "No!" she sobbed. She could feel her strength fading; whether it was from the queen's kiss or the cold, she didn't know. But the space between her and Trentley was growing dangerously greater than that between Trentley and the queen.
 Jynnia bent and balled up a handful of snow, then threw it at the queen. Luck or fate aided her weak arms, and the snowball hit the queen right in the chest. Of course, that did nothing to slow her down. But it was the only retaliation she could think of.
 "Leave him alone!" Jynnia screamed.
 "Listen to her," the queen said, looking only at Trentley. Her voice was like a soothing song. "Listen to that awful voice. Don't look at her," she said quickly when Trentley moved his head as if to turn around. "She is quite ugly. Everything is ugly except for me. Keep your eyes only on me."
 Jynnia bent again for more snow, and as she reached down she saw the queen's movement out of the corner of her eye. When Jynnia looked back up, it was too late to escape the second kiss soaring toward her. It hit her in the cheek, and Jynnia felt her very bones freeze and threaten to crack. She cried out, louder than before, and fell in the snow. Even as she struggled on the ground, she tried to shape the next snowball with her trembling, aching hands.
 The Snow Queen had Trentley by the hand, and he was about to step into her sleigh.
 Jynnia could barely move, and Trentley was falling farther and farther away from her. Her heart hurt as she watched him step into the sleigh. She was about to lose him. She could not lose him.
 "Kiss me, young fellow," the queen said to Trentley. Jynnia's stomach turned.
 "No!" Jynnia cried. "Trentley, it'll kill you! Don't kiss her!"
 Trentley looked at the queen, and he seemed to be considering it.
 Jynnia managed to pull herself through the snow on her elbows, but she knew her speed was no match for that of the reindeer's once the sleigh started moving. As Jynnia crawled, sobbing, her tears freezing to her skin, her elbow bumped against something.
 She looked down and saw the jewel that she had seen earlier. She had crawled right over to where it had been lodged in the snow.
 The queen sent her one last kiss.
 Jynnia was so cold now that her hand shook as she moved it to grab the jewel. She was moving as slowly as if she were in a dream, but she knew that the queen's deadly kisses of ice would not be so.
 The kiss flew toward Jynnia. She felt it hit her right in the temple, and heard the spintering of freezing blood and aching bones.
 But at the same time, she grasped the jewel in her palm and squeezed it as if it would escape.
 Suddenly she felt the magic coursing through her body, melting the ice that had been paralyzing her. She heard and felt her blood crack as it melted, and finally she was able to stand again. She had survived the queen's third kiss, which she knew in her fairy tale book would have killed her. And now she would make sure Trentley was a survivor, too.
 "Trentley!" she yelled, as loud as her dry throat would allow.
 He turned around, his attention drifting from the distracted queen, who looked quite angry that Jynnia had escaped her kiss of death.
 "Well, are you going to kiss me or not?" the queen asked, her voice shaking. She grabbed Trentley's face and turned it roughly back toward her.
 "We've been over this, your majesty," Jynnia yelled. "Kissing you would kill him, and I happen to value his life right now."
 "Shut up!" the queen said. "Kiss me," she said again as she looked into Trentley's eyes.
 "Look at this!" Jynnia called, holding up the jewel for Trentley to see. She held it above her head as she hurried toward him, both as a reminder and a shield. She didn't know just how much the jewel would protect her should the queen try anything else, but she felt safer with it on display.
 "No!" the queen shrieked. "You will not take him away from me!"
 "You won't take him away from me!" Jynnia shrieked back. She hurried her steps, praying the magic in the jewel would keep the queen from attacking. 
 Trentley was looking at her, disgust still on his face at the sight of her, but he blinked as if confused. "Let it go, Trentley!" Jynnia yelled. "Look at me! Don't think about the queen's spell! Don't think about the ugliness in the world!"
 She reached Trentley, took one of his hands in hers that didn't hold the jewel, and pulled him off the sleigh. She pressed his hand to his heart. "I know there's a shard of glass in there," she said. "You don't have to let it control you." She left his hand there on his chest and gently placed her hand over his eye. "And I know there's one in there. Think about warmth, Trentley. Don't think about anything else. Just think warmth."
 He still looked confused, although perhaps beneath the surface Jynnia could see some sort of fight.
 "Trentley," she sobbed, still holding the jewel out toward the queen. The warmth emanating from it seemed to hold her at bay, standing there with her hands held up in front of her. "Trentley, get better. Please." She took a deep breath from her tears and impulsively stood on tiptoes to kiss his eye.
 She let her lips linger there for a few seconds, willing warmth to seep through his cold skin. She felt nothing happening, but oh, she hoped it was working.
 When she stepped back, she saw tears flowing down Trentley's face. A tiny speck glinted as it fell to the ground. The shard. It was gone.
 "Trentley! Are you you again?" she cried, holding her hand over his heart in hopes of getting rid of that shard too.
 Trentley blinked a few times. "Jynnia," he whispered. "I'm so sorry."
 "Trentley!" Jynnia sobbed. She wanted to throw her arms around him, but they still had the matter of the Snow Queen to deal with.
 "You," Jynnia said, turning to stare her down, still holding the jewel in front of her. As she proceeded toward the woman, the queen backed away from the warm light around the jewel. "I don't know where you came from, but go. Get out of here and don't bother anyone anymore."
 The queen glared at her. "You're lucky this time," she said as she backed toward her sleigh. "But next time won't be as fortunate for you." She slapped her reindeer with the reins, and they sped away. Jynnia only hoped that somehow, with the jewel in hers and Trentley's possession, this story would end and the queen wouldn't be able to harass anyone else.
 "Trentley," Jynnia said when the queen was gone. This time she did throw her arms around him, and it felt so good to feel him return her embrace.
 "I'm so sorry, Jynnia!" Trentley said, and she could hear the pain in his voice. "How could I ever say those awful things to you?"
 "It's okay. It wasn't you," Jynnia said, wiping the tears from his face before they froze.
 "What happened?" Trentley whispered, shaking his head and rubbing his eyes as if to get any last remains of the shard out as he could.
 "I suppose when you fell in the snow, the shards from the mirror were in there and got lodged," she said. "The jewel was nearby, after all. Causing trouble, as always."
 Trentley laughed. "Well, I'm just glad it's over."
 Jynnia nodded. "I'm glad you're back. Now let's put this jewel with the others." She tossed it in the air and caught it.
 "First we have to race again," Trentley said. "Our last one ended kind of sourly."
 Their laughs rang off the snow-covered trees, the sound more beautiful than all the winter wonder around them.




Yes, there was a "Let It Go" joke in there. XD

Also, I sort of forgot to write the story around the prompt at first... haha. Oops. So you can probably totally tell that's just kind of weirdly inserted in there AND tweaked a bit. Should I admit that? Probably not. But we're all honest here. xD

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this installment of The Adventures of Trentley and Jynnia! (Working title. XD) Definitely check out the prompt and write your own!

Have you read The Snow Queen? And have you taken part in these prompts? (Because you should give it a try!)


Friday, January 17, 2020

BAREFOOT MEMORIES COVER REVEAL!!

Happy Friday everyone! I'm popping in today for something very exciting: the cover reveal for Barefoot Memories by Taylor Bennett! *confetti*

Barefoot Memories is the third book in the Tradewinds trilogy. The first books in the trilogy have such lovely, breezy covers, and this one does not disappoint! Scroll down for the big reveal!









Not yet...



























Not yet...


























Lol not yet...



























Why am I being one of those people...

























SURPRISE here's the blurb xD

What if the biggest decision of your life wasn’t yours to make?

With the New Year upon her, Olive Galloway is determined to put the past behind her and uncover the new future waiting for her in her island home. However, her best friend Jazz seems dangerously close to giving up on her alcoholic mom—as well as her own dreams. Together with an unlikely ally, Olive helps Jazz regain her confidence and enter a high-stakes race, but there’s still trouble on the horizon. Their friend Brander is due to come home from a whirlwind music tour on the mainland, but he’s holding tight to a secret that could change their friendship forever.

Offered the chance to fulfill all of her wildest dreams with a single word, Olive realizes that she could be headed back to the mainland sooner than she’d imagined. Caught up in a whirl of possibility, Olive struggles to decide between returning home to fulfill her childhood wish or building a new life in Hawaii. The choice could change her life forever.

























AND HERE IT IS! The beautiful cover for Barefoot Memories!




I told you it was lovely!

Congratulations to Taylor on her upcoming book! I'm looking forward to reading it! :D





Saturday, January 11, 2020

MY 2020 TBR!

Hello, hello! Soo, it's still January. Which means I'm still talking about goals and plans and everything else 2020. And I probably will be for the rest of the month.

So I hope you enjoy that sort of thing. Hehe.

And for this week's installment of the I'm-obsessed-with-New-Year-posts post... I'm sharing my TBR for 2020!


(if you've noticed any wonkiness with my graphics/whatever you want to call them recently... bear with me. I'm trying to find a consistent style that I like and I'm apparently really indecisive. xD feel free to look back over the last few posts and let me know which one you think looks the best! mostly I've been tweaking the color scheme to match my blog header.)

Of course these aren't all the books I want to read this year. HOPEFULLY I'll get a lot more read (gotta hit that Goodreads goal). But these are the ones I desperately NEEEED to read or else I can't possibly go on living. (dramatic? I think not.)

First, here's a refresher of the books I had on my list last year, and if I read them or not.

Out of Time trilogy by Nadine Brandes: yes // 5 stars
Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill: no
Blood of Kings trilogy by Jill Williamson: no
The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson: no (but I did ACQUIRE this book in 2019!)
Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter: no
A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews: yes // 4 stars
Winter by Marissa Meyer: no
Storyworld First by Jill Williamson: no


...wow. Clearly I didn't make much progress with THAT list. So hopefully 2020 will be a little more successful. Hehe. Heh.

Soo, let's move on from THAT travesty and get to a list with a hopefully brighter future. xD And here it is: my 2020 TBR!

(in no particular order)

THE WARRIOR MAIDEN AND THE PIPER'S PURSUIT BY MELANIE DICKERSON

Hopefully by the time you read this, I'll already be done with The Warrior Maiden! It's my first read of the year, and after that I'm moving onto The Piper's Pursuit.


STORM SIREN TRILOGY BY MARY WEBER

This is probably the oldest thing on the list in terms of how long I've wanted to read it. I remember seeing Storm Siren in a Christian book catalog years ago and thinking it looked interesting, so it's basically been in the back of my mind as one-of-those-books-I-want-to-buy-but-never-get-around-to-it books. Then I got the trilogy for Christmas. So now I definitely need to get on this!


WINTER BY MARISSA MEYER

This was on my list last year and I never got around to it. Why? For a couple reasons. One, I wasn't sure whether I wanted to read the first three Lunar Chronicles books again before reading it, or just read Winter. I want to read the first three again, because I know I'll probably forget a lot of what's happening if I just jump right into the last book. But I know it'll also drive me crazy if I've read all the books in the series twice except the last one. Because I think about weird stuff like that.

And also because THIS BOOK IS LIKE 800 PAGES LONG. THAT. IS. SO. MANY. PAGES.


SKYLAR HOYT SERIES BY STEPHANIE MORRILL

This wasn't my first choice of Stephanie Morrill books (not that I'm not interested in them!), but they're the only ones I own. xD I bought them (signed!) on sale a few months ago, so I'm excited about reading them. And I guess this way I can start from the beginning with her books and go in order? (Although at that rate I'll get to my most anticipated one, Within These Lines, last. We'll see. xD)


OUT OF TIME SERIES BY NADINE BRANDES

Yes, these books were on my list last year.

Yes, I've already read them.

Yes, I'm putting them here, because I one hundred percent plan to reread them in 2020. And I couldn't be more excited.


TO BEST THE BOYS BY MARY WEBER

Another Christmas gift! I've heard such good things about this one and I'm really looking forward to seeing what the hype's about.


MARK OF THE RAVEN BY MORGAN BUSSE

Because I feel like everybody's read this but me and I NEED IT RIGHT NOW OKAY.


THE STORY PEDDLER BY LINDSAY FRANKLIN

Another book I think everyone's read but me. I need it.


BLOOD OF KINGS TRILOGY BY JILL WILLIAMSON

Putting this back on here because I STILL reaalllyyy want to read it. I NEEED more fantasy books in my life.


WINTER, WHITE AND WICKED BY SHANNON DITTEMORE

This isn't out yet but I NEED IT THE MOMENT IT RELEASES, which is supposed to be this fall. I'm so excited for a new book from Shannon Dittemore and ahh this one sounds amazing!!


Aaand there are SO many more books I could put on this list but I'd better stop there so we don't have a repeat of not-even-reading-half-the-books-on-this-list like last year. (Although let's be honest, it's still probably going to happen. But I can dream.) I'm excited to read sooo many amazing books this year! And I'm happy to say that I've been getting back in the reading groove. Still not reading as often as I'd like, but it's only January, so plenty of time for that. I'm just finding myself getting excited about reading again, when in the last few months I've barely made five minutes a day to read.

Now I'm reading four books at the same time. XD

Two of them are devotionals, so they sort of don't count. But I'm reading a physical book AND an ebook (whaaat? Emily reading an ebook? unheard of), and it's been great. I've been saving the book to read at home, and the ebook to read when I'm out and about. Kinda makes me want to acquire more ebooks. xD

I hope you all are having a lovely reading year so far, and a great January in general! NOW LET'S TALK BOOKS.

What are you reading right now? What books do you most want to read this year? Any highly anticipated new releases? And are there any books you think I should add to my 2020 TBR? (Because it's obviously not long enough. Obviously.) 


Saturday, January 4, 2020

GOALS FOR 2020!

HELLO EVERYONE AND HAPPY JANUARY THE FOURTH. We're four days into the year and I'm feeling pretty good about myself! Of course, like I said, we're ONLY four days into the year, so I've definitely got a long way to go. But I'm feeling super motivated and happy with what I've been doing.

Today I'll be sharing a few of my goals for 2020. No, this isn't all of them. xD But here are some of the things I want to accomplish this year. Hopefully it'll give me an extra boost to stay on top of them AND maybe motivate you guys in your goals!



READ 45 BOOKS.

I read around 40 in 2020, and I wasn't reading as much as I could have. So I want to intentionally make time to read more this year, and I think 45 is a pretty reasonable goal.


FINISH TWO FIRST DRAFTS.

Namely, Once Upon and Fall Into Time.

As you probably know if you've been here for more than a minute, Once Upon was my NaNo novel this past year, and I wrote 50k of it this past November. I think once I get back into it I can finish it pretty quickly.

And then Fall Into Time is from a few NaNos ago, and I'm also pretty close to finishing draft 1 of it. I think. I really don't know, to be honest. xD But after finishing the first draft of Roots to Claim in 2019, I just want to finish allll the drafts. They've been sitting too long.



KEEP WRITING AND SUBMITTING FLASH FICTION.

It was AMAZING being published in Havok last year (and spoiler alert: I have another story coming in February!!), and that's definitely something I want to keep doing. Not necessarily just with Havok, but other places as well. Maybe even magazines. (My, what a nostalgia trip that would be. The first time I was published was in a magazine and it would be amazing to hold a physical copy of my work in my hands again.)



GET MORE SLEEP.

I am both excited for and dreading this one.

Isn't it weird how sleep is an enemy and a friend at the same time?? I can't get enough sleep, but GAHHH there's just not enough time in the day to get the amount of sleep I want and also do all the things I need and want to do.

BUT lately I've also been terribly exhausted. It's not fun at all and definitely doesn't help with productivity. So as much as I wish I could sleep for like two hours and use all those extra hours around it to read and write and pet my dog, that's just not possible.

SO. I'm going to try to get a solid eight hours of sleep every night. THAT PHYSICALLY HURTS TO SAY because that means that if there are things I wanted to get done but didn't get done when it's time to go to bed... I HAVE TO LEAVE THEM UNDONE AND GO TO BED. It's terrifying. But I'm also looking forward to allowing myself the rest I need and hopefully upping my productivity and also just my wellbeing that way.



PRIORITIZE PRAYER.

Once upon a time, I made time to pray almost every single day and it was lovely. Then I started working and I just haven't been able to get back in that habit the same way since.

I'd like to pretend I'm going to make special time every day for prayer, but me and God both know that's just not going to happen. (Maybe someday I can get to that point.) But I DO want to work on actively putting prayer above all my other priorities and feeling closer to God again.



DO THE SPLITS.

I never thought that I would actually think I could really do this. But this past spring or summer, I got serious about stretching and I was SO CLOSE TO LEGIT DOING THE SPLITS. I was SO proud of myself and I have no doubt that if I had kept stretching, I would have made it. But, well, I stopped stretching. The end. xD So this year I plan to get back on that and DO THE SPLITS ONCE AND FOR ALL!



START COLLEGE.

Yeah... this still hasn't happened. But I'm planning to make a go of it this summer. Pray for me!!



STOP PASSING TIME ON MY PHONE.

In 2019 I got a new phone, after using a TracFone for the past five years. Which means that I now have access to Pinterest, Instagram, Google, you name it, in the palm of my hand. And I've gotten into the habit of carrying it around with me at home and zoning out on it when I have a few spare minutes, or just sitting down and wasting a little time on it. That's okay sometimes, and I still don't consider myself as attached to my phone as I could be. But this year I really want to focus on stepping away from it more, using those extra few minutes to read instead. And I've also been trying to read on my breaks at work, too, instead of being on my phone. It's so much more fulfilling.



GIVE OF MYSELF MORE.

Lend a hand when it's needed. Help around the house more. Just be a blessing to those around me when I can.



GO TO ACFW CONFERENCE.

This miiight be happening this year and I'm excited. I've really been wanting to make it to a Christian
writer's conference. (Realm Makers is still my dream, but that's for another year!)



Yeah, I have a lot of goals this year. (And I'm pretty certain I forgot at least one that I was going to put on this list, so don't be surprised if another one pops up. xD) But I feel really good about them and I'm pumped to make 2020 amazing.

I actually haven't started any writing yet... and I need to, because my, I have missed my stories and my characters. I can't wait to go all in and hopefully get some major work done on them.

OH and I want to tell you something exciting: Until tomorrow, all the stories on Havok are free to the public!! So if you missed any of my stories, you can click HERE and voila-- all three of my Havok stories at your disposal. I hope you take advantage of this opportunity to read not just my stories, but a whole bunch of other amazing stories on the website, too! And leave a comment while you're over there! :D

What are some of your goals for 2020? Do you have a focus word for this year? (I haven't thought about it, but I think it's an awesome thing to do!) What are you looking forward to this year? And... *whispers* What's your Goodreads goal? xD


Wednesday, January 1, 2020

HIGHLIGHTS OF 2019 + THE DECADE!

2019 has come to an end.

That's wild enough in itself. I mean, 2020, guys. I can't imagine it ever feeling natural to say "it's two-thousand twenty."

But more than that-- a decade has come to an end. I didn't even realize that until a few weeks ago, but WOW that's a big deal. A lot happens in a decade. People change. Times change. New memories join the storehouse. Like I said, ten years is a big deal. That's almost half my life.

So I wanted to be sure and acknowledge the ending of the decade because my next chance is a looong time coming. ;P

So today I want to share some brief highlights from the past decade. And I'll also slow down and focus more on 2019, as well. Also, this post is very long and I'm very sorry. no i'm not



One more thing: Not all of these "highlights" are good things. Some of them are unpleasant, but
since I'm recapping some of the biggest moments from the decade, I want to mention them anyway. After all, a year and certainly a decade has its share of ups and downs, yes? And I'm thankful for how far I've come.

That being said, here it is.


Me at the beginning of the decade. (this might actually be in 2011? but you get the idea. painfully awkward.)

2010// I had my first crush. I started struggling with with awful self-consciousness and unhealthy patterns. I was published for the very first time, in StoneSoup Magazine.

2011// I turned thirteen. I was constantly bitter and frustrated. I went to the Superman Celebration in Metropolis, Illinois for the first time. I had a second story published in StoneSoup.

2012// I started going to Southern gospel concerts, which would later play a big part in my life. I had a third and final story published in StoneSoup. I went to summer camp for the first time. I started reading Lord of the Rings for the first time. My lowest points were possibly in this year.

2013// I went on a family vacation to the Grand Canyon and the Rocky Mountains. I went to two of my favorite concerts ever and felt hope. After years of bitterness and sadness, I finally surrendered to God and found peace. (The anniversary of that day just passed-- December 30.)

2014// I found inexpressible joy in Jesus and left behind the darkness I'd known. I turned sixteen. 

2015// I discovered Go Teen Writers and started reading blogs. I participated in my first NaNoWriMo and started my book The Unchosen Ones

2016// I turned eighteen. I finished high school and went to Florida for my graduation with my family and best friend. I experienced the ocean for the first time and crossed items off my bucket list. I experienced the most surreal months of my life adjusting to the fact that I was now an adult and a high school graduate. I attended my first writer's conference. I started writing Fall Into Time. I feared the future like my worst nightmare.

2017// I got my first real job and therefore went through the SCARIEST days of my life. I realized that I was more capable than I thought. I watched the solar eclipse with my coworkers. 

2018// I became a crew trainer at work. I started my blog. I got my first car. I said goodbye to my first dog. I won NaNo for the first time and wrote most of the first draft of Roots to Claim.


And me at the end of the decade.

And that brings me to 2019.

This year has been a full one.



-I got my dog Xander.

The day I brought him home...

… and the most recent photo of him. It's not the best picture, but it's pretty funny because I was in my car getting ready to leave and he was grumpy. xD

I love this guy so much and he makes me smile every day. How can you love a dog so much? I don't know, but I do.

-I finished the first draft of Roots to Claim, the first draft I'd actually carried through in years.

-I read all of Nadine Brandes' books and absolutely loved them. She is one of my new favorite authors and the Out of Time series has affected me more than most books ever will.

-I saw a friend from out of state for the first time in a few years and spent a weekend shopping for bridesmaid dresses for my best friend's wedding.

-I went on a whirlwind trip to the Arch in St. Louis to meet an old, old friend of mine for the first time in person. We became pen pals years ago, and although we haven't written letters in a few years now, we still kept in touch through text and email. It was so fun meeting her and I still can't believe it really happened.

-I met Erica Durance, who played Lois Lane on Smallville.

-I got a promotion at my job.

-I started writing my Trentley and Jynnia stories for the Fairy Tale Central writing prompts, and created THE most lovable characters I think I've ever written.

-I backed my car into some French people's rental truck. Not a highlight, but, well, it happened. xD

-I was consumed with the overwhelming desire to change the world around me. Cameron Boyce's death hit me hard and inspired me to do just that, and also the aforementioned Out of Time series. I think I would have to say that those were the two most influential things that happened in my life this year.

-I watched Lord of the Rings with a friend of mine who'd never seen it before.

-I created my own tag, the Hobbiton Tag, which you can find HERE.

-I was maid of honor in my best friend's wedding.

-I celebrated my one-year blogaversary and made a Q&A vlog.

-I had three flash fiction pieces published in Havok-- the first time I'd been published since 2012. Absolutely surreal and SO lovely seeing all your kind comments and support. <3 p="">
-I dressed as Peggy Carter for Halloween and yes, this was a highlight of my year.

-I won NaNo for the second time and wrote 50k of my newest story that I'm in love with, starring said characters Trentley and Jynnia.

-I wrote 90,494 words. Or somewheres about. This is far from an exact count, because of various rewrites and edits that I can't possibly keep track of. Also, I'm pretty sure I didn't count a pretty good bit of Fall Into Time that I wrote this year because I have no memory of keeping track while I was writing it. xD But at least you have an idea.

-I read 40 books. (please please please just let me count the book I started in December and didn't finish until January 1? please??? for the sake of my sanity? pLeAsE??)



I feel like this year has been a year of friendships for me.

-The friendships I've made at my job over the past couple years have grown and gotten stronger. I feel comfortable sharing with and about these people and calling them my friends now, and it took me a while to get there.

When your friends get you
-Like I mentioned before, I met someone for the first time who I'd known for years long-distance. And that made that friendship mean so much more.

-Being my best friend's maid of honor was so special. I was happy to be given that honor, even over her sisters. That's like the ultimate best-friend experience. Our Christmas gifts for each other had similar phrases about being sisters at heart. TOTAL coincidence but a beautiful one.

-And... I've made so many friends through blogging. And all of you are endlessly supportive. Seriously, I am SO thankful for each and every one of you. I don't have any writer friends in real life other than my siblings, and I honestly don't know how I ever made it before without you guys. Having you to encourage me in my writing means the absolute WORLD. Also, most of my real life friends aren't Christians, so I'm so blessed and thankful to have so many of you guys that I can talk to about God and ask to pray for me. I love you guys. SO much. <3 p="">
Basically, I feel like I went from having exactly one friend to having more friends than I know what to do with and it's just so overwhelming in the best way. No, I didn't have a sad childhood. But I was homeschooled and none of the churches I went to had kids my age, so my best friend I've been blessed to have since birth was it. And that was fine. But now I feel even more blessed with all the other wonderful people who have entered my life. (However, this is a problem for poor little introverted me-- what do you do when you WANT to see your friends but you also just want to stay at home and hide like a turtle all day? xD)


So in short, the highlight of the decade? Leaving behind the worthlessness and darkness that consumed me, to accept the gift of peace and joy that God was holding out to me the whole time.

The highlight of the year? Well... that's hard to say because there were a lot of them. Like I said, it's been a pretty full year. But definitely what I'll fondly remember about this year (besides getting my dog because that's a pretty darn significant happening), is how I've SO enjoyed becoming a part of the blogging community this year. FEELING a part of it. It's so fun and fangirling with you all about books and moaning about writing is just the BEST.


And that's all the rambling I'm going to do about the year. I truly can't believe that 2019 has already come to an end, and I can't wait to kickstart this one.

What was the highlight of your 2019? Is there one specific thing you want to accomplish in 2020? Want to share any resolutions? Let's talk all the New Year's things!