Realm Makers 2019

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during Mr. Batson’s continuing session | picture credit goes to Mary!

AGH SO REALM MAKERS HAPPENED. AND IT WAS AMAZING. I honestly don’t even know where to begin. I don’t know if the wonder that happened in those three days could be summed up in a post.

But I guess I’ll try. XD

Thursday I went to the pre-conference about writing series by Robert Liparulo which was SO interesting. I learned about the different types of series, the pros and cons of writing a series, how to plan a series, and how to market a series. It was all so informative and it really helped me, since I’m planning on publishing my first books as a trilogy! I also got to meet with some friends who also went to the pre-conference for lunch, which was SO FABULOUS.

After that, there was an opening welcome and keynote given by the RM faculty and Brent Weeks, which was hilarious and also very encouraging!

Friday was a whole whirlwind of sessions and electives and I loved ALL OF IT. I learned about writing my Christian worldview organically into my writing (Morgan Busse did this class and it was my absolute FAVORITE CLASS of the entire conference, she did SUCH a great job), I learned about writing fairytale retellings with C.J. Redwine (which gave me waaaay too many plot bunnies, if I’m being honest XD), and had a great time in Wayne Thomas Batson’s continuing sessions about balancing life and writing. It really convicted me and made me realize I need to be better about juggling everything.

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on our way back from a quick Starbucks break | picture credit goes to Christine!

I also got to hang out with some AWESOME friends! Seeing all of my friends from last year, and also some new faces was THE BEST. I wish I could’ve devoted all of my time to talking and hanging out with all of them, but I had to settle with sitting together during sessions and eating meals together. It was so magical, seeing everyone again. I LOVE YOU GUYS. <333

And then, of course, there was the big Awards Dinner, which is ALWAYS a blast! I must have taken a hundred (blurry, of course) pictures of everybody in their costumes. This was probably my favorite part of the entire conference, honestly. I couldn’t stop smiling the entire time, and when I got back to my hotel, my cheeks hurt.

For this year’s dinner, I decided to dress as a favorite cartoon character of mine…Dipper Pines from Gravity Falls! I was sure hardly anyone would know who I was (and I did get mistaken for a Camp Half Blood resident more than a few times XD), but I was pleasantly surprised by how many people came up to me and complimented me on my choice! I even had one of the waiters bringing food to the tables come up to me and ask me where Mabel was. XD

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from top to bottom // Mary as Steampunk Ariel | Tracey as Tris Prior | Christine as Kuzco | Josiah as Phoenix Wright | Savannah as Peggy Carter (though that photo does NOT do her gorgeous outfit justice)

Saturday was the big day. At least for me. XD I decided I wanted to pitch my novel Imprint to Linda Howard at Tyndale publishing this year and my appointment actually went really well! I did flounder a bit, struggling with what to say and feeling all of my nerves strain any sense from brain right out my ears…XD But Mrs. Howard was very nice and understanding, and after talking with here, I would really LOVE to work with her. She was so kind and told me all about Tyndale’s publishing process and she even asked for more chapters of my novel! I WAS ECSTATIC TO SAY THE LEAST.

Before said pitch took place, however, I was a ball of jittery nerves. I could barely eat anything and when I had to leave mid-class (Jill Williamson’s worldbuilding session, which I was a bit bummed to miss 😦 to get to my appointment, I thought I was going to pass out from my body shooting so much adrenaline into my veins. I could barely hold my pencil and when the time came I had to take several deep breaths to keep my heart from pounding out of my chest. I wasn’t hardly as nervous as my body would have me believe I was. But my body does betray me, often times during stressful situations. XD As it turned out, I had nothing to worry about and it went very well.

After another amazing session (Ronie Kendig’s class about capturing your reader’s attention, which was absolutely fascinating), and a wonderful closing keynote by Brent Weeks, I went out to Panera with my buds one last time. It was such a great time and I ALREADY MISS ALL OF YOU SO MUUUUUCH. Then we all went to the book festival together and I had to say my goodbyes. It was so SAD. Thank goodness for the internet, so we can all keep in touch!

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from top to bottom // Lisa | Skye | Christine

That last day of Realm Makers was one of the best days of 2019 for me. It was such an incredible time and Sunday morning, it felt like reality just came crashing back down on me. It felt so weird, that it was just…over. But I’ll never forget it. ^_^

Vacation wasn’t entirely over for me just yet though. Me and my family got to go a bit farther down Missouri to Branson, where we got to visit the College of the Ozarks (a college I’ve been considering attending, and now after visiting, I am SO AMAZED by and interested in) and stay at the Keeter Center, which is a hotel run by the students of the college! It was incredibly nice and I’ve never stayed in such a nice hotel. I really felt like a country hick, amazed by everything in the room. XD

After staying there for a few days (going to Silver Dollar City and the Butterfly Palace), we topped off our final day in Branson by going to see Samson live at the Sights and Sound Theater! IT WAS SO AMAZING GUYS. I CAN’T STOP THINKING ABOUT HOW AWESOME IT WAS. You should seriously consider going to a production there. The tickets aren’t the cheapest, but IT IS WORTH IT.

After all that craziness, we drove home. And now I’m back and just now getting over the exhaustion. XD It’s going to be tough going back to work and the drudgery of ‘normal’ life, but I think I might surprise myself. It’s always a good feeling getting home from an adventure. 🙂

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the gang at Panera | picture credit goes to Jenneth!

That was my experience at Realm Makers, very, very briefly summed up. I could go on and on about what went on that past weekend, but we would be here for ages. XD I miss all you Realmies dearly! I hope we get to see each other again soon! And those of you who didn’t attend this year…I WISH YOU COULD’VE BEEN THERE. It really was a magical time!

New Until Next Time!

Fairy Tale Central // An Exciting New Vista For Fairytale Lovers!

Hello, fellow fantasy freaks and geeks! I’m here to present to you a most fabulous new project put together by three lovely ladies called Fairy Tale Central!

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Once Upon a Time… two girls had a dream. A dream of a fairy tale site, an internet library, if you will, for all the fairy tale lovers of the land to gather and converse. To learn, to read, to fangirl/boy, to bask in the goodness that is fairy tales.

As this dream blossomed, the two girls recruited a third. Because, after all, all good fairy tales come in themes of three.

With the third member in place, the girls got to work. The dream began to take shape, until it was no longer just a dream. But something real.

Introducing…

FAIRY TALE CENTRAL

This newly launched site run by Arielle Bailey, Faith White, and Christine Smith, is your source for all things fairy tales.

Every month a single fairy tale will be featured, and posts will include:

  • Reviews for retellings/shows/movies/etc.
  • Essay, origin, and discussion posts on the featured fairy tale
  • Interviews with fairy tale retelling authors
  • Galleries featuring fairy tale artists and artisans
  • And a whole lot more!

The FTC’s goal is to unlock the magic that is fairy tales and build a community of fellow fairy tale enthusiasts. Arielle, Faith, and Christine are thrilled to share this new fairy tale-centric space and connect with all you epic fairy tale fans!

You can CLICK HERE to find the site and join the Fairy Ring! (Don’t worry, you won’t be enchanted or cursed.) And, if you want to connect even more, you can find the FTC on:

(If you’re inclined to share about the FTC in those places too, you may or may not be blessed by a fairy godmother. *smile, smile*)

Do tell a friend, or a dragon, or the fairy living in the hollow tree behind your house. All humans and mythological creatures alike are welcome!

I am SO PUMPED about this project and I cannot WAIT to see what the three fairies who put this masterpiece together dream up next for this site! Please go check out the site and all of the bloggers who worked so hard to make it a reality!

New Until Next Time!

Fictional Vacation // Would You Rather Challenge

Fictional Vacation

Hello guys! Sorry for the slight hiatus I took out of the blue, I’ve been working on some other projects, and I’m probably going to be changing up my posting schedule once my movie review blog goes live. But anywho! I have…!

…Guess. Just guess.

I have created another challenge! Shocking, I know.

 

Celebration Lol GIF by Danny Casale
I love this gif so much. XD

 

I think it’s safe to say we all love reading. Possibly so much so that we’ve often wished we could travel into our favorite worlds and interact with the characters? Or is that just me?

Whether you have or not, I have a challenge for you regarding fictional places. I’ll give you a choice of two places, and you have to choose one, and only one of them to visit. What, it’s called a challenge for a reason? XD

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The rules are simple:

• Include the graphic I made!

• Answer the questions!

• Tag some other people if you feel so inclined!

And now, let’s begin!

Would you rather…

• Train with demigods for the summer at Camp Halfblood OR attend Hogwarts to learn some spells for a semester?

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I would definitely say Camp Halfblood. I would get to meet Percy and Annabeth and the whole gang! Maybe I would even learn my true heritage… If I had to guess, I bet I would be Apollo’s child. I mean, he’s the god of music and poetry. He’s clearly a creative loner, like moi. XD

• Go on an epic quest through the lands of Middle Earth OR be crowned a king or queen for your bravery in Narnia?

This is a reeeeally hard one, but I’d have to go with Narnia. It has such a special place in my heart, and the chance to meet Aslan? That would be so EPIC. And, talking animals, also, I mean, hello.

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• Fly with Peter and his Lost Boys in Neverland OR have a crazy tea party with the Mad Hatter in Wonderland?

I love both of these worlds so dearly, but if I had to choose, it would be Wonderland. I’ve always had an affinity for the strange place. I would love to meet all of the interesting characters… ^_^

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• Get trapped in the world of Jumanji OR be forced to dress up and attend a party at the Capitol of Panem?

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What, I had to through one hard one it there? Fantasy worlds aren’t always all that great! I would pick Jumanji, despite the possibility of getting killed. I don’t think I could stomach a party at the Capitol… XP

• Sample all of the candy you’d like at Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory OR have a nice stroll with Pooh and his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood?

Winnie The Pooh GIF by Walt Disney Studios

As much as I would love to visit Willy Wonka’s factory…I have to choose the Wood. Maybe I’m still coming off of my love for the new Christopher Robin, but it just sounds like such a pleasant, peaceful way to spend a vacation. ❤

• Head out on a gold-hunting expedition to El Dorado OR hop in a submarine and explore the lost city of Atlantis?

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Atlantis has always intrigued me, but I really don’t like the idea of going in a submarine… I think it might be worth it though? Like what if there are mermaids? Or fish people? What if they’re magical? I think I’d risk it.

• Skip through the merry town of Oz OR have a nice walk through the kingdom of Camelot?

I’m…currently kind of obsessed with Merlin? So. I think I would like to visit Camelot. Even though they’re a bunch of magic-haters. 😛

Colin Morgan Merlin GIF by BBC

• Get sucked into the world of Fantastica and go on an epic journey with Bastian OR get sucked into the Inkworld and travel the land with Meggie and her friends?

Argh, I love both of these stories TOO MUCH. *frustration* But if it really came down to it, I think I would choose Inkworld. I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to meet Dustfinger, you know? That would be an…interesting meeting.

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Easily Pastable Questions //

Would You Rather…

Train with demigods for the summer at Camp Halfblood OR attend Hogwarts to learn some spells for a semester?

Go on an epic quest through the lands of Middle Earth OR be crowned a king or queen for your bravery in Narnia?

Fly with Peter and his Lost Boys in Neverland OR have a crazy tea party with the Mad Hatter in Wonderland?

Get trapped in the world of Jumanji OR be forced to dress up and attend a party at the Capitol of Panem?

Sample all of the candy you’d like at Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory OR have a nice stroll with Pooh and his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood?

Head out on a gold-hunting expedition to El Dorado OR hop in a submarine and explore the lost city of Atlantis?

Skip through the merry town of Oz OR have a nice walk through the kingdom of Camelot?

Get sucked into the world of Fantastica and go on an epic journey with Bastian OR get sucked into the Inkworld and travel the land with Meggie and her friends?

There is my challenge! I tag Deborah, Kenzie, and Jenelle! And if you’d like to do the tag, feel free to give it a whirl. 🙂 What’s another fantasy place you’d like to visit? Let me know in the comments!

New Until Next Time!

The Fandom Tag // by None Other Than…Me

The Fandom Tag

Hello friends! Wow…what is it with me and coming up with tags…? Is there something wrong with me? XD

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Let’s not dwell on that fact, and instead delve into my latest creation! Since Valentine’s is fast approaching, I thought this would be a great time to talk about the things we (or at least I) really love!

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Rules //

• Include the graphic somewhere in your post!

• Answer the questions!

• Tag two fangirls (or boys, I suppose!)

(If you don’t know what a fandom is, it’s basically a group of fans of a particular thing, like Star Wars or Harry Potter.)

~

Le Questions //

  • What’s the first fandom you remember becoming a part of?
  • What’s the newest fandom you’ve come to enjoy?
  • What’s a fandom guaranteed to give you feels?
  • What’s a guilty pleasure fandom of yours?
  • What’s the weirdest fandom you’ve heard of/are a part of?
  • Favorite popular/widely-known fandom?
  • Favorite bookish fandom?
  • What do you consider your ‘homebase’, a fandom you can always come back to?
  • What’s a fandom you know all about…but aren’t actually into it?
  • Which fandom has the best characters?
  • Name your all-time favorite ship.
  • What’s a fandom you’re curious about joining?

~

• What’s the first fandom you remember becoming a part of?

Though I didn’t really know what a fandom was at the time, Disney and Pixar have been around for me since I was, well, born. I grew up watching the classic Disney movies, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin, in particular. And I remember watching Monsters Inc., Toy Story, and The Incredibles many times too. I guess you could say it was the start of an obsession for obsessions…XD

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• What’s the newest fandom you’ve come to enjoy?

That would be Over the Garden Wall! It’s a very short mini series, only ten episodes long, about two brothers who get lost in the forest. It’s surprisingly deep for a cartoon, and the animation is gorgeous. If you have an evening, give it a watch, it’s quite entertaining.

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• What’s a fandom guaranteed to give you feels?

That would be Undertale. I’m sure you’ve heard of it, it’s an epic video game with wonderful characters and a crazy, twisted story that you don’t figure right away. Getting to know the characters and how the game works is what really makes my heart hurt. And the fans don’t help with this in making some awesome fan art and fan fictions. It’s a deep, twisty game that will have you crying and laughing at the same time.

• What’s a guilty pleasure fandom of yours?

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• What’s the weirdest fandom you’ve heard of or are a part of?

There are so many weird things out there, but to give a classic answer, I’ll say Gravity Falls. It’s the definition of weird. There’s unexplained phenomena. There’s weird and wonderful creatures. There are deep, dark secrets. There are crazy, but lovable characters. THE WHOLE WORLD ALMOST–you know what? Never mind. I’ll let you watch it. You’ll love it, trust me.

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It also has the best gifs, so…yeah. There is that. XD

• Favorite popular/widely-known fandom?

That’d be the Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit. I’m fairly sure almost everyone in the world has heard of this, and for a good reason. Though I’ve only seen the movies, I’ve come to love the characters SO MUCH. It’s magical, it’s epic, and it has Orlando Bloom and Viggo Mortenson, so really how can you lose? (Thorin is myyy preeeecious.)

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• Favorite bookish fandom?

The Lunar Chronicles!! CRESS IS A DARLING AND THORNE IS A JERK BUT I LOVE HIM. Also, WOLF AND SCARLET ARE SO ADORABLE. AND JACIN AND WINTER AGGGGHHHH. *ahem* Yes. I really like the Lunar Chronicles.

• What do you consider your ‘homebase’, a fandom you can always come back to?

Gosh, who made these questions so hard? (Me. It was me.) It would probably be the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I started watching in 2015, and I remember going to the theater with a big group of people to see Avengers: Age of Ultron. I had watched the previous movies in order with my family, but it was when I saw that movie that I really started loving it. And I’ve seen every Marvel movie in theaters since. It’s a very comforting, familiar fandom for me. (EVEN THOUGH IT’S KIND OF ON FIRE RIGHT NOW BUT IT’S OKAY EVERYTHING’S FINE.)

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• What’s a fandom you know all about…but aren’t actually into it?

That would be Star Wars, for me. I watched the prequels, (well, kind of…I kinda skipped over the third one because I was cringing too much…XD), and I know the entire original story and all about the newer installments. So I know everything. I’m just…not that in love with it. It’s fun, and goofy, and entertaining, but…it doesn’t quite grip me like other movies or books have.

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• Which fandom has the best characters?

ALL OF THEM. ALL OF THEM ARE GOOD. Ugh, if I really had to choose though…It’d be a three-way tie between Undertale, Marvel, and the Lunar Chronicles. IT’S TOO HARD. Why did I make these questions so hard? XD

• Name your all-time favorite ship.

Hm. NYAGH THERE ARE SO MANY. But I pick Cress and Thorne, because I think they’re really cute and they both support each other so well, her being quiet and whimsical and naive, and him being rough and cocky and a joker. It mixes so beautifully, I could cry. Cress + Thorne =

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• What’s a fandom you’re curious about joining?

Sherlock! All I hear is how amazing it is, and I want in on some of the epic-ness! Though I worry for my mental health’s sake…too much emotional trauma may just ruin me… Tell me below if this is a good idea, please. XD

That’s the tag! I nominate Deborah @ The Road of a Writer, Christine @ Musings of an Elf, and Kenzie @ Smudged Thoughts for this tag! And if you’d like to do this tag, feel free! I’d love to see what fandoms you love the most! ^_^ Also, there will be no post next week, since I’ll be on vacation!

New Until Next Time!

Three Bookish Things Tag

three bookish things tag

Hello friends! I have a bit of a shorter, more laid-back post for you this week, becaaaaause… I’ve been working on my newly announced movie review blog, getting some shiny new posts up and ready for the release date! I’m pretty darn excited about it. XD

But on to today’s post, a tag! Shocking! I know! I almost never do tags! XD I feel like tags are always what I fall back on when I have no ideas for posts, but I’M NOT ASHAMED. It’s nice to have a pre-planned post every once in a while, ‘kay?

‘Kay. Let’s do this.

I originally saw this on Cait’s blog, and she said she got it off of Instagram…so…not entirely sure about the rules…I know you list three bookish things…And that’s the extent of my knowledge. But let’s just jump into the questions, maybe I’ll tag a few people at the end, I don’t know, we’ll see.

ANNNNNNND GO.

• 3 Favorite Authors

Oh my word, HOW. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO ANSWER THIS QUESTION. Maybe this tag was a bad idea…XD

Okay, let’s see…

Marissa Meyer writes one of my most favorite series of all time, she’s pretty neat.

• I have to give credit to Shannon Hale, since she’s the one who got me into reading. Her Princess Academy books, and her Books of Bayern will always stick with me.

• Oof. I think the last one is a tie between Anne Elisabeth Stengl and Heather Dixon. I LOVE Anne’s Tales of Goldstone Wood, but Heather writes some AWESOME standalones, particularly Illusionarium…AGH. I can’t choose.

• 3 Weirdest Things Used as a Bookmark

Oooooh, this is an interesting question!

• I’ve definitely used napkins before. They weren’t dirty, of course.

• I use library receipts waaaay more than I’d rather admit to. XD

• Hmm…I think I used a popsicle stick one time. And it wasn’t a clean one. It was one where I had just finished the popsicle part. I was a little kid, okay? Don’t judge.

• 3 Series Binged

This one’s kind of hard, because I’m usually waiting for the next books to come out, so I really can’t binge read. But…

• I remember binge-rereading the Lunar Chronicles a while back. I should really do that again…

• The Bright Empires series (by Stephen R. Lawhead)! I can’t say I reeeally binged it, I remember reading a different book or two in between some of them, but I got through the whole series pretty quick.

• And when I was little one summer I zipped through the Magic Treehouse books in a matter of days. That was fun. Kinda miss that.

• 3 Characters You Love

This is so hard because there are so many characters I love so dearly! But here are some that stuck out in my mind.

Carswell Thorne from the Lunar Chronicles is my favorite roguish bad boy in fiction. He likes to pretend he’s a hardened tough guy, but he’s actually just a soft marshmallow underneath.

Rin from Forest Born (by Shannon Hale) was a really inspirational character for me when I was younger. She didn’t really know her place in the world, and she felt so alone and scared. I used to get really scared and anxious when I was a kid, and knowing that I wasn’t alone was a real comfort to me.

• I think this is a three-way tie for Kell (from A Darker Shade of Magic), Percy (from Percy Jackson), and Leo/Lionheart/Leonard (from Tales of Goldstone Wood). Kell is a character I’ve recently come to love, as is Percy, and Leo…well, he’s Leo. You know what I mean if you’ve read the books. He’s just a human. Trying to figure things out. Sometimes Usually making mistakes.

• 3 Unpopular Bookish Opinions

Young Adult is an AGE GROUP, not a GENRE. It’s a category, like Children or Adult. It always annoys me on websites like Barnes and Noble or Amazon when they list all the book genres and then stick ‘YA’ at the end. 😛

• I…didn’t really like Archenemies (by Marissa Meyer). I loved Renegades, but Archenemies just felt like the same story over again, except with more romance between Adrian and Nova. 😦

I don’t really like contemporary books. They seem really dull and boring to me. If I wanted to read about realistic life…why wouldn’t I just go out and live?

• 3 Popular Bookish Opinions

I love deckled edges! I think it makes a reading experience even more magical!

E-books will always be inferior to a real, physical book. Always. Not that e-books are bad or anything, I have like a hundred of them. XD I’ll just always prefer a real book.

Nothing is better than a shiny new copy of a book! I will buy used copies, or get them from the library, but nothing beats a new book.

• 3 Favorite Book Covers

There are soooo many gorgeous ones…how can I choose just three?!

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• 3 Book Goals for the Year

Try to read 30 books!

Read some more outside of my main genre (fantasy, in case you didn’t know, but you probably did). I’d like to dip into some historical fiction, some sci-fi, maybe even a bit of contemporary…despite what I said above. Just ignore that. XD

Read some of the e-books I have on my Nook! I’m so bad about keeping up with these. I have so many I’ve gotten for free and there are so many I’ve bought too. I need to get through some of them this year.

Well, there you go, the Three Bookish Things tag! I think I shall tag Kenzie @ Smudged Thoughts, Laurel @ We’ll Be Fine, and Faith @ The Writer’s Song.

Here are the questions for easy copy-paste //

3 Favorite Authors

3 Weirdest Things Used as a Bookmark

3 Series Binged

3 Characters You Love

3 Unpopular Bookish Opinions

3 Popular Bookish Opinions

3 Favorite Book Covers

3 Book Goals for this Year

Do you have any unpopular bookish opinions? Who are your favorite authors? Let me know in the comments!

New Until Next Time!

 

2018 in Review

2018

Well guys, we made it. Another year has passed, gone like a blink, like 2017 was just last week.

But then again, 2018 has felt like the longest year of my life. So much happened, and I’m still trying to process what being an adult feels like…

Time is weird, amiright?

Doctor Who Time GIF by BBC

Anyway, I wanted to highlight some of the great things that happened this year, as well as some tentative goals for 2019. Oh, and stick around for a fun announcement! 😀

My 2018 Goals //

My loose plans are to work on outlining a TON. I don’t think these ideas can stay in my head for much longer. I need to write them all out so my brain isn’t so strung up on details. XD

Welp. Didn’t…quite get to that…I did some outlining, but it wasn’t with a new project, I was fixing an old one. Guess I’m still strung up on the details.

I have no plans to do JuNo or NaNo, but I’m not against it. I’ll have to see how open my schedule is at the time and decided from there.

Whoot-whoot, I did NaNo!! And it was INSANE.

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And as a last goal, I really want to try and not put too much pressure on myself. I’ve found that I am VERY hard on myself and I don’t know when to stop. So if I need to take a hiatus, then I will. If I need to rework my blog schedule, then I will.

And that’s not just for blogging. Reading, writing, and life too.

Hmm…well…kinda majorly failed this one. I’m still incredibly hard on myself. But maybe I’m getting better. I can’t really say, myself, honestly. I think I did take several hiatuses this year, and I reworked my blog schedule to a post every two weeks for a bit there…So…I guess I kind of achieved this goal? XD

So I half completed my loose goals last year, half not really, but I think I did fairly well. But enough of that, let’s get into the details (that I’m apparently strung up on XD)!

Life Stuff //

Now that I’m looking back, all of these things happened in the summer. Huh. I had kind of a crazy summer…

• I made it through my very first Summer Reading Program as a library aide! It was…utter insanity. Kids, books, paper, they were everywhere. And even though it’s a part-time job, I was still exhausted. I worked almost every day, aside from Thursdays and Sundays (and every other Saturday).

Library Studying GIF by University of Florida

It was intense and I may have desperately wished to quit on a few occasions, but in all, it wasn’t bad! I stayed busy, came home tired, but fulfilled, and really savored the time I had to myself.

• I went to a week-long Bible camp as a cabin counselor in June. It was the longest I had been away from home, by myself, essentially. My dad and brother were there with me, but we were apart for most of the time. The first few days were awful. I wanted to cry quite a few times. And I don’t cry. Hardly ever.

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But as the week progressed, things got better. I got to hang out a bit with an old friend, and I met lots of new people. I’m glad I did it, but if I ever go back, I would ask to be a worker, helping cook in the kitchens or cleaning. I’d feel much more comfortable that way. 🙂

• And last but definitely not least, I attended Realm Makers for the first time!!! It was so amazingly fun, and I really hope to go again this year! I so enjoyed meeting my blogging buddies! It was so nice connecting with you in person, and just talking to other writers! It was lovely and I highly recommend attending if at all available.

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Some of my wonderful peeps! (picture courtesy of Deborah)

• Also, I turned 18. That’s. Kind of scary. I’m an adult now, guys. I got my braces off, I have a job, a car…I’m so close to reaching peak adulthood! XD

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GUYS. I’VE GOTTEN INTO THIS SHOW. IT. IS. SO. GOOOOOOD. I will now proceed to use as many gifs from this as possible.

Writer’s Desk //

Nothing really significant happened on the writing scene this year, but…

I WON NANOWRIMO FOR THE FIRST TIME!!!

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I’ll link to my experience post so you can see the insanity I went through the month of November. It was so much fun, and the novel I was writing was actually a rewrite of Imprint, a book I’ve been working on for SO. DARN. LONG. I think I’ve gotten it to how I like it, so, after I let some close friends give it a run-through…I may consider sending it to some beta-readers. Sometime this year. Hopefully soon. So. Keep an eye out for that.

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I spent a lot of time perfecting Imprint this year, but I still somehow I managed to come up with two new ideas (one about two prince brothers who rule the kingdoms of light and darkness, and the other about an alternate dimension involving cartoons, magic, and mischief (note: EXTREMELY EXCITED ABOUT THESE), and worked on some character profiling for my superhero trilogy I want to get started on.

Book Nook //

Another exciting thing… I won my reading challenge for the first time, since I joined Goodreads!!!

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I only gave myself 20 books, but I’m still kind of happy with my accomplishment! 😀 I suppose this is a year of firsts for me, huh…?

Some highlights of this year //

Renegades by Marissa Meyer // SO. EPIC. I love so much superheroes, so this was a fantastic read!

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Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard // So many twists and turns, plus amazing characters and a neat setting!

A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews // I always thought the first book Cait would publish would be an epic fantasy, but instead she came up with this genius contemporary Beethoven retelling that I love to bits and pieces.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater // I can’t recommend this, since there’s quite a bit of content, but SERIOUSLY. THIS WAS AMAZING. I immediately read the second book, and I’m itching to read the third book!

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab // Dark, twisty fantasy with alternate dimensions and magic and THE CHARACTERS. THE CHARACTERS ARE EPIC.

Movie Theater* //

I saw a lot of movies this year, but here are a few I really had an opinion about //

Black Panther // I loved this movie, but I could be biased. It’s a Marvel movie. I’m going to love any of the MCU movies. That’s just how it works.

Avengers: Infinity War // WAIT. NEVER MIND. I CHANGE MY MIND. MARVEL YOU HAVE BETRAYED ME. *quiet sobbing*

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Incredibles 2 // This was really fun! The action sequences were soooo gorgeously animated, and the humor was delightful! I didn’t quite like it as much as the original, the villain in particular I didn’t enjoy, but…the original just really can’t be topped, in my opinion.

Ant-Man and the Wasp // Loved it. So much. Scott and Hope’s relationship is so adorable, and I thought the villain was really interesting, more like an anti-hero than anything else.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation // These are older, but I just recently got into them and WOW I’m a fan! I really need to see Fallout…

Star Wars prequels // These were…interesting, I’ll say. I disliked the first one, (except for Qui-gon, he’s legit), the second one was better, but then…I could barely watch the third one. The dialogue was just too cringe for me…At least with the originals you’re expecting the cheesiness…

Wreck-It Ralph 2 // I…wasn’t a fan of this one. It…didn’t work as a sequel for me. It seemed to go backwards in character growth, and it almost totally disregarded the events of the original. It was one of my least favorites of last year. That ending…man…

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My face while watching the end.

Christopher Robin // This was so innocently adorable. It was such a nice, fresh change from what people have been putting into theaters lately. Watch it to be filled with sweet nostalgia.

Aquaman // I technically watched this one this year, but since it came out last year, I’m counting it. Oh gosh…it was not for me. I thought the story was bland, I didn’t connect with any of the characters, and most of the action scenes were underwater, making them blurry and hard to understand.

Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse // AAAAHHHHH JUST WATCH IT OKAY. MY FAVORITE OF 2018!!!! *cries over beautiful animation*

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*Okay, small aside, but is it just me or does it seem like all Hollywood puts out is sequels, reboots, and book adaptations? Is it just me?

Goals for 2019 (oh my word, just typing ‘2019’ scares me…) //

• Try to do one, big thing that’s outside of my comfort zone.

I feel like I miss out on so much in life, just because I’m scared to do it. I’d love to be able to just dive right outside my comfort zone. Even if it’s something simple. Like going somewhere I’ve never been, or taking some college classes, or even getting another job somewhere. I don’t know what to do just yet, but I’m going to try to be brave in the coming year.

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• Send Imprint to some beta-readers and then…possibly…start querying for an agent?

This kind of terrifies me, but I think I’ve worked hard on my novel, and I want to get it out there. I want my writing to inspire and entertain others, like it does to me.

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• Read 30 books.

If I can do 20, I can do 30, so help me.

Alright, remember what I said about making some kind of announcement? Well, here it is…

• I’m going to attempt to start a movie review blog.

That’s right. Another blog. Movies have always been special to me, and I have a lot of opinions about them. So I decided, why not start reviewing them?

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This idea is still pretty new, but I’ve always had it in the back of my head that I’d like to start another blog. I would probably have to work out yet another new schedule so I don’t die trying to churn out so many posts a weeks, but I think it could be worth it!

It’s called… Reel Thoughts | Honest Opinions on the Latest in Entertainment

I’d like to include some game and music reviews as well as movies, but nothing is for sure yet. I’d also like to get this brainchild of mine up by Short & Snappy‘s anniversary, which is sometime in March (Hello past me, nope, it’s April). We’ll see how that works out. But keep a look out!

How was your 2018? Do you have any amazing goals for 2019? Share your thoughts with me down below!

New Until Next Time!

The Winner of the Most Epic Heroine Award

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Madeline: Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, both magical and otherwise, to the Most Epic Heroine Ceremony! I hope you have all been having a good time, seeing the winners of everyone else’s categories, and have been delighted at the outcomes. But I’m sure you’re all ready to see who has won in this category, so without anymore ado I introduce our presenter, Eowyn!

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Immense cheers and clapping fill the room as Eowyn approaches, shocked and delighted at the ecstatic noise.

Eowyn: Thank you, Madeline, for hosting this gathering, and thank you, kind people that your are, for your enthusiasm. I appreciate every one of you. I am so honored to be here with you all and am overjoyed that you would think me such a wonderful hero to present this award.

More cheers sound and feet thump joyously on the ground, vibrating the entire room.

Eowyn: *smiles at the crowd, and then clears her throat* If I could have your quiet attention, I would like to list off the contestants who have proved themselves eligible for this wonderful award. First off, we have…Leeli Igiby!

Leeli uneasily gets to her feet, giving the most elegant bow a lady with a crippled leg can, as the crowd claps in excitement for her. Peet excitedly leaps up, clapping his socked hands furiously. Leeli gently guides him back into his seat, and smiles as he murmurs something eagerly in her ear.

Eowyn: *attempts to keep a laugh in while watching Leeli and Peet* A worthy contender, most courageous and compassionate indeed. Next on the list we have…Fern!

Fern bounces from her seat and gives a graceful bow as the crowd claps eagerly. She glances suddenly to her left with a look of apprehension in her eyes. There appears to be nothing there, but Fern smiles with a glitter in her eyes.

Eowyn: A truly lovely young girl, brave in the face of many dangers, not always seen by others. *gives Fern a kind look* Continuing down the list we have…Aravis!

Aravis swiftly gets to her feet and gives a most splendid bow, smiling at Shasta all the while. From the back of the hall, a couple of loud whinnies are heard, as well as some hoof stomping and loud shouts of approval from Hwin and Bree. A few people turn in surprise, amazed to see talking horses, but then realize that anything can happen at a fantasy awards ceremony. Of course there would be talking horses.

Eowyn: A most brave and adventurous spirit, kind to her animal friends, and loyal to her human friends. Next, we have…Cress!

Cress’s eyes dart away from examining the hall in awe, toward the center stage. She hurriedly gets to her feet as uproarious applause breaks out, giving a clumsy bow, and nearly falling on her face. Thorne quickly steadies her and silently urges her to return to her seat. She does so, her face a bit redder than it was before. Despite this, she gives a shy smile.

Eowyn: *smiles back, and continues with a laugh in her voice* A sweet, loyal friend and amazing lady, always there for her friends. Finally, we have…Jill!

Jill rises from her seat and gives a gentle curtsy, while Eustace sits in his seat, stubbornly not clapping, but smiling at Jill all the same. Puddleglum rolls his eyes and shoves Eustace in the shoulder, prompting Eustace to clap like a proper human being. Eustace finally gives in and gives a slow clap or two.

Eowyn: *lets out a small laugh, watching Eustace and Puddleglum* A fiercely loyal friend and brave explorer, most definitely deserving of this award. Of course, all of these wonderful ladies are more than deserving of the title Most Epic Heroine. I’m sure you are all most eager to here the results, so I won’t leave you to wonder any longer.

The winner of the Most Epic Heroine award is…

The crowd murmurs, suspense filling the room…The suspense fills the room, stealing everyone’s breath, leaving everyone unable to move…Contained excitement buzzes in the room, waiting to be unleashed…

Aravis!

Thunderous applause smashes throughout the room, as people jump to their feet, filling the room with an electric energy that makes the room practically glow.

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Aravis rises to her feet, her whole body trembling with excitement, and makes her way to the stage to stand beside Eowyn. Her face is lit up and her heart pounds fiercely in her chest.

Eowyn: On this day, we grant you this award, for your bravery in the face of lions, your loyalty to your friends, your kindness to the Talking Horses Hwin and Bree, your resourcefulness when escaping the Tisroc’s palace, and your unwavering perseverance in the face of troubles and sorrow. Please accept this medal, Aravis, for you surely deserve it.

Eowyn reveals a beautiful gold medallion with a smooth string of pink silk, and places it over Aravis’ head.

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Eowyn: Thank you all for coming to this ceremony, thank you for having me, Madeline, and thank you Aravis, for being an inspiration to people everywhere. We could all learn something from you, and I hope your story will live on to inspire many young souls in the years to come.

Madeline: There you have it! The winner of this year’s Most Epic Heroine! Let’s give one last round of applause for Aravis!

Happy cheers and claps fill the hall one last time. Leeli, Fern, Cress, and Jill come up on stage and congratulate Aravis, hugs become contagious, and a grand feast is held afterwards, with Aravis sitting at the front of the banquet table with her dear friends Shasta, Hwin, and Bree.

Send your congrats to Aravis down in the comments! And go read the stories these amazing ladies are in, so you can see them in all their epic-ness! 😀 Thanks for tuning in, and remember to check out the winners of all the other categories as well!

New Until Next Time!

 

Silmaril Awards // Voting Round!

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Hey guys! Okay, I just have to say it…WOW. WOW WOW WOW.

I got 236 COMMENTS on my nominations post and I am just amazed. YAY TO ALL THE PEOPLE WHO NOMINATED PEOPLE! YAY TO THE PEOPLE WHO SECONDED PEOPLE!!YAY TO ALL THE EPIC HEROINES!!! 😀

And now, I’m sure you’ve all been waiting for the results, so I won’t delay any longer!

Coming up with the most nominations, we have…

Fern from The Girl Who Could See (by Kara Swanson)

Fern has a strong spirit and caring heart. Her bravery in the face of danger and her own fears – along with her relentless determination – certainly sets her apart as a very epic heroine. Also…she can see into other worlds and has an imaginary warrior friend.

Next we have…

Aravis from The Horse and His Boy (by C.S. Lewis)

Descendant of the great god Tash, Aravis is fearless, willing to kill herself rather than be married to her evil suitor. She survives lion attacks, avoids capture by sneaking out of Tashbaan and escaping to the Tombs, and treks through the blistering desert sun to reach her destination. Throughout her journey, Aravis has shown herself to be a strong and capable heroine, brave, loyal, and resourceful.

Up next we have…

Jill from The Silver Chair and The Last Battle (by C.S. Lewis)

Though bullied at school in England, Jill blossoms as a hero in Narnia. From her journeys through Underworld to save Prince Rillian, to her stand with the last king of Narnia in The Last Battle, Jill proves to be tenacious adventurer and a fierce friend.

Our next nominee is…

Leeli Igiby from The Wingfeather Saga (by Andrew Peterson)

Though she’s a young lass, Leeli Igiby carries herself with poise, and her compassion is nigh unrivaled. Her crippled leg doesn’t hinder her from joining her brothers Janner and Tink in wild escapades, and her small stature belies her fierce nature and ever-present courage. Chief among her skills is her deft touch on the whistleharp, from which she can spin songs that can quiet the most ferocious soul and penetrate the hardest heart. Her devotion to her family and her dear dog Nugget, her strength in the face of the ghastly Fangs of Dang, and her gentle attitude toward the mysterious Peet the Sock Man make her a true inspiration.

And finally we have…

Cress from The Lunar Chronicles (by Marissa Meyer)

A shell, born with no abilities and immunity to deceptive magic, Cress is the most incredible hacker in the known galaxy. Though she lived in a satellite by herself for most of her life, and is perhaps unfamiliar with some common customs and social cues, that only makes her all the more sweet and innocent. She is there for her friends when they need her, is brave when it counts, loyal, kind, and never gives up, even when it seems all hope is lost.

HERE is the link to the voting form. Let me know which of these heroines you want to win! And may the odds be ever in your favorite characters’ favor! 😀

New Until Next Time!

3rd Annual Silmaril Awards Ceremony // Nomination Round! (CLOSED!)

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THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR NOMINATIONS! WE WILL NOW BEGIN THE TALLYING PROCESS AND VOTING WILL START ON MONDAY!

Hello friends! So, I feel really bad for being such a bad blogger and not posting as frequently as I feel I should be. But hopefully this post makes up for it!

Because…

*drum-roll please*

IT’S SILMARIL TIME! That’s right, it’s finally here! And I can’t wait to see you all go wild in the comments!! 😀

This year, I will be hosting The Most Epic Heroine Silmaril! This award should go to the heroine who is brave in the face of danger. Who isn’t afraid to risk her life for her friends. Who is smart. Resourceful. Wise. Kind. And an all-around amazing person.

Before you scurry over to the comment section, there are a few things you need to know:

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• Authors may not nominate their own characters. Sorry guys. 😦 But you are more than welcome to encourage your fans to nominate them!

• Anyone can second any character, even if it’s their own! The more seconds a character gets, the more chances they have of making it into the big-five voting round!

• Nominations are allowed for FANTASY BOOK characters only! Movie characters aren’t allowed unless the book came FIRST (e.g. The Princess Bride). We DO give a bit of leeway in the fantasy/sci-fi spectrum. If a good argument can be made as to WHY the book is technically fantasy, we will allow it (e.g. The Lunar Chronicles. Since they are actually fairy-tale retellings, and they have an element of magic, they are allowed).

• Characters who have already won a Silmaril in previous years are not permitted to win the award again. They are instead part of the “Lifetime” Hall of Fame for that specific award. (Lucy Pevensie won last year’s awards, so she will not be eligible.)

• Characters from any of Tolkien’s books (The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, etc.) are NOT allowed to be nominated, as most of them will be presenting at the awards ceremony. How awkward would it be for them to have to present themselves with the award?

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We also have a snazzy new website this year, courtesy of DJ Edwardson. Go check it out, it’s seriously amazing! We have past winners, a list of the bloggers who put this together, and much more stuff to come!

And lastly, here are the links to all the other presenters’ nomination posts! Be sure to go nominate in all of their categories too!

Least Competent Henchman

Silver Tongue

Most Nefarious Villain

Wisest Counselor

Most Mischievous Imp

Most Epic Hero

Most Magnificent Dragon

Most Loyal Friend

Strangest Character

Remember; nominations are open until September 7th, so get your favorites in quick! And don’t forget to have a blast! I can’t wait to see all the epic heroines! ^_^

New Until Next Time!

Realm Makers // Tips for Newbies! (AKA, Things I Wish I Had Known)

Wow. Look at me, I’m so on top of things, aren’t I? Posting every two weeks, giving you guys quality content. Go me.

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Okay, now that that’s out of the way, I WENT TO REALM MAKERS. AND IT WAS CRAZY. AND AWESOME. AND I WANT TO GO AGAIN NEXT YEAR.

I had such an amazing time, meeting all of you guys (and wishing some of you guys were there ;( ), taking a notebook full of notes in all the classes, book buying, dressing up for banquet night, the Nerf war that may or may not have happened. 😉

In short, it was such an amazing experience, and since I can’t accurately sum everything up, I’m going to throw some of these other bloggers posts in your face. Jenelle, Tracey, and Christine have some lovely recaps you should go read right now (you’ll find a couple pictures of me, if you look hard enough. 😉 )

So, as a writer, this was a totally worthwhile experience for me. I would go again in a heartbeat. But…there were some things that I wish I had done, and some things I wish I hadn’t done. So, if you’re planning on going some time in the future, or you just want some of my advice for next year, I’m going to list some pro tips that will help you be the best Realmie you can be. 😀

Tip 1 // Take as many pictures as humanly possible!

This is one of those things were I can see my quietness really makes itself known. I’m not the type of person to just walk up to somebody and say ‘Hey, mind if I take a picture with you?’ No, no, no, no, no, that is not me. If you come up to me and ask for a picture, I will gladly pose and smile. But it’s just not in my nature to ask.

But I wish I had. I so wish I had.

Because now I have no pictures of the event (except for the ones Christine sent me, THANK YOU SO MUCH ❤ ). It’s all mostly memories for me. And that’s totally fine. If you don’t care about the pictures, no big deal. But I know for me, pictures help keep events alive in my mind. And I do have the memory of a goldfish, so…

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Also, part of the reason I didn’t take any pictures is because I didn’t have a nice camera. I had my phone with me, but any pictures I attempted to take on it were always blurry and/or grainy. So I gave up on that. I do have a little digital camera, but it’s not the easiest to use. And I also forgot it. So.

In conclusion: get yourself a good camera, and don’t be afraid to snap a ton of photos! You’ll be so glad you did.

Tip 2 // Consider if you want take notes on paper or on your laptop/device!

This kind of depends on how good at note taking you are. I know I kind of wished I have used my laptop (even though it’s big and bulky and weighs a half a ton XD ). Instead, I had a notebook with me. Which definitely worked just fine, I filled it up with a ton of great notes and it felt really great just carrying my little notebook and pencil to each class.

But I’m not the fastest note taker. There was a lot of stuff that I missed because I couldn’t write fast enough. (Most of the people giving classes were willing to send their slides out, though, so that was nice. 🙂 ) Typing is just much easier and more convenient for me.

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But it’s also a pain to lug around a gargantuan laptop. In my case, I probably won’t end up carrying my computer around, but if you have a tiny, easily portable device, I would highly suggest using that, if you’re more into typing than pencil and paper.

Tip 3 // Bring business cards!

I so wish I had made some and brought them! Every time someone handed me there business card I would have to accept it and then…awkwardly not give them anything in return because I had nothing. XD

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ME.

After I got home, I started designing some on Vistaprint, had them finished within a day, and then ordered a pack of a hundred. They’re super cute and I’m really excited about them. ^_^

So if you want to be professional and you have the money, it’s a great way to promote yourself and your business (editing, writing, blogging, etc).

Tip 4 // Book appointments!

I don’t know if they do this every year, but lemme tell ya, I definitely regret not meeting with an agent or editor or even a mentor.

The nice thing about it is that they have people you can talk to for each stage of writing you’re in. All polished up and looking to pitch? Go with an agent. Feeling pretty confident, but still feel like your manuscript could use a little more work before it’s ready? Try an editor. Still in the writing stage and just looking for general guidance and encouragement? Book a mentor.

I probably would’ve booked a mentor, if I hadn’t gotten around to it too late (go me. XD) I know a lot of my fellow bloggers had meetings with agents and editors and they said it was invaluable, talking with a professional.

So I am definitely booking sooner rather than later, if I go next year. It sounds like it was worth it.

Tip 5 // Don’t be afraid to take breaks when you need to!

This is probably the most important tip, in my opinion. Don’t tire yourself out, trying to do everything. It’s okay to step back and take a breather. Head to your room for a little nap. Do a little exploring on your own during break periods. Grab a snack and just sit and relax.

I came with my family, and we stayed on site most of the time. It was so nice being able to just head to my room if it was too much noise and people. I could hang with my family, watch a little TV, eat some of the food we brought. It worked out really well.

So if it’s getting to be too much, and you need to catch your breath, don’t feel bad about it. If the majority of us there are introverted, we’ll understand. (I don’t know if that was true, but nearly all the bloggers I knew who were there are introverted, so I’m just making up data. XD)

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Well, those are my tips for you future Realmies. I hope you heed my advice and come to Realm Makers next year! It was such a blast meeting you guys and for those of you who couldn’t make it I HOPE YOU CAN COME NEXT YEAR. Although, I don’t even know if I can go next year… Well, fingers crossed, I guess.

Have you ever been to Realm Makers before? If so, what are some of your favorite memories? I’d love to swap experiences with you! And if you haven’t been to Realm Makers, are you planning to go next year? ‘CAUSE YOU NEED TO. SERIOUSLY. Maybe you’ll see me there next year… 😉

New Until Next Time!