Monthly Highlights - January 2017

January 30, 2017

   I literally (and accidentally) put '2016' on my 'January Highlights' header image when I was making it. Apparently my mind can't wrap around the fact that it's 2017 now xD.

   Am I the only one who both loves writing monthly highlights posts, but cringes at the same time? It's so HARD - but at the same time it's a lot of fun to round up all the things that happened and realize that, hey, this was a pretty good month (albeit a quiet one xD)!

   Actually, not much happened this month. Like I said, it was pretty quiet. Mostly school and writing - and the other, everyday things that were still fun ;).

   - There's been lots of singing - though, this basically happens every month. Our family loves making music together - and it's especially fun when one person breaks into song and the rest of us randomly join in. Sometimes we sing normal songs ... but sometimes one of the family goofballs will make something up, and we'll all end up laughing until we cry. Tons of fun xD. (and lots of listening to the beautiful songs my sister Skylar composes. They're epic)

   - Vlogging. Turns out I really like doing this, and Ariel certainly doesn't mind giving me a hand with the taping of a video. Maybe I'll let her make a guest appearance in the next one ;).  

   - Wrote about 5,346 words, not including all of the plotting/brainstorming stuff that I did xD. Most of this was for no story in particular - I just felt like spilling ink. So I did *shrugs*. I'm hoping to write closer to 10k words next month - but next month is going to be pretty full for me, so we'll see if that happens.

   - Lots of musing over a Red Riding Hood retelling that wants to be written. I'm not too sure about it yet (seeing as I really need to get my priorities straight and edit Killing Snow, instead of traipsing off into the wilderness of un-done story ideas), but the characters refuse to give up. So the first draft of that might happen in February.      

   - I wrote a good few pages of story from a random prompt that Hope Ann posted on her blog. Said story seemed to be taking off for a little while, but then I got tired and the thing went nowhere xD. But my sisters thought that what I wrote of it was good, so maybe I'll post some of it on here at some point. However, it was WAY different and kind of darker than what I normally write, so it's probably going to join the pile of 'stories I started but never finished that shan't ever see the light of day' xD.   

ze aforementioned prompt

   ... and you guys are probably wanting a snippet of something-or-other that I wrote this month.  *sighs* *goes to find something vaguely suitable* (this is unedited, to make you aware) 

   And yep, that's it - hurry away and forget I showed that to you xD. 

+ five others I couldn't get pics of
   17 books - not as many as I planned to read, but not a bad amount either. And basically all of the books were EPIC so I don't really care xD.

   - (whole series) Threshold by Christa Kinde. I almost consider this series one of those 'hidden gems' of the book world. It isn't super well-known, but it is one of my favorite series in the whole stinkin' world (right up there with LotR, Harry Potter, and such). I've re-read them so many times - and I don't re-read too often, so that means a good deal coming from me. The characters are so incredible, and I definitely had a huge case of story hangover when I finished. I just needed more. It's a five star series for certain. 

   - Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. So I know I talked about the Hunger Games series in one of my other Monthly Highlights posts - but I had to come back to this one. I have complained about it being a kind of confusing last book, but guess what? It's actually much better on a re-read. As I re-read, I loved this book just about as much as the others. Definitely a 4 1/2 star book on the second go-round.

   - Anne Of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. One of the only realistic fiction books that I adore and will re-read. I think this was my second or third time reading it (I guess this was a month of re-reading for me? Huh. Odd.) and I still love it. I don't normally give realistic fiction books five stars, but this one deserves every one of them.

   I also started alpha-ing Soleil's story, Changeling. I love beta/alpha-ing stories, and Soleil's is really good - and she hasn't even edited it since NaNoWriMo (and OH BOY is she brave to let me read her bare-bones draft) so I'm super excited to see where it goes after this.

collage she made for Changeling = EPICNESS

   - Sarah Margaret finished her novel and got physical copies of it *squeals*.

   - Hannah White posted about the importance of vulnerability in characters (her posts are GOALS, people. Every time.).

   - Katie Grace gave us a huge dose of encouragement for editing that I NEEDED SO BAD.

   - Tracey Dyck did two GORGEOUS posts that I can't even explain (because they caused me to lose all the words in my brain) so just go read this and this.

   - Julia Ryan wrote a beautiful short story based off of one of her poems.

   - Nadine Brandes wrote an epic post about your age being defined by your attitude, not a number.

   - An incredible post on Burning Youth stunned me again (basically every post on Burning Youth does this to me. But I'll just link to one, no? OH WAIT - this one too. Can't help it xD).

   - The next post in my character building series, which may or may not have to do with villain characters ;).

   - At least one tag, seeing as I'm getting behind on the things I've been tagged for xD.

   - Maybe a post of First Lines (inspired by one of Tracey's posts) from my stories. But we'll see about that one, as most of my first lines are horrendous, un-edited monsters. 

the poor un-edited thing *shakes head*
   That one 'tis a wee bit better than the others - BUT STILL.

   So that was my January in a nutshell - and it looks like the first month of 2017 might be the calm before the storm. I'm super excited to see what the next month brings! (probably edits of Killing Snow. But I'm pretending I don't know that. *continues to be oblivious*)

~ Savannah Grace

   Did any cool things happen for you this month? What was one of your favorite posts you read in January?

The Girl In The Mirror

January 26, 2017

mirrors are dangerous.
the girl on the other side of the glass? she can be your best friend - or she could be poison.
tell me truthfully - are their lies in her eyes?
do you believe them?


don't believe the trash she's feeding you. believe the still, small voice in your ear that is Him, trying to tell you the truth.

"I love you. I love you. I love you. 
you are beautiful and charismatic and perfect. this hand that crafted stars - I used it to craft you.
I came to die for you - the beautiful girl who has no one to compare herself to. 
I love you. I love you. I love you." 

that mirror girl? she's can be cold. calculating, even. she's insecure, you can see it in her face.
a mirror flips everything backwards. so if she's insecure ... maybe you're standing on something solid.
look closer. you'll recognize it.

"I love you. I love you. I love you." 

hey there, mirror girl - tell me what you're so afraid of. is it that i'm inadequate, or is it that i'm superhuman?
    ~ mirror girl, by abbie emmons

~ Savannah Grace

just wanted to share my thoughts - don't mind me ;)

Q&A Vlog - Part 2

January 24, 2017

   Finally got around to taping part two of the q+a vlog! (and yay me, I'm posting it on time xD) 

   I think I did a little better with this vlog than I did with the other one - seeing as it's only a six minute video instead of seventeen (*dies*). Even if the noise was a little finicky at times, I consider this vlog to be an upgrade xD. Enjoy! 

   And here I sit, laughing at myself in the video. Hopefully this vlog was amusing to you guys, too - I had a lot of fun with it (and Ariel did too - she loves cutting in with her two cents xD)! Hopefully I'll be back with another vlog sometime soon ;).   

~ Savannah Grace

    What movie have you seen that has the best costumes? What was the best book you read in 2016? also, Mary Horton recently (or ... not so recently, because I am late xD) celebrated her first blogoversary - so go check her post out ;)

Cover Reveal: Martin Hospitality

January 21, 2017

   SO today is a pretty special day - anyone want to guess why? xD

   My good friend Abi Ellison is releasing her first book, Martin Hospitality (and OH BOY am I excited! ) on February 4th - and if what her beta readers have been saying about it is any indication, I think it's going to be AH-MAZING. And today you guys get to see the cover! Ready?

and if you're like me, you skipped the post and went straight to the cover xD

   *stares at the loveliness* You guys, I'm so pumped for this book to come out, Abi has put her whole heart into it. And honestly - I've seen people I don't even know raving over it and the book hasn't even come out yet so that obviously means we should all be trampling over each other to get it, come February 4th xD.

~ Savannah Grace

   What do you think of Abi's cover? Are you excited for Martin Hospitality to release?   

How To Liven Up Your Mentor Character - My Guest Post On GTW

January 20, 2017

   We've already discussed livening up your leader character - and now it's time to move onto mentors!

    Mentor characters. Almost every book has them, and a lot of the time they become a beloved character of the series. Some examples are Gandalf the Grey in Lord Of The Rings, Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars, Brom in The Inheritance Cycle and Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter. But what is it that makes these characters so well loved?
    They’re unique. They’re memorable.
    And that is what you want your mentor character to be ... 

   Hop on over to the Go Teen Writers blog to read the rest! 

~ Savannah Grace

The Inspire Me Tag

January 18, 2017

   Hannah White (Ink Blots And Coffee Stains) recently created an EPIC tag called Inspire Me - and tagged me to do it! It looks like a ton of fun, and I'm super excited about it ;).

  - Ze Rules -

1. Copy these rules onto your post
2. Thank the person who tagged you (thank you, Hannah!)
3. Tag five other bloggers (More or less - whatever you want.)
4. Have fun and be honest and answer alll da questions (and feel free to add some of your own!)

1. What is one are some of the most inspiring things to you?  

   Late nights spent watching the stars. Early mornings and seeing the sun rise. A blanket of fog covering a still-sleeping world. Silver mist. Walking in the rain. Quiet forests. 
   Grey clouds. Twilight To Dawn. Train tracks that lead to nowhere. Chasing Fireflies on moon-lit nights, and strange happenings that cannot be explained.

2. Where do you look for inspiration? 

   Quite honestly, I don't normally look for inspiration. Sometimes I will (mostly if I'm seriously stuck in a story-rut or I need that little spark that will help me figure out a plot bunny), but most of the time inspiration seems to find me, instead of the other way around. Which can be both a blessing and a hindrance, because inspiration tends to take its sweet time xD (at least I'm never at a loss for plot bunnies!). 

3. When and where does inspiration tend to hit you? 

   Always at the worst times - and normally where I can't write it down xD. Half of the time it's at midnight, when I'm far too tired to grab paper and make a note about it.
   The other half of inspiration normally hits my while browsing through my file of pictures that I save because they look like they could turn into plot bunnies. That thing is a treasure trove of ideas and inspiration (if you haven't started anything like this, you should! It's helped me with tons of stories) 
   But if I sit down with a notebook during the day (especially a rainy day) and don't worry about what I'm writing (or the logic of what I'm writing *cringes*) then inspiration tends to come and I end up with 2k+ words that I didn't see coming. That's always fun!   

4. What's the first thing you do when inspiration strikes? 

   Again, the midnight thing. Which means I end up falling asleep in the middle of thinking about the scene I've just had inspiration for xD. 
   BUT that's not interesting in the least, so we'll switch to a daytime scenario. The want to write hits me a lot more often than the inspiration to write, but when real, honest-to-goodness inspiration hits me, I tend to be lazy and just play the inspired scene over and over in my head while I go about my day, and write it down later. Which I actually like better than writing it down immediately, because then I can mess with the scene some before seeing it on paper. 

5. What's the most inspiring book/song/website/etc. you've found? 

   OH WOW - there are a ton of inspirational songs I could mention, and almost as many blogs and books! 
   I absolutely adore music, and I go to it whenever I'm having a tough time getting through a scene. But I few that I've had on repeat lately are: 'Better' by Britt Nicole, 'Time For The Show' by Kerrie Roberts, and I also love 'To The Dreamers' by For King And Country, and 'Lost Girls' by Lindsey Stirling. 
   Books-wise ... well, that's a little harder. But The Hunger Games recently inspired me to try writing in first person more (which turned out to be ... interesting. Very fun, but the story I started on is described as 'creepy' by my sisters XD). 
    As to blogs ... well, I'm limiting myself to five blogs because otherwise I'll list most every blog I read xD. Ink Blots And Coffee Stains, Abbiee, Burning Youth, Taking My Time, and Twilight To Dawn. Go check them out, they're all epic *nodnod*.    

6. What's one piece of advice you would give to people struggling for inspiration? 

   Quit fighting to find inspiration. Inspiration is like a spooked animal half the time - chase it, and it's going to run. Just stand still and wait, and it will normally come to you. 
   Also, you need to stay open to getting inspiration, even if you aren't looking for it. When I'm writing a story, my brain will sometimes unconsciously shut off to sources of inspiration. Mostly this is because I'm afraid too much inspiration will give me too many crazy ideas for where my already-written story could go, and I don't want it to change. AND this is wrong, because what is editing if not change (and also the crazy ideas tend to be better than what I came up with in the first place xD).     
   So that was quite a ramble. But basically - don't go crazy trying to find inspiration, and always be open to inspiration ;).  

I tag ... 

Abbie @ Abbiee 
Hanna @ Taking My Time 
Julia Ryan @ The Barefoot Gal 
Ariel @ Christ's Ambassador (private blog) 
Evangeline @ An Odd Blog

   So yes, that tag was just as fun as I thought it would be, and I had a blast! Many thanks to the lovely Hannah for creating it! (also, I linked to her blog about three times in this post, so that must mean something. Go check her out xD)    

~ Savannah Grace 

   What kinds of things inspire you? What advice would you give to people looking for inspiration?

Blogger Design || Making, Centering, And Types Of Pages

January 13, 2017

    When I started blogging, I basically knew nothing about design and definitely needed some help xD. There was some stuff I wish I had known when I began blogging, so I thought I'd do a few posts on Blogger Design - so that I maybe I can help some of you who are still confused on what's what like I am was :D. (not that I'm quite qualified to be showing you guys what to do, but ... minor details xD). Today we're talking about pages.

*does not mention how long it originally took me to figure pages out, because honestly it's simple*     

   As you can see, I only have two pages - About Me and Writings.

   About Me is definitely a good one for any blog - I'd highly recommend adding this as one of your pages if you don't have it. Writings works for my blog, since I am a writer - if you have a writing blog, this might be a good page to add. Then your curious readers can get a  peek at what you're working on (because obviously all readers are very curious little things *nodnod*).

   I would also add a Contact Me page (*cringes because I haven't done this yet and need to*), or maybe a Start Here or About The Blog page if you have some things on your blog that would need to be explained to a new reader. Favorite Blogs is also a fun page to add, and if helps all of us blogosphere stalkers find new blogs to peruse. I've always kinda wanted to add this page to my blog - but then my brain always goes 'but but what about all the people I don't add to that page?'. So I just don't add it to limit my stress xD. Reviews would also be a good page to add, if you review books a lot.   

   So yes, there's TONS of stuff you can do with pages - it honestly depends on what kind of blog you have. But I would recommend that you at least have an About Me and Contact page.  
   Telling you about types of pages won't help if you can't figure out how to make them - and this is the part that took me forever xD.

   Making pages was something that I didn't figure out for a LONG time - I'd always wanted to have pages on my blog, but assumed that they would be too hard and complicated to use/make. But then I asked the wonderful Katie Grace about it, and turns out they're fairly simple.

   First you need to create a page - which is exactly like creating a post. Go to your Blogger Dashboard, and instead of clicking on 'posts', click on 'pages' and create one. Publish your page, and then go to Layout. Here, let me give me show you ...

   Click on 'cross-column' and find the 'pages' gadget. Then make sure all the pages you have created (whether it's one of five) are selected and save it. Now you should have a nice list of pages right under your header ;).
   Oh gracious, pages that aren't centered are liable to drive me nuts. It took me forever to figure out how to center my page tabs (mostly because I was afraid I'd break my blog if I messed with it - I'm good at breaking my blog xD) but in actuality, it's quite simple.

   In Template - Customize (a place I'm sure you can get to without much help from me ;)) there is an option that says 'Advanced'. In that option, there is another option that says 'add CSS' (an option that I was vaguely nervous about, until I learned more about CSS!).

   In that 'add CSS' box, you'll need to past a code for centering your pages - which is super easy to do. *hands you the code*
.PageList {text-align:center !important;} .PageList li {float:none !important; display:inline !important;}

   Got that? Okay - copy and paste that whole line (*points up*) into the CSS box. Then apply it to your blog, and your pages should come out all nice and centered.

   SO hopefully some of this was helpful to any of you who haven't figured out pages yet. Let me know if you have problems with your pages - or if you want me to do more posts like this! (and make sure to pop over here on the 20th so I can direct you to the next installment of my How To Liven Up Your _____ Character series - because it isn't going up on my blog this time *winks*)

~ Savannah Grace

   Is there anything else you want to know about pages? What pages do you like to see on a blog?

Four Months And New Ideas (+ blog survey)

January 11, 2017

   *blinks at the calendar and realizes I've been blogging for four months now* 

i may or may not have picked the header because it made me think of spring and I miss the warmth *sighs*

   Fourth months seems like a very short time to have been blogging, compared to everyone else. I'm still definitely a newbie blogger. But I've got ideas on where I'm wanting to go from here - and I want your input!

   So. If I could borrow a minute or two of your time, I've made a short survey for you to fill out. I'm not blogging just for myself, and I'd love to know where you guys want this blog to go! 

   Thanks for sticking around through the awkwardness of me being a beginning blogger who is still just learning the ropes ;). You're all the best!

~ Savannah Grace 

How long have you been blogging? (are you wishing that Spring was here?)

Beautiful Books - 2017 Writing Goals

January 7, 2017

   It's almost a week into 2017 (what even) - and that means it's time for the new Beautiful Books linkup. This one was pretty fun to write, and I'm excited to share it with you! (and also the post decided to be full of collages from my stories - you've been warned xD)

   So - Killing Snow is what I'm currently working on (well, currently thinking about working on. I'm deciding whether I should have a break from it or not, because the story is being kind of obnoxious) so I chose to do this post for Killing Snow, and not The Dreamer's Game like I probably should xD. 

   Anyways. Onto the questions.

1. What were your writing achievements last year?  

   I can't even remember xD. I wrote a ton of Killing Snow drafts, and worked on it's prequel and sequel. Wrote some of The Dreamer's Game for NaNoWriMo - which was my first time doing NaNoWriMo. Joined a Hangout full of awesome writers. Messed around with a bit of a steampunk Rapunzel retelling. Had some friends beta my work. Alea Harper created a gorgeous cover of Killing Snow for me. I shared some of my writing publicly (10 'Till Midnight). Ended a serial series (that I had posted on my private blog, once upon a time) that had been my pet project for ages. Got a huge amount of half-thought-out plot bunnies for various retellings.

isn't it gorgeous? Alea did an amazing job

   *blinks* Okay, I know I'm missing stuff - but just that up there looks like a lot xD. I suppose 2016 was a really good year for me, writing-wise, anyways.

2. What's on your writerly "to-do list" for 2017

   Oh gracious - we're going with five things here, because I'll ramble for 1.78 years unless someone stops me:

   a) write the first draft of the novel Killing Snow  (even if that is a pretty lofty goal)
   b) start on a brand new story (because why not?)
   c) bring one of my dead stories into existence again (resurrecting the poor dead things that I've shoved WAY onto the back burner)

this is one of them *pats the poor, mostly-dead story idea*

   d) participate in all three NaNoWriMo events (hey, no one ever said I was sane)
   e) enter some writing competitions (if I can find some good ones) 

3. How do you hope to improve as a writer? Where do you see yourself at the end of 2017? 

   Well, realistically I see myself curled up in a dark corner, hiding from my characters and editing that needs to happen (and the wreck that will be my story). Optimistically, I'll be casually devouring ice cream with at least three new drafts all completely typed up. Very optimistically. But a girl can dream xD. 

   And I hope to improve my main characters (somehow my main characters are always the dullest characters in my story?) and world building. World building is HARD for me - I'm slightly jealous of all my writerly friends who can throw a whole new world together faster than you can say 'Tolkien' xD.   

4. Tell us about your top-priority writing projects for this year! 

   Write the first draft of novel Killing Snow. But that story is being really obnoxious right now - so I might put it in time out and start a brand new draft of something else instead. We'll see what happens *nodnod*.
   BUT I have a bunch of plot bunnies for re-tellings bouncing around in my head - so there's a pretty good chance that one of those will happen this year *pets the plot bunnies*.
like this one xD

5. Describe your general editing process 

   It starts with lots of procrastinating. Always.

   Honestly though, the editing depends on what the story needs. And the way I edit is fairly complicated xD. But anyways, since you asked, this is how I edited/am editing Killing Snow (though I have the memory of a goldfish, so I could be missing steps)

   a) take the zero draft that I've written (assuming that I've written a zero draft xD) and string it together into something that resembles a first draft
   b) go through the first draft and address any major issues
   c) go through the second draft and address any minor issues
   d) send that second draft to my alpha reader (Rach Steele alpah-ed Killing Snow and did an ah-mazing job)
   e) take the second draft (now alpha-ed) and make the changes suggested
   f) send that now-third-draft book to beta readers (shout out to Soleil, Emily Drown, Katie Grace, Hanna, Ellen, Micaiah Saldana, Emily, Jane Maree, and my sisters, Ariel, and Skylar for the wonderful work they did!)
   g) sort all of the info given to me by betas and try to wrap my mind around it xD
   h) go through the document and address the minor issues that betas pointed out
   i) stare at the now-fourth-draft and realize that the story wants to be a novel (the pesky thing) 
   j) write an in-depth outline of how I'm going to turn the novella into a novel
   k) start writing snippets of things that will happen in the novel, so that I have some stuff to work with

   *awards you with cookies if you actually read all of that* xD

   Well, that's as far as I've got with Killing Snow and WOW the process was a lot longer than I thought. And it's only a quarter of the way finished! It's a good thing I'm excited to get it done - even if it is being obnoxious xD.

6. On a scale of 1-10, how would you say this draft turned out? 

   Well ... I recently finished the fourth draft of Killing Snow, and I don't think it was that bad? Myself, I'd probably rate it a 7. Not sure what my betas would rate it though xD.

7. What aspect of your draft needs the most work? 

   I personally think that the main character is a little dull (and it's a fine balance here because Raven, the MC, is kind of a realist and has a bit of dry humor to her - but it's hard to not make her too dry when that's sorta her personality?). And the worldbuilding needs a ton of work - plus, there were plot holes. All the plot holes. But I'm hoping to fix some of that stuff when I turn it into a novel ;).

8. What do you like the most about your draft?

   (well I would say my character Cerulean Kane, but he's being extremely annoying right now, so ... no) That's kinda hard to say when my story and I aren't on the same page right now. I'm having a really hard time feeling in tune with it anymore - but I'm still trying xD. Anyways, I would probably say my characters. Even though they need work, they're still fun and I love them.

9. What are your plans for this novel once you finish editing? More edits? Finding beta readers? Querying? Self-publishing? Hiding it in a dark hole forever? 

   Hiding it in a dark hole forever *buries the story*

   Okay, yes, I'm kidding (though I would almost consider it right now - but I think my betas would kill me for it xD). There will definitely be more edits (LOTS OF EDITS), but after that, who knows? The final goal is to have Killing Snow traditionally published, but there is a ton of stuff that will need to be done before I can consider that very much.

10. What's your top piece of advice for those who have just finished writing a first draft?

   If you're still crazy excited about your story after writing it - then keep rolling with it. But if you ever get burned out, take a break. Seriously, take a break.
   I've kinda realized (after forever and ever xD) that working on my story when I don't really want to will end badly. I won't write well, and I'll normally be trudging through the story instead of flying. And a break can work miracles - so that would be my top piece of advice.
   If you feel burned out after writing that first draft, take a break.        

   AND thus ends the update on the writerly portion of my life - 2017 can't seem to make up it's mind on whether it wants to be a good writing year or not. So I suppose I better give 2017 a talking to, because I intend to conquer writing this year. How about you?

~ Savannah Grace

   What's your top-priority writing project this year? What do you like the most about your draft?