3 Things I’m Going to do Differently for (Camp) NaNoWriMo

One of the reasons I love NaNoWriMo is because it not only challenges you, but it teaches you–that is, if you let it. So, this year, I took a step back to see what I’ve learned.

You see, I really love the novels I’m planning. I want to enjoy writing them in all the drafts, not just the first ones. In my attempt at editing my last NaNoWriMo novel, it was a pain. Everyone said it was simple: macro edit, micro edit, beta readers, done. Mine was simply falling apart and not enjoyable. It wasn’t what it was.

Me being me, I also decided to find out what went wrong and how I could improve. Using that, here is what I am going to do differently this April.

1. Know When to Take Breaks

December 1, I was tired. I’d almost hit my OA goal the night before, then had to go to bed. My novel still had a lot of story left in it. So, I took a few days off. I was not only drained physically, but I was drained of creativity. Forcing yourself to write may be a NaNo essential, but save yourself and know when to take some time off. (I talk more about this here)

2. Run Spellcheck 

What? You mean… editing? Lowering my word count?*clouds turn gray, children scream, stereotype breaks* No, I do not. I mean, when I go back to my novel, I’m going to see “say” instead of “sai”, “that” instead of “dat”, etc, which is going to make it much easier on me. When I am done writing for the day (or if I’m writing a lot, done a chapter), I will run basic spell check so my novel appears easier to edit. It’s a psychological thing. It won’t even take time out of my writing.

3.When in Doubt, Write it Out

No, I did not steal this rhyme from when I played soccer. You may have heard of the whole “write what you love in a novel”. Well, when I’m in writer’s block, I want to write a scene that’s not plot relevant, but it’s just something nice and pretty and flowy that I’m going to enjoy. I recommend this to anyone. Write something merely for your pleasure that you will look back and smile at. (Now, I realize for some of us this may be stabbing characters…please refrain.)

So, that’s what I’m doing differently this April! If you’ve ever participated in NaNo, or ever written a novel, what are you going to do differently next time? What have you learned?

How to Create a Playlist for Your Novel

Okay, so apparently I actually get busy and use my free time to do school/procrastinate school, and sometimes blog posts get bumped down the priority list. So, sometimes I don’t post for five days or five weeks (well, not typically five weeks, but still). Also, expect a post tomorrow too (because I already scheduled it….)

Novel Playlists! *runs around the room screaming* I love them. They’re a combination of music and writing, why wouldn’t I? For those of you who have never had the joy of having a novel playlist while writing, here is a brief description.
A novel playlist/soundtrack is a collection of songs and pieces that remind you of your novel and inspire you to write. Here is my process to find the perfect songs for your novel.

Step One: Open Your Spotify/YouTube/Apple Music

Unless you own a ton of music, do it on a platform where you can add music without having to buy it. Create a playlist with the title of your novel, or if you don’t have one, something like”NaNoWriMo 2017″ or “Summer WIP”.

Step Two: Know What You’re Looking For

What kinds of things inspire you? Would you prefer songs that match the mood and theme, or songs that describe your characters, plot, and events? I usually choose a blend of these things. A lot of people like soundtrack music as a background while they’re writing, but I prefer lyric music. Basically, know what you prefer.

Step Three: Choose Your Music

Knowing what you want, go through your music and if you need to, look for new songs, and at them to your playlist. I usually like about 20-30ish songs, but as time passes I typically find you want to take some songs out or add other ones in.


See? That wasn’t so hard! Okay, maybe it can be a little more intense than that, but I hope this helps you get the gist of creating novel playlists. I also have song recommendations if anyone needs them (I know some good songs, sorta XD).

Do you use novel playlists? If so, what kinds of songs do you use?

Penny’s New Beginning Blog Tour {Book Review and Author Interview}

Hello, everyone! Today, Anika is releasing her first book! I’m going to review Penny’s New Beginning and interview Anika, so, let’s get started!

About the Book:

Can they save Utopia?

Nine-year-old Penny Hearting has just moved to Nassau with her family, and is completely convinced that a mermaid rescued her from drowning, but no one believes her. So, she takes matters into her own hands and goes on a search for the mermaid that rescued her.

Ten-year-old Emmy is the princess of Utopia, an underwater city populated by mermaids. But, when her evil aunt, Cassandra, takes the city from her father, the King, her only option is to seek help from the girl who she rescued from drowning.
When these two lives collide, can they and another friend save their homes from disaster?

Find on Goodreads ~ Find on Amazon

Review: Penny’s New Beginning was an adorable book, the type of thing I loved to read when I was younger. This book transported me back to the years of Barbie princesses and The Tail of Emily Windsnap. The story is, basically, a mermaid saves Penny’s life, so Penny sets out to find her along with her new friend Felicity. When they do, they find out that her name is Emmy–and she needs their help.

The beginning is gripping and starts quickly, however it is a bit confusing. The character descriptions were amazing and adorable, and I found them relatable. The mermaid world was so fun to be a part of, and the ending was so nice. There were some continuity problems, like first she was at school and then she was going to summer camp, and a bit of telling, but overall it was a fun, one-day read.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Content: No language or violence, however since it is fantasy there is magic, but nothing dark.

Recommend To: Ages 8-12

Author Interview


About the Author: Anika Joy is a daughter, sister, and child of the one true King. She loves to write books, sing in choir, and bake treats for her family.  At the age of 4 she taught herself to read and wrote her first short story when she was 8. That story was later published in a kid’s magazine when she was 11, which sparked her dream of becoming a published author. She is now very happy to see that dream come true.

Anika currently lives with her two sisters, two brothers, and parents in North Dakota, and feels very blessed to be awaiting the arrival of another little sister.

What gave you the idea for Penny’s New Beginning?

Anika: I really liked The Little Mermaid when I was nine, and I wanted to write something inspired from it. 😄
When people read your book, what do you want them to walk away thinking/feeling? It really depends on the age of the person.
Anika: This is a children’s book, so I don’t expect a teen to walk away thinking it was a really cool book. I want kids to feel inspired and maybe like it was a really cool book. 😊
Which of your characters do you relate to most?
Probably Felicity. I really wrote her based off of me (silly nine-year-old me) – her looks, and her fear of heights (yes, I am afraid of the top bunk on bunk beds). 😜
Are you planning on writing any more books about Penny, Felicity, and Emmy?
Yes, I actually am. I started the next book over a year ago and haven’t really touched it much since then. But, I do plan on finishing it and possibly publishing the next book. I want to write on about each character which would equal four books (a new character is introduced in the second book). 😁
After the release of Penny’s New Beginning, what are your goals as an author?
I want to write many more books, and publish at least half of them. I also want to be traditionally published in the next two years or so. I really hope that all of these things happen! 😃

Follow the Tour:

~March 21st~

Elle Stevens – Book Review

Grace (The Girl Upstairs) – Book Review, Spotlight, Author Interview

Sylvanian Universe Blog – Book Review, Spotlight, Author Interview

Kellyn Roth – Author Interview

~March 22nd~

Chloe – Author Interview

Sarah – Book Review, Spotlight, Author Interview

Savannah Grace – Author Interview 

~March 23rd~

Josie – Book Review, Author Interview

Congratulations, Anika! The book comes out TODAY, so you can buy Penny’s New Beginning right now!

If you had a mermaid tail, what color would it be? Mine would be purple. And, other than a mermaid, what’s your favorite fantasy creature?

My Writing Life #6: We Wrote a Movie?!, Camp NaNo Stress, and More

Hello, everyone! It’s time for another My Writing Life, even though I had a different post scheduled for today and the next My Writing Life isn’t until April but I’ve scratched my schedule completely . The My Writing Lifes are evolving, becoming easier and more fun to read (and write). Now, I bet you’re curious because of the title, so we’ll start.

Note: there was a problem with the theme that made it unable to comment, but it should be fixed now. Send me a message here if there are any more tech-y problems. Thank you!

Part One: Espionage

My friend Heidi and I wrote a full length (~1 hour and 20 minutes) script! We’re now in the editing process, and hope to start filming soon.  There are many plot twists that were fun to write and come up with, a deep love of pogo sticks, and an awesome action take-down-the-bad-guys scene. It’s also full of awesome jokes (especially the ones I put in that broke the fourth wall, but I realize I don’t have a popular opinion. Sorry Heidi.). Here’s a description:

(NOPE. NO DESCRIPTION. Meant to add this in later, but we’re too busy editing to do that. But it’s about spies and bad guys.)

What do we do next? Become Hollywood directors! Just kidding. We’re making a sequel/prequel.

Part Two: Possible New Blog Series

It’s been so long since I’ve done a blog series! The nostalgia. I had Dragon’s Fire, but that was so old, I didn’t want to finish it (I’ve learned so much since then). So, I’m going to write the whole thing out in order to stop that from happening again. I don’t have any ideas yet, though… maybe one of my older novel ideas?

Part Three: Camp NaNo Stress

Why am I stressed, you ask? Well: One, I have more prepped for Halfway to Fourteen than for Fantasy Gossip. Two, what if, come April, it’s not enough?? Three, the document looks awful! (actually, that’s probably just my brain being weird).

However, I have it under control. I am printing out/formatting the stuffs! But there is another problem. What if I get so excited for one novel that I end up not writing the other? Well, Josie, that’s what happens when you decide to write two novels at once and set impossible goals to prove them possible. 

I have a game plan for Camp, however! I’ve noticed one pattern in deciding to discontinue my novels is because they look bad. I mean, turn on the red squiggly line, five paragraphs full of “Something something something” as I advised in my NaNo Post. I’ll be sharing the rest of this in a couple weeks in a post (3 Things I’m Going to do Differently For Camp NaNoWriMo).

That’s all for this round of My Writing Life! What are your current writing projects? Please share them!

Do you like spies? Do you like movies about spies? Especially kid spies? (Hint: the answer is yes.)

Beautiful People March 2017

Hello, everyone! I’m going to have Clara (Fantasy Gossip) and Erin (Halfway to Fourteen) answer this round of questions. They’re more… nice than my characters from last time. Seriously. They introduced themselves before the interview and everything.


1. What’s their favorite book/movie/play/etc.?

Clara: I loved the Parent Trap growing up.

Erin: Me too! My favorite books were the Narnia series.

Clara: Oh, I never read those.

Erin: You should. They’re great.

2. Is there anything they regret doing?

Erin: Yes.

Clara: I think you’re supposed to explain.

Erin: I’d rather not.

Clara: Well, anything “bad” that happened to me was not something I could control.

3. If they were sick or wounded, who would take care of them and how?

Clara: My parents? At the school, probably Kaelin and Trey, aside from the nurse.

Erin: If it was a minor illness, my parents. If it was major, I’m sure my friends would come visit.

4. Is there an object they can’t bear to part with and why?

Erin: Not that I can think of.

Clara: My charm bracelet that I got when I was little with my first fairy tale book.

5. What are 5 ways to win their heart (or friendship)?

Clara: Oh, my heart? One, talk to me, like a lot. Two, listen to me when I talk. Everyone seems to ignore me when I talk, typically. Three, make me food. Four, have a connection, like something really cool in common. Five, um… can’t think of another one.

Erin: Wow. I guess I’ll do friendship. One, be a person. Two, be a person that I like. Three, be a person that likes me. Four, be a person that doesn’t care about my inheritance. Five, be a person that I have fun with.

6. Describe a typical outfit for them from top to bottom.

Erin: I wear different things everyday, but if I had to choose a favorite, white top, green jeans, statement necklace, hair down, studded earrings.

Clara: Blue blouse, dark jeans, tennis shoes, hair in a ponytail.

7. What’s their favorite type of weather?

Clara: I love bright days.

Erin: I like summer rains.

8. What’s the worst fight they’ve ever been in?

Erin: I think my parents and I had a fight about my… future when I was nine.

Clara: My friends and I had a bad fight a year before boarding school.

9. What names or nicknames have they been called throughout their life?

Clara: People’ve called me Claire, but I don’t really like that. I mean, there’s nothing that’s a good nickname for Clara.

Erin: Same with me. Sometimes, Mason calls me “Red” because of my hair, but not often. As long as Kamri and Tara don’t catch on, I’m good.

10. What makes their heart feel alive? 

Erin: Good nights with my friends. Just plain fun, not anything special.

Clara: Doing everything! It makes my life feel complete.

Ta-da! Another edition of Beautiful People with my WIPs. Now, for who I should include in April, a quick poll because I’m indecisive.

Collin: Main Character/Side Character (Halfway to Fourteen)

Tara: Antagonist-ish (Halfway to Fourteen)

Kamri: Protagonist (Halfway to Fourteen, already been used)

Britt: Antagonist (Fantasy Gossip)

Trey: Main Character/Side Character (Fantasy Gossip, already been used)

Kaelin: Protagonist (Fantasy Gossip, already been used)