April 2018 Monthly Wrap-Up

April was busy–I use a different color pen for work, softball, church, etc. on my calendar, and every day looks like a rainbow! I focused on writing (new freelance jobs + Camp NaNo), coaching softball (we had two games per week–well, except for all the rain–and so did my brother’s baseball team), and closing out the school year with after-school tutoring at my nonprofit (I was there 1-3 afternoons a week, finishing the month with a fun meeting about summer camp). Also, I decided on a new church home (which I LOVE) and my family decided on a separate church.

As far as “fun stuff,” I was able to go to the park with friends; see Black Panther and go to dinner with Brooke N; see our friend Jesse play baseball a couple of times with various friends and family; see The Miracle Season with my dad; and see family friends in Les Miserables with my dad. AND, for Emma’s nineteenth birthday, Hannah and I drove up to her college and surprised her! We had a dorm room picnic, she opened gifts, and we walked around campus.

This month I’m…

Reading: Inner Lives of Deaf Children, Martha Sheridan. Thunderhead, Neal Shusterman. The Girl who could See, Kara Swanson. The Weight of Glory, C.S. Lewis. Do More Better, Tim Challies. All the Light we Cannot See, Anthony Doerr (reread). Lady Midnight (reread) and Lord of Shadows, Cassandra Clare. Disciplines of a Godly Woman, Barbara Hughes. Esperanza Rising, Pam Munoz Ryan. Ana’s Story, Jenna Hager Bush. Betsy Was a Junior and Betsy and Joe (both rereads), Maud Hart Lovelace. 13 total.

Music: Home, Morgxn. How Can It Be Time Already, Adeline Hill. What About Us, P!nk. Found Tonight, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Ben Platt. Riptide, Vance Joy. Johnnyswim’s Georgica Pond album. The Theory of Everything soundtrack. My WIP soundtrack, especially Warsaw Zoo 1939. Hillsong Y&F Youth Revival acoustic album, especially Where You Are. Do You Hear the People Sing, Les Mis.

Watching: Bruin Banter. Kidsmeet. Rise. Black Panther (for the second time). The Miracle Season. Dunkirk (my new FAVORITE movie ever). The Zookeeper’s Wife. The Book Thief (re-watch). We got a Netflix DVD subscription this month, and I’m excited to watch more movies.

Loving: 25 Unexpected Life-Transformative Secrets I Learned from 3 Days with Katie Davis Majors, Ann Voskamp. THEIR BLOOD BE LAID: PART 1, by Aimee. We Need Higher-Quality Christian Art, by Grace. Wanted: People to Lead Us in the Way of Wonder, The Gospel Coalition. 10 Reasons I Love Books About Siblings, by Cait.

I blogged twice this month: Meet My Camp NaNo Novel! and The Book Life Tag. I also blogged twice at THC: Jordan-Paige Sudduth: Hardworking Creative, and How to Advertise Yourself on Social Media (without being obnoxious).

Writing: I broke 30,000 words of my novel World on a String (exclusive snippet below), therefore winning Camp NaNo! The novel isn’t over yet, but I’m so proud of myself. (Also I killed a character on day 1, which I feel like is some kind of record.) I took Joan Dempsey’s dialogue class and had a great mentor session with Annie Twitchell. My publisher, Story Shares, sent me a Kindle with 6 months of Kindle Unlimited as a reward for being their bestseller. I had devotionals published on Reckless Abandon, The Life, and Love is Moving. I completed trial assignments for a couple of companies. I applied to 15 freelance jobs, pitched 6 magazines, and submitted fiction to 15 publications. And finally, I did some work for a marketing company and wrote 6 reviews (2,000 words each) for Runnerclick.

Grateful for: A random receptionist at my brother’s orthodontist who was just so happy and cheerful. Slow days at work when I sit in the main room organizing with our teacher, coloring with our kindergartner, and complaining about Common Core with tutors who come by. Friends I can unload on after doctor visits. My mom getting me a battery for my laptop so it no longer dies after twenty minutes (I thought that was a normal length of time for a battery…). Playing singing Catchphrase with my family (“the hurky turkey makes me turnt”). Friends who invite you into their dorm room on very short notice and make you peppermint tea, and friends who let me borrow their college campuses when I want to hang out on one! Talking on the phone about freelance writing to writing friends. Sunshine and music and mountains.

Tell me everything you did in April! And what’s your weather like?




The Book Life Tag

No one tagged me in this, I just thought it looked fun. I’m busy and not doing well physically and I need more fun in my life–so this blog is going to begin transitioning over to things like this, and you can find my more professional posts on THC every other week. Let’s plan my perfect book life!

Who would your parents be?

(Not from a YA book–that’s for sure.) I have to go with Molly and Arthur Weasley on this one! I mean, who wouldn’t want them as parents? JUST READ THIS and then excuse me while I cry.


Who would be your sister?

Lila from V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic trilogy! Because she’s the best and she would stab anyone who wouldn’t let me have cake. (That sentence sounded suspiciously like something Cait would say.) Also because can you picture Molly and Arthur Weasley trying to parent Lila Bard?! Because I just did and now I’m dying.

couldn’t find a picture of just Lila that I liked so here’s this beauty of a quote

Who would be your brother?

You guys have NO IDEA how many choices I had here. I’ve always wanted an older brother, I’m obsessed with sibling relationships in books, and this was so hard to narrow down. But I’m going to say Florian Beck from Salt to the Sea because he’s the best in every way. And I’ll take Peter Pevensie too because he’s the ultimate Older Brother™. OH–and Shade from the Red Queen series. Final answer is Peter Pevensie though.

To the clear northern sky, I give you King Peter the Magnificent. 

Who would be your pet?

My first thought was Hedwig or Fang or Buckbeak, but I don’t want this whole post to be Harry Potter (actually, who am I kidding? I wouldn’t care), so I’ll come up with something a little more original and throw it back to Wilbur. Because Charlotte’s Web will always be such a nostalgic, true, beautiful book to me. And because I’ve highkey wanted a pet pig since I was eight or nine.


Where would you live?



Where would you go to school?

Hogwarts! Because Hogwarts is OBVIOUSLY in Narnia. #ravenclawpride


Who would be your best friend?

Nina Zenik from the Six of Crows duology! Mostly because I know she’d always have food with her and that is the kind of best friend I want to have. It’s basically a requirement if we’re going to hang out on a regular basis. Although I’d also be down to be best friends with Elsie Dinsmore because she would be a much better influence than Nina, tbh.

Who would be your significant other?

CHOICES CHOICES. Possibly Kilorn from the Red Queen series, but definitely Solomon from the Out of Time trilogy or Joe from the Betsy series. They’re both really sweet genuine guys (and good-looking). 

Overall impressions from this post: 1) I kept thinking of characters from musicals to answer the questions and then reminding myself that it’s BOOKS. But maybe I’ll do it with musicals next because that would be so fun??? 2) I need to reread the Chronicles of Narnia because it has been too long. And 3) it is just REALLY messing with me to think about living in Narnia, and attending Hogwarts, and Lila Bard and Nina Zenik being there too. My fandoms are colliding but I’m kind of cool with it.

If this tag looks fun to you, feel free to do it on your blog! And answer your favorite question in the comments.

Meet My Camp NaNo Novel!

I don’t have words to express how much I love the novel I’m writing for camp, World on a String. Honestly, I’m obsessed with it. I came up with the basic premise for this two or three years ago; it’s part the Betsy series (Maud Hart Lovelace), part the Dark Artifices series (Cassandra Clare), part Bandstand the musical, and part something else entirely. It simmered in the back of my mind for a while, and now here we are. It’s full of long light evenings playing baseball in the corner lot, broken boys who light cigarettes on the porch with shaky hands, and girls who have spent their whole lives wanting something more and never realizing it was right in front of them all along. Here’s the synopsis and my playlist, plus a mini-aesthetic that I CAN’T STOP LOOKING AT:

Now that WWII is over, 18-year-old Julia thinks life will be perfect, just like the way it used to be. She has big plans for the summer of 1946: attending parties, getting a job, and going back to school. But when her friend Dan returns home from the battlefield changed forever—and when her father doesn’t return at all, forcing Julia to give up her dreams to care for her siblings, including a deaf little sister whom she’s never really known—she realizes that nothing will ever be the same again.

I’ve always been a pantser–which is entirely in contrast to my 100% left-brained self–but with this novel, I actually outlined EVERYTHING. Not a super detailed outline–it’s less than 2k–but certainly more than I’ve done for any other novel. And I think this outline is what’s going to catapult me to actually meet my goal this April (plus the fact my writing mentor + other writer friends are holding me to it). My goal is 25k-30k, and as of right now, I’m at 13k (I started a couple of weeks before camp began, though).

I thought it would be a problem to find time to work on this novel since I’m freelancing about 35 hours a week now, plus working at my nonprofit and coaching softball, but I think my outline is going to see me through. (Why didn’t I realize sooner that outlining is good for me?! *facepalm*) My minimum weekly word goal is 4,500, and by Monday morning of this week I was already at 4,200. So it’s going amazingly well so far (knock on wood!). Plus, my cabin is “super chill.” 😉

This novel has been SO FUN. If you know me, you know I’ve always been obsessed with WWII and the Holocaust (my debut novel is set during the Holocaust!); although I was bitten by the spec fiction bug a year or two ago, historical fiction was my first love, so it’s great to be back. And even though the Deaf character in my novel doesn’t speak ASL, I’ve gotten out my old DVD curriculum and started learning again, in addition to lots of other research–talking to my aunt who’s an audiologist, emailing with some people at Gallaudet, reading multiple fascinating books about Deaf children, watching Deaf vloggers on YouTube, etc.

I also feel like it’s important to note I killed a character on day one of NaNo, which has to be some kind of record. I literally made myself cry.

My long-term fiction plan right now is to finish draft 1 of World on a String by mid-May, if not the end of April; edit my dystopian novel Angelica in May/June; and then edit World on a String and begin looking for an agent.

I’ll be back later in April with snippets from World on a String. Stay tuned!

Are you doing camp? Tell me all about your project in the comments!