Looking Back On 2018

2018 was a whirlwind for me. Looking back on how it went, and on the New Years resolutions that I made, there wasn’t a thing about that year that I would change–

Except one! From this day forward, when I do up my resolutions for the coming years, I’ll no longer resolve to accomplish something that is out of my hands…which is EXACTLY what I did in 2018.

I came across a wonderful post on Twitter that I wished I had seen sooner. The post said to ONLY make a New Years resolution if accomplishing it is 100% in your power. When I wrote up my resolutions for 2018, the first one I came up with was to sell SABLE (still a placeholder title btw, I’m not sharing the current title yet). But selling your novel is not in your hands, my friends! It isn’t something you can accomplish by how fast you write or by how hard you work, because selling a book mostly depends on other people and how fast they read/if they love your manuscript enough to make an offer.

With that being said, I’d like to review my New Years resolutions for 2018:

  1. Sell SABLE
  2. Finish SYMPHONY OF STORMS
  3. Manage my time better
  4. Meet my yearly reading goal
  5. Attend at least one author signing/event
  6. Exercise at least three times a week
  7. Update journal 1-2 times a week to track writing progress and my publishing journey
  8. Continue with my online blog as news becomes available
  9. During busy times, make sure to take one rest day per week (from ALL kinds of work, including writing)
  10. More structure when it comes to my waking/sleeping schedule

 

Now, let’s see which of those I accomplished!

  1. SABLE has not sold, mostly because it took until October/November of that year before my agent and I had the book out on submission (which was a bit longer than we both anticipated because life gets in the way at times), and it is still out on submission, my friends! Publishing is a looooonggggg journey that requires endless patience, so if patience is your forte and publishing a book is a dream of yours, then congratulations because you’ll need A LOT of patience in this industry ;).
  2. Alas, I did not finish SYMPHONY OF STORMS. By the time I completed revisions for SABLE, the year was winding down, and the fall was such a busy time for me that I didn’t get much done in SYMPHONY, aside from working through a new draft! Oh– I just realized I don’t think I’ve mentioned SYMPHONY to you guys before. SYMPHONY OF STORMS is an all-new, completely-separate-from-SABLE Young Adult  fantasy series that I started in January 2016. I am IN LOVE with this story, you guys, but it has kicked the crap out of me ever since I came up with the idea because, for some reason, this book is SO HARD to write. I’ve over-complicated the plot on more than one occasion and I’ve had to spend months simplifying and cutting unnecessary subplots, BUT…I think I’ve finally (maybe) figured it out… *fingers crossed*.
  3. Managing my time better is something I HAVE succeeded with.
  4. I was so, SO CLOSE to meeting my reading goal! There are so many books I’d love to read, but I don’t get to read nearly as much as I’d like, due to needing time to write my own novels.
  5. YES, I did attend an author event! It was only one, but still better than none!
  6. I have been exercising a lot more, sometimes three times a week but not always! I still consider this a success though :).
  7. I definitely did not update my journal 1-2 times a week….. Oops! Maybe this year ;).
  8. Same with online blogging… Sorry guys, I need to get on here a bit more, instead of letting MONTHS pass between posts.
  9. I learned to rest when I needed it, instead of feeling like I always need to be busy-busy-busy to feel like I’m succeeding. Taking time to relax is good for your health, and I can’t recommend it enough!
  10. There were a couple years where I wasn’t getting enough sleep simply because I was trying to do too much in a day, when there simply isn’t the time. I’ve learned how to step away from writing/work when I feel I need to, and I’ve found a sleeping and waking schedule that works for me and helps me to feel more rejuvenated.

 

Sooooo, there you have it! A lot of my resolutions for 2019 are similar, including finally finishing SYMPHONY OF STORMS. This book is so close to my heart, and it’s sat on the back burner long enough! For those of you who are wondering, I’m currently working on the synopsis and first three chapters, which I hope to turn into my agent within the next week or so.

Also, my Goodreads goal for this year is going extremely well so far, and I should hopefully have some new reviews up soon for you guys. If you’re curious about what I’m reading (or have read in the past), check out my page at https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/39539361-kayla-jones

-Kayla

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Los Angeles

Hey guys!! This post is probably going to be brief, as I have to leave the house soon for some errands/appointments but I wanted to drop in for a quick update, seeing as I haven’t been on here in…months?! Yikes 😅!

I recently got back from a quick trip to Los Angeles and I had an absolute BLAST! I stayed at the Langham Huntington, which was the most STUNNING hotel I’ve had the pleasure of staying in. Walking through the carpeted hallways had me feeling as though I had traveled back in time. The hotel was built over one hundred years ago, and it was both enchanting and elegant. The lobby itself had me swooning:

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And, guys, as a flower lover this place was a DREAM. There were flowers everywhere!

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Even the grounds were stunning and memorable, and one of the highlights was the Japanese gardens (there was also a squirrel 🐿 fight high up in the trees, but I wasn’t quite fast enough with my camera to catch the hilarious moment).

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Now that I’m back I am participating in NaNoWriMo, though I’ve set my own goal for this year, seeing as the novel I am aiming to finish by the end of the month is about…85% done. Instead of the typical goal of 50,000 words I am simply aiming to write any missing scenes, fix the remaining plot holes, and polish the manuscript until it is gleaming and ready to show to my agent (now that we’ve finished the novel I was temporarily calling SABLE, I am now able to return to a story that is very close to my heart, and I can only hope my agent will love it as much as I do). As for the new title for SABLE, I am choosing not to share it at this time, but…hopefully soon!

Good luck to anyone else who is doing NaNo this year!! You can do it—and remember, you can set your own goal! It doesn’t need to be 50,000 words—do what works for YOU and your schedule!

Bye for now!

—Kayla

Alphabet of Thorn, Book News, and Tunes

Hi guys — I’m stopping in for a quick update!

I’ve reached the final stages of editing before my agent and I go on submissions. Phew — it’s been a long run (and I’ve loved every minute of it). Our goal is to hopefully be on submissions sometime in the next few months (though sometimes life gets in the way, and things could delay us a bit longer, but we’re hoping for sooner than later). I couldn’t be happier with this story, and I truly hope you guys will get to read it one day (again, hopefully sooner than later)! We are currently brainstorming titles and making a few final tweaks before calling it done! I am SO incredibly excited, and I hope to have more news to share in the coming weeks/months.

While I was waiting to hear back from our readers, I had some free time on my hands, and so I got back into reading. The last book I finished was ALPHABET OF THORN by Patricia A. McKillip, and… Oh-em-gee, if you guys haven’t read this book, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? It was everything I’ve ever wanted in a fantasy book, and I became as entranced with it as Nepenthe did with the tales of Axis and Kane. In an effort to avoid spoilers, this is all I will say about the stunning and intricate storyline, but if you’re looking for a great fantasy novel to lose yourself in, I 100% recommend ALPHABET OF THORN.

Now, onto music. As I was preparing to dive back into these revisions, I was on the hunt for new tunes that would inspire/motivate me. I thought I would share a couple of the songs that really stuck with me.

  1. Audiomachine – Eternal Flame

I absolutely LOVE this one. It’s full of emotion, and it just keeps building and building! *swoons*

2. The Wolf and the Moon – BrunuhVille

…I have NO words to describe how much I adore this piece. There’s a character in my novel named Nocturne (hopefully you guys can meet her one day soon). She has a significant connection with wolves, so as soon as I heard this song, I instantly purchased it, and I have been listening to it non-stop while writing her scenes. Nocturne and the journey she goes through mean so much to me, and I can’t wait until I can talk about her with you all.

Anyway, I’m SUPER busy making these final changes to my manuscript, so that’s all for today! I’m hoping you guys will get to hear more about my story in the not-so-distant future :-). Wishing you all a wonderful week.

Thanks for reading!

–Kayla

A Brief Update — SABLE and What I’m Reading…

Before I begin, I’d like to apologize for being MIA lately. Life has been hectic, and to be honest I haven’t had a lot to update you guys on (I’ve only recently had enough free time to get back into reading books that aren’t my own, and I’ve been hard at work on my YA fantasy novel, still tentatively titled SABLE).

Soooo… onto the little bit of news that I can share.

I finished the major round of big-picture edits on SABLE at the end of January, and I am now waiting to receive reports (I’m equal parts terrified and excited). I’m not exactly sure where this journey will go once I’ve received the reports from my fabulous agent, but I’m guessing I will have a few more tweaks to make before it’s time to submit to editors (EEK!). It has taken me years–YEARS–to reach this point in my journey toward publication, and sometimes it still feels like I’m dreaming. I can only imagine how I’ll feel once my book is out on submissions!

As for what I’ve been reading lately–today I finished DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor, and just…wow. I absolutely loved everything about this book. Laini Taylor’s writing voice is enchanting, and I found it impossible not to be swept up into this story for hours. Despite how magical the world is, Laini somehow manages to make everything believable, right down to Brimstone’s dusty shop and the magical portals and the wishes (THE WISHES *sighs longingly*). Karou and Akiva’s story is unforgettable, and the side characters are all so well-rounded that I have a hard time accepting they aren’t real. If I could rate it 100/5 on Goodreads, I would.

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Speaking of Goodreads, if anyone else is on there, send me a friend request! 🙂 Since I FINALLY have time to get back into reading, I’ve been a frequent visitor of this site. There are so many books I’m wanting to read, and I just started one of them today–THE CRUEL PRINCE by Holly Black. I’m only one chapter in, and I’m already hooked ;-).

What are you reading right now?

Until next time!

— Kayla

Happy Halloween, Boils and Ghouls!

I am doing NOTHING today except watching Hocus Pocus on repeat, binge eating chocolate, and cozying up on my couch (although I DO have some new edits to work through, so I’ll probably get to those at some point). What’s everyone else doing on this brisk and eerie day? 🙂 When I was younger, I LOVED Hocus Pocus, and watching it brings me back to those carefree days. There’s nothing like tradition!

 

If you have any scary film recommendations, leave a comment below :-). Here are a few of mine:

  • Hocus Pocus (obviously)
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Halloweentown
  • Sleepy Hollow
  • Edward Scissorhands
  • Monster House
  • Corpse Bride
  • Beetlejuice
  • The Addams Family
  • Warm Bodies

 

Happy Halloween, everyone!!