Blogs / Life

Welcome

Welcome!

I write. I drink tea. And I live my life to the fullest.

My name is Kayla Ann, I’m an author who just recently signed with a publishing house to write a non-fiction, scholarly book on human agency in The Hunger Games series. I have loved to write ever since I was a little girl. I wrote my first story, “Kate the Pirate” when I was in second grade. It was then I decided that I would eventually become a published and established author. However, as any writer may know, this is not as easy as it seems. This wonderful world of writing is also complex and sometimes exhausting. So in this blog I will be offering up Writing Tips and my own experiences in the hope of encouraging other authors to continue on creating wondrous worlds of their own.

Feel free to hit me up in the comments with any questions you might have about writing.

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Blogs / Life

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

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Happy Thanksgiving to all of my followers!

This is my first Thanksgiving blogging and I feel like I’ve got to say something inspired and wonderful, but instead I put up a gif of Joey dancing with a turkey on his head. Why? Because Thanksgiving Day is just that: a day. It has 24 hours just like any other day, but what makes it special is the particular emphasis that it places on being thankful.

In my family, we have a tradition to go around the table at meal time and say three things that we are thankful for that happened in the past year. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is great that we have a day dedicated to thankfulness. My only issue is that we should be thankful every single day.

I love Thanksgiving because my whole family comes together, because the food is amazing, and because I am reminded to give thanks. Too often in this life we focus on the negative. We focus on our stress, our pain, our wants. And yes, those things are valid, but I think that we should give equal if not more time to being thankful! Not only is it a good practice, but positive thinking has been proven to improve mental and physical health.

Anyway, I think I may have strayed onto a tangent but before you go, I do want to list a few things that I am thankful for:

  • My family. I have a large family and we all live relatively close, meaning that we get together on a regular basis. However, that does not make getting together on the holidays any less exciting, it feels like a party! Especially now that my aunts and uncles are starting a new generation of cousins! In fact . . .
  • I am thankful for miracles! My aunt and uncle were told point blank several years ago that they would never, ever, ever have children. Period. It was not possible. However, three months ago, I got the call that God had answered our prayers and that my aunt was impossibly pregnant! As every day passes, that little lime-a-bean grows stronger and bigger. I cannot wait to meet her
  • My health. I have had health issues in the past and I will continue to deal with them in the future. However, this week I am doing well. I have been able to control my flare ups and I am managing. I am thankful for what I am able to do.
  •  My jobs. As I make the transition from graduate student to simply graduate, I am no longer allowed to work at my current position (where I have worked for four years) because it is technically a student position. Two months ago, I had a complete breakdown, thinking that I would be jobless. Again, God answered my prayers and I have two job offers for January!
  • My Family. Why do I mention them twice? Because they, and God, are my foundation!
  • The Blogging Community. That’s right, you guys!  I am so thankful for this community that I have slowly become a part of. I can’t believe I didn’t get involved earlier. Although, maybe if I had, I would not have been prepared and active as I am now. Thank you for your lovely support on my blogs! I’m already almost at 300 followers and that is absolutely insane to me, so thank you!

 

1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Happy Thanksgiving Day Everyone!

What are you thankful for? Not only today, but every day?

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Poetry

Poetry Selections from the Poetry Contest (Part One) Including: Lunarian Thoughts, T. R. Justus, Drowsies, Blogging Detective, Percolating Poetry, and dMello

Hello Everyone!

The Poetry Contest was an enormous success and I highly enjoyed reading these wonderful submissions! The winners have already been announced, but I could not simply leave these poems to remain in the comment section.

If you’ve followed me for awhile now, you’ve probably noticed I am huge on community! So I’m sharing these poems for several reasons: one reason is for my followers to get to know and follow one another!

While these next poems did not win, they were within my top considerations! (Please note, this is not an order of the next winners [i.e. 3rd, 4th, 5th places] many of these submissions were tied in points)

***I intend on doing three more posts with some other excellent poems! If I do not share your poems, please do not feel bad, it does not mean I did not enjoy them! There were many excellent poems, but I had to narrow it down. Thank you for participating!

Lunarian Thoughts’ “Rondo”

“Though I
have not been long
on this Earth,
I can say,
to a large degree
of certainty,
and unabashed humility . . . ” (Read More Here!)

 

T.J. Justus’s “Nightmares”

“Like bats in the night

You can’t outrun them

You can never hide

They’ll be there waiting

Always waiting. . . “ (Read More Here!) 

 

Drowsies’s “Demons”

“My demon breathes my air

Finding its way to crawl onto my skin

And the thin fibers resting on my body

Prick upwards, alert and expecting anguish. . .” (Read More Here!)

 

Blogging Detective’s “In the Sky”

“In the sky, the clouds float on. Into the stars and into the sun. they fall from the heavens and onto the sea, onto you, and onto me. . . ” (Read More Here!)

 

Percolating Poetry’s “The Poetry Cycle”

we observe

reflect

thoughts evaporate

rise slowly

condense

forming altostratus ideas. . . (Read More Here!)

 

dMello’s “Two Strangers”

Two strangers,
Ascending to a height
Inside a concrete jungle
On the day of uneasy marriage between
A cloudburst and a high tide . . . (Read More Here!)

 

I will be posting more soon! Check them out and my advice to the poets above (be sure to go and check out the blogs of the other poets in this post and the poems that will follow)

Happy Reading, Blogging & Writing!

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Blogs / Life, Poetry

Poetry Contest: Congratulations to . . .

Buuuuuuuuuuut, before I announce the winners, I would just like to say “Thank You” to every single participant.

There were 100+ submissions! 

You guys made this contest an amazing experience and surpassed all my expectations! It was SO difficult to pick the winners as so many poems were of equally amazing caliber. Therefore, even if I do not post your poem today in my Top 3, I will be posting my “Top 25” poems later on through four separate blog posts.

Thank you for your wonderful submissions!

While I initially thought I would only announce the winner, I decided it was necessary to announce my Top Three Favorites.

So, without further ado . . .

*Drum roll please*

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Our THIRD PLACE winner goes to . .

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Claire Yang’s “After Halloween”

“The Pumpkin King sits and watches

for every child who walks past him.

He waits, outside in the cold, in the front

of his subject’s home for the stroke of midnight . . .” (Click the above link for more)

I chose Claire’s poem for third place for her wonderfully whimsical subject matter. Through all the poems I read, her personification of the pumpkin king and the Halloween spirit stuck in my mind. Great job Claire!

 

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Our SECOND PLACE winner is . . .

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A Writer’s Soul’s “Moonlight”

“Feel me under your skin,
Crawling my way from your heart to your mind,
And watch this love expand just beyond the tips of your fingers,
Grazing the edge if these lips,
Left to roam the beginning of you and the ends of me,
Desire melting on the tip of your tongue
As it glides further and further from these lips,
Never knowing what I’m grasping here in the dark . . . ” (Read the WHOLE Poem here!)

I chose this beautiful poem for several reasons. A Writer’s Soul handled a delicate subject with finesse and sophistication. Their use of metaphor and imagery is beautiful and astounding.

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Our FIRST PLACE WINNER IS:

Lost Soul’s submission “Under A Vulgar Tree”

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“The beauty of colours,
Blue of the welkin,
Orange from the sun,
Green of the grass,
Tranquility everywhere,
It was a perfect land, Utopia or Heaven?

Those two, living happily,
Laughing, having joyous smiles,
The effortless life,
The innocent lives,
The Divine two,
Not having slightest idea, all this while.

That the Forked tongue,
Will soon hiss the deceits,
Into her beautiful ears,
The fallen one,
Want them to fall too, Fate
Like his, he wanted to repeat.

And then she insisted,
Lured him towards ruination,
Together the beautiful creation,
Ate the forbidden fruit,
Loosing purity,
embracing corruption.

And with them,
All fell we, an endless catastrophe,
Making lust, loosing love,
Hiding us, with the leaves,
Now we all live,
Under a Vulgar Tree.”

I chose Lost Soul’s poem because of her beautiful illustrations of the Biblical story. The word choices were great, the imagery was beautiful, and the last stanza was stunningly eerie. Wonderful job Lost Soul!

Lost Soul began blogging in August 2017 and has 627 followers. Their motto is: “When the heart desires more and your eyes couldn’t see beyond the picture . . . then you need to search within you . . . all the answers to the questions unasked . . . and to search the meaning beyond the understanding . . . to search your soul. This is one such try . . . of a lost soul.” The goal of her blog is to write and write, and then write some more. Be sure to go and check out her blog!

 These top three poems were chosen due to their content, theme, diction, imagery, and flow.

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And there we have it everyone! Thank you again for participating!

Keep an eye on my blog for more posts including some spectacular poems from the contest!

  • (A REMINDER: If you do not wish for me to share your poem, please say so in the comments below).

Also, this went so well, I hope to hold a second contest in another few months! It will probably be on flash fiction 😀

Congratulations to our superb winners!

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As always, Happy Writing!

Blogs / Life, Poetry

Poetry Contest CLOSED

That’s it everyone!

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The poetry contest, opened in October is now closed. However, it is not “done” quite yet Frodo, I still need to announce the winners!

I will be tallying up the points all night from such wonderful submissions. I truly have a difficult choice before me.

Thank you to everyone who submitted a poem, shared the blog post, or just said hello. You guys have been great! I was hoping that this would be an enjoyable event in my blogging career and guess what:

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I had so much fun! I hope you did too. Be sure to pop around the comments and check out each other’s poetry.

                 You waiting on the results               vs.                       me trying to decide the winners 

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I will be posting the winners of the Poetry Contest tomorrow at 8am Pacific Standard Time.

Blogs / Life, Poetry

LAST DAY for Poetry Contest

Hey Everyone! Just a reminder that today is the last day to submit a poem to the contest. I will be closing the submission in 12 hours.

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There have been some INCREDIBLE submissions, it is going to be so hard to choose a winner!

 

Speaking of . . .

 

I will be announcing the winners TOMORROW!!!

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Blogs / Life

My Adventure for Self-Care

Hey there 🙂 Over the past couple of days I have encouraged you to care for yourself. You guys have given me great responses on how you do so: reading a book, wearing sweats, listening to podcasts, and praying.

So, I figure, if I am going to challenge you guys to do something, then I should follow through as well. So yesterday, I decided to take an adventure and to seek out this mysterious entity of “self-care.”

 

With my boyfriend and two best friends, I ended up at the ocean.Beach 1

Unintentionally, we arrived, unpacked out bikes, and made it to the shore just in time for sunset. I realized that in order for me to put aside my work and my goals, in order to focus on me, I have to get out of the city. I have to put physical distance between myself and whatever obstacles I feel like I need to tackle that day.

Like I said, we arrived in time for a beautiful sunset and some fun photos.

Afterward, we got on our bikes and rode from pier to pier, often looking at the beautiful houses that lined the beach and dreaming about someday vacationing in one of them. They were gorgeous, some had beautiful high ceilings, others had stone walls, and one even had a firepit on the roof!

And yet, we couldn’t help but to remember the Bible verse warning to not build one’s house on the sand. The verse cautions us to build our faith and our lives on the Rock, on God, instead of the shifting sands of the world. True to that thought, we passed several homes that were in the middle of construction or in need of it due to the storms that hit on the coast. It was a mesmerizing mix of beauty and destruction.

Biking nearly five miles to get there, we finally reached our goal

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Let me just tell you, nothing beats eating at Ruby’s after a long bike ride and breathing the salty sea on the air. (Although biking back was a bit more difficult after we stuffed ourselves, ha!)

Finally, when we were almost back to our cars, we stopped and sat on a lifeguard tower.

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Although it is light when I took this picture, by the time we sat up there it was pitch black. We could hardly see the waves, except for when they would rise and crash over in white foams. It was breathtaking. We sat and watched the waves for nearly an hour, sometimes talking, sometimes in silence.

I don’t know if I’ve ever noticed it before when I’ve gone to the beach during the day, but just before the wave breaks there is a pause. . .

 

Like lungs

expanding, holding,

air filling, stretching,

Ocean waves peak,

hold,

hold,

and then,

furiously, collapse

white foam

flinging into the air

breath released

as wave assimilates

with wave

 

I found it, that elusive “self-care” manifest in relaxation and peace. I left in awe of God’s creation and my muse well satisfied.

Anyone else feeling inspired by nature lately?

Happy Writing Everyone!

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Spotlight (Louisa May Alcott)

“Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well. Then youth will be delightful, old age will bring few regrets, and life will become a beautiful success.” – Louisa May Alcott

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Best know for the series “Little Women,” Louisa May Alcott was a women’s advocate, an abolitionist, a seamstress, a nurse, and an author. Suffice it to say, she was a busy woman.

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Interestingly, she was educated by her father who taught her the “sweetness of self-denial.” Though her life was filled with both joy and sorrow, in the above quote she advocates for living without regrets by both working and playing hard.

A reminder this week for us writers who often neglect our own bodies in our desire to reach our dream.

  • It is okay to take a break, to go out with friends, to stay home in a bubble bath, to watch TV.
  • It is important to care for your body and your health
  • It is just as important that you balance relaxation with work. In other words, you can’t relax/play all the time. There should be a healthy balance.

So this week I encourage you to work hard, write a lot, but also be sure to treat yourself to some self-love this week.

How do you plan on relaxing?

Happy Writing & Relaxing Everyone! 🙂

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Care for your body

“What? Care for my body? How does that have anything to do with writing?”

Well, take a minute and hear me out.

It is common for writers, artists, entrepreneurs, and basically any go-getters out there to work toward their goal without stop, without rest, and without realizing the strain they are putting on their bodies because they are so focused on their goal. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with desiring to accomplish your goal. In fact, it’s a good thing! Having goals and dreams worth pursuing is great.

However, we must also remember that we are only human. We are not Wonder Woman or Superman with everlasting endurance and health. It is possible that when we work too hard and forget to rest that we strain both our bodies and our minds.

For instance, I am a type-A personality for sure. I also work toward multiple goals at once. I am a full time Graduate student and worker. I’m also trying to finish my first non-fiction book which is due to the publishing house for editing in May. Additionally, I am attempting to build a social media presence and platform. I am a daughter, a writer, a girlfriend, a blogger, a sister, a receptionist, a cousin, and a friend. All of these roles require time and effort on my part. And I wouldn’t trade away any of the roles for all the gold in the world. I love the relationships I have formed.

BUT.

It is JUST AS IMPORTANT to give myself time. Time to rest. Time to stop. Time to recharge. Time to adjust. Time to cry. Time to break down. Time to build back up.

Time to grow.
Push toward your dreams, but don’t push at the expense of your own health. Be aware of your limitations (physical limitations not writing limitations because I fully believe that we all are given the opportunities to continuously grow as writers!) I know many writers who suffer from health issues that range from migraines to cancer and they can tell you, as well as I, just how important it is to care for their bodies.
So just a reminder this week, just like it is important to set aside time for writing, it is equally important to set aside time for self-care.
Some examples I use are bubble baths, bike riding, and reading! How will you engage in self-care this week?
*If you enjoyed today’s Writing Tip be sure to check out additional tips under the “Writing Tips” category on my home menu!
Happy Writing Everyone!
Poetry

In Honor of Gandalf’s Fireworks

With so much poetry floating around lately, I wanted to share one of my favorites from The Lord of the Rings. The song is called “Frodo’s Lament” and the last verse was added by Sam to honor Gandalf’s fireworks (which is my favorite stanza.

 

When evening in the Shire was grey
his footsteps on the Hill were heard;
before the dawn he went away
on journey long without a word.

From Wilderland to Western shore,
from northern waste to southern hill,
through dragon-lair and hidden door
and darkling woods he walked at will.

With Dwarf and Hobbit, Elves and Men,
with mortal and immortal folk,
with bird on bough and beast in den,
in their own secret tongues he spoke.

A deadly sword, a healing hand,
a back that bent beneath its load;
a trumpet-voice, a burning brand,
a weary pilgrim on the road.

A lord of wisdom throned he sat,
swift in anger, quick to laugh;
an old man in a battered hat
who leaned upon a thorny staff.

He stood upon the bridge alone
and Fire and Shadow both defied;
his staff was broken on the stone,
in Khazad-dûm his wisdom died.

The finest rockets ever seen:
they burst in stars of blue and green,
or after thunder golden showers
came falling like a rain of flowers.

Anyone else love Lord of the Rings?

Happy Writing Everyone!

***photos belong to KaylaAnn and cannot be used without permission

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Spotlight (Suzanne Collins)

 

“If I actually write three to five hours, that’s a productive day. Some days all I do is stare at the wall. That can be productive, too, if you’re working out character and plot problems.” – Suzanne Collins

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Suzanne Collins is the well-known author behind the recent phenomenon known as “The Hunger Games”. Who doesn’t know Katniss, the Girl on Fire whose books sales overtook the Boy Who Lived? But did you know that Suzanne Collins actually began her writing career with “Clifford’s Puppy Days”? It is always amazing for me to learn more about these successful authors who started out in minor obscurity. While many children enjoyed “Clifford’s Puppy Days”, as I did, I would never have known Suzanne Collins’ name if not for The Hunger Games series.

While Collins, like her protagonist Katniss, prefers to remain outside of the spotlight, she has shared some of her knowledge with us in interviews and readings. In an interview with Scholastic, Collins discusses her routine on workdays:

“I grab some cereal and sit down to work as soon as possible. The more distractions I have to deal with before I actually begin writing, the harder focusing on the story becomes. Then I work until I’m tapped out, usually sometime in the early afternoon. If I actually write three to five hours, that’s a productive day. Some days all I do is stare at the wall. That can be productive, too, if you’re working out character and plot problems. The rest of the time, I walk around with the story slipping in and out of my thoughts.”

This week I encouraged you to keep on writing. And I stick by it, set some time aside every day to write, even if it’s just scribbles on a piece of paper. Give your writing some attention, you both deserve it!

Happy Writing Everyone!