Blogs / Life

Big Changes Ahead…

The First Day of School Starts Today!

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A month ago, I was all set for taking on the role of Yearbook Adviser. My syllabus and curriculum were ready to go!

A week ago today, I was asked to take on the role of 8th Grade English Teacher. For the past year, I have subbed in this class, prayed for this spot, and I truly felt led by God to this position. There was only one issue. The job was taken and it did not look like there would be an opening any time soon. In fact, as I mentioned above, I was all set to be working in a different position that I had prepped for over the summer.

Instead, due to God’s direction and working in my life, I am the new 8th Grade English Teacher, starting my first day TODAY! As you’re reading this, I’m teaching my very first classes!

When I was asked to take this role, there was no hesitation. I immediately said yes and felt confident in that decision. However, there was a lot of work to be done and even more yet to do. Due to this unforeseen and extremely work-heavy load, I will unfortunately have to be taking a step back from blogging.

What does this mean exactly?

I still plan on continuing my Alphabet Challenge so make sure you are working on your entries! However, my Alphabet Challenge will most likely be my only entirely new posts in the next few months. I do plan on re-posting old blog posts (with some updated content included).

I will not be able to visit as many other blogs as I usually like to do, but I will do my best to continue the rounds as I can.

Please wish me luck in this new venture and if you pray, I appreciate your prayers!

Proverbs 16:9, “A man’s heart plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps.” 

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Alphabet Challenge, Blogs / Life

The Alphabet Challenge

Calling all bloggers, authors, poets, and artist!

Today I am challenging you to engage in The Alphabet Challenge with me!

What is the Alphabet Challenge?

The Alphabet Challenge requires you to focus on one letter of the alphabet every week and to create a blog post concerning that letter. For example, Week One you will need to focus on the letter “A.” For this letter, you can write poetry, flash fiction, or even draw a picture, whatever you choose, as long as it features that specific letter.

For this challenge, I will be posting my response to each letter on every Wednesday of each week. That means that I will be working on completing this challenge from the months of September to December.

However, I do not want to do this alone! I am inviting each of you to join me in this challenge. Every Wednesday when I post my response to the Alphabet Challenge, I encourage YOU to comment a link that leads back to YOUR response to the Alphabet Challenge.

Why should you join the Alphabet Challenge?

  1. Engage in blogging community by leaving links to your response to the Alphabet Challenge and by checking out other bloggers’ links and posts.

  2. Enjoy the challenge of this four-month journey by stretching your writing muscles.

  3. Have a ready to go prompt for a blog post every Wednesday without having to worry about finding an idea

  4. And oh yea, every month, I will be choosing my favorite response to the Alphabet Challenge and sharing it on my blog (bringing more exposure to your blog!)

Happy Writing!

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Credit for this wonderful photo goes to Amador Loureiro https://unsplash.com/@amadorloureiroblanco

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Agency Games

Hunger Games Friday: Cinna – Friend or Foe?

Sweet Cinna, beloved by so many in both the Capitol and the Districts, is a character of mystery. After all, very little is known about his past. Various scholars and fans have hypothesized that Cinna originates from one of the various districts instead of the Capitol. Some have even gone so far as to say that perhaps he is Mr. Everdeen after severe plastic surgery. While that may be a bit far-fetched, these various attempts to understand Cinna’s backstory betray readers’ immense interest in his character.

Scholars too are fascinated by Cinna, some proclaiming him to be Katniss’s closest confidant while others claim that Cinna manipulates Katniss for the rebellion similar to how other stylists manipulates tributes for the Games.

After all, he constantly pushes the Mockingjay aspect of her wardrobe, without her previous consent; he creates the rebel image through her image.

And yet . . .

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He seems so supportive of Katniss, often protecting her and strengthening her through his design choices. Also, Katniss truly loves him and sees him as one of her only true friends. Is it enough?

In my book, The Agency Games, I will explore the relationship between Cinna and Katniss, investigating the strength of their individual and combined agencies, perhaps answering the question of Cinna’s loyalties for once and all.

What do you think about Cinna? Was he helping Katniss or was he simply using her as the face of the rebellion? Leave your comments below!

If you are interested in receiving updates when the book is released, please leave a comment on the post: “The Agency Games — Sign Up!”

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Blogs / Life

Five Guidelines for Hosting Your Own Blog Party

Hello bloggers!

One week ago today we had our End of Summer Blog Party! It was a ton of fun, thank you to everyone who participated. Blog Parties are always a great way to get more involved in the blogging community, to meet new people, and read some amazing new blogs. I host a blog party about every two to three months in the hopes of encouraging community and reciprocation among bloggers.

Have you ever considered throwing a blog party?

If so, here’s some advice.

While Blog Parties are a huge hit, they can also be a lot of work, and they can often fall flat without the proper motivations and engagement. Just like throwing a party in real life, the host/hostess cannot simply provide an atmosphere, ditch out, and then expect his/her guests to have a good time. As a host/hostess, I suggest you follow these simple guidelines:

  1. Create specific rules and invitations
    • It is not enough to yell “Blog Party” and hope the crowds will come. Set up what a blog party is for first time participants. If you have a specific theme, state it! If there is something you want your guests to answer, ask the question, get the party started! Also, if you have specific rules (as most parties should), be upfront with them right away. For instance, my strictest rule is that no one is allowed to comment “I followed you, please follow back.” I don’t accept the “follow game” at my parties and so I make sure to post that in the instructions.
  2. Turn off comment moderation (at least for the duration of the blog party)
    • Many of you may have different comment restrictions on your blog. Maybe you have to approve every comment every single time, or you only have to approve comments from first time posters. While this may be helpful in other areas of your blog, it is detrimental during blog parties. Bloggers cannot actively engage in the party if they are waiting in the queue to become “approved.” For the duration of the blog party, turn off comment moderation.
  3. Engage with every. single. blogger. Write back (you cannot be a silent host!)
    • If you were hosting a party at home and someone came up to you, introduced themselves, and talked about their favorite hobbies, would you simply turn and walk away without saying a word? NO! (At least, I hope not.) Your guests are your responsibility. It is your job to make sure that the are having a good time. If someone comments, for goodness sakes, be kind and respectful enough to comment back!
    • Ask questions to your guests.
      • Just as you should respond to comments, you should engage by asking questions. What does the blogger like to write about? What are they currently working on? This is all about making friends people and the only way that works is through engagement.
  4. Visit every. single. blog. that comments (show reciprocation).
    • I mentioned earlier that I do not play the follow game. Just because someone follows my blog does not mean that I will automatically follow them back. However, I will visit their blog and check it out (especially if they comment during a blog party)! Again, if someone has been kind enough to drop in to your party, be reciprocal. It will take you 30 seconds at most to click on their blog and look around. You may even be pleasantly surprised to find that you love their blog and want to follow! During blog parties, I follow anywhere from 5 – 20 new blogs.
  5. Kick out the trolls.
    • Last, but not least, sorry to say, the bigger your party, the more likely you are to find that the trolls have escaped the dungeon. Be on the lookout for blogger-trolls who are only there to stir up trouble or garner followship without actively engaging in the community.

Well there you have it, my five stress-free, guaranteed guidelines on how to host your very own blog party. If you host a party soon, I hope to receive an invite!

Happy Blogging Everyone!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Market Yourself (The First Step)

Hey Everyone!

Today’s post is specifically geared for YOU: the blogger, author, creative person that you are.

Marketing your work is more than just posting a fancy photo of your book cover or your latest blog post. Marketing is more than just shouting out into the void “look at me!” Good marketing involves hard work and (you guessed it) authentic relationships with your target audience.

Look at it this way: why should anyone want to read what you have to say? Why should anyone pick up your book off the shelf instead of someone else’s? What do you have to offer?

The work that we do is so much different than a regular nine-to-five job because our work is dependent on our audience. That’s why learning how to market our work can be so important and also so scary. A lot of beginning writers and bloggers feel daunted by marketing their work because really, marketing begins with YOU.

If you do not believe in the worth of your blog posts or writing, than why should anyone else? The first step to marketing your work is to learn that you are marketing yourself, your product, your ideas, your thoughts, your experiences, your realities, and your fantasies. So my first bit of advice is this:

Own Your Own Identity

This might be the hardest thing to do, but first you must develop your own online identity, particularly as bloggers and even as authors in today’s technologically-savvy society. This is because most of your promoting will be done online (surprise, surprise). In order for anyone to know you exist, you must first create your presence. When you begin blogging, or creating a website, or even creating facebook/instagram author pages, you need to think about: personality, consistency, frequency, and authenticity.

  1. Personality: Your blog, website, facebook/instagram page should be individualized. Of course, it’s not a bad thing to start with a template provided to you, but eventually, you should begin tweaking and editing your sites to reflect who you are.
  2. Consistency: If you use a specific theme, or profile picture, or cover photo, etc., it should be similar across all of your social media sites. This helps your audience know that your separate sites all belong to you and form harmony instead of dissonance.
  3. Frequency: You cannot create social media sites and then dip out. This is where that hard work comes in. Have confidence in your abilities and blog more regularly as time allows. Your pages will not magically attract a following, you have to get out there and go get it!
  4. Authenticity: In the getting-out-and-go-getting-it, don’t forget to be yourself. Don’t put forward a fake front and don’t lie to get followers. You can only pretend for so long. Be yourself and garner a genuine audience who is actually interested in what you have to give.

That’s a lot for today so I’m going to stop here. In the future, I’ll work to expand on the next steps in your marketing campaign.

Meanwhile, I would love to hear from you on your own experiences. How have YOU promoted your work in the past? Do you find that my four (Personality, Consistency, Frequency, & Authenticity) work in your own promotion avenues?

Happy Writing Everyone! I’ll see you in the comments!

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Poetry

Progress

The blank page

Beckons while the cursor

Blinks, menacingly. It’s

Waiting for my coffee

To be drunk, for my laundry

To be folded. Pandora

Beeps.

Asking, “Are you still there?”

Demanding immediate action

Yet I remain

Unmoved, attempting to

Wrangle thoughts that

Struggle against constraints

Yearning for freedom that

Lies beyond the

Open window.

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

The Agency Games

Hunger Games Friday: The Curiously Short Life & Death of Primrose Everdeen

Primrose Everdeen (Prim) is the younger sister to Katniss Everdeen and the youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Everdeen. She is twelve years old when the series begins and she is only fourteen when she dies in the infamous two-timed bombing of the Capitol.

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Because of her youth and her feminine appearance of a young, naive, helpful, little girl, many scholars skirt over her importance to The Hunger Games trilogy. However, most fans of the trilogy would instantly state that Prim is crucial to the entire series.

In a poll, 62% of participants voted that Primrose Everdeen was crucial to the story line.

After all, if Prim had never been reaped, Katniss would never have volunteered. If Katniss had not gone into the Games with Peeta and defied the Capitol, the revolution would never have ignited. If the revolution had never begun, the Games would continue on with President Snow in charge of Panem. In one of my last chapters, I discuss how every action that Katniss takes is in protection of her sister Prim, primarily because Prim represents hope. It is this hope, intimately connected with agency, that draws readers into the world of Panem.

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Read more about Prim and Katniss, and the rest of the amazing characters from The Hunger Games in my upcoming book The Agency Games!

If you are interested in receiving updates when the book is released, please leave a comment on the post: “The Agency Games — Sign Up!”

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Blogs / Life

End of Summer Blog Party

Hey Everyone! If you’re anything like me, you might be bummed that summer is coming to a close. What better way to end summer than with a BLOG PARTY?

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For those of you who are not aware what a blog party is let me break it down. Generally speaking, a blog party is an online gathering for bloggers of all kinds to meet and engage with one another.

Here are some simple rules:

  1. First off, everyone is welcome to participate in this Blog Party (even if you do not currently follow me, although I would LOVE it if you did!) -> If you are a new follower of my blog, say hi and let me know that you are new so that I remember to drop by your blog and check you out.
  2. Leave a Comment and a Link! Tell us who you are and what your blog is about. Feel free to leave a link connecting back to your blog’s home page or to your favorite or most recent blog post! (Post this only once please.)
  3. Mix and Mingle! This is where the party begins. I am blessed to have over 2,000 followers and this is a great opportunity for many of my friends to meet each other. You guys are amazing and I think a lot of you would enjoy meeting and following one another.
  4. Remember, you never have to follow anyone just because they follow you. However, it is good manners to always return a page visit for a page visit. Did someone stop by your blog, like or leave a comment? Do the same for them! It only takes a minute.
  5. Don’t forget to REBLOG! Spread the fun by encouraging your own followers to join in the party! This is the best way to attract new bloggers by spreading the word.
  6. Lastly, please do not comment “I just followed your blog, please follow back!” or anything similar. You will be booted from the party. Follow the blogs you honestly like, don’t play the “follow game.”

As we are celebrating the end of summer, feel free to include your favorite summer activity! Mine would definitely be the amount of pool time that I get during the summer months.

What about you?

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This Blog Party will be held and moderated exclusively August 7th-8th so don’t miss out! Invite your friends and share with your blogging community!

Also, I am feeling that itch again to hold another contest! In the comments below, please let me know which you would prefer:

Flash Fiction Contest

Poetry Contest (Open form)

Poetry Contest (Specific Form)

Poetry Contest (Specific Theme)

Alphabet Contest

Poetry

One Regret

My one regret:

That seed of bitterness buried deep in my heart

I try to forgive, try to forget

But you were supposed to protect me, not break me apart

I choke on weeds when I think of your name

Feeling pierced by thorns when I see your face

When I wake at night, heart dead in my chest

As sobs cycle through, chasing away any chance of rest

My vision runs red, as I struggle, not knowing what to do

Wishing to blackout, just so that I can stop thinking of you

It’s hard to forgive, it’s hard to forget.

That you will always be,

the one who abandoned me,

My one everlasting regret.

 

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Thank you @https://unsplash.com/@kellysikkema for your wonderful photo.

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Agency Games

Hunger Games Friday: NEW Prequel Coming Out in 2020

Oh, what’s that noise? Sorry, that’s just me squealing like a little girl at Christmas time when she opens the box and finds a puppy!

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I was so excited to hear the news. Have you heard it?

Suzanne Collins is releasing a new installment of the Hunger Games series in 2020!

According to Collins herself, “With this book, I wanted to explore the state of nature, who we are, and what we perceive is required for our survival. The reconstruction period ten years after the war, commonly referred to as the Dark Days—as the country of Panem struggles back to its feet—provides fertile ground for characters to grapple with these questions and thereby define their views of humanity.”

As she says, the plot of the book will take place during the ten years after war, during the Dark Days. In other words, this novel will take place during the 10th year of the Hunger Games. If my calculations are correct, that is around the same time that Mags from District 4 was chosen as tribute and she won her games. Perhaps, if we are lucky we will get to see a glimpse of Mags as a young woman!

I am ecstatic to see what Collins has come up with, especially as she explores the state of humanity. In my upcoming book (most likely to also debut in 2020), I explore human agency through Collins characters. I wonder what her novel will mean for my analysis. If nothing else, I know that I will be highly entertained and impressed by Collins’ writing, but hopefully, I might also be able to pick up the discussion of agency and see how Collins continues to represent it through her characters.

How many other Hunger Games fans out there will be lining up or pre-ordering Collins’ prequel?

You can bet to find me there!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.