The Agency Games

The Agency Games: An Update

Hello bloggers!

Today’s post is going to be an update on how The Agency Games (a working title) is coming along with the publishing house. However, before I get into that, I just want to say thank you. The past couple of months have been extremely difficult with my grandfather’s sickness and passing. I have not been as present in the blogging community as I would like. Some days, it’s hard to find the motivation to be as productive as I am used to. However, every day that passes, I feel a little more like myself and while most of that is because of God’s grace, part of that is because of you: my blogging community. Thank you to each and every one of you who have commented on my recent blog posts offering your sympathy, your condolences, your prayers, your hugs, and your comfort. I am more grateful for your friendship than you could know.

I am also grateful for the growing interest in my book The Agency Games which takes an in-depth look at the popular Hunger Games  trilogy written by Suzanne Collins. Many of you are already familiar with this project; last summer you stood alongside me as I worked on my word count (75,000+) and last fall you encouraged me when the Peer Review process turned out to be more brutal than I expected.

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A couple weeks ago, I received my feedback from the third peer reviewer and their words caused both myself and the publishing house to take a step back from my book. Basically, here is the conundrum in which I found myself.

Was my book geared for a scholarly or a popular audience?

In general, a scholarly audience consists of “scholars” while a popular audience consists of your average bibliophile who enjoys reading for reading’s sake alone (not necessarily for in-depth consumption). In my experience, some “scholarly” books and articles (at times) seem to include unnecessarily complicated passages in order to appeal to a specific society. On the other hand, some “popular” books or articles might fall prey into “dumbing down” a complex topic.

I had always intended for my book, The Agency Games, to be a bridge in between these two genres. I wanted The Agency Games to be an accessible read for the average Hunger Games‘ fan while at the same time being scholarly enough to pique their interest and encourage their own in-depth examination of familiar texts. However, most of my Peer Reviewers were expecting a more “scholarly textbook” and were, understandably, disappointed by my book.

Together, the publishing house and I knew that I would need to take a firm stance on either going all scholarly or throwing myself into the “popular” genre all together. After some thought, the choice was clear. I specifically want Hunger Games’ fans to read my book. I want fellow bibliophiles to be inspired by the books we read as they realize the power these books hold to reflect and influence our current society.

Therefore, with this in mind, I have one last stage of editing to go through. Once again, I will pour through my book and this time, I am addressing you. That’s right, YOU, my fellow “tribute” and lover of the Hunger Games trilogy. My book will be an investigation of the series that we both love, it will incorporate outside scholarship, and it will be done in a manner that hopefully enlightens, encourages, and reveals what current human agency looks like and why the Hunger Games trilogy is key to understanding our own society.

If you are interested in receiving updates about the release date of The Agency Games, please be sure to drop a comment on the following 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.

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Blogs / Life, The Agency Games

The Agency Games: Update on the Third Reader (Blogmas: “It’s a Holiday Gift!)

Hello Everyone!

Today, I am taking a break from our regularly scheduled Blogmas posts to keep you updated on the publishing process for my book The Agency Games. For those of you who are new to my blog (Welcome!), The Agency Games is a nonfiction analysis of the popular Hunger Games series where I investigate human agency and how it affects primary characters such as Katniss, Peeta, Gale, Haymitch, Cinna, Prim, Rue, Finnick, Mags, Joanna, Beetee, and more!

Anyhow, as many of you might remember, I am currently in the “Peer Review” stage of the publishing process. I have two readers who reviewed my book back in August. One of them loved it and the other was not impressed. So the publication house sent out my book to a third reader to be the tie breaker. However, back in November, when I was supposed to receive my feedback, my third reader backed out due to health reasons and so the clock was set back once again as I waited for the publication house to locate a new third reader.

I am happy to announce that as of this past weekend, the editors have located a new third reader and I should be receiving my feedback sometime toward the end of January in the new year!

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Additionally, the editors have gone ahead and scheduled me a final due date for the revised and improved final draft of my book for April of 2019! It has been a long road, but one that I am so grateful to have the opportunity to walk!

Thank you all for sticking alongside me, encouraging me and supporting me. I sometimes wonder if this book will forever be in limbo (something that will one day happen but not today) and then other days, like today, I can imagine holding that physical representation of all my hard work in my hands. This book has become more than just my “first” book. Some of you may remember that my grandfather is currently dying from cancer and it’s hard, and sometimes, he is not all there. But other days, he is. The other day he asked me when I was going to start publishing my books because he always knew that I would succeed. My entire life, he has pushed me to reach for the stars and I am so grateful for that. He inspired me to work hard and to persevere. In a way, finishing this book has now become a testament to his influence on my life.

Excitement does not begin to describe how I feel. I am one step forward to becoming an official “published” author and I know that I would not be where I am today without the support of my family and friends!

The Agency Games

The Agency Games: An(other) Update

Hey Guys!

So, here I am with another update on my upcoming non-fiction analysis of The Hunger Games. My book, The Agency Games (working title), is currently in the editor’s and peer reviewer’s hands. As some of you may remember, my book already underwent round one with peer reviewers. One of my peer reviewers LOVED it and the other was not quite a fan.

So, to break the tie, the editors wanted me to revise, rewrite, and resubmit my book to a third peer reviewer. After making some pretty crazy tweaks and adding in more content, I sent back my book and it was placed in the hands of a peer reviewer about five weeks ago.

Then, I received an email a couple days ago from my publishers. Unfortunately, something happened with the third reviewer beyond their control and they had to back out. This means that my book is back in limbo as I wait to hear back from publishers as they attempt to find a different third reader to peer review my book. Once they find a new third reader, it will be another 6-8 weeks before I hear back from the publishers with the third reader’s comments.

While part of me is super bummed out (my book will definitely not be published by the end of this year), I am rolling with the punches. And honestly, this timeline might work out better for me. If I am lucky, I will hear back before Christmas and have some time over Christmas break to work on revisions, but we will see!

Thank you to everyone who has encouraged me and supported me through this long process! As a first time author, everything is new to me and having all of you along for the ride is so comforting! I’ll let you know what happens next!

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Happy Writing Everyone!

The Agency Games

The Agency Games (Peer Review: ROUND TWO)

Alright guys, I did it. I successfully took the comments, compliments, and critiques from my two peer review readers and over the past four weeks, I have edited, revised, dissected, pulled apart, set-on-fire, re-arranged and re-written parts my manuscript.

I won’t lie, that was rough!

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The most recent draft has nearly 4,000 words more than the previous draft which I believe to be a good representation of the amount of scholarship, development, and clarification I have added along the way.  Beyond addressing any grammatical issues, I focused on developing and clarifying my overall argument as well as the individual arguments for each chapter. Also, due to reviewer request, I worked on inserting more outside scholarship to help substantiate my interpretations of The Hunger Games trilogy.

As hard as it was to read those criticisms, I am grateful for them, because I honestly believe that my book is better for it. I sent out my latest draft yesterday evening and am hoping to hear back from the publishers within a week to let me know that they have received it. After that, it will be another 6 to 8 weeks before I hear back from my third reader. Meanwhile, I’ll just be over here like . . .

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I am praying that this reader will have a more favorable response to my improved draft! I would greatly appreciate your prayers as well in this matter as I now have to force myself to not focus on what they may say about my book. I am plagued by anxieties and self-doubts, but I will choose to focus instead on the positive. In the effort to stay optimistic, I wanted to share one of the kinder things one of my readers had to say about my book:

This text takes a different approach [to the series], considering the role of agency in the text . . . Unlike previous scholarship, the writer suggests that these novels can help readers identify opportunities for agency (empowerment) in their own chaotic contexts.

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If only one person in the whole world enjoys my book, that is enough. I am so grateful for this opportunity to pursue my dream and I am so encouraged by each and every one of you! Thank you to everyone for your support and your understanding these past few weeks as I have taken multiple Tuesdays “off” from blogging. While life is still crazy, I hope to become more actively involved in this awesome community!

If you are interested in receiving updates for when this book becomes available, be sure to leave a comment on the post: The Agency Games – Sign me Up!

The Agency Games

Publisher Response to The Agency Games

Hey Guys,

So last Wednesday I received the long-awaited email back from the editors. In May, they sent out my manuscript to two scholarly peer reviewers who then read and returned my manuscript with their feedback. The editors in turn reviewed their comments and reached out to me with their feedback (lots of feedback.) And, the results were mixed, leaving me a lot like this . . .

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One of the peer reviews absolutely LOVED my book and while they offered me some critiques on how to improve it, overall, they were quite happy with the manuscript.

The other peer reviewer did not like my book, at all, and offered more criticism than critique.

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So, where does that leave me and my book, The Agency Games?

Back at the keyboard!

Yup, criticism hurts, (A LOT) but ultimately, I am going to use it to improve both this book and my overall writing abilities. The editors have offered me a chance to revise and rewrite according to some of the critiques before they send it out to a third peer reviewer who will be a “tie-breaker” of sorts. I believe that this will (unfortunately) push back the publishing date, but I am determined to push forward. Hopefully this delay will ultimately be worth the improvement.

While this certainly did cause my confidence to take a pretty nasty blow, I am lucky to be surrounded by family and friends who encourage me that even J.K. Rowling was rejected numerous times.

Not everyone will love your work, but that does not mean that you stop writing. 

Did you know that even after J.K. Rowling was made a billionaire due to her Harry Potter series and considered one of the most accomplished authors in the world, she was rejected by a publishing house in 2013. Publishing under a pen name, J.K. Rowling was rejected and told that “a writers’ group or writing course may help” Galbraith (penname) to get constructive criticism of his debut crime novel.” (You can read the whole article here!)

I am grateful for the positive critique that I received, and while I did not necessary expect some of the criticism, I am going to use every comment to improve my work and reach my goal!

Happy Writing Everyone!

Have you been rejected? What was your response?

Short Stories

An Unexpected Tide

When they started to sing, I knew it was over.

The other men, the sailors, the first-mate, and even the Captain, were enthralled by the voices that arose from the sea as if they had already forgotten the life they had sacrificed to its waves.

But I had not forgotten. I knew that her eyes, demanding that I show her no pity, would remain with me for the rest of my life.

I just did not expect the rest of my life to be so short.

When the voices came up out of the water, I did not hear the sweet seduction that the other men claimed to have heard. I could hear what was underneath, the anger and the pain and the desire for revenge.

As we began to sink, I saw you rise from the water. Those same eyes, now tinged red from the salt, staring at me. You added your voice to the mix and while I heard you anger, as you looked at me, I wondered if I also heard something else: a mixture of pain and sympathy.

When the men realized what was happening, they quickly tried to save the ship, some even armed themselves with guns. The first mate shoved one in my direction, “Take this, minister!”

“I’ve got all that I need,” I said, revealing the small book still held in my hands.

“Let it be on your head then,” he snarled, shoving the gun in his waist.

When the shots rang out, you and your kind dove beneath the surface but we could still hear your singing. Water ran up from the bowels of the ship and over our feet. The men panicked, climbing ropes and masts, attempting to escape the sea.

With one last look up to the sky, I braced myself and ran, over the deck and into the water. My body splashed the water much like yours once did. Behind me, the ship quickly capsized and sank, pulling in the water and sailors surrounding it like a whirlpool, including me. Even though I pulled, I could not escape its suction. With one last gulp, my face was pulled under into the dark sea.

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I watched him, the religious man, as he struggled against the waves. All around me, my sisters sang in triumph as we watched the men drown and die.

I felt a twinge of regret course through me as I watched the minister and remembered how he had spoken up for me. I remembered his eyes that had shown no pity only a great sense of sorrow and anger at the men who would throw me overboard simply due to superstition.

Without thinking, I swam toward him, my powerful tail propelling me quickly toward the sinking ship. With one hand I reached out to the unconscious man-

Another hand grabbed my arm, “What are you doing?”

It was her, the one who saved and then made me, the one who led my sisters and I to our revenge. Her husky voice was as harsh as her nails in my skin.

“This one is innocent,” I said, trying to pull my arm from her grasp.

“None are innocent. He watched as they tried to kill you. Did he stop them? No! Leave him to his fate.”

I glanced once more at the man. It was true, he had watched, he had not stopped them from throwing me overboard. I could let him die, it would be the exact same thing that had happened to me, but could I live with myself if I did?

Yanking my arm free from her grasp, I held his face in between my long, webbed hands. Acting on an instinct as old as time, I pressed my lips against his and breathed out long and slow. To my surprise, I saw his chest rise and fall.

Behind me I could hear my sisters muttering in disgust and protest. In my peripheral, I could see that they were turning tail and leaving me alone in the vast ocean with only this man beside me. It did not matter.

Again, I kissed him and breathed into his lungs. To my surprise, his eyes opened, tinged red by the salt water, much like man. When he raised a hand to touch my face, his fingers were webbed and beneath his torso, his legs had melded his a strong tail, even longer than mine.

That’s when I saw them approaching from the dark sea. Both women and men with swinging tails and swaying hair. They were similar in looks to my sisters, the Sirens, but different as well. They rose up from beneath us with a song on their lips. But their song was not like the sirens, there was no hate, no revenge, no anger.

There was only forgiveness, peace, and understanding in their words. In their song, they welcome he and I, they praised me for my forgiving nature, for my rescue of the innocent man, and offered us both a place in their family.

His hand in mine, I realized I was not a siren. I was a mermaid and while some might deserve death for their actions, it was not my duty to insure it. Instead, I would protect those like me, the innocent.

 

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Hey Everyone! A huge thank you to everyone who has stuck around and read all four parts of my “Siren Series.” If you missed a part, be sure to check them out below:

On the Godless Sea

In the Depths

We are Coming

An Unexpected Tide

I had a lot of fun writing these short stories and I hope that you enjoyed them. Be sure to leave a comment below with your thoughts!

©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.

My Writings

We are Coming

“We are coming.”

It is the cry of my people that I hear reverberating through the water. A low and angry melody that fills my ears as my new family swims by my side. The water is salted by the fresh tears they shed on my behalf.

We cut through the water as if it were light as air. I can feel the powerful muscles in my tail as it slices through the ocean. My hair, once bound in societal expectations, now stream-lines over my naked shoulders.

So, this is freedom.

As we approach the ship, we slow. By some unspoken rule, I know that I must wait. I watch as she, the one who breathed new life into me, surfaces and breaks the water. At first, all we can hear are the shouts of men on board the ship as they stare at her with wonder. They seem to believe that a mermaid is a token of good fortune.

Then she begins to sing.

Her voice, husky like mine, is soft and alluring. She sings words of promise and sensual fulfillment. She sings of clear skies and calm seas. She sings of love requited. She sings.

Then, one by one, we, her sisters, join her. We surface slowly, individually, blending our voices into hers. We harmonize, layers and layers of voices overlapping and mingling with one another. We sing of love lost and love gained. We sing of torn ships, brought down by the unbiased sea. We sing.

We float toward the ship and cling to the sides of the wood. We slowly scrap off the barnacles and other organisms growing there. With nails, strong as coral, we softly burrow into the wood, so calmly that they do not notice. Still, we sing.

The men lean over the sides, some have removed their shoes. They are thinking about jumping, about joining us. They do not see or hear the water that now flows in through the holes we made. They do not realize that their ship is sinking. Still, we sing.

Our voices grow and the men shift. Do they hear it? The subtle turn in our song. We sing of betrayal, we sing of pain, we sing of canon balls tied to ankles, we sing of cheers heard at death, we sing of salt water coating and burning our lungs. We sing.

The ships sinks and the men finally understand. It is not bad luck to have a woman on board, but it is bad luck to throw one over. The men run, desperate to save their ship, they are shouting orders, but it is too late. Our voices grow and block out their fear.

Their bodies fill the water, much like ours once did.

And still, we sing.

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Hey there! I hope you enjoyed the third installment in my short “Siren” series. For a more complete experience, once you reach the line, “Then she begins to sing,” play the song below and listen to it softly as you continue to read rest of the story.

If you are interested in reading the first two parts, check out these links:

“On the Godless Sea”

“In the Depths”

“An Unexpected Tide” will be the fourth and last part published next Thursday!

Did you enjoy this installment? Let me know in the comments!

©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.

My Writings

On the Godless Sea

I watched as they discovered you, the stowaway below decks. You were a young woman with brown hair tied back in a braid, possibly only eighteen years old; only a few years younger than myself.

I watched as their old superstitions overwhelmed their logic and senses.

I watched as they questioned your actions and your motives, although they never stopped accusing you long enough to listen to any answers.

I watched as their anger grew, as the Captain caved into his men’s fear. He knew as well as I that you posed no danger. The sea would not rage against us simply because you were on board, but the others could not be convinced.

When they tied the cannon balls to your ankles, I could no longer watch. I pushed myself off of the mast, clutching the small leather-bound book in my hand for strength. “This is madness!”

“Stay back, Bible-thumper, or you can join her,” the first mate snarled in my direction. He had objected to my presence here as well at first, but I had paid well for my passage across the sea to the foreign lands without God or hope. I had not realized that God was so very absent on their very vessel as well.

I tried again, “This is not right, please, I will take responsibility for the girl.”

“Like Hell, you will,” another sailor muttered.

When I moved to step toward you, two men grabbed my arms. “You don’t understand. We’re saving your stupid, yellow-hide.”

Then, you looked at me. And your green eyes, that matched the turbulent waves behind you, pierced into my soul. Your eyes dared me to show you pity, you would not have it. You would be strong, even until the end. You knew the risks when you boarded this ship, did you not?

Then, I watched as they threw your body into the godless sea.

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Hey Guys, I hope you enjoyed today’s flash fiction! In case you are wondering, yes this is tied in with my former piece titled “In the Depths.”

This piece called “On the Godless Sea” is a prequel of sorts to the first short story. I believe I will be working on an additional story connected to these characters . . .

What did you think?

Be sure to leave a comment below!

©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.

My Writings, Short Stories

In the Depths

My body hits the choppy waves with a large splash.

Right before I submerge entirely, I hear whooping and hollering from the deck above.  How those savages cheer on my death, wrapped up in their own ignorance and fear.

Then the noise is gone, as is the light.

These canon balls chained to my ankles care even less than the men upon that ship that I cannot breathe. I struggle, even knowing how useless it is, but I cannot help it. I do not want to die. I pull through the water with my arms, my arms that they cruelly left untied as if to mock my efforts. I am not strong enough to pull against these weights, I continue to sink.

The water gets darker, but still I sink through the depths. No longer do I only feel the pressure from within my lungs, but the water that surrounds me is also pressing in. It slams against my head, squeezing against me like a vice. Still, I continue to sink. Unable to stop myself, I try to gulp in air but only swallow water. The salt burns as it snakes down my throat. I start to choke and black spots speckle the dark water that surrounds me.

I never thought this was how I would die.

Out of the depths, I hear a sound, the sound that truly signals my demise. I hear the singing of angels and demons mixed together. Their voices are heavenly, but their tune is dark and full of rage. At first, I am afraid, but then as the voices cascade over me, I no longer fear death and willing allow my heavy eyes to close.

There is pressure on my lips and suddenly, my lungs expand with air. The weight from my ankles is released.

There is pain in my legs, the pain of slashing and tearing and burning. Once I was cold, but now I am hot as the heat radiates up my skin, crawling up my thighs, racing between my ribs, tearing into my mind.

The voices continue their song, it grows louder and beneath it, there is a hum that speaks a warning.

I can breathe, but the pain, make the pain stop . . .

Silence.

The pain is gone. I open my eyes, shocked by many things. The first is how clear my vision has become. The second is how clearly I can see the creatures that surround me. Hundreds of women, with pale skin and iridescent tails float in the space around me. Their hair, dark and light, swirls around them and reveals bright golden eyes. When they smile, their teeth are sharp, but their eyes are kind.

When I look down, I am not surprised to find that my legs are gone, replaced by a scaled tail that swishes beneath me. My sharp teeth grind against each other in my mouth as I continue to breathe easy within the depths.

“You are one of us,” she says, her husky voice coated by salt.

Far above us, we see the shadow of a ship sailing away, carrying my would-be-murderers. The woman in front of me flicks her eyes toward the bow of the boat, and raises an eyebrow. I understand.

This is my initiation.

Without a second thought, I turn tail and glide through the water toward the ship with my new family at my side.

We are coming.

Woman's long hair head above the water at Banana Beach

 

***This short story was written in response to a prompt that I found on Pinterest.***

SOMEONE WRITE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!<<Okay, Im writing it now

©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.

The Agency Games

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 only twelve years old when the series begins and she is only fourteen when she is killed in a bombing.

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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, Prim is the key element to the entire series. 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.

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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.