1. I Got a Job at Microsoft

    February 7, 2015 ♥ Posted in: Journal, Writing, YouTube videos by Kristina Horner

    Hello, lovely blog readers!

    As you can see by the title of this blog post… I’ve got some rather big news to share. Life alteringly big news, in fact — and something I’ve kept quiet for the last two months.

    I got a job at Microsoft.

    This is some intense news, so here is a picture of some kittens at a birthday party.

    This is pretty intense news, so here is a picture of some kittens at a birthday party.

    To be honest it feels a little cliched, having grown up in Seattle. If you were raised here, you know what I’m talking about. If your parents didn’t work at Microsoft they worked at Boeing. While I’d mulled over the idea of getting some sort of day job over the last year or so, I always imagined some hip new media company. Not… Microsoft. Not the most obvious place to work in the Northwest.

    But here I am. And to be honest, it is a pretty hip job. I was hired as a Community Manager, which means my responsibilities include a whole spectrum of various types of community engagement for a laundry list of games owned by Microsoft Studios.

    But Kristina!? you’re probably asking. Why did you take this job? I thought you were a professional YouTuber! I thought you made oodles of money talking to your camera!

    First of all, I am flattered if you think that. Alas, while I enjoyed my freelance time immensely, it was really starting to weigh on me. If anyone ever tells you that turning your hobby into your job is the ~American Dream~, then you should just tell them to talk to the hand. Because (let me drop a wisdom bomb on you for a second here) if there’s one thing I have learned in my twenty-seven years of life, it’s this: we have hobbies for a very specific reason. We have hobbies because we are creative animals, and we enjoy making things, doing things, being part of things. Sometimes we even enjoy making things just for the sake of creation, but when you add financial pressure to that, you can literally feel your enjoyment start to deflate.

    I didn’t want to hide sponsorships in my videos anymore. I didn’t want to make videos for other companies’ channels anymore. I didn’t want to wake up every day knowing I had to film videos, or had to write blog posts, or I might not pay rent. And I also didn’t appreciate the ever-present self awareness of “what am I actually doing with my life” looming overhead.

    I am acutely aware, however, of how special a thing I’ve created online. And how lucky I am that so many of you care enough about what I’m doing to have stuck around this long. For a long time, considering getting a different job felt like giving up. Throwing in the towel. It felt like I was admitting I hadn’t “made it”.

    But then I start re-evaluating my goals. Made what, exactly? I starting thinking about what I was actually doing, and what I wanted to be doing. I love making videos. I love blogging. I love my Patrons, and my book club, and I love the amazing community of intelligent, caring people who engage with the things that I do.

    Why would any of that need to change, just because I wanted to get a day job?

    It was at that moment that I realized it wouldn’t change. I could still make videos. I could still read books. I could still blog, and tweet, and interact with people online exactly like I always have. This moment of clarity changed everything and I began applying for jobs. The Microsoft opportunity came at exactly the right time and while I’ve been extremely stressed out as I struggle to adjust to a vastly different lifestyle… not much has actually changed, at least online.

    In fact, that only thing that’s been really tough has been not telling you guys about what I’m doing, which is precisely why I am writing this blog post. So… I work at Microsoft now, 40 hours a week. This probably explains why I might have seemed a little distant lately. It was tough to figure out what to talk about without spilling the beans, but I wanted to give myself time to adjust on my own before I told the whole Internet.

    Oh, it’s also been tough to keep up with my email. I did not realize how much email I got until I wasn’t able to check it regularly. How cow. But that’s another issue entirely.

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    So just to sort of let you know what to expect from me now, my online presence mostly won’t change. You can still count on 2 new videos a week. The Restricted Section book club is still going strong. I’ve got three cosplays planned for Emerald City Comic Con. And this blog will always be here.

    I’m just going to have a bit less free time, and I might complain about traffic a lot more, since my commute is right in the heart of rush hour and includes a toll bridge. But audiobooks are a new obsession of mine, so there’s always a silver lining.

    Whew. I don’t know why I am so nervous to be announcing this. I guess it makes sense, because it’s the biggest change that’s happened in my life in a long time. It’s been sort of a tough adjustment, and I miss having all the time in the world to create things for you guys.

    But I think this is going to be a very good thing for me.

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  2. December Updates!

    December 9, 2014 ♥ Posted in: Books, Journal, Writing, YouTube videos by Kristina Horner

    Hello valiant blog readers!

    I have been terrible at keeping this thing updated. I know. Every time I get busy this blog is the first thing to go, but it’s also one of my favorite things I do online! I don’t understand it! I’m gonna be better. I promise.

    Anyway! Here’s what I have been up to since the last time I wrote a blog post, which was… early November.

    The biggest thing for me was – I finished my 9th NaNoWriMo novel! It was a crazy month, with very little time for anything other than writing, but I DID IT. It felt amazing, and here’s my video documentation of the process if you want to know more about what it was like for me:


     

    I also recently started up a book club on Goodreads if you haven’t heard about that yet. It’s called The Restricted Section and we’ve already got a great group of people involved! Our first book (for November) was Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore (which I loved) and this month we’re reading My True Love Gave to Me, a compilation of holiday themed short stories written by popular YA authors. I can’t wait to dive into it.

    As for this month, I’m currently gearing up for Project 4 Awesome (that’s taking place December 12-13 if you wanna get involved) and then shortly after that is the Christmas BookTubeAThon! I can’t WAIT to find out what the challenges are; I love BookTubeAThon so much. I will likely be making daily videos and shoving everything else on my to-do list way down so I can knock out a bunch more reading before the end of the year.

    It’s also going to be my birthday soon… I turn 27 on the 27th, making it my golden birthday! This will also set my well into my “late twenties”, which is something I am still grappling with, emotionally. Where did the time go? I honestly couldn’t tell you. I was too busy wearing footy pajamas and watching My Little Pony to notice how old I’ve gotten.

    That’s sort of it, for now! I hope you’re all doing well and I will be back very soon with another blog post. Happy December!

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  3. NaNoWriMo 2014 Pep Talk!

    October 22, 2014 ♥ Posted in: Books, Geek Events, Writing, YouTube videos by Kristina Horner

    Hello lovely blog readers!

    Did I just hear a – a chorus of groans? You know it’s coming, don’t you. NaNoWriMo is upon us, and we have just over a week left to prepare. What is NaNoWriMo, you ask? Well, luckily for you, I’ve just posted my annual NaNoWriMo video – explaining the event and giving tips/advice to anyone out there who might be interested in participating.

    Also, if you’ve been watching my videos for at least a year, there’s a chance I may call you out by name. Why? Well… you’ll see. *evil laughter* *more evil laughter* *even more evil – wait I have to write a novel too, I don’t have time for three rounds of evil laughter, I’m off to brainstorm whatever the heck I’m writing this year*

    If you’re attempting NaNoWriMo this year, good luck! Add me as a writing buddy, and let me know in the comments of this blog post if you do!

     

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  4. Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld – Review!

    October 17, 2014 ♥ Posted in: Books, Kristina Reviews Things, Writing, YouTube videos by Kristina Horner


     

    This video is a week or two old, but I wanted to give people a chance to get out and grab this book before posting my review here. I’m talking of course of Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld, a really unique new book that centers around both a girl name Darcy and the character she creates named Lizzie. This book really spoke to me because she wrote her first novel in 30 days, in November, which many will recognize to be NaNoWriMo. I loved reading about someone else’s experience with the project, and I had a lot to say about the book!

    Have you read Afterworlds yet? Do you participate in NaNoWriMo? Please leave me comments and let me know your thoughts!

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  5. BookTubeAThon 2014!

    July 11, 2014 ♥ Posted in: Books, Nerd Topics, Writing, YouTube videos by Kristina Horner

    So… I may have done something crazy.

    What could you possibly done that’s so crazy, Kristina? you might ask.

    I may have committed to attempting the Book-Tube-A-Thon starting on Monday, July 14th. For those who don’t know what the Book-Tube-A-Thon is (like me, 3 days ago), all the information about it can be found here. It’s sort of like NaNoWriMo, but for reading. This is scary for a number of reasons, but mainly because I already know I can handle NaNoWriMo, even if I undergo small amounts of insanity in the process.

    But Book-Tube-A-Thon is terrifying. Book-Tube-A-Thon is the unknown. Book-Tube-A-Thon is gonna be GREAT.

    The thing is – writing 1,667 words a day, in a vacuum, is pretty easy. It’s really the challenge of doing it EVERY SINGLE DAY that starts to make you lose your mind. But reading SEVEN BOOKS in SEVEN DAYS? Coming from a slow reader, well, let’s just say it’s going to be a challenge.

    BUT I AM SO PUMPED.

    I’ll be announcing my full TBR list in the first video check-in on Monday (oh, did I not mention? On top of reading seven books in seven days, there are also daily videos. With challenges. Sure, no big deal, next week is going to be a piece of cake) so make sure you’re subscribed to my channel if you want to witness the madness first hand.

    I will end this blog post by revealing the first of my seven books, though:

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    The Selection by Kiera Cass! I’ve heard nothing but good things about this series, even if most of the people reading it were slightly ashamed by how much they liked it. Not gonna lie, I can be a total sucker for those kinds of books.

    You’re probably wondering, after all this, why I am doing this. If it’s so scary, why do it? Well, I have a few answers for you.

    1. “Because it’s scary” is one of my favorite reasons to do anything. It’s why this year will be Year 9 of NaNoWriMo, it’s why I have a YouTube channel at all, and it’s why cave hiking is one of my favorite new hobbies. Nothing helps you grow as a person quite like attempting something that terrifies you, and coming out the other side a victor. Or, alternately, failing miserably. Both are okay options! Both are good for you!
    2. I’m really pumped on books lately, and the BookTube community seems amazing and welcoming and fun. What better way to try to assimilate myself with them than to tag along on their craziest adventure? I hope they like me. Fingers crossed they like me.
    3. How ELSE am I gonna accomplish any of my reading goals this year when there are so many distractions everywhere? I love the idea of a militant reading challenge. I write the most during November and it really works for me. Why not try the same with reading?

    I likely wont be blogging much (if at all) during the Book-Tube-A-Thon, but who knows. It’s only a week though, so be sure to check back after for my thoughts on the whole experience. And if it sounds fun to you at all… feel free to join in the fun! I’ll be talking about it a lot on Twitter, especially since it’s just perfect for #JulyReading.

    See you on the other side! Two and a half more days before THE CRAZY BEGINS!!!

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  6. July Reading Challenge!

    July 3, 2014 ♥ Posted in: Books, Geek Events, Writing by Kristina Horner

    Okay so. The July Reading Challenge. This is just a little idea I had yesterday while thinking about making time for reading. I pitched the idea on Twitter and when the reaction was positive, I kind of got carried away with it.

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    The premise is simple: Just read every day. But the idea is to really pledge to do it, and to hold yourself accountable for it. I’m organizing a little support group for readers on Twitter, so if this idea sounds interesting to you, join in! Use the hashtag #JulyReading and respond to other readers whose posts you find! Encourage each other, share favorite lines from what you’re reading and recommend books to others.

    I was going to make a whole list of questions to answer each day on twitter, but maybe I’ll do this challenge again sometime with more rigid rules. For this first run at it, let’s just keep it casual.

    Make sure you’re following me on Twitter to follow along – I’ll be asking for check-ins each day, asking questions and sharing what I’m reading. I’d love it if you’d respond as well!

    Let me know in the comments if you pledge to read every day in July. We’re going to get so much reading done!

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  7. Patreon – A New Endeavor!

    February 26, 2014 ♥ Posted in: Journal, Writing, YouTube videos by Kristina Horner

    Hey, blog readers! I just wanted to tell you about something I’m launching today that’s sort of a big addition to the things I already do. I’m kicking off a Patreon page, and I am extremely excited about it.

    What is Patreon? Well, the best way to answer that is to just show you the video I made on the topic:

     

    Essentially, I’m taking a huge leap of faith for my art. I am inviting anyone who’s ever enjoyed the things I’ve made to become a patron of my work; to help fund my projects so I can focus even more time on creating the type of content YOU like to see, rather than relying on product placement deals to pay my bills. I love giving my honest opinions on the products I love in my videos, and I am tired of having that jeopardized by saying yes to sponsored videos for things I don’t actually care about.

    Patreon will hopefully both make that a reality, and open even more new doors for me. Maybe that’ll mean more frequent videos. Maybe more creative writing. Either way, it’s going to be exciting for everyone involved.

    All of the content you were getting from me before is still free – my videos, my blog posts, outfit of the day pictures, etc. Patreon is just a way to become more involved with that process as a viewer. At certain levels you can even give me topics to write or vlog about! Patreon will hopefully enable me to do more freelance work – doing what I love rather than just work that pays the bills.

    The perk I am most excited about is just at the $5 level – you can take a personality quiz that I wrote myself to find out what kind of Unicorn Warrior you are, and then join a secret Facebook group to meet the others and chat and interact with me on a regular basis. It’s going to be a lot of fun – and that’s just one of the things I am offering!

    Please go check out my page if you’ve ever enjoyed anything I’ve created. This new project is scary and fun and exciting all at once but it’ll only be successful with your support. <3

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  8. I’m Back! December Update.

    December 3, 2013 ♥ Posted in: Journal, Writing by Kristina Horner

    Well!

    It has been quite the month. I apologize for taking so much time off of this blog – I really, truly enjoy updating it nearly every day, but that last stretch of NaNoWriMo just made it really difficult to do anything else, not to mention another writing intensive project. But! I made it through victorious, yet again. 2013-Winner-Facebook-Cover

    I’ve been working diligently on on editing my “film myself every day of November to show the craziness unfold” video project, and it should be going up on my YouTube channel tomorrow. If you’ve ever wanted to see a first hand account of what true insanity looks like, you’ll probably enjoy this video.

    In other news, I am SO EXCITED about Christmas stuff. My roommates and I are decorating our tree tomorrow night, and then I have my first holiday party on Thursday (with many more to come). There will definitely be ample blog posts about everything I have coming up in the following weeks. It’s been all sweaters and pine scented candles at my house lately, and we’re just getting started.

    I’ve just been in such a good mood lately. Not only was Frozen amazing (Eia and I cannot stop dancing around the house to the soundtrack) but I finished my eighth NaNoWriMo novel and we’re entering the month of parties, parties, and more parties. Also I turn 26 this month. But we’ll get to that later when I have decided whether I’m excited or depressed.

    Please, give me updates on your NaNo experience this month, if you took part in the marathon. Or tell me what you’re most looking forward to for the holiday season. Or what you want for Christmas! I’m having a hell of a time figuring out what I want this year.

    Here’s hoping it snows soon. I love the first snow.

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  9. Video Roundup: Thanksgiving Week!

    November 27, 2013 ♥ Posted in: Writing, YouTube videos by Kristina Horner

    I know I said I was going to take a little break from blogging this week for the holidays, but I wanted to compile a short list of the videos I’ve posted recently. YouTube makes it tougher and tougher to find the videos you want to watch, so I think it’s helpful to have a different avenue to look for them. Every video I post will also be mentioned here, on this blog, so please bookmark this page!

    First up is my Thanksgiving video. This was my Fiesta Mission for the month, as well as a party I look forward to every year. My friends are so wonderful and I’m so grateful to be able to share these holidays with them. We talk about our favorite Thanksgiving foods, make hand-turkeys and take you right to the head of the table for our feast!

     

    Next is the “Would You Rather” video I made down in San Francisco with fellow YouTuber Karen Kavett and my writing buddy/housemate Liz Leo. This is a fun one for those of you doing NaNoWriMo or anyone who’s ever tried their hand at writing, because Karen’s silly noveling scenarios were a hoot.

    Lastly, I wanted to point all you Buffy fans in the direction of the new series over on Team Hypercube. Justin and I started playing Chaos Bleeds, a terribly Buffy the Vampire Slayer game we started playing with little-to-no idea what to expect. Needless to say, it had us rolling on the ground laughing.

     

    If you’ve never watched one of our Let’s Play videos, this is a good place to start. Even if you think you’re not very into video games, that’s probably only because you haven’t seen me repeatedly throw a temper tantrum and kick at a locked door that claims that there’s “another way in” for nearly twenty minutes. Trust me. These videos are fun.

    Hope you have a lovely holiday weekend and that your family get-togethers aren’t too crazy. If so, there’s always the internet. 😉

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  10. Bucket List: The Night of Writing Dangerously

    November 22, 2013 ♥ Posted in: Bucket List, Geek Events, Travel, Writing by Kristina Horner

    For 7 years now, I have dedicated my Novembers to pounding out novel after novel, fighting against the odds to prove that I CAN do anything I set my mind to. And for nearly as long, other Wrimos across the country have gathered in San Francisco for one night of that month to experience this challenge together, with food, drink, and merriment.

    When I started NaNoWriMo, I was in college. So not only was I writing an obscene amount of words in a month, I was doing it amidst homework! Amidst tests and class periods and my part time job! And each year I thought, “Maybe I’ll make it down to San Francisco this year,” but each year threw new obstacles in my way, and traveling for the sake of writing never fit into my crazy schedule.

    But on this, my eighth year of reckless novel abandon, my friend and writing cohort Liz and I decided THIS. This was our year.

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    I have many blog posts already about the road trip, so for this, let’s focus on the event itself. This is also my very first bucket list post! If you want to see the other things on my (still growing) bucket list, you can check that out here.

    Anyway, Liz and I got dressed up (the theme was Noir) and arrived at the ballroom via Lyft. Let me just tell you, this ballroom was gorgeous. It was located in the Merchant Exchange building right in the middle of the city, and the view was fabulous. There were tables everywhere, a little podium up front for speakers, and raffle prizes along the wall.

    The open bar had fun novelty drinks such as the Noveltini, Cosmonovelton and GimLit. The Noveltini was my favorite. There was also a candy bar, where writers could refill a little white bag with enough sugar as they would need to get them through the write-a-thon. Dinner was fabulous and consisted of too many delicious things for me to even remember, and of course, throughout the night, they also served us donut holes and had a late night milk & cookie bar. The food was by far one of the best parts of the evening.

    As far as activities went, sometimes it felt like there was almost too much to do! There was food to eat (as I mentioned), writers to mingle with, staff to meet, booze to drink, and a professional “author portrait” studio set up in back. Anyone attending the gala could get their photo snapped for use on our NaNo author pages, potential book jackets someday, who knows! That was a lot of fun. There were also timed writing sprints over the course of the night, as well as table wars, which encouraged the different tables of writers to get as many words written as they could so as not to let down your other table mates. It was a good motivator.

    I was too excited about everything going on to take many pictures, so instead of seeing the gala itself, you get this selfie.

    I was too excited about everything going on to take many pictures, so instead of seeing the gala itself, you get this selfie.

    Let me talk about the tables for a second. It was a beautiful sight. The people running this event clearly know what they’re doing, as every single table in that ballroom had a powerstrip beneath it for attendees to plug their laptops into. Just try and imagine a gorgeous banquet room filled with people dressed to the nines with their laptops in a circle around their fancy tables. It was a sight to behold; especially when laptops were favored over other items and no one knew where to put their plates, wine glasses or candy bags. It was a juggling act, but made for great conversation. And, as far as I know, nothing was spilled on anyone’s computer.

    After the food, another big highlight for me was getting to finally meet the people behind NaNoWriMo. This event has literally helped shape the last eight years of my life, and so much of that time was spent alone in my room, fingers poised above a laptop. Getting to not only meet and hug the people who created this crazy project, but to be in a room of 250 others who so completely understand what this project means to me was overwhelming. I might have gotten a little emotional.

    I first met Shelby Gibbs and Tim Kim back at LeakyCon this summer, and they are the ones who convinced Liz and I to make the trip to San Francisco for the event. It was so lovely to see them again, and to get to meet Chris Angotti, the Director of Programs, Grant Faulkner, the Executive Director, Tavia Stewart-Streit, the Deputy Director, and so many others! And everyone knew who I was! Writing that NaNoWriMo song was one of the best decisions I ever made, and I had a lot of people come up to me and tell me they listen to it every year to get pumped to start writing. That meant more than anyone could ever imagine.

    I also got to announce the second table war, as well as saying who won when it was over. I had a blast, especially because it meant I got the microphone for a small amount of time. Of course I used that opportunity to ask for a show of hands for who pronounces it my way, “na-no-wree-mo”. I lost, overwhelmingly, but hey! There were at least twenty or so people who raised their hands!

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    Getting to attend this event was something Liz and I have only ever dreamed of doing. We both managed to write about 2,500 words over the course the evening, made friends with our tablemates, stuffed ourselves with food and drink and went home exhausted but so, so happy. The crazy long road trip we took to get there was completely worth it. I am extremely happy with my very first bucket list item, and if everything on that list is as fun as this first one, then I highly look forward to starting to cross them off over the rest of my life.

    There’s still 8 days left of NaNoWriMo! Who’s still in? How much would you like to be able to attend an event like this, dedicated solely to writing and to raising money to help empower others to write books? It was a dream come true, for me. Thanks for reading, and hopefully my next bucket list item won’t be too far off.

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