1. How #Wordbound has already changed the game (for me)

    January 25, 2017 ♥ Posted in: Wordbound, Writing by Kristina Horner

    On Monday, I sat down at my normal weekly writing workshop time. My goal was to write at least 1,000 words of my book Delaney Unlaced, and to work in this past week’s #wordbound prompt.

    The prompt was: There is a door. It is closed.

    This week most of my writing buddies were either out of town or home sick, so I ended up not going to the coffee shop we usually meet at. I instead opted to get my writing time in while sitting in the comfort of my own bed… but that’s not what happened. It should have been an easy scene to write, since I was at a part where Delaney fights with her mom through a closed door. Simple use of the prompt.

    But the words wouldn’t come, and I was frustrated about political stuff I had read on Facebook, so I gave myself the night off. “I’ll write on Tuesday,” I told myself.

    Tuesday rolled around, and I had a few other errands I also needed to accomplish that evening. I needed to sign up for new car insurance. I needed to unpack my suitcase from a trip I’d gone on nearly a week prior. I had to get some financial paperwork in order.

    Guys, I did all those things before I even attempted to write. I know that procrastinating writing is a common dance for writers, but car insurance? Nothing is less thrilling than car insurance.

    I was tired, and it was late, so I let myself go to bed without writing.

    This morning, when I was posting the new prompt for the week, I had to really stop and ask myself what happened. Why, when I only invented this whole concept a little over a month ago, was I having so much trouble being #wordbound?

    But then it hit me. I wasn’t having trouble writing. I was having trouble writing Delaney.

    Last week, the short story that I wrote flew from my fingertips. But every time I sit down to work on Delaney, everything just feels wrong, hollow, empty.

    I tried to think about the last time I felt really inspired by this book, and I realized I knew exactly when that was.

    It was November 8th.

    When the world got the news about Donald Trump’s shocking win, I tried to cope by continuing to write. Making art when things feel hopeless is important; it’s a light in the dark. But I started to doubt that Delaney Unlaced was an important enough story, at least for right now. I mean all stories are important, and not every book needs to be in some way linked to the current political climate (obviously), but suddenly I didn’t understand why I was dedicating so much of my time to writing about a person whose biggest problem is not knowing what she wants to do with her life. Delaney is a very privileged person, and part of her journey in the book is recognizing and embracing that privilege to help others – but that’s not really a story that needs to be told right now. That’s not a story I feel passionate about writing, given the world we’re currently living in.

    So today, I decided to stop working on it. Maybe not forever, but at least for now. And I’ll admit: My fingers shook as I symbolically closed the Scrivener file. My eyes filled with tears when I told Joe later over dinner. Because making this decision not only felt like the loss of 2 years of work, it felt like losing a very good friend.

    But I wrote another NaNo novel a couple years back called Miniature that’s been niggling in the back of my mind, and it feels a lot more relevant. It’s something I’m excited to work on again. Something that makes me feel hopeful. So I opened a new Scrivener file, and I called it Miniature Re-write.

    So, this is a little late, but I think I actually succeeded on the prompt for last week after all.

    Goodbye for now, Delaney Unlaced. There is a door. And it is closed.

    Leave a comment!
  2. Kissing Lessons (Wordbound, Week #2)

    January 17, 2017 ♥ Posted in: Wordbound, Writing by Kristina Horner

    Hey everyone! This week’s #wordbound post is coming in hot, mostly because I’ve been on a work trip since early Monday morning and this has been my first few moments of down time. I actually wrote a short story for this week’s prompt on Sunday, but I needed to do one more pass of editing before I was ready to share it.

    A little backstory: I sat down to work this week’s prompt into the novel I am currently working on, and no matter what I tried, I couldn’t do it. So I decided to write something new, which turned into the short story I’m about to share with you in its entirety. After a couple tough months working on my book, it was surprising how easily this story flowed out of my fingertips. Anyhow, I literally don’t think I’ve ever shared this much fictional writing with the internet, so I hope you enjoy. I won’t always share this much, but I’m going to today. Here’s to new things, and to #wordbound!

    This week’s prompt was: “A character writes a secret message somewhere.”

    Kissing Lessons

    My first kiss was a learning experience. No, really! I know everyone probably says that, but mine really and truly was. There were rumors all week about something secret and scandalous happening out back by the old baseball field no one uses anymore, and something about Roger.

    Roger kind of has a reputation, if you know what I mean. Oh, do you not know what I mean? I’m talking about kissing. You must need lessons as badly as I did, if you had to ask about that.

    Anyway, the rumors spread fast, and by Wednesday it wasn’t uncommon to see a steady stream of girls flitting out past the four-square courts, around the tetherball, and straight back to that old baseball field. I don’t think they even used that field when my brother Jimmy went here. And Jimmy’s in college now.

    The girls look like a line of ants, marching off to see for themselves. What is Roger up to? Is it true? Is he really giving kissing lessons?

    I heard from Sarah that he charges a dollar. Emmy said he charges two dollars. I’m not sure if one of them was lying about going over there, or if Roger’s prices have gone up.

    But despite all this, I’m still curious. What’s a kissing lesson all about, anyway? Is it gross? Do I really want to have the same first-kiss as all the other girls at my school? Or will I be inexperienced if I didn’t do it, like how all of Jimmy’s friends went to college except Brian, and now Brian lives in his mom’s basement and talks a lot about his war-gaming miniatures. I don’t even know what war-gaming miniatures are, but Jimmy always gets this sort of sad look on his face when Brian comes up nowadays.

    On Friday at lunchtime, I find my feet taking me out past the four-square courts, around the tetherball, and straight back to the old baseball field. There is one girl, Veronica, standing awkwardly around third base. I give her a small wave, but she seems so nervous she doesn’t even notice me.

    I know at the bank and the doctor’s office you’re supposed to stand back to give other people privacy, and this feels weirdly similar, so I don’t walk any closer than second. I brush dirt off the old, cracked base with my toe, and check my pocket to make sure the two dollars are still safely tucked inside. I had to tell my mom there was a book fair to get money out of her. I hope she doesn’t ask me which book I bought. Wouldn’t she be surprised.

    Erica emerges just then from the dugout, her face flushed. She waves Veronica inside, and I take my place on third.

    “How was it?” I ask Erica, and she shrugs.

    “Weird I guess.”
     
    “But do you like…” I try to convey a largely abstract question with mere eyebrow movement, and Erica doesn’t grasp what I’m getting it. I try again in plan English: “Do you feel prepared now?”
     
    “I guess?”
     
    Erica, you’re never going to get anywhere in life if you just keep guessing about everything. I feel the butterflies flare up in my stomach as she heads back to the courtyard, and then all of a sudden Veronica is walking out too. How long was that? Thirty seconds? I’m not ready!
     
    “You’re up,” Veronica says, finally acknowledging me. I’ve learned from my mistakes with Erica and don’t bother asking her how it went. I take a deep breath, lift my head high and walk into the dugout.
     
    Roger is sitting at the far end, a notebook and envelope beside him. He’s sitting on the bench sideways, one leg tucked under him, and he gestures for me to come over. Then he pats the seat in front of him.
     
    “Did you bring cash?”
     
    I take the two dollars from my pocket and hand it to him. I’m embarrassed that they’re crinkly, but he doesn’t seem to mind as he shoves them into the bulging envelope. 
     
    “Two dollars gets you a full minute.”
     
    “Um,” I say, finally sitting in front of him. I opt for one leg on each side of the bench. He smells like the cologne my dad wears, when he and mom are going out. I immediate associate this scent with babysitters, even though I haven’t needed a babysitter in at least two years. It makes me feel weird.
     
    “I’m your blank canvas. You can practice on me. Use me as your muse,” he says. I have no idea what that means. What’s a muse? When did anyone ever kiss a canvas?
     
    “Are you going to like, teach me anything?”
     
    “Kissing cannot be taught. Kissing must be felt.”
     
    I’ve never kissed anyone in my life, aside from i-love-you kisses with my parents. I know kissing a boy is a lot different, and I’m shocked he wants me to just… go for it. In a dugout. Without any kind of prep. Does my breath smell okay? Why did I have chicken nuggets for lunch?
     
    “Clock starts now,” he says, and sets a timer. A real timer. On his watch. I hear the little beep and everything.
     
    I panic, and instead of thinking – I rush my face at his. Our lips are nowhere near each other, and his nose goes right in my eye. I’m instantly humiliated, but Roger says nothing. His eyes are closed. Thank goodness. 
    I think of the timer.
     
    After a deep breath, I try again. My palms are sweaty and I don’t know what to do with them, so I leave them in my lap. Then I lean forward, make a little pucker motion with my mouth to match Rogers, and touch my lips to his. For a second I am frozen, eyes wide open and way too close to his face, and his warm but sort of chapped lips are unmoving against mine. I don’t think this is what it’s supposed to be like, but I have no idea how to improve upon it. I move my mouth a little, turning a bit to the side like I’ve seen in movies. Then I try parting my lips and it’s a little better, and Roger actually responds by parting his.

    I’m thinking maybe I’m doing it right when his watch beeps again and he springs backward.
     
    “That’ll be all, thank you,” he says, all business. I’m still leaning forward with my mouth slightly open, but he’s already grabbed his notebook and starting to scribble in it. I lean forward to see what he’s writing, but he covers it with his arm.

    He says nothing.
     
    “Do I get any feedback, or whatever? Was I okay?”
     
    He looks up at me, dramatically pausing his note-taking. “You were fine. You get a 50% discount on a second session if you refer a friend.”
     
    “I was fine?” I ask. “I just shared my first kiss with you and all you can say is I was fine?”
     
    “Oh, I wish you’d told me that was your first kiss. I actually charge as extra dollar for first kisses.”
     
    I’m starting to get upset. “What are you writing?” I ask, hands on hip.
     
    “Just some business documentation. You may exit the way you came in. Please send in the next girl.”
     
    I’m mad at him, and so I’m not thinking. He assumes I’m going to leave, but at the last second I pounce and rip the top page from his notebook. He so shocked I even have time to read it before he snatches it back.
     
    “Amelia: kept her eyes open the whole time?!” I yell, incredulous. “You’re taking notes on all of us?”
     
    “Well it’s just good business to keep accurate records of —“
     
    I lunge at him and rip the entire notebook from his hands and start running. As I run around the tetherball and across the four-square courts, I flip through page after page, ripping them out as I go.
     
    Veronica: Beads at the end of her braids kept smacking me in the face
     
    Oh my god.
     
    Erica: Alien tongue
     
    No way.
    Deb: I should refuse service to girls with braces 
     
    Roger is the slimiest of slime buckets.
     
    Samantha: A+ would kiss again
     
    Oh well good for Samantha. 
     
    “Hey! Amelia!” I hear Roger shouting behind me, but I have at least ten feet on him. “Give that back!”
     
    I don’t know what I am going to do with the book. I could try to out him, but I don’t think that’s the best idea. If anyone else sees this, it would just embarrass the girls who trusted him. I don’t want that to happen. 
     
    I just want to end Roger’s kissing career, for good.
     
    He’s gaining on me, so I veer toward the pond at the north edge of the courtyard.
    I’m starting to panic.

    Roger catches up to me and wraps his fingers around my arm, even though there’s people around. I don’t know what else to do, so on a whim, I toss the entire book into the pond.
     
    “You bitch!” He says, and I think it’s the first time I’ve ever been called that. The book sinks below the surface, fading away into the green muck. He stares at it a moment, incredulous, before turning to me.
     
    “It won’t change anything,” he snarls. “I’ll just get another book.”
     
    There’s a few crumpled sheets of paper with names on them still in my hand. He realizes as soon as I do, and I shove them all up my shirt before he can grab them from me. Even Roger wouldn’t be dumb enough to put his hand up my shirt with teachers watching. I think for a moment that Jimmy would be proud of me. He’s been learning about feminism at college, and explained it to me over Christmas. I think he tried to explain it to Brian too, but I don’t think it went well.
     
    “I’ll tell them what you did. The girls. And then we’ll tell the whole school that you’re the bad kisser.”
     
    The color drains from Roger’s face. “That would ruin my whole business.”
    “Exactly.”
     
    He’s having a momentary internal struggle, but then he lets go of my arm. People are starting to stare. “I’ll make you pay for this, Amelia.” His voice is low and serious, but he takes a step back.
     
    “No, you won’t Roger. Because if you stop – right now – I won’t say a word.”
     
    “And if I don’t?”
     
    I grin at him. “I’m not very worried about that, Roger with the chapped-lips.”
     
    He glares at me. He opens his mouth to say something, but then he changes his mind. Then he lets out a frustrated scowl and stalks away. 
     
    I take the loose pieces of paper out from my shirt, rip them into tiny pieces, and throw it all into the recycle bin. I feel light on my feet, and a smile twinges at the side of my mouth.

    For a first kiss… I’m quite proud of myself.

     

    Leave a comment!
  3. First Week of #Wordbound!

    January 7, 2017 ♥ Posted in: Wordbound, Writing by Kristina Horner

    So technically I already answered the prompt for the first week of #wordbound in my announce post, but I didn’t want to miss out on the fun of using it as an excuse to do more writing this week. So here I am! Writing more!

    First off, the response to #wordbound so far has been incredible. Many of your blog posts have made me teary, and I’m so excited to do this with you guys all year long. And this week wasn’t even a fiction prompt!

    The plan for the year is to start each month with a blogging prompt, something to regularly remind us why we write, what we love about it, and why it’s worthy of making time for. The rest of the month I’ll share “regular” prompts, which are meant to inspire fiction but can really be used for any kind of writing you want to do. There’s already such a staggering number of you following the Twitter and Instagram account – I’m just so delighted!

    My writing goals for 2017:

    • Complete an actual, real, solid draft of my Renaissance Faire book that I am happy with
    • Update my blog more regularly
    • Share some of what I write with the general public – not enough to spoil the book, of course, but a sentence here, an unrelated short story there. I’ve kept my writing in for so long… I want to start sharing more. Even if it’s scary.

    What #wordbound means to me:

    I already addressed this in the announce post, as I said – but I think can elaborate even more. And honestly, it might change for me too, as the year progresses. Right now, I’m realizing that no matter what slew of crazy new hobbies I take on… I always come back to writing, in one way or another.

    I started writing my first book when I was seven or eight. I hand wrote it on special paper I got from school and illustrated it with crayons. When I turned eleven, I organized round robins with a few friends from school, and we literally mailed notebooks to each other over the summer to keep the stories going. In late middle school I discovered fanfiction. In early college I discovered NaNoWriMo. No matter what stage in my life, writing always found its way back in, and honestly – that feels like being #wordbound. I’m bound to my words. They always find me.

    So this year, I don’t want to wait for the words to find me. I’m taking an active role in being the one doing the finding, and I’m going to do it every single week.

    Happy writing, everyone. 🙂

    Leave a comment!
  4. Introducing Wordbound Wednesdays!

    January 4, 2017 ♥ Posted in: Wordbound, Writing by Kristina Horner

    wordbound wednesday blog banner

    Hey everyone! About a month ago, I made a video talking about how I wanted to find a way to commit to myself to keep writing all year long, instead of just during November for NaNoWriMo. There was a staggering number of people who agreed with the sentiment, and seemed to be looking at for me the “but how?” I’ll be honest and admit I hadn’t thought it through that far, at least not when I first made that video. But for the past month my mind’s been churning, and I think I’ve come up with an idea that will at least somewhat help cultivate the feeling of community we all enjoy in November – in a way that will keep us all writing, and working together, and sharing progress.

    Introducing, Wordbound Wednesdays! This is a project for bloggers, tumblr-ers, YouTubers – anyone who likes writing and wants to be held accountable! The idea is that each week, I’ll post a new writing prompt, which might be a more traditional idea you can work into a scene you’re writing, or more of a blog or video prompt about writing. Either way, it’ll be a way to give you something to work on each week, inspire new content about writing, and give us a way to see what everyone else is working on. Also, won’t it be fun to see how everyone answers the prompts in their own ways?

    What I love about this idea, is that it’s good for everyone. It might help you out of a writer’s block. It might encourage you to keep working on a project you put down. It might inspire a new project. It might just guarantee you have solid blog or video ideas 4-5 times a month. And it will help your own readers/viewers feel more connected to your writing!

    instagramlogo

    The idea behind #wordbound is that as writers, we’re bound to our writing. We’re bound to the words inside our heads and the stories inside our hearts, whether or not they ever see the light of day. This project, and pledging to be #wordbound, is about committing to letting those stories out. Regularly.

    There’s a few ways to get involved with #wordbound:

    • Check out the master list of prompts over here for more info, and make sure to bookmark the page, as I’ll be adding the new prompts each week as they are revealed.
    • Follow the @_wordbound Twitter account to share your writing and see what others are writing each week.
    • Follow the @_wordbound Instagram account to see pretty visuals of the new prompts each week.

     

    I’m extremely excited about this project, and I hope many of you are as well! Leave a comment letting me know you plan to join in the fun, or just follow those social channels above. Thanks, and Happy New Year!

     

     

    Leave a comment!
  5. The Best Weekend Ever

    October 26, 2016 ♥ Posted in: Journal, Travel, Writing by Kristina Horner

    Three incredible things have happened to me over the last couple of days:

    1. I was reunited with my band The Parselmouths at LeakyCon.
    2. I got engaged to Joe Homes, my best friend and boyfriend of 4 1/2 years.
    3. I flew to France to live in a castle.

    If that makes it sound in any way that my life is unbelievable or the plot of a romcom… well… maybe that will help you understand how I’m feeling right about now.

    Last week, there were only a couple things on my mind. Among those were “make sure you’re packed for LeakyCon”, “make sure you’re packed for France”, “make sure you remember the words to your songs” and “make sure you’ve tied up everything you can before 3 weeks away from work.” I was so immersed in being ready that I didn’t really prepare myself for what everything would feel like. So now, as I sit in the sitting room of a castle by the fire we made with our hands, I will go into detail about the 3 days I will never forget.

    Parselmouths Reunion Show at LeakyCon: Let me just get this out of the way first – I never imagined I would ever perform with the Parselmouths ever again. And if I’m being honest, I didn’t really plan to go to a LeakyCon again either, unless it was in a city close to me. Times change, you know? Good things come to an end, and I was full up with enough amazing memories to last a lifetime.

    But when Brittany (sorry, Elle) and I got together for drinks back in the spring and had a great time, and I realized LeakyCon 2016 would be right in her backyard… the gears started turning. The people at LeakyCon were totally down for a reunion show, and then suddenly… it was happening.

    It was super stressful. Like, really, really stressful. Practicing from different states, getting new shirts made, re-learning all the songs, and doing this amidst also planning a 3 week trip abroad – I literally thought I had been crazy to agree to something like this. And for what. A 30-minute set?

    img_5706

    But I cannot explain how it felt to be on stage again. I’d forgotten the chemistry we have when we perform. How well people know the lyrics to our songs. How much energy courses through you at a place like LeakyCon, onstage. It was incredible, and I was so filled with love and excitement, and it was a part of my life I really never thought I’d get back. I had accepted that some amazing things will only live in the past and was truly okay with that, but this felt… it just felt so real, and so right, and I’m so happy it went as well as it did.

    img_5764

    Which leads me to…

    Joe Proposed at Wizarding World!: So here’s the thing. I was ALREADY on a high when I woke up on Saturday. Our concert had been amazing, and I was so excited to take Joe to the Harry Potter theme park, because he hadn’t been there yet. We spent the morning poking around in shops, had breakfast at the Leaky Cauldron, then rode the Forbidden Journey ride… and as soon as we got out of the ride, Joe started insisting we all needed to take a group picture. It was a little weird honestly, because Joe never cares about pictures. Like at all. I have to force him to take pictures with me all the time. But he wanted a picture, so there you go.

    After the group shot, he said “can someone take one of just the two of us, now?” Which again – weird – but I assumed Joe must be feeling the wizard love this weekend as well, so we smiled brightly with our wands to the sky. I actually hadn’t even looked at this picture yet to be honest; I had kind forgotten about it. It’s really quite nice!

    img_5725

    Then after a moment, I saw him reaching into his pocket out of the corner of my eye. It all happened so fast, guys, but I knew IMMEDIATELY what he was doing and I started freaking out. We were at HOGWARTS. And so many of our friends were there watching, and no one had a clue. AND THEN HE GOT DOWN ON ONE KNEE.

    img_5763

    I was crying and laughing and waiting for him to actually ask me a question to say “YES!” to (we were both nervous, clearly) but it was amazing and magical and my friends were very audibly excited. A lady who was working The Forbidden Journey came and gave us a front-of-line pass. People cheered. I was so shaky and excited and nervous our friends did the only thing they knew how to do – they walked us straight back to the Hogshead and bought us drinks. I can’t think of a better thing to right after getting engaged than drinking spiked butterbeer.

    The rest of the day was pure magic. Joe and I just kept smiling at each other, and he extended his trip so he could stay for the ball. We danced and celebrated and soaked up more of the positive LeakyCon vibes and overall, it was a really solid weekend. I’m just so happy. It was so wonderful.

    But wait! Kristina. Wasn’t there a third thing on your list? Something about living in a mutha-effing castle?

    Oh yes!

    I am now living in a castle: After LeakyCon, I flew home for less than 24 hours. I used this time to unpack, repack, vote, and snuggle with Joe. It was super, super weird to leave him after BECOMING ENGAGED TO EACH OTHER, but he is wonderful and wanted nothing more than for me to go have this adventure. I miss him, but that’s the awesome part about deciding to spend the rest of your life with someone: he’ll be waiting when I get home!

    So, Monday afternoon, I got on a 7 hour flight to Iceland, where I transferred to a 3.5 hour flight to Paris. Then I took a 1 hour bus to Montparnasse station where I got on a 4 hour train to Agen. There Derek, the guy who set this whole #NaNoCastle thing up, picked me up in our big eight-seater van, and we drove the 1 hour to Chateau de Cadrès, where I will be spending the next 3 weeks writing a book. Whew! I am exhausted and I slept for 12 hours after this immense journey, but I made it!

    img_5863

    Honestly though – way to put living in a castle into perspective, Joe. I really thought this would be the most surreal thing that happened to me this week, but nope! Getting engaged still wins I think.

    A lot of people keep asking me how this whole castle thing came about. The short version is, a group of people wanted to do NaNoWriMo in a castle, so we made it happen. It’s really that simple. But the slightly elongated version of the story is that Derek had a dream to gather a bunch of writerly types and rent a castle for a month to work on stuff together in a really incredible setting. He actually hosted a contest almost a year ago for one of the spots (which I won), which is why I am here.

    Over the past year I’ve gotten to help with castle selection, brainstorm ways to use the time productively, and outlined what I hope will be my best novel yet. There are already two other people here with me in addition to Derek and his wife, and I’m already having a blast. In fact, I am writing this blog post by the fire in our sitting room wearing my new slippers, and it’s amazing. We have a few day trips planned, but we’re setting goals we have to accomplish before we can go on the trips. It’s a great system.

    The castle portion of my adventure is really just beginning. I’ll be taking many more pictures, and I’ll try to keep you all very updated on what’s going on out here in the French countryside. Spoilers: it’ll mostly be writing. But I’m sure I’ll have some stories by the time I leave.

    Stay in touch! Follow my adventures on Instagram and also here on this blog. I really don’t know when I’ll ever do anything like this ever again, so it will be well-documented.

    Leave a comment!
  6. I Can Feel The Sun Coming…

    March 6, 2015 ♥ Posted in: Journal, Writing by Kristina Horner

    There’s something incredibly magical and infectious about knowing the weather is getting nicer. I realize it’s only March, but here in Seattle the sky has opened up and the sun’s peaking through, and I can feel it in my bones.

    18906_membuang_trauma_setelah_mengalami_beberapa_pengalaman_pahit_1

    Seattle’s a funny place, because when the sun comes out, we know our time is limited. The sun is a finite resource here, and when we have it – we use it to its full potential. As soon as those clouds part, the city goes crazy. We plan vacations. We have picnics. We start jogging again. We sit on our decks. We make lists, we spring clean, we dust off old hobbies and vow to start doing them again.

    tumblr_m7y8ngxwcO1qg39ewo1_500_large

    This happens to me every year, and I am always thankful for those first, early rays of sun that really get my muscles pumping (both actual muscles and creative muscles). And after a solid three months of adjusting to my new job, I think I just might have started to find some semblance of a life/work balance again, which means I actually might have the capacity to take on these new summer plans I’ve got churning in my mind.

    I am a chronic over-achiever. I mean this in every sense of the word – while I love saying yes, yes yes to everything, it often leaves me with not enough time to accomplish everything I set out to do, stress knots in my shoulders, and a to-do list that would make even the most organized cringe.

    But at least when the weather is nice, I have that extra something on my side. Energy. Motivation. Positivity. The promise of long car rides with friends, inspiring conventions, seeing people we never get to spend enough time with, camping trips, and best of all – getting stuff done.

    I have a lot of things I want to do this year. My convention list has eight events and counting, I’ve got a laundry list of cosplays I want to make, and I’m trying to bite the bullet and finally edit one of my novels. I miss doing Team Hypercube regularly. I would love to take a personal vacation for once. I’m still trying to read 50 books this year, work exercise into my routine, and keep in better touch with the people I care about.

    It’s going to be a crazy summer. But somehow, the sun on my face on this chilly March morning is telling me I can do it. And whatever I can’t accomplish – that’s okay too. Because we’re only capable of exactly what we’re meant to do.

    What are your plans for the good weather season? Does the hint of sunshine ramp you up? Let me know in the comments, and let’s all try to encourage each other!

    Leave a comment!
  7. 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.

    127f3f3

    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.

    unnamed

    Leave a comment!
  8. 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!

    Leave a comment!
  9. 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!

     

    Leave a comment!
  10. 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!

    Leave a comment!