1. Camp NaNoWriMo Affirmations!

    March 31, 2017 ♥ Posted in: Writing by Kristina Horner

    I didn’t mean to wait until the last minute to do this, but it’s March 31st so here I am.

    Camp NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow and it totally snuck up on me. I’ve tried doing the April or June iterations of NaNo a few times now, and I’ve never actually been very successful at it. It’s never had that ~November~ spark for me, like the “real” NaNo does.

    This April, I already have a trip to Disneyland on the books, and a costume I need to finish, and an Anime convention to go to. Things are busy at work, and I’m going to the gym more, and it’s spring so there’s also this underlying desire to spend more time outside – but I’m going to do it. See my previous blog post about why this laundry list of things I’ve already laid out here has has has to be secondary to my goal of writing at least part of a first draft of my new book idea.

    Because after all:

    My Camp NaNo goal is 30,000 words. That’s a big lofty goal for the coming month, but it’s the most important thing so I’ve got to try.

    I’ve been getting a lot of emails from NaNo in preparation for April 1st, and one had a really nice little exercise that I decided to do. I think the intention was probably to do it privately, for yourself, but I thought it would actually be a nice thing to share with others.

     

    “Today, take ten minutes to write three affirmations: one for each of your three biggest fears or anticipated obstacles in starting your April writing project.”

     

    1. I’m afraid I won’t make it to 30,000 words.

    Kristina, that literally doesn’t matter. 30,000 is an arbitrary number that YOU picked and you just need to do your actual best and write as much as you can. Carve out time. Really do it. Whatever happens by the end of April, you can just keep writing in May. <3

    2. I’m afraid I’m going to keep writing books with weak plots and flimsy characters.

    Isn’t that why you’re practicing so much? Isn’t that what practicing is for? Isn’t that why you took that certificate course in fiction writing, to study story structure? Aren’t you already so much better than you were a year ago, and won’t you continue to improve?

    3. I’m afraid people won’t like my books once I finally let them read it.

    This is a big scary one, but you can’t worry about that right now. Just write. If you like it, someone else will too. And you’ll someday have beta readers to help you make it better, and then an agent and an editor to help to help you make it better, and even when it’s the very best it can be some people still won’t like it. But that’s okay. There are people who don’t like Harry Potter. Remember that.

     

    Camp NaNo starts tomorrow! Who’s joining me?

    Leave a comment!
  2. 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!
  3. Introducing Wordbound Wednesdays!

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

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    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!

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    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!
  4. #NaNoCastle Exploration pt. 1

    October 27, 2016 ♥ Posted in: Journal, Travel by Kristina Horner

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    Today I went exploring outside the castle with another one of the guests, a girl name Yamile. The weather was beautiful, so we set off early in the day without any sort of plan or goal in mind. We just decided to wander and see what we found, and the grounds here are huge, so it’s really easy to wander aimlessly for ages.

    This little kitty decided to join us, and literally trotted alongside us for over an hour as we clambered over the hillside, ducked under trees and found all sorts of cool old stuff. A few times we were afraid we’d lost her, but she always found her way back to us. To be fair, she lives here, so she probably knows this area like the back of her… paw?

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    We’re going to be spending three weeks together, so we decided to give our cat friend a name. We named her Claire. Claire loves us, and always tries to eat our food or sneak into the castle when we aren’t looking. She’s not supposed to go into the castle. This is hugely distressing to Claire.

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    Here is Claire warning us, “don’t bother looking inside this seriously ominous and creepy little shack. There’s nothing exciting in there.” We didn’t listen to Claire, as we made it our mission to look inside everything, no matter how creepy.

    She was right though. We only found spider webs and some sort of pressure gauge or water heater or something. I actually have no idea what it was, aside from probably ‘covered in spiders’.

    This whole place is old and sort of decrepit and spooky. I really don’t know how many airbnb-ers they get here, especially since a lot of the amenities on the grounds appear worn out and dusty and like no one has used any of it in awhile. It’s totally got that old “abandoned” vibe, like you should film a horror movie here, or take artsy pictures for a viral Buzzfeed list [10 Haunted Places You Can Actually Rent!].

    I’m sort of glad Claire accompanied us on our exploration, because if a cute happy kitty can live here then so can I.

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    This is an old tennis court that I doubt anyone has used in awhile. There was a sign above the opening in the fencing that said “Le Tennis”.

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    This is a boarded up old log cabin we found about a 20 minute walk from the castle. If I’ve learned anything from scary movies, it’s that if something is boarded up – it should probably stay that way. However, I desparately want to know what’s inside. Next time, log cabin. Next time.

    There was also a big row of beehives, like legit ones used to collect honey. I wanted ot take a picture, but I was too afraid to get close. Maybe I’ll brave it on a future exploration.

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    Here’s an awesome side-view of the castle. I wish we could fly some sort of NaNoWriMo flag from those points on top. Why didn’t we think of this?! I was so unprepared for castle life.

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    When we got back, two of Claire’s kittens were waiting to welcome us at the front steps. We really need to name the kittens. “Mom, why were you gone so long?” they mewed at us. “Because,” Claire said, slightly exasperated but still lovingly, “I’m a single mother and I haven’t gone out with the girls in weeks, that’s why.”

    The kittens just chased a bug, already having forgotten they asked a question.

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    Now I am inside, working on this blog post by the fire, and the cat family is taking the “no cats in the house” rule quite poorly. “But please,” Claire is mewling, her soft paws tapping the wood of the door. “After everything we shared today?”

    I’m sorry, Claire. I don’t make the rules here.

     

    Stay tuned for more castle exploration, as well as NaNoWriMo updates as soon as we hit November. I’m having an amazing time on this castle adventure and I love sharing it with all of you! Follow my instagram for more pictures like the ones you see above. 

     

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  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?

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    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.

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    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!

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    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.

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    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!

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    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. 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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  7. October Favorites Video!

    November 4, 2014 ♥ Posted in: Nerd Topics, YouTube videos by Kristina Horner

    Okay, it’s clearly NaNoWriMo up in here… first a Halloween post and now my October Favorites video? I know, I know. What can I say, I’ve been busy writing a novel! I don’t know what’s come over me, actually. After 3 days I’m already at 10k, double the “recommended” amount – so this is shaping up to be one crazy November.

    But! Today’s post isn’t about writing, it’s about favorites. And the video I made to share them. So here it is!


    How are everyone’s months going? Busy? Cold? Gearing up for the holidays? I’ve been in an inexplicably good mood so far in November, so I really hope it keeps up. Maybe this year will be my best novel yet! Who knows!

    Leave a comment!
  8. 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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  9. October Life Update!

    October 10, 2014 ♥ Posted in: Cosplay, Geek Events, Journal by Kristina Horner

    Okay, I haven’t just “sort of fallen off the blogging wagon” – it’s completely left me behind and I’m going to need to call a Lyft to catch back up. Even though writing is just about my favorite thing to do, whenever I start to get busy this blog is the first thing to get the axe. I don’t mean to! I love this blog! But I am going to try to be better. I mean we’ll see, since next month is NaNoWriMo, but I am going to try.

    So what’s been getting in the way of blogging for me? Well, I have two easy answers to that, actually.

    1. Cosplay

    2. Reading

    Usually I have a million excuses as to why I haven’t got time for a damn thing, but lately, it’s been those two things, 24/7. If you haven’t noticed, I have recently jumped headfirst back into reading, and it’s been seriously awesome. Every once in awhile I’d feel that little tug, like there was something missing from my life – and it was totally reading. I’ve been doing a book challenge over on Goodreads to read 30 books this year (modest, I know, but I wanted to start realistically) and I am flying through! You can follow me there if you want to see what I’m reading and how much I like the books I’ve read.

    And the cosplay… don’t even get me started. To be fair, I love it. I am head over heels, honeymoon phase totally smitten with it. But good lord it’s expensive and time consuming. I don’t even want to know how much money and how many hours I have dumped into this hobby already. I really don’t.

    But this weekend I’ll be at Geek Girl Con here in Seattle and I’ll be cosplaying both days! Saturday I will be reprising my Queen Frostine costume I wore at PAX, as we now have the addition of a Mr. Mint and plan to enter the costume contest with them.

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    And then on Sunday I get to fulfill a life-long dream of cosplaying as Sailor Moon. That’s right – I’m dressing up as Usagi herself. The best part is, we have an entire cosplay group of every single Sailor Scout, including the outer scouts. The only sad part is that our Uranus can’t actually make the event, but we know she’ll be there in spirit.

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    I don’t know how I managed to snag Sailor Moon, but I am so pumped it’s actually happening. I’ve put literal blood, sweat and tears into this project. Between a sewing machine needle going directly into my thumb, to hot-gluing my finger prints off, to having to redo a depressing number of parts of this costume due to mishaps and mess-ups… this pretty soldier of love and justice cannot wait for her costume to be finished so she can just wear it and feel like a magical girl.

    I will definitely be posting pictures! Be sure to follow my cosplay page on Facebook for more regular updates about our costume journey.

    That’s all for now! Please don’t abandon me – this blog will be up and running again very soon. I promise. Pinky swear. See you later!

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  10. Project 4 Awesome 2013!

    December 17, 2013 ♥ Posted in: Geek Events, Nerd Topics, YouTube videos by Kristina Horner

    It’s that time of year again, folks… the PROJECT 4 AWESOME! As a dedicated nerdfighter, this is one of my favorite projects of the year and I am so stoked for everyone to see the video I made for it. I feature a different charity each year and this year I chose to finally talk about a personal favorite… National Novel Writing Month.

    I’m gonna be hanging out in the live stream for most of the next 48 hours, and I should also be hosting it later on tonight or tomorrow when John and Hank need a break (or to like, sleep/eat). If you’ve never heard of P4A or never participated yourself, please go check out the Project 4 Awesome website, donate at the indiegogo page (there are so AWESOME perks, including a handful of UNCUT SHEETS of Jetpack Unicorn that will be going up soon!) and watch/like/comment on as many videos with this year’s thumbnail as you can.

    We can get so caught up in the holidays and shopping and gifts that it’s nice to have this annual reminder that we can use YouTube as a force for good, bringing real humans together to donate money to things that really matter to us as a group. I am so proud to have been doing this for seven years and I can just tell this will be a P4A to remember.

    Did you make a P4A video this year? What charity did you choose and which are you voting for on the site?

    Leave a comment!