Saturday, December 30, 2017

Wrapping Up 2017

Another year is almost over, which is weird and quick. It can't believe it's almost 2018. Some good things happened this year, but some bad too. I don't want to go into the details, but there were some hard things I'm still coming to terms with and I'm working on making some changes. Even if I haven't figured out what the changes are yet.

It's time to wrap up my goals from 2017!


Goals for 2017

Writing Goals –

* Revise first draft
* Send to critique partners
* Revise again
* Send to critique partners/beta readers
* Professionally edit/self-publish

*Finish first draft by May

“Summer of Lies”
* Revise first draft
* Send to critique partners
* Revise again

NaNoWriMo – November
* Write a new novel

Personal –

* Read at least 52 books
* Find a literary agent
* Make decision about becoming a foster/adopt parent
* Go on vacation somewhere!
* Finish cross-stitch farm blanket :)

I meant to rewrite the first draft of this novel, which I wrote during NaNo in 2016. But I never got around to rewriting more than the first 14 pages. My goal is to rewrite this novel next year and really put some good work into it, but I'll wait to share that with my new goals.

I started this novel in the summer, but I had a hard time writing it. (see below)

"Summer of Lies"
I really didn't do much writing this year. I had a few ides for the novel, but I didn't get a chance to implement them.

NaNoWriMo novel - "Nixie"
I started writing this novel during the summer, but it was a hard summer and I stopped writing it. I didn't have any motivation to continue writing it. I started writing another novel, but Nixie's story came back to me and I finally got a chance to finish writing her story. I'll hopefully get a chance to revise it next year.

I met Nichelle Nichols in May!
I didn't finish all of my goals, but I did accomplish some. I read 52 books, barely making it in the end! But I did it. I met Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhura in original Star Trek, which was wonderful! I wrote my 14th novel, which is fantastic. I'm getting much closer to being published!

Here's a picture of the farm blanket I finished:

I hope your 2017 goals went well! I'll be sharing my goals for 2018 tomorrow.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Because I'm a Nano Rebel

I started out yesterday with a rough plan of writing a new novel tentatively called "Seriously, Forbidden" about two teenagers with cystic fibrosis who fall for each other, but it's not allowed. Their love could kill each other. I sat down... after procrastinating by doing the laundry, looking at Christmas gifts to order, watching one episode of Grey's Anatomy, and saying that I would take down the Halloween decorations, but I didn't.

And I wrote... nothing.

I put on one of my favorite movies "Star Trek: Beyond" and put the laundry in the dryer.

And this time I managed to write 2,026 words. Not bad. It's a good start for day one.

But I don't like it. The first chapter is like the beginning of a Gilmore Girl's episode with a twist. But it isn't good. Not at all. I can already tell.


It's time to be a NaNo rebel. I'm pulling out a novel that I started earlier this year, but with everything going on in my life, I didn't get a chance to write. I did some planning out for it in this adorable planning notebook. And my little sister read it. She left me a sticky note on the cover.

I want to write this book. I want Aly to be able to read it and I want her to be happy and proud of her big sister. So, I'm dropping in the 11,903 words that I already had written and I'm going to write about Nixie and her struggle to love herself and to be free from the pain of her past. It's gonna be awesome. :)

Have you ever switched projects in the middle of NaNo? :) How's your word count coming along on day two? Keep writing! Don't be afraid to break a few rules!


NaNoWriMo Novel 2017

Summer to Forget

Nixie is on the run from her past, desperate to escape her abusive stepfather. She believes the only way to protect herself is to retreat far into her own thoughts, not even letting words escape. She didn't plan on being brought into Annie's family and being accepted for who she is. Nixie also didn't plan on finding friendship in Alec, the visually impaired boy who works at the water park with her. She begins to discover her own worth as tragedy strikes her family.

Themes: Physical abuse, foster family, adoption, depression

Word count (day 2): 11,903

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November Goals

It's been a long time. I've been dealing with a lot the past few months. And I admit that I haven't been myself. I wasn't making jokes and laughing at funny puns. Stress. Too much stress. It's harmful and it's made me feel like I'm not me. But I'm trying. It's getting a little better, though I do still find myself staring out the window and thinking of nothing.

I want to be me.

I want to get back to things that I love. So, I'm making myself goals for this month. Even though I haven't made goals in months.

Goals for November
* Write to 50,000 words on "Summer to Forget" for NaNoWriMo

* Enjoy my short vacation trip to Wisconsin to visit my friend Amy :)

* Spend time with family for Thanksgiving

Only three goals. I'm trying to make it easy for me to accomplish. I haven't written in so long, so I'm hoping that this will go well. I have been really behind on my reading goal, but I managed to catch up last month. I read quite a bit! :) I'm actually one book ahead of my goal at the moment and I'm happy with that progress. Here's the books that I read last month. (The purple ones are rereads.)

Among the Enemy (Shadow Children #6) by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Among the Brave (Shadow Children #5) by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Among the Barons (Shadow Children #4) by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Alex and Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz
Among the Betrayed (Shadow Children #3) by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Among the Imposters (Shadow Children #2) by Margaret Peterson Haddix
What Price Honor? (Star Trek Enterprise #4) by David Stern
Shockwave (Star Trek Enterprise #3) by Paul Ruditis
Broken Bow (Star Trek Enterprise #1) by Diane Carey
Among the Hidden (Shadow Children #1) by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Star Trek by Alan Dean Foster
Desperate Hours by David Mack

Not bad at all! :) I'm happy with my reading last month. I'm hoping I can keep up this month. I picked a few shorter books, but I remembered how much I love reading. I have a new pile to read too! :)

How have your goals been lately? Are you doing NaNoWriMo? :) If so, good luck! Write like the wind!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

A Choice

Imagine there are two doors.

And not the fancy doors with the blinking numbers, rainbow sparkly colors or silver tassels being blown by a fan on a game show with money or new cars behind them! Not those doors.

Two doors, which seem to be exactly the same. Same color and same pale shade of yellow, trapped in the same molded doorway with the same door handle, dull and uninviting. They look the same.

But they aren't the same.

Behind Door One:  It's the safe doorway. It leads to the same daily activities, washing the same high chairs, having the same conversations, snuggling the same baby and feeling their affection. Hearing the same little giggles and getting to be silly with puppets or ordering two dozen doughnuts on the pretend phones. It also has the same second job; with the sometimes stressful work environment, but the fact that the people are great to work with and we share laughter. At home, there's the same cross-stitching projects, saying that it's time to write, but never getting more than a few words. Laundry hangs in doorways, dishes sit on the table unwashed, and books are spread along the open spaces, along with random Star Trek decorations on the walls. It's the same. It isn't always what's wanted, but it's safe.

Behind Door Two: It's different. It leads to new opportunities. Graduate school for a Master's degree in Creative Writing. Or a new job with different responsibilities. There would still be the same Star Trek decorations, a love of Halloween and Hocus Pocus. Cross-stitch projects would sit on the arms of the couch, half done, but worked on and loved. Laundry will still probably hang in doorways. There will probably be homework and not enough time for a second job, but that job might not be needed with a new job.

The big thing is... I don't want to live with regret.

I don't want to regret not doing something I love. Maybe a Master's degree in Creative Writing won't affect my normal job, but I'd love to do free-lance critiquing on the side. To help other writers improve and give them the confidence to follow their dreams. I'd love to help others with their writing! If anything, I'd love to learn more about creative writing and grow in my own writing.

The whole thing kinda terrifies me. I don't know if I want to make this choice, but I'm also not sure how to keep going with the way things are going.

I don't want to regret not doing something for myself. But I have no idea if this choice is right.

I kinda want to change, but I don't know if I can.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

I am NOT my Name Tag

I am NOT my name tag.

I have to keep reminding myself that. I work in a retail store, in customer service, dealing with returns and general sales. It's not bad. Not bad all the time. I can have some really great customers, who just want to make a simple return due to sizing or wrong color. I've had some great conversations with people. I do like people. But I also have some customers who will yell at me because something went wrong with their item or order. I get it. You need someone to yell at because you are upset it went wrong. But you need to know something.

It's NOT my fault.

Just because I work for the company, it doesn't mean that I send every order and deal with every little thing that goes wrong. I don't make the policies, but I'm told to follow them. And I will try to do that in a way that will still help you. But I can only do that if you listen and work with me.

Fine. You can yell.

I'd like to tell you that it doesn't affect me. But it does. Your words hurt. Your words hurt quite a bit. For every ten customers, maybe one will be a bit harder to help. But the words that stick with me are the negative ones. And it chips a little way at who I am. It hurts me. It pains me to say that it chips away at who I am and I can't help it. I try to not take it personally, but I do. I'm a human with feelings.

It makes me bitter.

And I hate that, because I don't want to be a bitter person. I work two jobs and my other job is caring for children, which I love. I love to make them laugh and to snuggle with them. I'm kind and I'm smart. It's hard to me to admit that because I don't have a lot of self-confidence, but I do believe I'm sweet and funny. I am a good person. I try to make my coworkers laugh to help them through their shifts. I'm invested in their lives, asking about their families and school. I want to show them kindness and respect.

People don't see me; they see a name tag.

I'm tired of being hurt and I don't like the person that I've become when I put on the name tag because I know people don't see me. When I go to a store, I'm always, ALWAYS nice to the person helping me. Even if they seem to be having a bad day, I'm still going to be nice to them because that's how I want someone to treat me. With kindness and respect. It doesn't matter if something got messed up, I'm still going to ask for help in kindness because I don't want to hurt the person working in the store. Going to work has become painful. Because I know that I won't be treated with respect by the customers. I've cried more times at work than I care to admit because people walk on my feelings. I cry because they don't care that they hurt me. I cry because I'm disappointed in myself for my life.

And I have to find a way to fix it.

I don't want to see myself as nothing. But I do. If I didn't need two jobs to support myself, then I wouldn't have to deal with it. But the sad fact is that I do. In this economy, just because a person works 40 hours a week, it doesn't mean that they have a livable wage. In my opinion, that's wrong. So I have to continue working 55 hours a week to barely make it. But somehow I'm gonna make it.


Until then, please don't see me as just a name tag. I'm more than that. I'm me.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

July Goals

It's been way too long since I've updated my blog!! Life has been... alright. It's been good and bad, I guess that's pretty much the same for everyone. I've struggled with some hard things, rejections, and stress with my two jobs.

But there's been some good. I went to see "Wonder Woman" twice and I loved it! If possible, it made me fall more in love with Chris Pine. :) Also, I loved getting to see a female empowering character like Diana. One of the times was in a drive-in theater, which was super neat! I got a new car! My old car, Ziva, my first baby... she had a broken air-conditioner, slipping transmission, and needed tires. It needed more than it was worth. So, I have a new baby named Nyota!

She's beautiful and drives very nicely!

After ten months, I finally finished the farm cross-stitch blanket I've been working on for my sister and my brother-in-law for when they have their first baby. Hopefully in a few years. I wanted to get a head start! I LOVE how it turned out! :) I already started another blanket for my best friend in a year or so.

I've fallen behind on my reading goal, but I have done some reading in the last few months (April, May, and June). I'm hoping to catch up this month! The ones in purple are rereads. I love the rereading aspect on Goodreads - I can't say that enough!

Wonder Woman: The Official Novelization by Nancy Holder
The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
Almost a Fairytale by Jolene Betty Perry
The Woman Who Rides Like a Man (Song of the Lioness #3) by Tamora Pierce
Stage Kissed by Cassie Mae
Mistrust by Margaret McHeyzer
Flirty Thirty (Nerdy Thirties #1) by Cassie Mae
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Crushing on Kate (Red Maple Falls #2) by Theresa Paolo
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Beauty and the Beast Novelization by Elizabeth Rudnick

Writing wise, I have only done about 1,000 words. But I'm inquiring about getting a full critique by an editor friend of my novel, "Silent Beauty" and see what things she might see that need fixed! Hopefully I'll be able to make some progress on it.

July Goals:
* Read six books
That should catch me up on my reading goal! :)

* Enjoy my vacation!
I'm taking a trip to the Wisconsin Dells to a water-park! 

Only two goals, but I'm taking vacation for a week and I'm very excited for the break from work! I've been working hard lately and I'm exhausted. Hopefully this vacation will rejuvenate me a bit! :) How are things going with you? What's been happening in your life? Have you read any good books lately?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

To Boldly Go

I had a very fun weekend!! I'm exhausted, but I wanted to share about it. Warning, it's a long post! :)

On Saturday, I drove to Minneapolis. It's about a three hour drive from where I live in Iowa. I hate driving on the interstate. Hate it. I'm from a small town and I can usually take the highway to wherever I want to go, but not this time. I also have some anxiety when it comes to driving. But I wanted to go to Wizard World Con Minneapolis to meet Nichelle Nichols, the woman who played Lt. Uhura in the original series of Star Trek. She's been an inspiration to me and I really admire her. I could do it.

I started the drive around 2pm. It wasn't too bad, though I realized a few minutes in that my air conditioner stopped working. Alright. I could drive with the window cracked. It wasn't that hot. I made it about 50 minutes into the drive when I heard a weird rattling sound coming from my front driver's side tire. Okay. There's a small piece in the bumper on that side that's broken there and rattles when the wind goes through it. It started to make me anxious as it got louder. I couldn't take it after about ten minutes. I pulled off on the first exit I could take and found a gravel road. I checked the car and saw that a piece of the plastic in the wheel well had broken and was rattling. I called my dad and he said it would still be okay to drive. I bent the plastic back away from the wheel and got back onto the interstate.
The gravel road I stopped on - it was very nice outside!
The drive wasn't too bad until I got closer to the Twin Cities. Three lanes of traffic. I stayed in the middle and was okay. I got lost a few times, taking the wrong exit. The merging in and out in the city was crazy!! I could never live in a big city like that. I met my friend, Amy at our hotel. She drove from Wisconsin to meet me.

We found a local place for dinner that had delicious hamburgers! We stopped by Walmart and I bought some red duct tape. Fixed that loose piece of plastic. :) It's a little redneck, but it works. We had a nice relaxing evening and we got to go swimming!

It's hard to see, but there's duct tape above the wheel
Sunday morning - we went early. I picked my clothes carefully wanting to look nice for my picture. I was very excited! The traffic wasn't too bad on the way to the convention center. I was super excited!! We walked around and looked at the vendors for a while. There were so many talented people! I wish I were that good of an artist. I did see three local authors too, which was pretty cool!! Maybe I can do that someday if I ever get a book published. I met some hilarious people too!

My favorite thing about being at Wizard World Con is getting to be around so many people who share the same geeky interests and aren't afraid to be who they truly are - geeks! Nerdy people. :) I love it! I didn't feel awkward or ashamed to be wearing Star Trek clothing. I was comfortable to be me! I wished I had more time to spend there!

It came time for my photo. Amy headed off for some shopping while I waited in line. My hands were shaking I was so excited! :) It helped to talk to a few girls in line with me. They were pretty excited too! I ended up fifth in line. We headed around the corner to see her and there she was!! She was lovely and so sweet. I'm so glad that I got to meet her, even if it was very brief! It was worth it - to meet a woman who is an inspiration to so many. I admire everything she's done.

Me with Nichelle Nichols!!
Once I had my picture in my hand, I went to find Amy. She went to another show while I went to listen to Marina Sirtis speak. She played Counselor Troi in Next Generation. I laughed so much! She wasn't quiet like her character in the show. She was loud and sarcastic and honest! It was great to hear her answer questions about the cast and even her stint on NCIS. At the very end, she talked about how grateful she is for us, the audience. Because of our support and love of the show, she's had a good life and everything she's been given is because of those who love the show. She was in tears, thankful for the support of all the fans.

We then went on a Yoga Quest. The yoga instructor went through a fanfiction story of Star Trek mirror universe while doing yoga poses. Each character had a different pose. It was funny and relaxing! I've never done a yoga quest before and I really enjoyed it. After a little more shopping, we headed out.

It was so nice to be there! I wish I'd had more time. I did get within twenty feet of John Barrowman as he signed autographs. He's even more wonderful and handsome in person! I wish I could have heard his panel the day before.

It was such a nice weekend! I loved the fact that I got out of my comfort zone and survived my driving anxiety. I got to meet one of my inspirations and I had a really nice time with my friend, Amy. I have to say that I love going to cons. I hope to go to more! It's so nice to be around people with the same interests. I love geeks. I love who I am as a Trekkie and so many other nerdy things. If you get a chance, you really should go some time. It's a fun experience. :)  Be who you are and love who you are, it makes life better. :)

Monday, April 3, 2017

April Goals

April showers bring May flowers! :) Well, hopefully they do! Also I love the rainy days, so today is a perfect rainy day here in Iowa. :)

Since it's a new month - it's time for me to update my monthly goals. I haven't been doing any other blogging this year, but there's a lot going on. I'm catching up on reading, working my two jobs, trying to finish a cross-stitch blanket, and saving money. It's going well. I will hopefully have a more detailed post coming up soon.

Here are my goals from March:
* Finish revision on "Silent Beauty"

* Read five books

Yay! I'm caught up on my reading since I was behind after only reading one book in February. Also, I found out that you can count a reread book on Goodreads! Which means I'm rereading some of my favorite books - I'm in love with that! The purple books are the ones I reread last month. It's probably very easy to guess that Tamora Pierce is one of my favorite authors! :)

In the Hand of the Goddess (Song of the Lioness #2) by Tamora Pierce
Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness #1) by Tamora Pierce
Wild Magic (The Immortals #1) by Tamora Pierce
Mad About Matt by Theresa Paolo
Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales by Tamora Pierce
Star Trek Beyond: Collector's Edition by Titan

Goals for April:
* Finish tractor on cross-stitch blanket

* Write 10,000 words
It doesn't matter the project, but to get back into writing!

* Research editors

I'm very excited with this new month! It's getting closer to summer and to a goal that I have, but I'm not going to talk about until it happens, so you'll have to wait. :) I hope your goals from last month went well! What are your goals for April?

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

March Goals

Sorry that I've taken so long to post, but it's already been a week into March and I'm finally getting around to updating my monthly goals. But I'm doing it! And that's what matters. :)

Here are my goals from February:
* Finish Star Trek artwork for living room

* Write next chapter of "Nixie"

* Revise first 50 pages of "Charlotte"
I did revise the first 6 pages? That counts as something.

Nothing too exciting. But it was a shorter month? To be fair, I started another revision of my novel, "Silent Beauty" and I'm working really hard on that. I hope to finish the new version by the next Sunday, the 19th. I'm really hoping these revisions are better!! Also, I didn't really do much reading last month.

The Princess and the Thief by Kelley Lynn

Yep. That's the only book I read. It was pretty good though! :) I plan on doing more reading this month to catch up. I am happy with how my artwork turned out for my living room! It's very cute and perfect. I plan on adding more soon.

Goals for March:
* Finish revision on "Silent Beauty"

* Read five books

Not that many goals, but I'm working on it! :) I hope your goals from last month went well! I better get to work since I don't have as much time to finish since my goals are posted so late. Have a great Wednesday!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

February Goals

So far, this year has been... interesting and horrible, but I wont get into the politics. Personally, I did get stood up for a blind date, but oh well. He probably wasn't a good enough guy anyway. It hurt, but I'm okay with it being over. The whole thing make me really anxious anyway.

It's time for an update in my monthly goals.

Here are my goals from January:
* Begin revisions on "Charlotte"
I didn't do much other than add a new document, change some spacing and reread the first page, but I started. :)

* Start saving money

* Make next decision for "Silent Beauty"
I did another round of revisions! Hopefully these ones are better. I feel like I'm slowly getting closer.

I accomplished all of my goals from last month! I decided to start pretty easy. :) I also did really well starting the year with my reading! I read 5 out of 52 books for my goal, which is a great start. :)

The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1) by Lemony Snicket
Star War: The Original Trilogy Stories by LucasFilm Book Group
Make Lemonade (A Hope Falls Kindle World Novella) by Cassie Mae
It's a Mall World After All by Janette Rallison
Broken Records by Cassie Mae

Goals for February:
* Finish Star Trek artwork for living room

* Write next chapter of "Nixie"

* Revise first 50 pages of "Charlotte"

How did your goals from January go? What are your goals for February?

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

IWSG - I'm Krista

Today is the first meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group in 2017! :)

The Insecure Writer's Support Group posts on the first Wednesday of every month and is run by our Ninja Captain Alex Cavanaugh. This is a place where writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.

I decided that for the first post of this year - I'd reintroduce myself! :)

Hi! My name is Krista McLaughlin. I work full-time as an infant teacher, and I also work part-time in retail. Busyness is a frequent struggle for me! I'm not married and have no kids. I'm a serious Trekkie, Hobbit, Whovian, and Hufflepuff. My nose is usually stuck in a book or I'm scribbling plot notes on pieces of paper at work. I write YA Contemporary novels and have self-published one novella called "Breathless". I'm still working on hopefully finding an agent this year! I've written thirteen novels to date. (see below)

Falling Star - YA Christian Fiction
Down in the Creek - YA Christian Fiction
To Love without Hope - YA Christian Fiction
The Secret - YA Christian Fiction
Nameless/Unless - YA Epic Fantasy
Defiance - YA Urban Fantasy
Breathless - YA Contemporary Romance novella
The Damned - YA Urban Fantasy
Somebody to Love – YA Fantasy Romance
Silent Beauty – YA Contemporary
Nothing Left to Lose – YA Contemporary
Summer of Lies – YA Contemporary
Charlotte - YA Contemporary

Crossing my fingers that one of them is good enough! :)

I thought I'd also give you a little more info on places to "find" me! I say a lot of funny things on Twitter and I do have an author page on Facebook where I post a little about what I'm working on! So, feel free to stalk follow me there!

Feel free to introduce yourself below! Follow me on Twitter and let me know, so I can follow you back!

Monday, January 2, 2017

January Goals

It's 2017! I'm really hoping that great things happen in this year. Last year ended well with my goals and I'm excited to start new ones.

Here are my goals from December:
* Read six books

* Write personal/writing goals for 2017

* Celebrate Christmas with my friends and family

I completed all of my goals last month! They weren't too difficult since it was a busy month with work and the holidays. I managed to read 7 books last month! I wanted to finish my Goodreads goal of 50 books and I actually read 51 books last year! :) I'm happy with how that turned out!

Here are the books I read last month:
The Opposite of Ordinary by Jessica Sorensen
Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien
Heartbreak by Skye Warren
The Trouble with Falling (The Trouble Series, #4) by Rochelle Morgan
Teach Me to Forget by Erica Chapman
Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers #1) by Brenda Drake
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Screenplay by J.K. Rowling

Goals for January:
* Begin revisions on "Charlotte"

* Start saving money

* Make next decision for "Silent Beauty"

I hope your goals for this year go well! What are your goals for January?