1-year blog anniversary // in which I ramble and reminisce (+ an announcement)

green and white Hello board decor

As you can probably tell by the title of this post, I’ve been blogging (on this blog) for a year now. And it’s been such fun.

I started this blog because I wanted to grow my platform as a writer, but I’ve kept it up because I enjoy writing posts, commenting on other people’s posts, and making new friends. (Of course, I do want to grow my platform, but my favorite part of blogging is the community.)

It seems to be conventional to write a long post on a blogging anniversary (traditionally known as a blogiversary. But not here. Here, we use the full and proper term), often with a Q&A. And one must follow convention (but not too closely, hence the lack of a Q&A section).

Tally ho!

(This phrase has many helpful uses, as demonstrated by the Hawke brothers in the Out of Time trilogy by Nadine Brandes.
In this circumstance, it means “I couldn’t think of a good transition here, but now I’m going to actually write this blog post instead of telling you about it.”)

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in which I make an announcement unrelated to this post

Last week I launched my site Maya’s Library, a free personalized book recommendation site. You fill out a form and tell me about the kind of books you do and don’t like to read, and I’ll send you a list of stories to add to your TBR. (If you give me permission, I’ll post it in a blog post there too so other people can see it.) Go check it out!

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in which I discuss my changing blog design + name

My blog has changed a great deal since I started. But sadly, I didn’t think to take screenshots of its changes. I do, however, still have a lot of the blog headers in my Canva account.

It was originally called “maya’s magic musings: writer. dreamer. daughter of the king.” and I’m still rather fond of that name. The color scheme was completely different, and I think the theme was Dara, so it looked something like this:

Capture
obviously the content was different. and the navigation menu. and the sidebar. so basically everything was different back then.

Read More »

the mystery blogger award (again)

I was nominated for the mystery blogger award (again) (as the title says; see the first rendition here) by C.M.! Thank you kindly, my friend. (Readers, go check out her blog.)

I was also… sort of… nominated by Lemon. (She said she wasn’t going to nominate me because I’d already been nominated… so she left it open to anyone who wanted to do the tag… and after reading the questions she asked her nominees, I decided I wanted to answer them.)

the rules

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog.
  2. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  3. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well (this award was created by Okoto Enigmas).
  4. Answer the five questions you were asked.
  5. Nominate ten – twenty people.
  6. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blogs linking to their most recent posts.
  7. Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice with one weird or funny question.
  8. Share a link to your best post(s).

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C.M.’s questions

What is one vice you must fight against the most often?

I struggle with procrastination, and with having absolutely no motivation to do things I know I should and must do.

bookcase books bookshop bookstore

Which fictional character can you relate to the most and why?

  • Hermione Granger — she loves to read and visit the library (and other reasons that are harder to articulate).
  • Janner Wingfeather — he’s an oldest sibling and shares my vice of selfishness and my desire to protect
  • Jo March — she loves to write and wants to make it her career, and she’s passionate and emotional and dramatic
  • Anne Shirle — she sees beauty all around her and loves adventure
  • Emily Starr — she declares she can’t help writing

Read More »

the mystery blogger award

In my attempt to catch up on all the tags I’ve been tagged for, I found this one. True @ True-Story tagged me for it (thanks, my friend!).

the rules

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog.
  2. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  3. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well. (This award was created by Okoto Enigma.)
  4. Answer the 5 questions you were asked.
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  6. Nominate 10-20 people.
  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blogs. (I decided to link to each of my nominees’ most recent posts instead.)
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question.
  9. Share a link to your best post(s).

dividerthe questions + my answers

What was the first blog post you ever wrote?

When I was eleven, I wrote a blog post about the three dance recitals I was in that year. (I had a private blog which was then called “inkling.” When I created this blog, I moved my favorite posts from the previous one over. My first post ever didn’t make it.)

grayscale piano keys

What is your favorite song/artist at the moment?

I’ve been listening to BYU Vocal Point a lot lately. Some of my favorite of their songs are “Nearer My God To Thee,” “Homeward Bound,” and “Be Still My Soul.”

Some other songs I really like just now:

  • “Be Thou My Vision” by BYU Noteworthy
  • “How Great Thou Art” by Eclipse 6
  • “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” by Collabro
  • “This My Soul,” “Sirens,” and “Diamonds and Gold” by The Gray Havens
  • “The Wizard and I,” “Popular,” “Defying Gravity,” and “For Good” from Wicked

Read More »

fantastical realms blog tag

Today I’m doing an amazing tag that Jenelle Schmidt created! This tag goes along with the theme “February is Fantasy Month,” and Jenelle’s also created a linkup and a giant giveaway. All the information for that is in her original post, so go check that out!

As you probably know, fantasy is my very favorite genre, so I’m super excited to do this tag!

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the rules

  • Thank the blogger who tagged you. (Well, I wasn’t technically tagged for this, but Jenelle left it open to anyone who wanted to do it, and I first saw it on Christine’s blog. So thanks to both of you!)
  • Include the graphic somewhere in your post.
  • Link back to Jenelle’s blog somewhere in your post.
  • Answer the questions.
  • Tag a few blogger friends, and let them know they’ve been tagged.
  • Have fun!

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the questions + my answers

1 // In a strange twist of fate, you are transported into a fantasy realm of your choice. The catch? You have also been transformed into your least favorite fantasy creature. Where are you, and what are you?

I’m in Goldstone Wood! I just recently read Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s series (you may know this, since I think I’ve mentioned it in every post for the past while), and I wish I’d discovered it sooner! It’s fantastic.

But… I’m a burrow grub, or íllgrathr, from the Inheritance Cycle.

. . . it was heavier than it looked, and its underside gripped her with what felt like hundreds of little hooks . . . Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the burrow grub lift up its eyeless head and point it toward her face, as if testing the air. Its tiny mouth opened, and she saw that it had sharp cutting mandibles behind its upper and lower lips . . . there seemed to be something profoundly wrong about the burrow grub. . . . Then its fat, limbless body contracted, and it hopped four, five inches straight up into the air and then dove headfirst toward the inner part of her elbow. As it landed, the burrow grub divided into a dozen small, bright green centipedes, which swarmed over her arm before each chose a spot to sink its mandibles into her flesh and bore its way through her skin . . .

from Inheritance by Christopher Paolini

They are very distasteful creatures, and I have no idea how I’m going to make my way through Goldstone Wood as one. Someone send help.

2 // What fantasy creature do you wish featured in more stories? What is your favorite story that has that creature in it?

I’m going to reference the exact same two series as I did above: I love the character of Solembum, a werecat, in the Inheritance Cycle. And the Tales of Goldstone Wood also feature several characters who have two forms (one animal, one human). One might even be able to be called a werecat…? So I’m going to say that I’d love to see more stories featuring humans that also have an animal forms (or basically shapeshifters of any kind). The Fablehaven/Dragonwatch books also feature this kind of creature, but their “animal” form is a dragon or unicorn, and when they’re human, it’s called an “avatar,” which added a very interesting twist to the story.Read More »

the never have I ever tag // writers’ edition

I have another tag today! I wasn’t actually tagged for this, but I saw it on Merie’s blog and couldn’t resist doing it myself.

Basically, just like in the game “never have I ever,” you’re asked if you’ve done something and have to confess if you have. But all the things are related to writing. It looks like a lot of fun.

the rules

  1. Link and thank the blogger who tagged you. (Thanks for inspiring me to steal this tag, Merie!)
  2. Include the graphic somewhere in your post (or make your own).
  3. Answer the questions truthfully and honestly. (Note: they’re not exactly questions. And how can you be both truthful and honest? But I guess that’s just me being very literal and picky:)

the questions + my answers

Never have I ever…

… started a novel that I didn’t finish.

Yes, I have indeed done this. Multiple times.

Some of them I’ll never finish (fine by me), but others I will. Soon.

photo of person writing on notebook

… written a story completely by hand.

I’ve done this! Before I learned to type, I handwrote a Narnia fanfiction and several other stories. I often write by hand (two of my favorite stories I’ve written, “A World Reborn” and “Un-Integrated,” were both drafted by hand at first. And this past November, I handwrote 50k of my novel The Ancient Song.

Yeah. My hand hurt.

… changed tenses midway through a story.

NOOO. Never. I cannot abide tense switches (accidental) and so very much avoid them in my writing. And I usually know what tense a story belongs in before writing it.Read More »

the book-lover blog tag

Well, my friends, I’ve been tagged for entirely too many tags to go on not doing them. So behold: I am doing a tag.

I was tagged for the book-lover blog tag by Leannah @ The Story Girl. Thanks, Leannah!

the rules

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog. (Already did!)
  2. Include the Book-Lover Blog Tag graphic and rules in your post. (Note: the graphic has the wrong website on it; Bella’s blog is now bellaputt.com.)
  3. Answer the questions.
  4. Nominate at least 5 new bloggers to do the tag.

the questions + my answers

1 // What is your favorite thing about reading?

My favorite thing about reading is that I can immerse myself in an imaginary world and come to know and care about the characters in the story. I also particularly enjoy it when a (fiction) book makes me challenge my assumptions/point of view on an issue.

2 // Who is your favorite male character?

Narnia Movie Tie-in | Narnia Fans

Ahh, just one? Well, having recently re-read the Ender’s Game/Shadow series, I must say that I’m particularly partial to Peter Wiggin, the Speaker for the Dead, and Julian Delphiki. I also like Sam and Glorfindel (The Lord of the Rings), Tellius (The Gateway Chronicles), Eanrin and Aethelbald (The Tales of Goldstone Wood), and Edmund (The Chronicles of Narnia).

(I couldn’t find a single cover in the Ender series that I liked! So there’s the cover of a Narnia book, featuring Edmund somewhat prominently.

Orson Scott Card, I beg of you, hire someone new to design your book covers.)Read More »

the Christmas spirit tag

Hello there! I’ve been tagged for this tag by a good friend of mine. I’m not allowed to say who she is (for reasons you’ll soon understand), but I’m thankful for her and for her tagging me, and I’m excited to do her tag.

But first:

the rules

  1. This is an anonymous tag. DO NOT link back to the creator or whoever tagged you — the goal of this tag is to spread Christmas spirit anonymously. Consider it a sort of “pay it forward” — you don’t know who started it, but you’re there to continue it. You can say thank you, of course, in the comments of whoever tagged you, but it’s all very “Secret Santa” when you create your post.
  2. Answer the copy-and-paste-able questions (GIFs, photos, song lyrics, poem extracts, etc. are all welcome).
  3. Share one thing Christmas taught you.
  4. Tag as many people as you can thing to help spread Christmas cheer around the blogosphere (my word, that rhymed).

And now…


the questions

(and my answers)

What is your favorite Christmas Bible verse?

I absolutely love all of Isaiah 53, especially in the NIV (which is strange, because in almost every other case I pick the ESV). It’s not technically a “Christmas Bible verse,” I guess, but it reminds me that Jesus came to die. That the reason He was born as a baby was so he could save us from our sins. And in that way, it really is a Christmas verse. As is nearly every verse in the entire Bible (:Read More »

know the novel part three: it is written // a writers linkup

Hello, my friends! Today I’m participating in Christine’s third NaNo linkup, where I’ll talk about the retelling of Fiddler on the Roof that I wrote in November. (Find parts one and two here.)

If you’d like to participate in this, check out her post for the rules. (All writers, including those who didn’t do NaNoWriMo, are welcome!)


1 // Firstly, how did writing this novel go all around?

It went well! I thoroughly enjoyed myself (although I did stay up too late writing several nights…) and made the full 50k without feeling completely drained. Maybe next year I’ll try for 60 or 70k… maybe. Anyway, the writing was great.

2 // Did it turn out like you expected or completely different? And how do you feel about the outcome?

It turned out how I expected, mostly. Of course, the characters pretty much did what they liked and wrecked my ideas, but I was expecting that because my only outline was the musical script. And I liked the final outcome!

3 // What aspect of the story did you love writing about the most? (Characters, plot, setting, prose, etc.)

Asa!!! I love my fiddler very much. I also enjoyed writing the funeral scene (which came completely out of nowhere) and Hadassah’s writing (also a surprise). Read More »

the aesthetically pleasing book // a tag

Welcome, friends!

Today I’m doing a tag that I first saw on Tales of the Lonely Sun, where Carlye did it. It originates from DreamlandBookBlog, so thanks to Beatrice for creating it!

There don’t appear to be any rules, so I’ll begin by answering the questions and we’ll see where I go from there.


1 // best color combo on a book cover

cover design by Seedlings Design Studio

I still haven’t read this book, but the cover is so beautiful. I love the double exposure and the gorgeous fonts. (If you’ve read it, please tell me what you thought of it!)Read More »

flotsam and jetsam | 2

Salvete, amici! (That’s Latin for “hello, friends.”) I’m here today to share seven things that I’d love you to know about.

(Originally, this post was called “seven things.” Then I poked around in my archives and remembered that I have a name for this kind of post, which I completely forgot… check out the first Flotsam and Jetsam here.)

Note: The name is inspired by Tolkien, but the content is a general mishmash of everything (and I’m definitely not devaluing the things I include here by calling them “flotsam and jetsam”).

Here are some things I’ll be sharing in this post:

  • a tag
  • books I’ve read recently
  • a snippet from my writing
  • a blog post I love
  • two of my favorite songs
  • and more!

Let’s go! Welcome to flotsam and jetsam, round two.


1 // why seven?

Because it’s my favorite number, so I picked it (:

2 // my tag is making people happy

As you may know, I created a tag here. It was lots of fun, but the best thing about it is that people are doing it! Here are some people who did it:

Mary // Wild Writing Dreams
Jenna // Jenna Terese
Kassie // Soldier Girl Stories
Weez // Caught Daydreaming
Clara // Clara & Co.
Jo // Pananaw
The Story Sponge
Audrey Kate // The Junebug Blog
Kenechi // Well… Go Read!
Laura // Beautiful Things
Eden // The Happy Hedgehog

I love seeing people’s lists of ten things that make them happy, but what makes me happier is that people keep commenting and saying that the lists of happy things also make them happy! (I know that’s confusing. But it was the point of the tag, and I’m glad it’s working.) If you haven’t done the tag yet, please do. I tag you. Go and do it and spread the happiness.

(Side note: I intentionally didn’t put “link back to the creator of the tag” in the rules for this tag. Because the point is not to make my blog popular – it’s to make people remember the simple things that make them joyful. Therefore, I may have missed it if you or someone you know did this tag. If you’re not on the above list but wish you were, feel free to comment your link so other people can read your list as well.)

3 // some books I’ve read recently

I’ve been wanting to post reviews of these books for a while, but since I haven’t really had time, I’ll be sharing them here. Read More »