o hai there

So, once again, I have been super duper absent from the interwebz. And especially this blog.

Here are my excuses: 1.) I graduated. 

2.) I graduated.


Bachelor's in English with an Emphasis in Creative Writing. BOO-YAH.

So yeah, that's kind of a big deal. XD

Also, if it's alright with my loverly readers, I think I'm going to transfer this blog to Tumblr.

Because structure makes me nervous, and Tumblr is deliciously unstructured, and posting daily or weekly is much less intimidating when my blog involves pictures and songs and lyrics as well as real, grownup blog posts. Okay? Okay. Cool.

So here's the link to my Tumblr if you'd like to follow me there: http://kristin-briana.tumblr.com. Currently it's full of the aforementioned pictures and songs and lyrics, but soon I will be posting writing-related things again. Hurray! 

Hey. Did I mention that I graduated? 

Health & environmentalism & a little bit of a soap box

My sister has been calling me a hippie since I was ten, due to the fact that - even as a fifth grader - I spent my money on flowers and used books and organic cotton clothing. Over time, I embraced my inherent hippie-ness. I stopped eating red meat when I was nineteen, shopped almost exclusively at thrift stores, bought organic food whenever possible. This year, however, I want to take my environmentally-conscious, animal-loving, tree-hugging ways to the next level.

So, without further ado, this is my manifesto for this year's health-conscious, earth-conscious lifestyle.

1. I want to convert to veganism.

kodykeplinger inspired this one, thanks to her recent conversion. But, peer pressure aside, my family history is full of high cholesterol and some very weird stomach problems. I've never handled rich, high fat foods well. A greasy cheeseburger could leave me doubled over for days. A piece of fried chicken could have me puking all night. So this dietary change is as much for myself as it is for environmental reasons. But, environmentally speaking - animal products sort of suck if not produced/processed correctly. We could feed the whole country with all the grains America pours down the throats of cows and chickens and pigs to fatten them for slaughter. So yeah. It bothers me. So I'm going veggie.

2. I want to grow a garden.

...but I live in an apartment, so this is going to be interesting. However, I've been doing lots of research on urban gardening, and it is definitely possible and even simple. Plus, I'm in college. I love fresh produce, but it's not priced like those ramen noodles and potato chips. So, the garden is a combination health + cost + environmental choice.

3. I want to cut down on waste.

I have travel mugs. I love my travel mugs. Travel mugs are the best inventions EVER invented for coffee lovers. So why do I insist on using the styrofoam cups at the coffee shop? Why don't I just bring my travel mug? I don't know, but I've got to quit. There are a dozen paper coffee cups rolling around in my car right now, and I feel stupid and guilty every time I see them.

4. I want to walk more.

I live in a relatively nice neighborhood. It's not difficult for me to walk to school two or three days out of the week. I need to start doing that.

Do you have any environmental/health-oriented goals this year?


So I'm struggling here.

I don't know how to blog.

I mean, I know how to blog about writerly things - about word counts and agents and revisions and character arcs - but I do that all the time, on this blog and on YA Highway. Sometimes, writerly posts just don't seem like enough. Sometimes there are other things going on in my brain and my heart, and I don't know whether I'm allowed to post them or not.

A lot of you are probably aware of the blow-up concerning authors/reviewers, and whether or not authors should be allowed to comment on their own reviews, and whether or not reviewers should be nicer, and yada yada yada. Well, it was a mess, and lots of people had lots of opinions, and lots of people got their feelings hurt. But I think what was important about that controversy was the question of professionalism. It made a lot of people start talking about how professionals are meant to act in the publishing community.

And here's my dilemma: how DO I act professional? Can I write about life and opinions and boys and my cats and my faith, and yet still be professional? Should I devote this blog entirely to my journey as a writer but leave out my journey as a human being? Can I say things that may occasionally be controversial or hypothetical without someone slapping my name on Publisher's Weekly as an example of an "unprofessional writer"?

I don't know. Like I said, I'm struggling with this. Does anyone have some tips for me?

2011 Music in Review

The songs that played over and over throughout this year. :)

"Heartbeat," The Fray

"Sing," My Chemical Romance

"Won't Go Quietly," All That Remains

"It's Time," Imagine Dragons

"Beside You," Marianas Trench

"Come Away," Jesus Culture

"Hello World," Lady Antebellum

"Be Still and Breathe," Ivoryline

"Courageous," Casting Crowns

"Song for the Broken," Close Your Eyes

"Sooner or Later," Breaking Benjamin

2011 in Review

Twenty-first birthday. Seattle. Chalk comic strips on the Riverwalk. Tattoos. Vintage shopping. Baking. Monday late nights at Applebees. Publishing internship. State fair. Busch Gardens. Swedish fish and sour patch kids, stuffed into apron pockets on busy Fridays. The Smithsonian and Thai food in the midst of a heatwave Candy bar runs. Kittens. Writing. Re-writing. Re-re-writing. Harry Potter premier - dressed up as Hermione. Breaking Dawn premier - dressed up as Hermione. Chin-length pixie hair. Weddings, weddings, weddings - none of them mine. Babies, babies, babies - none of them mine. Relationships, failed and flawed, but still precious. Friendships, old and new and renewed.

Rediscovering John Eldredge and Neil Gaiman. Rereading my Bible. Unearthing adult lessons in children's books - The Last Unicorn. Tales from Outer Suburbia. The Magician's Elephant, The Neverending Story. Understanding the immeasurable talent of my critique group. Learning to love feminist literature. Falling further in love with Chicano and Native American literature.

Redefining myself. Accepting myself. Challenging myself.

Evaluating the future. Examining the past. Setting my creativity free. Letting God mold my soul. Practicing patience. Practicing passion. Understanding my flaws. Shattering the walls that surround my heart. Delighting in my Father. Trying new things. Facing my fears. Trusting, despite those fears. Hoping, despite the sadness. Loving and loving and loving, despite everything.

Bring on the new year.

Blog Circus: Day 4

Top 5 Most Recommended Books of 2011

I converted six people to the Hunger Games fandom this year. SIX. I am so proud.

This is a wonderful devotional-esque book about what it means to be a woman...except it's actually good. Most books about "how to be a Godly young lady" make me want to kick the author in the face. This one is real and sweet and it helps to heal all those broken inside that say you're not good enough or strong enough or pretty enough. I've reread it at least three times, and recommended it even more.

I have been recommending this book since the day I read it. It's moving and heartbreaking and magical and real, all at the same time.

The best - and probably the only - YA horror I've ever read. The best part about THE PRICKER BOY is that you never fully grasp whether the terror is psychological or whether it's real, and that's what makes it so intense.

Steampunk YA. Narrated by the cabin boy on a luxury airship, who's in love with a beautiful, wealthy passenger, who's looking for the mythical creatures her grandfather died trying to find. Yeah. It's awesome.

The best part about this book is that it's about fairies but it's not about fairies. It's also creepy and sweet and poetic and absolutely fantastic.

Blog Circus: Day 3

What were your top 5 favorite books of the year?

Michael Ende's The Neverending Story is hardly new, but it's new to me, so I'm including it. I loved the Neverending Story movies when I was younger, but the movies are pale and pathetic in comparison with the glittering beauty of Ende's poetic writing, his gorgeous world of Fantastica, and his incredible characters.


Nova Ren Suma's Imaginary Girls is a book I've seen on a lot of "best of" lists this year - but there is a good reason for that. It's awesome. This is the first book I point to when I want to explain what fantastic magical realism looks like. It's also the first book I point to when I want to describe the kind of books I want to write...but I digress.


Will Shetterly's Elsewhere is also not a new book, but it's one of the best books on the Borderland I've ever read. The Borderland is a topic that has been explored a lot in YA literature, but in my humble opinion, this is the best tale of human-meets-fey-meets-magic-meets-technology. The setting is rich, the characters are awesome, and the plot twists are heartrending and head-spinning.


Since I've already gushed about Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone I'll just remind everyone to read it. Now. NOW.

Blog Circus: Day 2

Top 5 YA Girls / Guys of 2011
I didn't get to half the books in my to-read pile this year, which means I am an epic fail when it comes to this list. I had to narrow it down to one favorite guy and one favorite girl.

1. Karou - Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Laini Taylor
She has blue hair. I mean, that alone would catapult her to the top of my favorites list. But she's also badass and sensitive and conflicted and artistic, which just sweetens the deal.

And this book...THIS BOOK...Oh man. It definitely wasn't perfect, but Laini Taylor's writing and world-building are so magical that I always, always fall in love with her novels.

2. Four - Divergent - Veronica Roth

I may or may not have had inappropriate dreams about this boy. I'll let you wonder about that, while I go and reread this book. And count the days until Insurgent.

But seriously. Four is such a wonderfully well-realized character, especially considering he's not the love interest. He is strong and selfless, but he also has moments of cruelty and vulnerability. There were times when I found him a more relatable character than Tris herself, but I suspect that's part of Tris's character arc - becoming a vulnerable, but still courageous, young woman.

Check out the other bloggers participating in Sarah's Blog Circus!

Blog Circus: Day 1. Also, an explanation.

So. I have been absent for a very long time. And by "absent" I mean "I have not blogged in an eternity, and I'm sorry, please forgive me, I know it's not like I have a super interesting blog anyway but I do apologize for those of you who actually think I'm funny or informative or whatever."

The only excuse I really have is school and work, which is my tried-and-true, oft-used excuse, but it's a good one, so I'm going to keep using it.

HOWEVER, Spring 2012 is officially my last semester of college, and then I will be gallivanting around the world doing cool post-grad things and blogging about them. This is the plan, anyway. Let's hope money and time allow for this plan to become a reality.

Other new and exciting things:

~ I'm going to finish SEVEN this year. Hopefully early in the year. Hopefully around February. :D

~ It's no longer titled SEVEN. I have no idea what I'm going to call it, but I'm tentatively playing with the word CLAIM (v.: "to demand as a right or as due"; n.: "something that is claimed, especially a piece of land, for mining or other purposes"). If anyone has any ideas on how to turn that word into a title, please let me know.

~ I'm starting an internship with a literary agent this coming January. Sooo excited. :)

~ Did I mention that I'm GRADUATING?? IN THE SPRING???

So this is my life right now.

But that's not the real reason I am blogging today. The real reason I am blogging is because the lovely and talented Sarah Enni is doing her annual Blog Circus, in which we talk about the awesome things that we read/watched/listened to this year.

Day 1: Top 5 favorite albums / songs to write to in the year 2011

1. "Prelude 12/21," by AFI

"This is what I brought you, this you can keep
This is what I brought, you may forget me
I promise to depart, just promise one thing:
Kiss my eyes and lay me to sleep."

2. Ceremonials, by Florence + The Machine. Particularly "No Light No Light" and "Shake It Out."

"No light, no light in your bright blue eyes
I never knew daylight could be so violent..."

3. "Some Are Love," by Des Ark

"This summer's going to wreck us, going to crush this little boy
This will be the season when we learn not to forget
The ones we call our friends, they aren't enemies quite yet..."

4. "Picture Perfect (In Your Eyes)," 10 Years

"The stars are burning brighter
So bright we can't ignore
We're hypnotized by televised train wrecks
Tragedy's a paycheck
Maybe I'm a product of my placement
Given no chance to make up our minds...
But in your eyes I'm picture perfect
In your eyes the grass is greener
Have you seen it through my eyes?"

5. "Bones," Little Big Town

"You got bones in your closet
You got ghosts in your town
Ain't no doubt, yeah they're going to come out
They're waiting on the sun to go down
You can't hide from your demons
Feel them all lurking around
You're running scared 'cause you know they're out there
They're waiting on the sun to go down..."

 If you want to join Sarah's blog circus, hop over to her blog and check it out! Tomorrow's theme: Top 5 Favorite YA Girls/Guys. :)