Looking Back on 2016… and Looking Ahead to 2017

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Happy New Year! I hope everyone enjoyed the December holidays and had a fun, safe end to 2016.¬†ūüôā

Looking back on the year, one of the words that comes to mind is “growth.” This site especially was booming. Thanks to all your shares, likes, and comments, 2016’s stats in terms of page views and visitors doubled 2015’s. And that’s despite¬†the fact that I slowed my blogging schedule to once a week.¬†I may be the one who writes and runs this site, but you, the readers, deserve much of the credit.

So, thank you for stopping by and coming back, for sharing your thoughts and offering feedback, for spreading the word and celebrating milestones with me.¬†But most of all, thank you for encouraging and inspiring me. Yes. You inspire me¬†to be not only the best writer I can be, but also my best and fullest self. And for that, I’m truly grateful.

So, let’s get to the annual year-end wrap-up, along with some quotes that reflect my feelings about 2016¬†and my hopes for 2017.
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The Starlight Blogger Award

This Award is created to highlight and promote Inspiring Bloggers.

Yup. I’m still catching up with blog tags and awards that I was linked on over the past few months. Today’s comes courtesy of Zezee @¬†Zezee with Books, and is one I hadn’t heard of before this nomination.¬†The Starlight Blogger Award was created by Caroline @¬†Yesterday After to celebrate bloggers who inspire us with their creativity. So, thank you very much, Zezee, for your nomination. It means a lot to me. ūüôā

Here are the rules for the Starlight Blogger Award: Continue reading

New at DIY MFA: A Case Study on Courage as a Literary Theme

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Courage, bravery, heroism, gutsiness – no matter what we call it, this trait is one that many people admire. It’s also an idea that’s explored frequently in literature, sometimes¬†without us noticing.

Today’s¬†Theme: A Story‚Äôs Soul¬†post¬†at DIY MFA¬†takes a deeper look at courage as a literary theme with the help of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone¬†and Kristin Hannah’s¬†The Nightingale. How do these two very different books examine the same theme¬†in strikingly similar ways? You’ll have to read to find out.

Click here to read¬†“A Case Study on Courage¬†as a Literary Theme.”

Got any questions or suggestions for Theme: A Story’s Soul? Feel free to comment below or tweet me at @SaraL_Writer with the hashtag #AStorysSoul.

Happy New Year – and Here’s to 2016!

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Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you had a enjoyable and safe end to your 2015; and would like to wish you the best in health, love, and creativity for 2016.

Also, I know I keep thanking you, the readers, for¬†helping to make this blog what it has become… But, honestly, YOU¬†deserve so much of the credit. Thank you for commenting on each post, sharing your thoughts and ideas, and sharing the links on your own blogs and on social media. Most importantly, thank you for your enthusiasm, encouragement, and thoughtful feedback. You put a smile on my face every day I’m here. ūüôā

I used last year’s Happy New Year post¬†to sort of “wrap up” the 2014 highlights for the blog and for me personally, and to look ahead to 2015. Since I was happy with the final product, I’ll do the same again¬†for this year’s:
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5 on the 5th: Five Things I’ve Learned in the Past Year

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On the fifth day of each month, 5 on the 5th shares five of something that I like or recommend to readers. Whether it‚Äôs five items that share a common theme, or five reasons why I like the topic at hand, this monthly meme gives us¬†an opportunity to talk about¬†other subjects that¬†aren’t normally discussed here at the blog.¬†

This might sound like a more appropriate post for New Year’s. But when I launched 5 on the 5th¬†earlier this year, I¬†realized what I was setting myself up for in September. And… well, I’m not the kind of person who runs around announcing her birthday to the world. (FYI: I HATE being sung to by a wait staff at a restaurant. It makes me want to curl up and hide.)

Last year’s birthday, however, was a milestone as well as¬†a¬†day of reflection. I thought back on the things I was grateful for, the lessons I’d learned, the goals I’m working towards – and it evoked¬†a sense of wonder, excitement, and bravery for the future. I’d like to do that again¬†this year through this month’s 5 on the 5th. Here are¬†five things I’ve learned in the past year. Continue reading

Beautiful People, Vol. 4: More About Eva

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Beautiful People is a monthly blog meme hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury¬†and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. Every month they pose 10 questions for writers to answer about their writing and give readers the opportunity to learn more about the writer’s characters.

After focusing on supporting characters from The Keeper’s Curse¬†for the past two¬†Beautiful People posts, it’s¬†time to return to the protagonist, Eva. In case you haven’t “met” her before, Eva is a 17-year-old Faerie and the chief navigator and translator for the Council of Selanaan (a group of commoner Faeries selected to be diplomats working on their king’s behalf).

So, here are the 10 questions Eva needs to answer this month. Or, rather, the questions I need to¬†answer so you can get to know Eva¬†better. ūüėČ

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Gratitude and Grandparents: Choosing How to Remember Our Loved Ones

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Back in June, my maternal grandmother passed away. I’ve had plenty of time and space to mourn her loss and celebrate her life since then. My mind, however, has refused to stay in one place. It’s been wandering from one memory to another, and not just memories of my grandmother. It’s probably because, for the first time in my life, I no longer have any living grandparents. Continue reading