What I’m Thankful For

Happy almost Thanksgiving! Since Thanksgiving is all about being thankful, I thought that today I would list some things that I’m thankful for concerning writing.

1. I’m thankful for NaNoWriMo! Winning my first NaNo in 2013 inspired me to keep writing and taught me how to finish a rough draft.

2. I’m thankful for the NaNoWriMo forums. I’ve made some amazing friends through them that have really helped me with my writing and been there for me no matter what.

3. I’m thankful for winning NaNoWriMo. I won on the 21st, the earliest I’ve ever won. My novel is only a little over half-way completed, so I’m still working on it.

4. I’m thankful for an awesome writing buddy. My cat, Precious, always comes and hangs out next to me while I’m writing.

5. I’m also thankful to Spotify. It’s a small thing, but being able to make a playlist for my NaNo novel to listen to as I work has been really helpful and awesome.

6.  I’m thankful for a four-day weekend from school and skating. I’m going to have a lot of free time to write, and I’m really excited about hopefully wrapping this novel up this weekend!

7. I’m thankful that I finally got the new James Dashner novel, The Game of Lives, in the mail yesterday. I can’t wait to read it!

8. I’m thankful for all the great writers like Shakespeare, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Suzanne Collins. Not only do I get to enjoy their stories, but I also get a chance to learn from their example.

9. I’m thankful for my laptop that I can write on and that keeps all my novels, fanfictions, and ideas safe.

10. I’m thankful for my readers who keep reading and commenting! 🙂

~ Kayla




Character Names – Ella and Brennan

It’s week three of NaNoWriMo! I actually hit 40,000 words two days ago, and I couldn’t be happier with my story. I’m super excited about my characters, and they’ve been a blast to write. Since I’ve had such a great time with them, today I thought I’d share a bit more about my main characters and tell the stories behind their names. Feel free to use these names, but remember, I did have them first! 😉

Ella is a name probably everyone has heard. It’s an English name, and according to behindthename.com, Ella comes from the Norman form of the Germanic name Alia. It’s also considered to be a variant of the baby name Ellen.

I’ve never known an Ella in real life, however, I do know of one from the movies. In Disney’s live-action Cinderella, Ella is Cinderella’s real name and she’s a sweet, kind-hearted girl despite serving her evil step-mother. My Cinderella’s real name is Ella Cinder, and the only trait she shares with Disney’s Cinderella is her name! Ella is sassy and sarcastic, and she always has to have the last word. She loves the attention she gets from being an Elite celebrity, and she has a bit of a temper that flares up at the worst times. She usually goes by just Ella, though her step-father called her Elle to irritate her. The only nickname Ella accepts is the one Charming, her boyfriend, gives her, which is Ellie.

Brennan is actually an Irish surname that is being used as a first name now. It can be either a guy or a girl’s name, but I prefer it for a guy. There are several different meanings to the name which range from “raven” to “sorrow.”

I didn’t choose the name for the meaning, however. Brennan is actually Charming’s middle name. His real name is Sahir Brennan Harb. The reason for such a odd middle name is that I wanted to include a nod to Brendon Urie, lead singer of Panic! At the Disco, who I partly based Charming’s voice and personality on. Also, since Charming gives Ella the nickname of Ellie, I wanted Ella to have a nickname to give him, and Brennan gave me an excuse to have Ella call him Bren.

What do you think of these names? If you’re doing NaNoWriMo this year, what are your character’s names? Tell me in the comments below! 🙂

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

Introducing Charming – Part 3

Today I’m posting the final part of my “Introducing Charming” scene. Last week, Charming was faced with a mysterious man asking him to do a favor. This week, find out if Charming agrees to his demands or not.

You knew someone would find out one day.

My fingers curl into the silk, and I swallow hard, trying to control my breathing, rubbing the tie against my bracelet, as if trying to call energy from the room. There’s none to draw on, and I’m too worn down from the show to use my personal aura. I’m helpless.

“What’s your deal?” I say, for once thankful for my post-show sore throat. It keeps me from sounding scared.

“You ever heard of a press rat?”

That’s a stupid question, as every Elite with half a brain knows what a press rat is. They’re people who make deals with the press – trading others’ secrets to the hated reporters for money, power, fame or a combination of all three. If someone, anyone, discovered that you were a press rat, your career would be over.

“Of course I have.”

“Well, if you’ve ever wanted to be one, here’s your chance.” The man digs in his pocket and holds out a small glass chip. “You tell me what you can find out about the Skye family scandal, and I’ll leave your dirty past alone.”

I stare at the chip in his fingers, and then back at him. “If I’m caught –“

“Your career would be over. However, I’m guessing you’d prefer not to be terminated which is what your past would bring you, wouldn’t it, Sahir?”

The man’s gloved hand doesn’t even flinch as I snatch the chip from him.

He smiles, the shadows that conceal his face making it seem even more menacing. “Good. I expect those details by tomorrow, 0900.”

“How will I get it to you?” I shove the chip in my pants pocket.

“I’ll drop by for a visit. See you then, Charming.” The way he snarls my name makes me believe that he finds it more than just pretentious. “Oh. You’ve got your…talents back.” The man smiles again.

I raise my hand, but he’s gone before I can even make a dent in his thoughts. I’m left standing there in the middle of the room, trying to process what just happened. I’m being asked to commit the second most hated crime in my world. Informing on other Elites’ scandals and secrets is a crime only slightly behind traitor, which is something I don’t even want to think about.

That’s what your father said, too. And look what happened to him.

I push the thought out of my head and turn away from the mirror, not wanting to face even myself. Mechanically, I knot the tie around my neck and pull on my red suit coat.

I’ve got no choice, I argue with myself. This is all I have left.

“Give them a good show,” I tell my reflection, making sure every trace of fear is gone out of my eyes. It’s show time, and Charming Prince doesn’t get scared.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

~ Kayla

Introducing Charming – Part 2

Last week, I posted the first part of a scene written about my main male character, Charming Prince, from my NaNo novel this year. This week, I’m posting the second part of that scene. We left Charming back stage after performing in front of a huge, adoring crowd. 🙂

At this point my throat is aching like someone poured acid down it, so I simply nod politely. A blonde girl appears holding out a bottle of a murky looking liquid. I take it, giving her a curt nod, and she instantly disappears. Tipping my head back, I swish the nasty stuff around in my mouth and force myself to swallow it.

“Better?” Davis chuckles as he sees my wince.

“Yeah,” I say before taking another sip. “The scream in ‘Emperor’ always gets me.”

Davis nods. “You did great, though.” He pushes open the door to my dressing room, and we both step in.

He walks around me, striding across the sparkling black concrete to take a seat on the red sofa, grimacing a bit as he does. I can’t blame him. Davis is in his seventies, and these late night concerts full of screams and drums and flashing lights take their toll on him.

I cross the room and step into the bathroom, positioning myself in front of the full-length mirror, working on untangling the tie around my neck.

“You’ve got an after-party to get to. There’s a girl there, Stella. I want you to get to know her, understood?” Davis’s powerful voice carries easily to the other side of the room.

“Understood,” I respond, yanking on the tie a bit harder.

Davis rounds the corner and places a thin, blue glass card on the vanity sink. “Read up about her before you go.”

I pull the tie off from around my neck and give him a nod of consent, starting on the buttons of my high-collared white shirt.

“I’ll let you get ready. Meet me outside in an hour.”

“Sounds good,” I flash Davis one of my award-winning smiles (I’m not joking – I’ve won literal awards for my smile.) and hear the door clang shut after him.

I finish unbuttoning my shirt, and take another sip of the liquid, wrinkling my nose. “It’s 2084. We should have something better than this to heal damaged vocal cords,” I mutter before swirling the stuff around my mouth again.

My voice was never really meant for screaming, but that never stopped me. When I was younger, I’d done serious damage to my vocal cords trying to hit the notes in my favorite songs. I’m paying for it now.

I swallow more of the liquid and glance over my appearance in the mirror. While my female fans might prefer if I didn’t wear a shirt to my concerts, I much prefer that I did. It wasn’t so much that I minded performing half-naked (heck, I’d done crazier things for publicity) as much as the scars that crisscrossed my body. There are more scars on my chest than tattoos on my arms, a ratio I wish I could change. I shake my head, forcing my thoughts back to where they need to be as I step into the steaming water, letting it wash off the last traces of sweat and stage makeup.

Shower. After-party. Stella.

I step out of the shower and pull on a pair of suit pants, before walking across the cold floor to grab the fresh black shirt my stylist left me on the back of the vanity chair. I’m buttoning it up nice and high, arranging the tie around my neck when I hear a click of dress shoes on concrete. The red tie falls to the ground as I spin around, eyes searching the black and red dressing room.


There’s nothing there. I crouch down to snatch up my tie, and then straighten, facing my reflection in the mirror, telling myself it’s just post-show jitters. That’s when I hear several more clicks. I spin around, this time, knowing there’s someone in the room.

“I know someone’s here. Stop hiding.” My voice, still scratchy from the concert, sounds a lot more menacing than how I actually feel. In reality, I’m terrified.

“Hello, Charming.”

That’s when I see him – a figure standing in the shadows behind the sofa.

My fingers press against the cool metal of my bracelet, hoping they’re charged enough to let me disappear.

“Don’t bother.” The man steps into the light a bit, just enough so that I can make out his lined face and white hair. “You’ll find that those are useless. I’ve turned off the aura.”

My fingers find the one thing they can grip, twisting themselves in the red silk tie. “Security!” I call, my voice breaking slightly, half from the strain, half from fear.

“You’ll find that the intercom system has also been shut down.” He smiles a bit. “Scream all you like, but they won’t hear you.”

“Who are you?” I demand.

“No one you would know. I came because I have a proposal for you. And not the marriage kind.” I can see him shove his hands in his pockets, and chuckle a bit at his own joke. “There’s something we’ve managed to find out about you, Charming Prince – or should I say Sahir Brenan Harb.”

My fingers dig into the silk, as I try to remain calm. “I don’t know –”

“Oh, don’t even try it. You see, I can tell everyone exactly who you are.” The man chuckles again. “And I know you don’t want that. I have a deal for you. I won’t tell anyone who you are…if you do a few small favors for me.”

Thanks for reading! Part 3 will be up next week. 🙂

~ Kayla