July Reading Wrap Up


Summer is one of my favorite times of the year to sneak in a little extra reading. Maybe it’s the heat that makes laying around with a good book and air conditioning so appealing, or maybe it’s the extra hours of daylight.

Either way, last month I was able to finish 11 books.

  1. The Only Pirate at the Party by Lindsey Stirling
  2. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
  3. Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins
  4. The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson
  5. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
  6. My Unscripted Life by Lauren Morrill
  7. I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
  8. Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson
  9. Geekerella by Ashley Poston
  10. This Life I Live by Rory Feek
  11. The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy

Check out my thoughts on this books and what I’m reading now by adding me as a friend on Goodreads!

Why You Should Write Like You Have a Deadline


As an aspiring author, the best thing you can do to better your craft and get you closer to seeing your novel on the shelves at Barnes and Noble is to write. While that’s no secret, all writers are different, especially when it comes to how quickly they can get words down on the page. 

Some writers can crank out upwards of 1,000 words a day, while others struggle to complete 500 in a week. Are either of these writers better than the other? No. However, writing like you have a deadline, even when you don’t, can often mean the difference between finishing your manuscript or always wishing you had. 

Approaching your writing like you are on a deadline:

Provides Instant Motivation
We all have days that simply don’t have enough hours in them, but giving yourself a deadline gives you the extra dose of motivation that is often needed to finish your book. This inspiration will keep you moving toward your goal, and give you a tangible finish line to look forward to. 

Gets Words on the Page
Deadlines are great scare tactics. Either you meet them or you don’t, and nothing feels worse than letting your creative self down. When you give yourself a date that your draft needs to be finished by, you will work harder to fill the blank pages of your manuscript, which in turn, gets you one step closer to publication. 

Eliminates Excuses 
YouTube, Netflix, Twitter, and Goodreads all too often become excuses for us to avoid digging into our work in progress. By giving yourself a deadline, and making your writing a priority, you will crave completing your novel over a useless binge-watching session. Besides, these typical excuses can make great ways to treat yourself once your book is complete.

Have you ever written on a deadline before? How did it compare to regular self-paced writing?

5 Minute Fiction: Jump



I stand on the edge of the cliff, toes dug violently into the blackened rock.


I do not want to jump.

“Do it!”.

I do not want to do anything other than turn around, walk back down the hill, get in my car, and drive away from these people and this situation I should have never been involved with.

“What are you waiting for?”.

This day to be over.

“Get in! The water’s nice!”.

So is the firm ground.

My so-called friends circle like piranhas in the water below, with the exception of one of them perched inches behind my shivering body, waiting to go next. Below and behind, the eyes on me grow impatient as I refuse to move, motionless and petrified.


They all continue to yell, despite the voice in my head screaming at me to leave.


I don’t realize what’s happening until I’m mid-air, then breaking the sharp water with a painful splash. I resurface, choking, to a chorus of “you did it!”.

No I didn’t.

Like always, I was pushed.

3 Secrets to Getting Published


As a writer, it’s likely not a secret that one of your main goals is to get published. Sure, writing just for the love of writing is great, but you’re probably kidding yourself if you say you don’t dream about one day finding your novel on the shelves at Barnes and Noble. 

While the publishing industry changes daily and there is no one set in stone path that will get your book on the New York Time’s Bestseller list, these three tips will get you pointed in the right direction. 

Rarely does one ever get published without the help of others in the industry. Make a point to reach out to agents, publishers, and other authors you admire. Building relationships with others in the field will help open new doors and opportunities. But be careful to never promote your work right away to new contacts – instead, focus on building lasting friendships. The business aspect will follow when the time is right. 

Build a Platform
In today’s world of social media, it is vital that new authors have a presence online with a meaningful platform. Whether through Twitter, Instagram, or a blog, by continuously building your platform and posting quality content, your likelihood of getting noticed (and ultimately getting a book deal) by a publisher increases significantly. 

The best way to help your work get published? WRITE. Embrace your manuscript and put in the effort to make your book as good as it possibly can be through several rounds of edits, beta-readers, and then even more edits. Constantly working on your writing is the only guaranteed way to improve your craft, and since the quality of your writing is the ultimate factor between your book selling out on Amazon or living in Google Docs forever, it is best that you make the process of actually sitting down to write your primary focus. There are a lot of mediocre books out there, but by ensuring yours is great, you increase your chances of getting published infinitely. 

What are some of your favorite helpful publishing secrets? 

Supermarket Small Talk: 5 Minute Fiction


Supermarket Small Talk

Oh no.
“Is that you? Oh, of course it is!”.
I wish it wasn’t.
“It’s been so long!”.
Not long enough.
“How long has it been? High school?”.
Ugh. “Yeah”, I say with a smile faker than Heather’s new cheekbones. “It’s been a while”. I give her a polite nod and turn around, pretending to be engrossed in the latest tabloids, and praying the 17 year old cashier will get a move on.
“How have you been?”, Heather doesn’t take the hint, expecting me to humor her constant questions.
Since I can’t tell her that I spend most of my time in public avoiding soul-suckers like her, I give her the always acceptable, “Fine”.
“Oh, life’s just great isn’t it?”, she muses.
Not this particular moment.
She keeps going, “Adam and I just moved into a farmhouse, and my blog is really taking off!”.
Her blog about how hard life is in upper-class suburbia. 
Yes, I’ve read it.
Stop judging me.
“What have you been up to?”, she narrows in
“Contemplating how badly I want these bananas, or if ditching them and this conversation would be worth it”.
“Excuse me?”.
I said that one out loud.

Read more 5 Minute Fiction pieces by yours truly.

June Reading Wrap Up


Somehow, between work, writing, and Sporting KC games, I was able to squeeze in 6 books this past month, including the longest Harry Potter. Don’t ask me how – I’m considering it a miracle.

The books that I read in June consisted of both timeless classics and releases so new that the pages were still warm. Without further ado, here are the books I read over the past 30 days:

  1. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
  2. The BFG by Roald Dahl
  3. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
  4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
  5. By Your Side by Kasie West
  6. My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

Check out my thoughts on these novels, and become my book friend by adding me on Goodreads!

What was your favorite book you read in June?

What to Expect from John Green’s New Book


It’s been 5 and a half years since John Green has released a new book. 5 and a half years of waiting, questioning, and most importantly, re-reading all of his previously published novels. However, last week Penguin announced that a new work from the acclaimed author is slated to hit shelves on October 10th. 

Turtles All the Way Down will be Green’s 6th stand alone novel (not counting the brilliant Let it Snow), and readers across the globe are anxious to crack open its spine. 

But what can we expect from this long awaited book?

While I won’t pretend to be able to read the mind of the genius that is Green, as a fan, I can tell you that Turtles All the Way Down is sure to include:

Creatively Complex Characters
If there’s one thing John Green is known for, it’s creating engaging characters that you feel are your best friend by the time the final chapter ends. While some call them pretentious, these characters are a staple to Green’s plots, and never disappoint when it comes to their quirky habits. 

Adventures You Wish Were Real
Green’s novels have a tendency to take you to another world while giving you the inspiration to get out and explore your own. I’m  betting, just based on the short summary we’ve been given, that his new book will be no different. Because who hasn’t gone on a spontaneous road trip with friends in search of a missing girl the day of your high school graduation? 

Puns That Will Make You Roll Your Eyes
A nerd at heart, Green never fails when it comes to jokes that will leave you groaning out of clever frustration. Whether it’s a carefully crafted insult or witty word play between friends, Turtles All the Way Down is sure to give readers the laughs (and eye rolls) we’ve been craving since The Fault in Our Stars ended. 

Approximately 300 Pages of Enjoyment
No matter what the pages of Green’s new book hold, it can be guaranteed that readers will be given hours worth of enjoyment as we make our way from the front to back cover. Sure, there are skeptics that say Green’s new works will never live up to the past, but no matter what the reviews end up shouting, Turtles All the Way Down will be a book none of us will forget. 

What are your expectations for Turtles All the Way Down?

6 Places to Explore in Kansas City this Summer


Summer is in full swing, complete with BBQ’s, sunburns, and temperatures exceeding 80 degrees well before noon. While many people regard summer as a time to sit back and do nothing for weeks on end, Kansas City has a lot to offer for those bold enough to embrace the heat and adventure that comes from leaving your own backyard. 

You don’t have to go far to have an epic summer experience. In fact, some of the best places to go and explore this season in Kansas City are:

Starlight Theatre
Whether you’re a Broadway geek, concert fanatic, or comedy guru, Starlight has a show for everyone. Catch a classic stage show like Mamma Mia or Something Rotten, or even laugh along with comics like Jim Gaffigan.  A beautiful venue in the heart of Swope Park, Starlight will have you humming showtunes all the way home. 

Kansas City Zoo
Get up close and personal with animals from all over the world at KC’s infamous zoo. Explore Africa, Australia, and even the cool off with the penguins, all in a single afternoon. If you’re feeling really adventurous, make the hike over the to free-roaming kangaroos who, quite honestly, terrify me. 

Cafe Gratitude
No summer quest is complete without good food. Cafe gratitude is a vegan, gluten-free friendly restaurant in the Crossroads that is just as hip as it is delicious.  

First Fridays
Let your inner artist shine at First Fridays by exploring the work of local creators at this monthly art fair. One of the most popular weekend traditions, this heartland staple is a great way to get to know a new part of town. 

Sporting Kansas City 
Ditch the stereotypical Kansas City sports teams and opt for a couple of hours in the Cauldron watching Sporting play soccer. At the top of the MLS leader board, SKC will keep you on the edge of your bleacher until the final whistle blows. 

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Escape the brutal heat with some free air conditioning and culture at the Nelson. With classic works as well as constantly-evolving new collections, this museum always has something new to teach you. 

What are your favorite Kansas City summer activities?

4 Ways to Build Your Twitter Platform


In today’s world of comparing insight counts and retweets, it can be frustrating when your Twitter platform doesn’t grow as fast as you want it to. While there are quick fixes for this problem, such as buying followers (which you should NEVER do), nothing will help promote brand awareness like organic platform growth. 

But how do you build your Twitter presence in a meaningful way? 

Publish Quality Content
No one wants to follow an account that spams their timeline with countless self promotions. While yes, social media is a cheap way to get your product in front of people, the audience you reach is much more likely to follow and support you for the long run if you are publishing posts that help, entertain, or educate them in some way. Establish a ratio while planning your social strategy, and for every 8 posts you Tweet, limit only 2 of them to being promotional in any way. 

Follow Back
When you return the favor and follow people who follow you, those customers are much more likely to stay loyal to your brand, as well as engage with what you are posting. However, be mindful of who you do follow back, and avoid accounts that could be damaging to your business’ image. 

Engage with Others
Twitter is a social platform, meaning it was created for the sake of engagement. When you like, retweet, or comment on what others are saying, you will not only help foster relationships, but you will also get your own name in front of a larger audience. Be personable with your platform, and more people will want to do the same with you. 

Be Positive
Rarely do people seek out negativity on social media, so make sure you are keeping the Tweets you publish positive. Congratulate people on life events, encourage those who need it, or even post inspirational stories. Positive content will have a directly positive impact on the size of your platform. 

What are your best tips for building your Twitter presence?

What I’m Listening To: June 2017


Summer is here and that means BBQ, baseball, and music festivals.

Whether you’re planning on traveling out to a concert series in the coming weeks, or are stuck at home wishing you were, you can make your own with just a few clicks on Spotify.

The songs on my June playlist include:

California by Big and Rich
The greatest three minutes you will ever experience, this tune by my favorite duo will get stuck in your head, and have you laughing, for the better part of an afternoon.

Come Alive (Dry Bones) by Lauren Daigle
A beautiful song about trusting and having faith even in the hardest of moments, this masterpiece by Daigle is my go-to jam when I’m stuck in traffic.

Drunk Girls Don’t Cry by Maren Morris
Chock-full of word play, Morris’ best song yet says what we’re all thinking, and proves what a brilliant artist she is.

No Such Thing as a Broken Heart by Old Dominion
An inspiring tune of learning to love fearlessly, Old Dominion’s latest single is just as catchy as the band’s previous hits.

Two Ghosts by Harry Styles.
Enough said.

Daughter by Brandy Clark
My favorite song by my favorite songwriter, Clark’s witty revenge-filled tune displays exactly why she is the best wordsmith in Nashville.

Most Girls by Hailee Steinfeld
Another song that will get stuck in your head for days on end, Steinfeld’s latest is a self-empowered anthem perfect for just about anyone.

King of Anything by Sara Bareilles
It’s not summer without a throwback, and this song is exactly that. One of the most played artists on my Spotify, Bareilles’ spunk shines through in this clever tune about sticking up for yourself.

What songs make your playlist this month?