Posted in Time Management For Writers, Uncategorized, Writing

5 ReasonsWhy Writers Need A Writing Plan

Is planning an essential part of writing? Is it important to have writing plan?

The short answer to both is YES. This post isn’t a debate over being a planner or pantser. It isn’t about having a book outline. Well, not exactly. I am talking about having a plan for your writing allows you to manage the time that you have to write.

 

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If you want to know why… keep reading. I have answers. 

 

In my early dreams of being a writer, I imagined pounding out a novel on my typewriter. Somehow, that novel would flow out of me in perfect order. The plot, characters, and setting would entwine magically. It took years of novel writing for me to figure out that book doesn’t work that way for most writers or me.

Every step of writing requires time and planning. Sure, there are times that creativity will strike and things will flow like magic. If you wait for inspiration every time, you write it will take you a long time to finish something, if ever.

 

TIME MANAGEMENT FOR WRITERS
Watch the Writing Plan Video Here

 

What is a writing plan? I am so glad you asked. No question is ever to basic.

At its core, a writing plan is a vision with goals, deadlines, and action steps to achieve the goal. It can be as basic or complex as you need it to be. Here are some examples of what a basic writing plan might look like in the first stages of planning:

Example A: A dog groomer wants to supplement her income by writing a Dog Grooming book. Vision: Write and Sell books. Goal: Write, and self-publish two books about dog grooming this year. Deadline: Book one written and published in 6 months. Book two written and published in 1 year. Action Steps: Research, write, publish, & market each book. The action steps break down into monthly, weekly, and daily steps needed to finish the goal.

Example B: Fiction writer of historical romance has written the first draft of the first book in a series. Vision: Wants to improve the book and seek traditional publication. Action Steps: Find critique partners by X date. Begin self-editing and revision process and complete the book by X date. Research markets, agents and begin the query process.

 

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A one size fits all plan is not the best bet.

 

Your writing plan will be unique to you, your market, and your vision. The foundation of your plan is your goals and vision. The action steps are the bricks that transform your goals into being. Don’t let the idea of planning or the things you must do to achieve your goal get in your way. Make a plan and move forward.

Your goals, vision, and plan should grow and change with you. A writing plan is never set in stone but flexible at its core. One way to keep it that way is to always plan for more time for each task than you think is needed. This is your safety net when unexpected challenges arise.

Here are five reasons that every writer needs to have a writing plan.

#1 Writing Requires Time

Do you want to publish a book? Do you want a successful blog? Do you want to share your writing with the world? If so, the first step to make writing a priority your life. How? By making time to write. Taking the time to plan recognizes how valuable time is.

You give value to your writing by making time for it in your life. Planning starts with figuring out how much time you have to devote to writing. Next, you need to decide how to use that time to get the most done.

 

Time Management
Do you want to get more done with less effort? Cheak out the entire time management for writers series on my youtube channel. 

 

#2 Planning Helps YOU Work Smarter Not Harder

Do you want to get more done in less time? Do more with less effort? Planning is the key to that. I spent hours writing a fantastic chapter only to discover that I had to cut it because it did not fit my book. It was painful. It wasn’t the best use of my time. If had taken time to plan I would have noticed it before I wrote it. Allow yourself to work smarter by working out as many of the details as you can before you start to write.

#3 Planning Allows You To Do Less

Planning doesn’t mean filling your calendar full of tasks. It isn’t just checking things off your to-do list. Effective planning shows you what NOT to do. You can remove or postpone tasks that do not line up with your goals and priorities.

If your primary goal is to have a profitable cruise blog you shouldn’t spend 6 hours researching fashion trends. Unless those are fashion trends are cruise related.

 

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The better you plan, the better your writing habits become

 

#4 Planning Builds Good Writing Habits

There are tons of ways that planning helps build good writing habits. I will highlight a few. Planning your writing week and sticking to it builds writing stamina. You are spending more time writing and in turn improving your writing skills. Planning your nonwriting life effectively will open doors to extra time to write.

As you work your plan, you will discover that you can’t always stick to the plan. That is okay. Learning when and how to be flexible with your plan is essential.

#5 Planning Provides A Map

If the thought of planning stifles your idea of creativity, it helps to think of planning as a map. Would you leave for vacation without a map, plan, or a GPS? I hope not! Take the same approach to your writing. Have a writing plan for when, what, and where you are going to write before you get started is ideal. You will get to your destination quicker and with less energy.
The time you spend preparing will make your writing journey less bumpy and more enjoyable.

There you have it. Five reasons to make a plan today. As you work your plan you will discover that you can’t always stick to it. That is okay. Learning when and how to be flexible with is essential.

Did you miss part of my time management series? You can find the entire series on youtube. Go, check it out and subscribe to my channel so you don’t miss a beat

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Watch more videos in the Time management for writers series.

As always, thanks for watching, reading, following, subscribing and supporting me as a writer as I strive to help you grow in your writing journey.  Don’t hesitate to reach out to me with questions.

Get my designs on cool products!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

My Book Cover Reveal & How The Idea For This Book Was Born

Today is the day. I am revealing my cover for my new book, Writing Prompts Decoded: Creative Prompt Ideas To Create Content For Your Fiction Book. Wow. That title is a mouthful isn’t it? I will tell you a bit about why and how I choose that title later in the post. First, I gotta tell you just a bit about this book and how it came to be.

Way back in October of 2017 I created a month-long writing and art prompt challenge on social media. I had a blast creating the prompts. It was also amazing to witness artists and writers using the prompts, enjoying them, and being creative.

To boil it down, I discovered 2 things. I love creating writing prompts. I love helping other people be creative. I found a problem. Because, when things are going great that is what I do. Find problems.

I was in the middle of editing my fantasy novel, Everside, for the millionth time and also in the planning stages of another fiction book. I wanted prompts that I could use while writing and planning my books. I had so much going on that I felt spending time doing unrelated prompts was not going to help me get my books finished. I felt guilty that I wasn’t making more progress. I went looking for prompts that I could use alongside my books.

However, most prompts that I found were geared toward writing new stories or coming up with new ideas for new stories.

The last thing I needed was to start a new story.

I began tweaking the prompts I found and creating new ones that I could use alongside my story to make my book, writing, and ideas better while still enjoying the fun of using prompts.

Then I had another thought. How cool would it be to have writing prompts that could actually generate content that would go in my book? I began creating and adding prompts like that to my collection.

In November, you know NANOWRIMO, I was supposed to be completing the first draft of my steampunk story that was born from a writing prompt I found online 2 years ago. “s another example of who I love prompts! I wrote about 30000 when I switched gears and started writing my prompt book. So, no. I didn’t win Nanowrimo; I still haven’t finished my steampunk novel. I also don’t recommend switching from one book to another before you finish one but, hey, this is real life. It happens.

I have kept you in suspense long enough. Here is my book cover.

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Do you like it? I certainly hope so. I put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into the book and the cover.

Okay, so there was no blood. If there had been blood, I would have passed out, because I am awesome like that. It was a painful but amazing process. I loved creating the prompts and the cover. I even loved the editing process. Most of the time. Formatting the book and creating a paperback cover was a nightmare.

This is not the first book I have written. I have 7 completed novels that I have written in my life. None of them are published. Most of them won’t be because I lost them.  Everside and my steampunk novel will be published at some point.

Did you know I was 11 when I wrote my first chapter book? It was called, Spirit of the Wind. It was about a girl and wild horse. I was 11. Everything was about books, horses, and chocolate back then.

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On Friday, I will have another video and post for you in my Time Management for writers series. If you missed out Check Out The Videos Here.

I do strive to bring you valuable content. I hope you enjoyed this post, viewing my cover, learning about my books, and getting to know me a bit more. My book will be available for preorders this week and will release on Feb 26th.

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Posted in Book Love Reviews, Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Book Love Review: Tess Of The Road

 

Tess Of The Road left me uncertain about how I would review it and uncertain if I liked it. I had to spend a little time digesting my feelings before diving into the review.

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I will start with a few disclaimers:

  1. I did not read the prior books so the world and characters were new to me.
  2. The book was not what I was expecting.
  3. I received an advanced reader copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
  4. The end of this review contains spoilers. Read at your own risk.

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What I loved about this book:
* Fantasy rich. This book really took me to fantasy place, planted me among dragons and took me under the earth with serpents I didn’t fully understand.
* Excellent sibling elements. I loved the evolving relationship between Tess, her twin, and Serafina. It was emotional, real and heartbreaking to follow at times.
* Emotion packed. There are some very hard painful things that Tess has to come to deal with. If you stick with her to the end your heart will be full of emotion and understanding.
* I enjoyed watching Tess grow and find her way.

*I found her relationship with the creatures interesting.

What I didn’t love about this book:
I won’t say I hated these things but they bothered me enough to mention them. At times, I considered not finishing this book for these reasons and it was why I was torn about how high or low to rate this book.
* Tess is unloveable and annoying at times. I cared enough about her that I stuck it out and I am glad I did.but there were moments of doubt.
* I didn’t fully connect with all of her physical journey and some elements of the fantasy confused me.
* There were a lot of characters introduced in her journey. They ranged from mildly entertaining to boring.
* I REALLY REALLY disliked Tess’s mother, and father and her brothers.

 

Spoiler Alert & Why I Rated this book 4 stars even though I was tempted to stop reading:

 

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Spoiler Alert: Stop here if you don’t want any spoilers! 

 
Next up, I am going to talk about a part of the book that is a spoiler. I will try not to give it all away but this is your chance to stop reading if you don’t like spoilers. I normally do not include them in reviews but for this one, I must. Why? This is something that redeemed the book and is the reason I gave it four stars. It is the main reason I am glad I stuck with the book through the parts that did not work for me.

Tess has experienced an intimate trauma and she hasn’t accepted the trauma for what it was. The book hints at it and shares it in small bites that eventually lead up the revelation of the root of her pain to the reader and to herself. I  confess I cried along with her as she dealt with her past and began moving past it.

This book had an emotional impact on me because of this. Tess dealing with her past connected the story from beginning to end. I felt like all the layers of this story came together perfectly when I finally grasped the root of what happened to Tess.

Who Should Read This Book:

Overall, this book is not for everyone but it is the perfect book for those who have deep wounds or enjoy characters who struggle with deep wounds. Readers who love fantasy worlds, dragons, and characters on a journey. If you enjoyed the prior books by Rachel Hartman you might enjoy this one as well. This is a great read for those who relate to not so perfect families and are willing to stick with Tess on this rather long journey.

 

 

 

Posted in Goals & Goal Setting, Life, Motivation, Productitivity, Quarterly Goals, Self Publishing, Uncategorized, Writing

How to Make New Years Resolutions that you can stick to in 2018

Let’s be honest. We are in the 2nd week of 2018. How many of us have already failed or forgotten about our New Years Resolutions? How many of us are still trying to figure those out?
I know that I have fallen into both roles many times in the past. This year, I am still in the process of planning my resolutions because I want resolutions I can stick to. I want resolutions that are more than something I think about in January.  I am going to walk you through a process of making resolutions you can stick to.
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Words are important.
So, let’s start by defining what a resolution is and what it is not.  A resolution is defined as a firm decision to do or not do something. Doesn’t that make the whole New Years Resolution thing sound easy? All you need to do is make a firm decision to do or not to do something.  The bad news is that a resolution without a plan will probably fail.  Only 8% of people achieve their resolutions and 80% fail by February.
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I witnessed this happen year after year when I worked at a fitness center.  In January the gym was flooded with new members. By March the gym was back to normal, with only a few of the new faces sticking around. Don’t give up yet you can be the new face that sticks around. You can be in that 8%.  Put my Four P’s of Resolutions to work for you.
P= Plan
Resolution to Goal  
The first step to making a realistically achievable resolution is to take your resolution from that firm decision to a goal.  A decision no matter how firm, means nothing if you don’t do something about it.  A goal has a deadline. A goal is a decision with an end date. The top New Year’s resolution that people make is to lose weight. So, let’s practice with that example.
Resolution: I am going to lose weight.
Goal: I am going to lose weight by December 31 of this year.
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P= Plan

Goal to Great Goal:

A great goal is big, achievable, specific and written down.  Simply by writing your goal down, you have a greater chance of achieving it. Making it specific will make it achievable. Once you know
Goal: I am going to lose weight by December 31 of this year.
Great Goal: I am going to lose 50 lbs, and keep it off by December 31st of this year.
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Great Goal to Realistic Plan of Action
If you have gotten this far with your resolution you are ahead of the pack. If you want to increase your chances of achieving your goals you need to take things one step further and create an Action Plan.  One way to do this is to brainstorm all of the ways you can achieve the goal. Once you have all your options on paper you can begin selecting the best options for you and build a plan.
Action Plan for losing 50 lbs by Dec 31
(This is just an example of what I might include if this was my goal, not a suggestion that this is how you can lose weight)
* Track food intake daily
*Break down how many lbs you need to lose each month to achieve your goal
* Get a personal trainer or create a workout and nutrition plan
* Work out X number of days per week
*Replace 1 meal with a healthier option each week
*Find a support group, a workout buddy or accountability partner and set up daily, weekly, & Monthly check in’s.
* Pray Daily for Strength
* Make a list of nonfood rewards
* Add deadlines to all possible action steps and put them on your calendar.
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P= Partner Up

Action Plan to Partner Up

Once you have an action plan there is another important step that many are apt to skip. Find an accountability partner to share your goals with. This works because it is harder to give up when you know someone knows what you are doing and will be checking in with you. You can also join communities and groups of like-minded people online or in person.

Knowing you are not alone in your quest will equip you to succeed and a community can provide a wealth of encouragement and knowledge.  Which brings me to my own personal method of making my resolutions.

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P = Pray

Can you skip this step? When I make my own resolutions and goals I may fail or succeed.  When I am relying only on my wisdom, wants, and strengths it is always harder and more overwhelming to reach my goals. That is where prayer can be a game changer.

Going to God and asking for his wisdom and guidance before making a firm decision to do something or not to do something always gives me peace, clarity, and a focus that I can’t get on my own.

I encourage you to take this step. If you have already set goals for the year it isn’t too late. It is never too late to go to God and ask for his guidance. It might just stop you from wasting valuable time on something you were never supposed to tackle. It might just give you the clarity that you are on the right track. It might reveal another goal altogether. When I invite God along, follow his leading, and rely on him I am set free from relying on myself.

My Story

This happened to me this year. I decided to choose a focus word, theme word, or soul word to base 2018 around. I love words and It sounded like a neat way to keep focus. I dug through a list of suggested words and picked one that I liked.

Then in a later prayer, God gave me a different word. With the word came a promise, clarity and focus that I did not have the word I picked on my own. I will be sharing my F Soul Word for 2018 and why you might need one too in an upcoming post.

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P= Put Your Goals In Front of You

The last P is to put those goals somewhere you will see them every single day. You want as many visual reminders of your goals and dreams as you can make. It is easy to loose focus if your goals are shoved in a notebook in the back of your desk. Here are a few ways you can keep your goals front and center. Tell me how you do this! I would love to know.

  • Create a vision board
  • Create a graphic with words and use it as your screen saver on your phone and computers
  • Pick an object that relates to your goal and keeps it around you. If your goal is to lose weight you might pick out a goal outfit and keep photos of it on your desk, phone, or even in your car.
  • Write your goal on every page of your wall calendar
  • Post it’s on your bathroom mirror, tv, or radio in your car.
  • Write it down every single day.

 

 

Posted in Creativity, Goals & Goal Setting, Life, Motivation, Quarterly Goals, Uncategorized, Writing

New Blog & Vlog Series for January: New Years Resolutions & Goals.

Like it or not, 2018 has arrived and is in full swing. Are you already feeling left behind or overwhelmed? You are going to love my topic for my January Blog and Vlog. We are going to be focusing on Goals, Goalsetting, Planning, and making those New Years Resolutions happen for you.

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This series is designed to get you moving in the right direction. We will start with resolutions, build them into goals with actual dates on your calendar, break them into bite-sized chunks, and explore different ways to keep them front and center in your life. I will be sharing my secret for making my goal setting less stressful.

As a bonus, I will be sharing my Theme Word for 2018 with you and explaining why theme words can keep your goals and resolutions on track.

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Follow me on social media and YouTube as I share encouragement and tips to keep you on track this month. It is a great way to connect with me. Let me know your dreams, stumbling blocks and prayer requests so that I really join you on your journey as you follow mine.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Happy New Year! Let’s chat about the strange green lights in the trees.

 Unexplained Green Lights In Trees?

What a strange title for a blog post. Not what I had planned for my first post of the new year. I intended to start the year off doing what I love, writing something encouraging and sharing it with the world. Instead, I am I’m distracted by the strange phenomenon happening outside my window tonight.  I have to share it with you even though you may think I am nuts.

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This is so freaking strange. It’s okay if you don’t believe me. I  would not have believed it without seeing it with my own eyes. I even second guessed myself after seeing it. I am visiting my mom in Oklahoma. The weather is below freezing and it snowed a bit last night.

I awoke at 5 in the morning to my mom telling me it snowed. I wasn’t impressed because I don’t like cold weather or being out in the snow or early mornings.  I went to back to sleep. Then a few minutes later she woke me again, urging me to get up and look at the strange green lights in the trees outside the window.

I thought she was losing her mind and got up to find a logical source for the lights so that I could either go back to sleep or consume mass amounts of coffee.

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At first, we thought the lights were a reflection of her Christmas lights, someone’s  projection Christmas lights, or a reflection of light coming something in the house. We turned off all indoor and outdoor light. The strange glowing lights were still there. Flashing, floating, and existing where they should not. The lights were only on two trees in the yard. One tree in the front yard and the other in the side yard.

It was dark outside. No streetlights near us. No lights coming from any neighbors house. Absolutely nothing that could be projecting light that high into the tall trees.

The lights seemed to flash neon green, like a glow stick, and move from the tops of the trees to the lower branches and trunk. I did what I always do when I need information. I consulted my best friend, Google. I  found that other’s have seen this in different places around the world and in most cases it is some sort of glowing fungus is know as FoxFire. In other parts of the world, it can come from glowing beetles, worms, or even roaches.As if roaches are not gross enough, can you imagine one that glows? Gross and no, thank-you.

I also discovered that scientists are working toward creating bioluminescent trees that can replace streetlamps, although, they have managed to create a small plant that glows for 45 minutes. Which is both impressive and disappointing.

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My goal in cold weather is to get from point A to point B as fast as possible. It is not to be outside examining trees. Yet, I did. Twice. In the daylight, the only thing I noticed was that some parts of the bark appeared darker than others. I didn’t see any mushrooms or strange bugs. The trees are really tall, so I was only able to look at the trunk. Most of the lights came from higher up so that inspection did little to clear things up.

As soon as it got dark tonight we checked for the lights and they were back again. I went outside and tried to get a photo or video of them.  I wasn’t able to capture them on either.  I moved closer to the tree and could see the lights above me. I tried to touch them (because I am nuts!) but they were all too high.  I saw no signs of night insects. The lights seemed to be moving downward but never touching the ground or moving off of the tree.

So what are they? Fungus? Foxfire? Glowing Beatles? Aliens? Fairies? Energy?  I don’t know but science leans toward fungus is the likely cause. Of course, science has been wrong before.

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No matter what it is, I am amazed, intrigued and after much googling more confused than ever.

I have decided to focus on what I do know.

  • We have an amazing creator who has formed a world of things that are beautiful, unique, and beyond my understanding.
  • The lights are beautiful because no matter what they are they are real.
  • Seeing them reminds me that this world is bigger than me. It is easy to get comfortable with what I think I know and forget to look for the unexpected things.
  • I don’t have to understand everything about something to know it is real and enjoy the splendor of it.
  • I will take this experience and use it in my creative life. There are a plethora of ideas that can come from seeing something that is hard to believe and I can’t wait to unbox them.
  • Sharing unbelievable or misunderstood things is scary, but if you don’t share your risk not connecting with others experiencing something similar.

So there you have it. My New Year’s blog post. It is one heck of a way to start out, being forced to admit you see something you can’t explain. It is overwhelming to find beauty in the unknown and a bit scary to write about it. That brings me back to my New Year’s Resolutions.

My theme word for 2018 is three words and none of them were my first choice. I wanted something pretty and inspiring like Flourish or Bloom.

Not three hard words that will push me beyond my comfort zone.

Regal. Raw. Real. 

That fear of rejection has kept me from being raw and real. Not seeing my true worth as kept me from embracing that I am Regal. But, not anymore.

Have you experienced anything like this? Please, tell me about it.  I know from my best friend, Google, that I am not the only one but I still want to connect with you if you have experienced something unexplained.

Posted in Uncategorized

AuthorTube Christmas Tag 2017

It’s time – For my AuthorTube Christmas tag! This tag created and updated for 2017 by the lovely Jessie Elliot in collaboration with Emily Bourne and Mandi Lynn who tagged me. I will post Links to their videos in the video description box! Go watch!

Watch the Video Here

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For this Tag, I will be using the characters from my upcoming novel, Everside, the first book of my Everspirits Trilogy. So let me tell you just a bit about it.

An accident leaves 17-year-old Davina is a coma, stuck between the world of the living and the Every spirit realm.  Davina is desperate to be healed and return to her life before she loses everything she has worked for. She discovers that she is able to separate her spirit from her body and has the ability to absorb energy from auras. When she recruited by a powerful group of  Everspirits who are convinced that she has the power to save the spirit and human world from dangerous forces she agrees, but only if they agree to heal her human body and allow her to return to her earth-life.

What she doesn’t bargain for is the complications of her past bleeding into her ability to complete the task or the unsettling feeling and friendships she develops with the spirits she is trying to defeat.

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T A G Q U E S T I O N S

What would your main character’s favorite Christmas song be?

Davina pretends not to love Christmas music but she has a soft spot for the songs from her childhood. Her favorite would be Santa Clause Is Coming to Town, because her mom would belt it out every Christmas Eve when tucking Davina and Lark into bed.

Out of all of your characters, who would be the best gift giver?

That would be Davina’s sister Lark, although she can be self-centered at times, she goes all out at Christmas and gives gifts that people love. Davina is more practical and gives gifts she thinks people needs, like gloves, dictionaries, and socks.

What would be your MC’s favorite part of the holidays?

Holidays are hard for Davina. She misses her mom and the life she had before her mom died but her favorite part is recreating the same traditions and feelings that she had as a young child. She loves decorating their sad little tree with the ornaments that are tied to memories from the past.

Your MC and his/her love interest step under a mistletoe, what happens?

Davina would act like it wasn’t a big deal while dying of embarrassment because she really wants Gavin to kiss her but doesn’t want to admit it. Gavin would make a grand show of kissing her.

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What happens? Ho! Ho! Ho! Who’s on the naughty list?

Halle is on the naughty list! Not because she is mean-spirited but she loves to tease people and makes decisions that land her in some sticky situations.

How would your MC decorate their home? Tree? Lights? Giant blow-up Santa?

Other than decorating the tree Davina doesn’t have much time to decorate. Between school, her part times jobs, making sure Lark stays out of trouble and dealing with her Dad, Davina just can’t fit in more than decorating the tree. She would love to have outdoor lights. She is against blow-up decorations and she and Lark have argued other that many times.

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Which character holds a New Year’s party?

Halle and Tao would work together to throw an epic party.

What would be your MC’s resolution?

Davina’s resolution would be to stop expecting her Dad to be someone he is not and letting go of the anger she has towards him.

Does your MC have a Christmas tradition?

Decorating the tree with family ornaments and then drinking hot cocoa with Lark while they argue over what Christmas movie to watch.

Who would be the number one person your MC would want to spend the holidays with?

Her mom if she was still alive.

What is your MC’s perfect holiday destination?

Davina would love to be able to go back in time and relive the last Christmas she had with her mom.

Which character is ruining the holiday photos with funny faces?

Gavin and Tao would be in on this together.

That’s it for the tag! I hope you enjoyed getting know Davina. I am tagging Holly Davis, Dianna Gunn, Ashley Mcleo and you to do this tag. Don’t forget to tag me in your video so I can watch.