Book News

My First Recorded Novel Attempt

When I first decided to become a novelist, around the age of nine, I made various attempts that failed to reach novel-length. (I defined that as “100 pages” then.) Most of these stories were lost a long time ago, but in October 2013, I shared the first novel attempt that I actually have a record of on my original blog. I’m sharing that again here today! This story is called The SuperSonics. It was inspired by my then-obsession with the Weather Channel and stars me and my best friends at the time. Last names and location have been removed, but otherwise, this is a genuine, unedited piece of childhood writing.

THE SUPERSONICS

CHAPTER 1: THE EXPLAINING

“Why do I feel this way?” asked Kira.

“I feel it, too,” chimed in Amy and LaPriel.

​Kira is a 12-year-old girl with long, gold, wavy hair and blue eyes. She loves to write. She has a beautiful kitten called Angel who calms her down. 

Her best friends are Amy and LaPriel. They both have brown hair and brown eyes. LaPriel is thin and shy, and Amy is average and totally not shy.

Kira, the main character, has 2 little brothers, one 9 and one 6.

I should go back to the beginning. 

CHAPTER 2: 1ST DAY OF NOVEMBER

“Hey guys!” called Kira as she approached the swing set. 

“Hey!” answered Amy. Kira hopped on the swing next to Amy.

“First day of November. Cold and no more daylight,” she said happily.

“Yeah,” sighed LaPriel.

“Don’t you love to swing?” asked a happy Amy.

“Yeah,” said Kira dreamily. “It’s like flying.”

10 minutes later, the bell rang. Kira went inside, mumbling, “Math, oh great.”

At recess they noticed dark clouds in the distance. I mean, really dark clouds. Black. Pitch black with a touch of green.

“That’s weird,” said Kira.

“Yeah…,” Amy said distractedly.

“Yep, wow, weird,” said LaPriel with a pale face.

“Hmm,” said a confused Kira. “Weird. Let’s wait until tomorrow to see what happens.”

CHAPTER 3: THE FEELINGS

That morning, Kira watched the news.

“Nothing!” she exclaimed to herself. “How could that be? The clouds are now covering the mountains!”

Her mother, however, sent her to school.

At school, she and all her friends were silent through the math class they all took. At recess, they began to speak.

“Why do I feel this way?” asked Kira.

“I feel it, too,” chimed in Amy and LaPriel. It was a cold weird feeling. The ground seemed to quiver. They had a big headache, and felt dizzy, too, but no one else had this feeling. 

“Why? Why are we they only ones to be submitted to this torture?” asked a very angry Kira. “Why?”

“We don’t know. We don’t like it, either,” said Amy. LaPriel nodded. Then the bell rang for lunch. 

 “Oh, great. What’s for lunch?” said Amy with a groan.

“Today is Beef Stew. The boys are going to go crazy,” said a harassed LaPriel. 

Sure enough, they began yelling, “Poop soup! Poop soup!”

“Ugh,” said Kira, distracted for a minute. Then the eerie feeling came over her again. 

She quickly got her “poop soup” lunch and sat down.

“What should we do?” said Amy as she and LaPriel sat down with their lunch. “About the feeling and the poop soup, heh hah.”

“I’m going to call Lisa,” said Kira. Lisa was Kira’s cousin, a science master who could explain everything.

“I hope she knows,” said LaPriel.

​“She will,” answered Kira.

CHAPTER 4: DISCOVERY

“What!” screeched Kira into the phone. “No, no, no. What? Oh. Really? Really! Well, I guess.” She hung up. “Lisa says that we are SuperSonics!”

“Huh?”

“People who can tell if something bad is gonna happen.”

“Oh man. That means something bad! If only we knew what!”

That night, Kira had a vivid dream. Snow covered the town and it froze everyone in her dream. Soon, her hometown was no more.

Kira ran to school. When she reached Amy and LaPriel, she said, “I know what the eerie feeling means!” She heard two other voices say the same thing.

“How come you know?” they said together. They all began to giggle.

“I guess we all had the same dream!” Then Kira looked serious. “We have to tell people before it happens.”  

The next day was Saturday. Kira called Amy and LaPriel and asked them to come over.

“Today, we walk around and tell people.”

For an hour, they walked around. When they stopped, the whole town knew, saw the dark clouds were dangerous.

The news ran it. After 1 more hour, it began to snow.

“Everyone must evacuate,” said the news guy. Soon the whole town was on the move.

“Get everything important you can,” said Kira earnestly into the camera.

“Soon nothing will be here!” exclaimed Amy.

“Hurry!” yelled LaPriel.

“And don’t leave any pets behind. Anyone or anything that stays will freeze to death,” added Kira.

“Hurry!” they said altogether.

Kira ran home and began to pack. Two outfits, one dress outfit, PJs, Angel and her cat toys, blankies, Kirsten + Britta dolls, diaries, books. She packed hurriedly. 

Soon they were all leaving.

“Gone. Good-bye. Gone. Good-bye,” mumbled Kira.

CHAPTER 5: RECOVERY

Slowly they drove away from the town that was steadily becoming snow covered.

Two hours later, in the next city, Kira’s grandma rejoiced.

“I’m so glad you’re here! So, so, so glad! What a wonderful thing! My grandkid saving lives! SuperSonic! Wow!” she cried happily. Kira smiled at her own face on the news.

Hours and hours passed, Kira reading and thinking.

She babbled happily as soon as Amy and LaPriel came over.

“Gosh. This is weird. We will always be important to our community now. Always,” she said.

The weatherman monitored the weather. A day passed. Then the snow stopped. Everyone drove home.

Two hours again, then home. 9 feet of crunchy thick snow. It was about –15 degrees. Slowly, Kira swiveled her head to see the plain of deep snow.

“We will recover,” she said confidently.

A week later, the snow mountain was an ocean. Everyone either stayed inside a high room, or swam around everywhere in their swimming suits. It was kind of funny, but scary to the people who couldn’t swim.

A month later, all that was left of the ocean was a river in the canyon and puddles in the street. Windows in houses were broken, shingles were gone, and anything in lower floors were gone.

“We will recover,” said Kira, and she was right. People all over were fixing windows and roofs and replacing semi-important things that were gone.

“Soon the town will be back to normal,” she said happily, walking into the sunlight.


Awwwww. It’s so sweet.  😊

I had a whole series of disasters planned for this story, but it kind of died off when I realized I couldn’t make it to 100 pages. I wouldn’t achieve that until sixth grade. But you gotta start somewhere!

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Book News · Personal Life

Discovering My Orientations

Hello! Last year for Pride Month, I posted about how, after years of research and thought, I’d figured out that I’m not just straight-up straight: I’m actually demiheterosexual and biromantic. For Pride Month this year, I’m sharing that post again here on this new blog!

If you’re unfamiliar with the terminology used for different kinds of attraction, that might sound like a confusing collection of random syllables. Human attraction is ​complicated, like most things related to humanity. The fact that we have the language now to better explore and understand it is amazing! So thank you for taking the time to learn.

Demiheterosexual and biromantic flag

My journey in discovering my attraction orientations began early on in writing #OCDStory. I knew that I wanted one of the side characters to be asexual because it’s important that stories appropriately represent people with different orientations. Not only is it unrealistic to exclude them, it’s also hurtful and can leave them feeling unmoored and rejected. I chose asexuality in particular because it was the marginalized orientation that I’d always found myself most interested in.

Asexuality is a sexual orientation where a person does not feel sexual attraction to people of any gender. Asexual people do not have a medical or psychological problem, and they are not just choosing to be celibate. In fact, some of them aren’t celibate. Asexual people can still respond to sexual contact. They just don’t feel any of that attraction or desire the way allosexual people do when they see or are near an attractive person of their gender(s) of interest. Some asexual people are sex-repulsed, meaning even the idea of engaging in sex is repulsive to them; some are sex-favorable, meaning that they’re interested in engaging in sex despite not specifically being attracted to anyone; and some are sex-neutral.

One thing many allosexual people don’t realize is that sexual attraction and romantic attraction are two different things. Most people’s romantic orientation aligns with their sexual orientation, but that’s not always the case. The asexual community is where this divergence is most obvious. The split attraction model is a common topic of discussion among asexual people, many of whom do have romantic attraction. However, while sexual attraction is a concept that is fairly easy to describe and understand, romantic attraction can be a lot more confusing.

THE SPLIT ATTRACTION MODEL

When I wrote the first draft of #OCDStory in late 2014, I didn’t understand what made romance different from friendship other than sexual attraction. Because of that, I left my asexual character’s romantic orientation undetermined. I revisited the idea a few times in editing, but I could never make enough sense of my own romantic orientation to feel comfortable writing about hers. I’ve always been a very romantic person; while sex is something I’ve struggled to be comfortable with, I adore the concept of romance and all its intimate, affectionate commitment. But I still couldn’t explain romantic attraction.

In April 2019, I realized that I needed to focus in, do some research, and make the necessary edits. Leaving Phoebe’s romantic orientation unexplored wasn’t right. So I embarked on an adventure through the asexual community online. For a while, it only left me more frustrated. Most people who knew their romantic orientations couldn’t describe the experience clearly. Some listed specific non-sexual things they wanted to do only with romantic partners, but that didn’t fit my experience. Some said romance was just “different” from friendship in a way they couldn’t explain, that it was “something extra.” I discovered that a whole segment of people call themselves things like quoiromantic or wtfromantic because they have no idea what romantic attraction even is.

Then, out of the blue, something clicked. I remembered a roommate, my best college friend, from late 2015. She and I had connected right away and became devoted to each other within days of meeting. She’s a wonderful person in so many ways, and she’d done so much for me. For example, her influence had helped me become more comfortable with sexuality and bodies in general. Multiple people had commented on our unusual closeness, including my mom, and for a while after that semester, I had questioned whether I might actually be bisexual. But I had never felt actual sexual attraction to her, the way I sometimes had with guys, and I hadn’t wanted to do anything with her that I didn’t want to do with my other friends. (I did often think that I would totally marry her if she were a dude, though.) She’d since come out as pansexual, but I’d had no explanation for what I had felt.

Now, four years later, I understood. I hadn’t been sexually attracted to this girl, but I had been romantically attracted to her. Like people said online, it was “different” and “extra.” My feelings for her had been brighter and more obsessive in a positive way. It was friendship, but also not. Thus, I now knew despite being heterosexual I was also biromantic. Like most bi people, I had a “preference,” leaning more towards men, but here was one example of romantic attraction towards a woman too. With that knowledge in hand, it felt right for Phoebe to mirror my own journey to discovering my romantic orientation.

I was quite comfortable with that label for myself. There were a few questions still lingering, but I didn’t pay much mind to them until May 2020. One night, I was lying in bed like usual, letting my thoughts whirl their way around my head however they pleased until they slowed into sleep. For whatever reason, I started thinking about asexuality. I thought about how I’d always been drawn to it as a concept, and most particularly, demisexuality. Demisexuality is a sexual orientation that lies in between allosexuality and asexuality, where a person only feels sexual attraction to people with whom they are emotionally close. A person can be demiheterosexual, demihomosexual, demibisexual, etc.

I thought about how multiple online quizzes I’d taken had put me somewhere in the asexual spectrum. I thought about how my counselor sometimes questioned why sexual attraction was an afterthought when I talked about my crushes. I thought about the time in AP Literature when the teacher asked us all to share one thing we found physically attractive and everyone thought I was so “pure” because I couldn’t answer.

I had been operating on a few assumptions: I’d assumed that my interest in the asexual spectrum was because of my OCD-fueled fear of sex. I’d assumed that my OCD-fueled fear of sex had also caused me to become very good at suppressing my own sexual feelings, which was why it was so easy for me to brush them off. I’d assumed that demisexuality always worked like a light switch, where you hit a certain point of closeness and suddenly it’s on. But that night in May, with my OCD now well-managed, I found myself questioning those assumptions.

What if those sexualities spoke to me for a reason? What if my fear of sex was, in fact, partly caused by me being less interested in sex than others, not the other way around? What if demisexuality sometimes worked more like a dimmer, where sexual attraction slowly ramped up the more one got to know an attractive person?

Suddenly, things started clicking in my head again, leaving me wide awake. I thought first of the only guy I’ve ever been sexually attracted to strongly enough that I couldn’t push the feelings away. He was also the closest guy friend I’ve ever had. I hadn’t been interested in him that way at first. The attraction had grown slowly over time until, eight years after I’d first met him, I understood for the first time why people in stories felt the urge to throw themselves at each other. The strength of it startled me because I’d never felt anything like it before.

Next, I thought of the guy I’d always used as an example when I told myself I couldn’t be demisexual. I wasn’t that close to him, and yet I had felt sexual attraction towards him. Thinking about that now, though, I realized that the sexual attraction I’d felt had been easy to push away and had only existed after I’d gone to school with him for seven years. There were a number of other examples that fit that pattern.

I realized all at once then that I was demisexual. A bunch of other things started making sense: I understood now why I’d always been confused by one-night stands, celebrity crushes and “freebie lists,” by people who got married after knowing each other for less than a year, and by religious people who struggled with sexual “temptation.” I understood why I’d felt so uncomfortable when I’d tried using dating websites and apps. I understood why I sometimes had a hard time deciding whether there was relationship potential with certain guys. Suddenly, so many things made sense!

“DEMIGoddess” Eugenex

Today, I’m pleased to be able to say that I’m demiheterosexual and biromantic. It’s possible that future experiences will cause a shift in that label, but it’s the right fit for my life so far. Some people might not understand the power in having that knowledge because, in practice, I basically look straight. But knowing the subtleties helps me to better understand myself and others. It’ll certainly help me to better navigate future romantic relationships! I’m also thrilled whenever I find the words to better communicate and understand different concepts. That’s why I’m glad complex labels like these exist. Knowledge is power, and I hope this story helps you to understand different kinds of attraction better, too.

Thanks for reading, and happy Pride!

Images via my own files, OurAceSpace on Wattpad, Hafuboti on Wikipedia, and Eugenex on TeePublic.

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Book News · Personal Life

A Journey Through My Life

This week, for my very first repost of content from my original blog, I’m sharing an updated and revised biography! You know, in case I’m famous one day and people want an official life story to refer to. This post combines two previous posts, one from August 2012 and one from September 2019.

(This post contains discussion of suicidal thoughts.)

I was born in 1994 in Albuquerque, the largest city in the state of New Mexico. I was an adorable little thing, talkative, feminine, and precocious, though also sensitive, perfectionistic, and physically inept. When I started walking, I did it entirely on my toes. I also was obsessed with the Disney movie The Little Mermaid, which revealed both my musical skills and my romantic nature.

My first brother was born when I was three, and I started my education at a nice but useless preschool. Later, I moved to a public school kindergarten, where I learned to read. I devoured knowledge, so I’d always loved being read to, but I was pretty average at first with phonics. Then, all at once, while I was looking over Clifford’s ABCs, something clicked. I now could read most words with very little effort, a shift that shocked my teacher with its suddenness.

Baby me
Me in Spring 1995

In first grade, my mom decided to move me to an experimental school where we were homeschooled half the day and taught in a flexible, mixed-grade classroom the other half. It was fantastic. That schooling setup allowed me more freedom to learn at my own pace and level. It was here too that I first got into creative writing. At the end of the year, we each had to do a big project, and my mom and I chose writing. I was invited afterwards to read one of my stories to my brother’s preschool class. Sitting there, with all those little faces gazing up at me, I knew deep in my soul that this was how I could make the most difference in the world.

The next few years had good and bad moments. When I was seven, my second brother was born, and when I was eight, my mom gave me The Talk, which began my struggle with mental illness (so far as I remember). I’ll talk about that more in a future post. During the last couple months of third grade, my family moved to the smaller NM town where I’ve lived since. It was a good place for me growing up–but the stress of the move was too much for my easily overwhelmed mind.

After a summertime incident at Girl Scout camp, I experienced about four months of melissophobia–an extreme fear of bees–which really shook me. The adults around me, including a school counselor, didn’t know how to deal with it; I only figured out what it was later through research. That pivotal moment led to me developing a few new physical issues along with a more deeply broken sense of self. As a result, I became fascinated by human-related subjects like psychology, and I started trying to write a full-length novel. I hoped it would allow me to help and inspire others and to make sense of myself and my experiences. (I also very much wanted to see my name on a library shelf.) Around this time, I began playing cello, too.

Writing a novel, especially when you’re that young, is not easy. I attempted it many times before I achieved a story of 100 pages, which my eleven-year-old self then considered to be a full-length novel. I was so thrilled to finally have a book written! Soon after, I finished my second novel, herein called #IceEnchantressStory, and in my Gifted and Talented class, I got to work with a publicist from a minor publisher. From her, I learned about query letters. This led to, that summer, me querying publishers and literary agents for the first time, even though I couldn’t really do it correctly. I submitted an early draft manuscript from my mom’s email with the help of our library’s latest copy of Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market. Of the 12 rejections I received for that novel, I was most upset by Scholastic’s reply, where they said that they didn’t publish children because they might be embarrassed about their writing when they were older. (RUDE.)

Then the culture shock of middle school hit my sheltered seventh grade self hard. As I continued to struggle with a persistent feeling that something was very wrong with me, I put a lot of effort into teaching myself to be more “normal.” I was also gradually realizing that a trusted adult had been and still was abusing me and other people I loved, which made me all the more desperate to have my words be heard. But I wouldn’t be who I am without all that–especially my very intense first love.

That love defined my existence for the next four-and-a-half years, even though it never led anywhere in reality. It was very hard on my mental health, but gave birth to my most prolific period of writing. My mother also gave me permission around this time to join Scholastic’s heavily moderated Write It message boards, where I learned a lot more about publishing and met my best writing friends! As I wrote more books, I started transitioning from writing MG fantasy to writing YA speculative fiction.

Seventh grade me
Me in Fall 2006

Eighth grade, unfortunately, was probably the worst year of my life. Very quickly, I spiraled into a nightmarish reality of self-hate and suicidal thoughts, which I then slowly recovered from. In the midst of that, I wrote #PsychicStory, which became my next big novel project. I started submitting to literary agents again. This time, I was able to convince my mom to give me my own email address (dolphinwriter@aol.com, good professional stuff 🐬) and more access to literary agency websites with updated submission guidelines. Ultimately, #PsychicStory got the best reception of all the books I’ve queried thus far, though it brought me 46 rejections too.

At the beginning of high school, I wrote the first three novels of the #ChosenFourStory series, another notable project that helped define me as a writer and for which I received all sorts of support from friends and acquaintances. During tenth grade, I emailed back and forth with the agent who had offered a conditional acceptance of #PsychicStory following an R&R. I learned quite a bit from her about how to edit, but then, she stopped responding to my emails. I didn’t learn until years later that her agency had shut down.

Another highlight of that year was that I started having chronic pain in my hips after the 2009 H1N1 epidemic, during which I caught influenza, bronchitis, and strep throat all in a row. Then, when eleventh grade hit, my post-viral symptoms exploded into full-on fibromyalgia. I had to adjust my whole life to an incurable chronic pain and fatigue syndrome. It was a difficult experience that I’ll share more about in a future blog post. I was also trying to overcome, on my own, my severe self-confidence issues, with limited success. Against my will, I fell for my closest guy friend in my typical unrequited way, which added some heartache to the mix.

On the upside, my mom let me join Facebook, and one of the girls from the Write It boards managed to track the rest of us down there! For the first time, I could freely communicate with my writing friends. They cheered me on as I began submitting #ChosenFourStory to literary agents. Ultimately, I received 26 rejections for that one. I also wrote #ProphecyStory, my fourth significant project. Finally, I graduated from high school with honors in May 2012.

I first attended college at Adams State University in Colorado, double-majoring in music and English. The adjustment to my freshman year was difficult, but for a while, life seemed idyllic. I got my first real job as a copy editor for the school paper, which I loved. I started querying #ProphecyStory, for which I eventually received 25 rejections, and I put out a couple of test queries for another project. However, in mid-winter, various stressors brought up my unresolved past traumas. A friend then convinced me to start counseling with a good but inexperienced student counselor.

College-age me (with black-and-white kitten)
Me in Summer 2012

In the midst of that, I decided to transfer to Brigham Young University – Idaho. Additionally, I chose to drop my music major and focus solely on English. As soon as I started at BYU – Idaho, I sought counseling again through school services. I was there diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, primarily in the form of moral scrupulosity, which explained quite a lot about my life. I switched to a stronger antidepressant and worked on my mental health with a counselor there. I also found an effective counselor at home, finally, who continued that work. The better my mental health became, the more I realized how much I had been suffering.

Around this time, I became a founding member of the Chapter One Events team, initially created by my Write It friends, which now runs two writing conferences for young writers. I also wrote #OCDStory, the next big project that I am still editing. However, I found myself struggling with my fibromyalgia symptoms, which seemed to be worsening in leaps and bounds. I had to quit orchestra mid-semester because of how sick I was, and I haven’t been able to play cello since. In July 2016, I finished my Wuthering Heights-focused thesis of 31 pages, and I finally graduated with my B.A. in English.

I returned home to pursue an online Master’s in Information and Library Science program through San Jose State University. It only took a couple of months, however, for my body to give out on me. After ignoring the warning signs for years, I ended up so sick and exhausted, I could only leave my house for doctor’s appointments. I developed upper body tremors, and I needed a cane to walk. The pelvic pain I had been experiencing also became excruciating, which led to a diagnosis of interstitial cystitis in October 2016.

Though treatment for that began immediately, the level of pain I was in was so bad that I still experience traumatic mental symptoms today. Late 2016 to early 2017 was the second time I was suicidal, thanks to that extreme level of pain; my fear that my growth as a person had stalled out, making my life meaningless; and internalized ableism that caused me to see myself as a burden on my family with no worth. Thanks to a variety of supports, however, I was able to keep going. In July 2017, my brother and I went to Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, where I was diagnosed with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) and chronic fatigue syndrome. With the advice I was given there, I started taking my life back. Knowing that I had POTS was especially helpful in my recovery, as was changing antidepressants again and continuing my treatment for my interstitial cystitis. I’ll discuss my experience with these three additional chronic illnesses in another future post.

As my recovery continued, I was able to get back to editing #OCDStory. However, it was clear to me now that I would probably never be able to work as a librarian. So I quit my MLIS degree, and, in January 2019, I opened my online freelance editing business, Kira B. Edits. I began writing a new book, #SnowQueenStory, a process that continues today. I was pretty disappointed to realize how slow I had become as a writer. With that blow, however, came an important epiphany that I think will be the making of my career. I’ll detail that more in another post.

Me in 2019 in a car with a Scarlet Witch shirt
Me in Spring 2019

I then trunked the only other manuscript that I still was holding onto, leaving myself a fresh start with #OCDStory and #SnowQueenStory, the two books that I’ve written in and after my lifechanging chronic illness crisis. That’s where we are in my life right now! In total so far, I have completed nineteen manuscripts, I’ve trunked eighteen of them, I’ve received 111 rejections in my search for publication, I’ve had requests for more material from four literary agents, and I’ve been through one R&R.

I look forward to updating this biography some time in the future. Thank you for experiencing some of it here right now! 😊

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