Critique Partner Meet Up!

Because my forum has some tech issues (that I am not savvy enough to fix), and because people still use it to connect with CPs… Well, I thought I’d start a post here instead, where you all can connect in the comments!

Just share the following info in your comment, read over what others have shared, and CONNECT!

Name:

Genre you like to write/read in:

Project and a short summary:

What you are looking for in a CP/beta reader:

And if you want more information on critique partners and beta readers, here are some posts I’ve written in the past.


Flash Auction #5: The White Helmets in Syria

syrian_civil_defense_logoHey, guys. I’m sure you’ve seen that Aleppo is in trouble. Civilians are dying, and they need our help.

So I’m doing a FLASH AUCTION and winners will be picked in 24 hours at 11:59:59 AM EST tomorrow (Dec. 14).

Whatever you donate, I’ll match for the White Helmets.

What You Can Win

  1. A signed paperback of Truthwitch.
  2. A 10-page critique!
  3. A query letter critique!
  4. A 30 minute Skype chat to discuss the critique, publishing, whatever!

Who You’d Be Helping

The White Helmets, also known as the Syria Civil Defense, is a volunteer civil defense non-governmental organization that operates in rebel-controlled Syria. Their mission is “to save the greatest number of lives in the shortest possible time and to minimize further injury to people and damage to property.” The bulk of their activity in Syria consists of urban search and rescue, medical evacuation, evacuation of civilians, and essential service delivery. Since the intervention of Russia in Syria, much of the work of the White Helments has been responding to attacks by Russian Air Force attack aircraft, and right now, things are really bad. The White Helmets need our help so they can keep evacuating, rescuing, and aiding civilians trapped in Aleppo.

How to Participate

  1. Leave a comment below with your bid amount.
  2. You can leave as many bids as you want!
  3. The final bid must come in on or before 11:59:59 AM EST on December 14, 2016. I’ll keep track of time-stamps just to be safe.
  4. The highest bid will win, and I’ll contact the winner!
  5. Note: this is international! No boundaries here for prizes or good deeds!

Thanks, everyone — for reading. For spreading the word. For reading my blog post. And here’s to helping Aleppo!

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Charity Auction #4: Islamic Relief USA

islamic-relief-usa-1Thanks to the trials of Windwitch, it’s been a while since I had the time to offer up my critiquing time in the name of charity. But here we are again!

This month, I want to raise money for the children displaced by ISIS. Why? Because despite my own country falling to pieces, there is still a massive war going on in the Middle East.

I was recently listening to the BBC World Service, and they were discussing Syria’s “Lost Generation” — an estimated four million Syrian children, who have no means of getting to school because of terrorism.

And it’s not just Syrians, of course, who are affected. Which is why we have to help in any way we can — and it’s why I have chosen Islamic Relief USA for this month’s charity auction.

What You Can Win

  1. A signed paperback of Truthwitch.
  2. A signed advanced copy of Windwitch.
  3. A 25-page critique!
  4. A 30 minute Skype chat to discuss the critique, publishing, whatever!

Who You’d Be Helping

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Two Syrian boys smile in the rain after leaving their school in the refugee camp of Erbil, Iraq. ⠀ Photo by Ridwan Adhami

Islamic Relief USA is a 4-star charity that provides relief and development in a dignified manner regardless of gender, race, or religion, and works to empower individuals in their communities and give them a voice in the world. For nearly two decades, Islamic Relief USA has been working to improve the lives of children around the world. Areas of focus include:

  • emergency relief
  • orphan support
  • health and nutrition
  • water
  • sanitation

Learn more about Islamic Relief USA on their website, and remember: you CAN make a difference. Even if you can’t participate in this auction, simply spreading the world can effect change.

How to Participate

  1. Leave a comment below with your bid amount.
  2. You can leave as many bids as you want!
  3. The final bid must come in on or before 11:59:59 AM EST on December 5, 2016. I’ll keep track of time-stamps just to be safe.
  4. The highest bid will win, and I’ll contact the winner!
  5. Note: this is international! No boundaries here for prizes or good deeds!

Thanks, everyone — for reading. For spreading the word. For reading my blog post. And here’s to making the world a better place, one donation at a time!

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Charity Auction #3: Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre

It’s that time again! Time for a charity auction! I’m a bit late (erm, a whole month!) thanks to touring, but hey! Better late than never.

HESCThis month, I want to raise money for the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre. Why? Because conservation is one of the most important causes to my heart. It’s probably the greatest passion of my life and what drove me to work in fisheries during my time with marine ecology. It’s why I keep the Seafood Watch List on my phone and nag my friends about choosing responsible fisheries. It’s why I dream of one day uniting career as writer with my love for ecology and the environment.

So in other words: this won’t be the last time you see a conservation charity pop up on my auctions. 😉

Now then, let’s do this! You all know the drill by now: whoever bids the most will win, and I’ll match the donation from my own pocket!

What You Can Win

  1. A signed copy of ANY of my books. (Truthwitch, Something Strange & Deadly, A Darkness Strange & Lovely, or Strange & Ever After)
  2. A 25-page critique!
  3. A 30 minute Skype chat to discuss the critique, publishing, whatever!

Who You’d Be Helping

Matimba, saved at one month old after his mother was brutally killed by poachers.

Matimba, saved at one month old after his mother was brutally killed by poachers.

I first fell in love with the HESC after I discovered their instagram. They share the most incredible, heartwarming (and sometimes heartbreaking) images of the various wild animals they save.

The rhinos are my favorite. Oh, and I love the cheetahs. And okay, and the caracals are kind of amazing. FINE. I love all the endangered critters, and I want to support this incredible center that helps heal and protect them.

The goals of the HESC include:

  • The breeding of endangered, vulnerable or rare animal species
  • The release and establishment of captive-bred cheetahs to the wild
  • The treatment and rehabilitation of orphaned or injured animals which are brought to the Centre
  • The education of learners, students and the general public in conservation and conservation activities
  • Eco-tourism
  • A hands-on Student’s Program to conservation and adventure enthusiasts from around the world.

Learn more about HESC on their website, and remember: nature is our most valuable resource. Once it goes, humanity goes too.

Gertjie, orphaned at 3 months old and the first rhino at HESC.

Gertjie, orphaned at 3 months old and the first rhino at HESC.

How to Participate

  1. Leave a comment below with your bid amount.
  2. You can leave as many bids as you want!
  3. The final bid must come in on or before 11:59:59 AM EST on April 18. I’ll keep track of time-stamps just to be safe.
  4. The highest bid will win, and I’ll contact the winner!
  5. Note: this is international! No boundaries here for prizes or good deeds!

Thanks, everyone — for reading. For spreading the word. For reading my blog post. And here’s to making the world a better place, one donation at a time!

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#TenDaysOfTruthwitch

The first novel of the Witchland series is ALMOST HERE! Join me to celebrate the launch of Truthwitch! Starting tomorrow, I’ll be discussing stuff like best friends, new years resolutions, and of course, fantasy books, tv and movies! And all in the spirit of Truthwitch, of course!

There’ll be free prizes! And fun parties! And did I mention the free prizes?? 😏

The basic plan is to celebrate #TenDaysOfTruthwitch, starting on the US release date (January 5th) and ending on the UK release date (January 14th). Starting on January 9, I’ll be challenging YOU ALL to join in! And each day, I’ll pick a random participant to win a signed copy of Truthwitch as well 2 other YA novels!

Check out the graphic to the right or the full schedule below!

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#TenDaysOfTrutwitch

 
Prizes: Beginning January 9th with the Reader Challenges, I’ll be giving away a copy of Truthwitch + two more novels EACH DAY!

Rules: For the Reader Challenges, entries must be posted by 9pm ET on each date below. Winners will be chosen every night at 10:30 pm ET. International entries are accepted!!!

Schedule:

TenDaysOfTruthwitch21/5: Truthwitch publishes in the US!!! #TruthwitchParty + a quick celebratory Twitter chat at 9PM ET! Make sure to use the hashtag #TruthwitchParty to join in! And there might be some prizes given away DURING the chat!

1/6: A live google hangout chat with moi & Alex Bracken at 8PM ET! Use the hashtag #PassTruthParty to ask Alex and me questions. We’ll each pick 10 to answer during the chat, and then we’ll take 5 more during the chat!

1/7: Reddit AMA on r/Fantasy! Drop by the forum any time during the day to ask whatever question your heart desires!

1/8: Misfits & Daydreamers giveaway + behind-the-scenes cover story! Learn how the cover for Truthwitch was crafted in my newsletter, and also enter an EPIC giveaway!

1/9: Reader Challenge #1: #ResolutionsFor2016! Show your bravery and share a truth! What do YOU want to accomplish in 2016? When posting, use both hashtags #Resolutionsfor2016 and #Truthwitch!

1/10: Reader Challenge #2: #BestFriends! Best friends 4eva! Friendship is at the heart of any adventure. Celebrate friendship by posting a pic of you and your Threadsister/brother using both hashtags #BestFriend and #Truthwitch!

1/11: Reader Challenge #3: #InTheWild! Getting that post-holiday shopping in? While you’re out, snap pics of Truthwitch by Susan Dennard in the wild and share online! Use both hashtags #InTheWild and #Truthwitch!

1/12: Reader Challenge #4: #Shelfie! Winter is…finally here. Post pics of your your fantasy book shelf, and you get a double entry if Truthwitch is on there! Use both hashtags #Shelfie and #Truthwitch!

1/13: Reader Challenge #5: #Recipes! Party treats time! Share a recipe for a fun snack inspired by your favorite novel, show or movie. You get a double-entry if it’s inspired by Truthwitch! Make sure to use the hashtags #Recipes and #Truthwitch!

1/14: Truthwitch publishes in the UK!!! Party time again, this time with #ClanChat!  Join me and the #Witchlanders on twitter at 10:00 AM ET to celebrate the UK launch of Truthwitch! Clans, fans, and fellow authors will get together to talk about their favorite fantasy novels, shows and movies. Make sure to use the hashtag #ClanChat to participate!

♦♦♦

So there you have it, my dear readers! #TenDaysOfTruthwitch. It starts tomorrow! Finally. I am so sick of talking about this book, and I am SURE you’re sick of hearing me talk about it. 😉

I hope to see you in the Twitter-verse, and if not there, then perhaps on the #PassTruthTour!


Charity Auction #2: Good Work Foundation

GWF-1024x1918It’s that time again! Time for a charity auction to help raise money for different causes close to my heart.

This month, I want to raise money for the Good Work Foundation. GWF’s dream is to provide digital learning centers and access to world class education and opportunity to the rural people who have chosen wildlife as their economy.

So let’s do this! Whoever bids the most will win, and I’ll match the donation from my own pocket!

What You Can Win

  1. A signed Truthwitch advanced reader copy (American version or UK version!). Admittedly the book will be in stores by the time the auction ends, but it’s still a collector’s item. 😉
  2. A 25-page critique!
  3. A 15 minute Skype chat to discuss the critique, publishing, whatever!

Who You’d Be Helping

I first heard about GWF while reading Boyd Varty’s incredible Cathedral of the Wild. Kate Groch (who founded GWF) was Varty’s tutor, and after reading Varty’s book, I felt like Groch was as much my friend as his. And more importantly, I found I’d become a true believer in the cause she’s working toward.

Learn more about GWF and their sustainable, powerful goals in this video:

Remember what you have; remember what they lack; and let’s try to fill that gap!

How to Participate

  1. Leave a comment below with your bid amount.
  2. You can leave as many bids as you want!
  3. The final bid must come in on or before 11:59:59 AM EST on January 21. I’ll keep track of time-stamps just to be safe. (There was some confusion last time, and I take full blame on that!)
  4. The highest bid will win, and I’ll contact the winner!
  5. Note: this is international! No boundaries here for prizes or good deeds!

 

Tweet This!

 

Thanks, everyone — for reading. For spreading the word. For  reading my blog post. And here’s to a charitable new year!

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Charity Auction: Win a Critique + Truthwitch ARC

Unicef

 

Hey guys, in an attempt to do my part for the world, I wanted to start an initiative to raise money for different causes close to my heart. The idea is that every 2 months, I will pick a different charity or NGO and then auction off some items — critiques, advanced copies, signed stuff, etc.

Whoever bids the most will win! That money will then go to the charity/NGO, and I’ll match the donation from my own pocket.

Seeing as I don’t know how much people will even want critiques or signed stuff from me (and therefore I don’t even know how much I can help the world), I thought I’d sample the waters before throwing myself in completely.

So let’s do this! Charity Auction #1!

 

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What You Can Win

  1. A signed Truthwitch advanced reader copy (American version or UK version!)
  2. A 25-page critique!
  3. A 15 minute Skype chat to discuss the critique, publishing, whatever!

Who You’d Be Helping

UnicefWe have a serious refugee problem around the world, guys. People are risking everything they have — their lives, their well-being, their homes — in order to get themselves and their families to safer nations. From Central Americans fleeing the drug cartels to Syrians fleeing unrelenting violence, there are so many people losing their lives in the search of a better one.

And so, so, SO many children are lost as well. Separated from their parents. Kidnapped. Killed.

As a person fortunate enough to be in a “safer” nation, it’s up to me (and to YOU!) to help our fellow humans — people just like us — find safety, stability, and happiness.

UNICEF USA is a 4-star charity, meaning 90% of their money goes directly to their cause of helping children worldwide.

So let’s do what we can to help the world’s child refugees, be they from Syria, Central America, Somalia, or anywhere else. Remember what you have; remember what they lack; and let’s try to fill that gap.

How to Participate

  1. Leave a comment below with your bid amount.
  2. You can leave as many bids as you want, if you need to raise your offer!
  3. The auction will close at 12PM EST on November 13, 2015. (4 weeks from now!)
  4. The highest bid will win, and I’ll contact the winner!
  5. Note: this is international! No boundaries here for prizes or good deeds!

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Thanks, everyone — for reading. For spreading the word. For simply reading this blog post. If the auction goes well, then I’ll repeat it in December (with new prizes and incentives + a new charity!). And maybe I’ll make a flashier looking blog post/graphic for it then too. 😉

Tweet this!

 


Vengeance Road Round-up!

VRRoundupIt’s here! Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman is here!

If you all haven’t heard me gush about this book yet, then you’re about to. This book is SO incredible and SO unlike anything out there.

You’re immediately thrown in the insanity from page 1, when we meet Kate — a gun-toting gal out for revenge against the criminal gang who killed her pa. This book has all the elements of a classic western: dusty, dry landscape; treasure in the mountains; deep dialect; Apache tensions; and a morally gray group of heroes and anti-heroes.

In classic Bowman style, the pacing is fast and the prose is sure to gut you in its simple power. Plus: KATE! What a heroine with a lot to learn.

You’ll have to find out if she does learn — or if she does win her vengeance in the end.

To celebrate this book’s release, I thought it’d be fun to round up (western style!) some pics of Vengeance Road across the web!

And if you SHARE your own picture with the hashtag #VRRoundUp, you’ll be entered to win a round up of other books!

Here’s my own pic (and I’ll share another once my hardcover arrives!):

VRRoundUp1

Here’s what you can win!

Signed & Personalized Vengeance Road (of course!)

Signed & Personalized ARC of Truthwith by yours truly

Signed & Personalized ARC of Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Signed & Personalized ARC of Riders by Veronica Rossi

Signed & Personalized hardcover of The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

Signed & Personalized hardcover of Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Yeehaw! (Or so the awesome VR Posse would say!)

Now: All you have to do to be entered to win is share a link in the comments section to your #VRRoundUp picture!

And stay tuned for the winner, which will be chosen RANDOMLY on 9/15/15.

(Also: because of the SCALE of this giveaway, I’m afraid it’s US only! I am so sorry!! I have to think about my pocketbook here!)

Finally — in case you haven’t yet purchased your copy and want to participate in the #VRRoundup, here are some links to buy:

amazon indiebound bn bam ibooks kobo

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY, ERIN! And remember everyone:

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Current TV Favorites

Because I’m currently obsessed with iZombie and looking for ANY excused to talk about it, I thought today’s blog would be about the TV I’m enjoying right now.

(And I’d LOVE for you to chime in with your favorite shows! I’m always on the lookout for more!)

Watching Now

iZombie (the CW, Hulu): I love, love, love, love, LOVE this show. Liv Moore = everything I missed about Veronica Mars, and the humor! The banter! The sexual tension and murder mystery in every episode! It’s so good, guys. I really can’t recommend this enough. And if you’re a Veronica Mars fan, then what are you waiting for?! This is THE show for you!

Black Sails (Starz, Amazon Prime): I’m only 4 episodes in on this show, but it’s SO good. In fact, I think each episode gets better than the one before–raising the stakes, pushing characters to their limits, and just going to some DARK places I don’t see often on TV. It’s definitely R-rated, though, so younger readers should probably stay away. 😉

The Wrong Mans (Hulu): The first season of this show was one of my favorite TV experiences of 2014. To my surprise (and delight!), season 2 has proved to be EVEN FUNNIER. We’ve only got one episode left, and I am so sad about this. 🙁

The Daily Show (Comedy Central, Hulu): This is a nightly requirement in my house. Jon Stewart is nothing short of genius, and I honestly trust NO ONE ELSE for my news. (Well, I trust him and NPR. That’s about it.) Seriously: if you’ve never watched the Daily Show before, there’s no time like the present! 😉

Recent Binges

Broadchurch (Netflix): This show was dark, creepy, and VERY intense. I couldn’t stop, though, and I was SO pulled in by the incredible acting and gorgeous setting. If you enjoy murder mystery, then this is a great show to binge.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix): At the suggestion of some friends (*waves at Rachel & Katie!*), I started this show a few weeks ago…and couldn’t stop. It’s SO FUNNY and has such a heartwarming message in each episode.

The 100 (Netflix): I’ve only seen season 1, so no spoilers please!! That said, I cannot WAIT to binge season 2! This show took me completely by surprise. The pilot is kind of terrible, but things really pick up after that. I couldn’t believe how many times I was brought to tears watching this show.

Galvant (ABC, Hulu): This musical comedy took me COMPLETELY by surprise–in the best possible way. Sarah J. Maas and I watched it during our annual NYE trip together…and were hooked. We literally rewatched it all immediately after the first round. So. Funny. SO. Clever.

More Obscure Shows You Shouldn’t Miss

Moone Boy (Hulu): This was my favorite show of 2014. It was so heartwarming, so hilarious, and so unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Chris O’Dowd NAILS it. Do not miss this show–seriously.

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (Netflix): This show took me 100% by surprise last year. The first episode is a bit hokey (okay, the whole SERIES is a bit hokey), but I just fell in love with the characters and the 1920s setting. Plus, the romantic tension for our leading lady  detective–ungh!! It’s SO great!

Peaky Blinders (Netflix): Season 1 of this show was one of the best TV watching experience of my WHOLE LIFE. I still think it is almost flawless storytelling. Too bad they ruined it ALL with season 2. Still, if you can, watch only season 1 and prepare to be blown away.

Emma Approved (YouTube): Emma remains one of my favorite Jane Austen’s, so I wasn’t surprised when I fell head-over-heels for this adaptation. SO cute, SO bingeable, and ungh the final kiss!!!! It was SO worth the wait. 😉

Now you all TELL ME what you’re watching!

Please, please! I’d love to have more stuff to add to the queue!


How I Got Into Martial Arts

I started karate during undergrad. I was 20 years old; it was the start of my junior year.

I’d wanted to do martial arts ever since I was about 8 years old and saw 3 Ninjas. (Oh man, Rocky was my true love!) But, being painfully shy and super embarrassed by my lack of athleticism, I never pursued my dream into an actual dojo.

Nor did I ever tell anyone how badly I wanted to do martial arts. I know my dad would’ve urged me to a sign up if he’d known—he had done various martial arts his whole life, from karate to kung fu, and I’d grown up watching him do tai chi in the living room.

After twelve years of never following my dream, I have no idea what possessed me to call up a dojo one September day in 2004. I remember exactly where I was sitting, and I remember amping myself up to do it—but can’t remember what spurred me to that point.

You’ve always wanted to do karate, I told myself, sitting at my giant desktop (computers were still HUGE in 2004). Now all you have to do is dial this one number and see what the person on the other end says. It’s not like it’s going to kill you.

I called the dojo. The sensei answered. He said to drop by later and check out the studio, try a class if I wanted, and see what karate was all about.

I did just that.

And I was immediately hooked. Everyone was so nice! The class ranged from all ages—kids to grandmas, other UGA students to officers off the nearby army base. Best of all, no one was competing with each other. The whole karate philosophy was about competing with yourself.  A “be better than you were last time” mentality.

So I got my gi and started attending class diligently three times a week. I got my first belt (the rank of yellow!) a few weeks later, and I still remember how proud I was.

I think the only time in my life I’ve ever been more proud was when I sold Something Strange & Deadly—and honestly, my pride over that yellow belt still stands out more firmly in my mind. I vividly recall calling my mother from the dojo parking lot and SCREAMING with excitement.

Karate transformed me.

I got stronger. I got faster. I got less embarrassed about screwing up a punch and more determined to “be better than I was last time.”

All that hard work paid off in other areas of my life too. My focus at school doubled—quadrupled even. I became known as That Girl—the Hermione who always had the highest test grade and was every teacher’s favorite. But it wasn’t something I did on purpose. I just found that I loved learning, and I swear it was because karate had retaught my brain to see information—of any kind—as exciting.

After about a year and a half of karate, I started doing kickboxing as well. Up until then, the kickboxing class had totally intimidated me. It was the class after my karate, so I always saw them hammering away at the punching bags on my way out of the dressing room.

And this wasn’t your mom’s cadrio kickbox class, either. It was legitimate, in-the-ring style kickboxing with gloves and mouth guards and jab drills that made your knuckles bleed.

But after months of my sensei and senpai begging me to stick around and just try the kickboxing class, I did…

IT SLAYED ME. I have never been so close to puking from overexertion in my life.

But the class also hooked me. All that sweat! All those endorphins! All that punching and kicking and gasping for breath—it was was so different from the focused, calm intensity of karate.

Soon, I was spending 6.5 hours a week at the dojo—and I would’ve gone more if there’d been more classes…

But all amazing things must eventually come to an end. My sensei was no spring chicken, and during my senior year of college, his occasional tremors escalated into full Parkinson’s—likely the result of decades of getting punched in the head.

He sold the dojo to a different sensei in town who was looking to expand. I didn’t like the new sensei. I’m sure he was a nice man, but his teaching style didn’t jive with me. So in the final months before I graduated, I all but stopped going to the dojo (as did many other students). Then I graduated, moved to Canada, and had a lot other things to worry about (like my masters thesis…or the fact that I had no friends at all).

I tried to find a dojo at my new school, but every place I tried was either too focused on competition and tournaments or just NOT welcoming in the way I was accustomed to and needed.

I wanted a family-focused dojo like my old school. I wanted tournaments and sparring to be optional, and I wanted to feel like I could fail in a safe place—because so much of martial arts IS failing…and then dusting yourself off and trying again.

I stayed away from karate for almost six years. It wasn’t until last fall, after an inexplicable itch to reume martial arts awoke in me—an itch to feel strong and powerful again, like I used to—that I finally worked up the courage to look into some local studios.

I wanted a place with a karate style similar to my old one (there are SO MANY forms of karate, it’s crazy), and I wanted one that was family-oriented.

And then I found one. It’s not identical to my first “home”—nothing will be—but the focus of my new dojo is on personal improvement. Competing and sparring are optional. Class age ranges from teens to sixties, rank ranges from yellow to multi-degree black, and everyone just wants to help everyone else.

After a single trial class, I felt that old martial artist inside me BURST awake. I couldn’t wait for the next class—I couldn’t wait to roundhouse and back kick and knife-hand my way across the floor.

Yeah, so it sucks that I had to drop from my old rank of purple belt (which, at my former dojo, was two way from black) back down to a squeaky beginner’s white…but that blow to my ego was good for me. It was a reminder that this isn’t about rank or how other people perceive me.

Karate is and always has been about my personal journey. It’s about sinking into a kata until the whole world falls away. Until all I am is this one pinprick of thought and movement and focus.

It’s about feeling strong and empowered. About knowing that the more I learn, the less I fear.

And above all else, karate is about striving—always, always—to be better than I was the time before.

And that, my friends, his how I got into martial arts. 🙂