Graduation Sensation!

Hello fellow chlorine tablets,

So, you may have noticed that Iíve been absent sinceÖ Well. A long time. If youíll hear me out, Iíd be more than happy to explain that. Buckle in yíall. This might be a long one.

The Professional Stuff

I thought we could change it up and start here. If you remember in the last blog, I mentioned that I hadnít heard anything back about one of the two contests I entered: the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest. Well, after winning second place/honorable mention in the Wednesday Club contest at my university, Iíd kind of given up waiting for the results. Turns out the judging was running late. While I didnít place, per say, I did win an honorable mention in that contest as well, for my prequel, Before the Son, which as the word "prequel" suggests, chronologically comes before my current novel. This is a major accomplishment, as it is a worldwide acknowledged contest for writers that have not yet been published professionally, and the story was related to my novel. This is the biggest contest I have entered thus far, and to be given an honorable mention is, well, quite the honor! If you would like to read more about the contest, or perhaps enter it yourself, the submission process is free and is done in quarters throughout the year. Donít be a skeptic because of the name; everyone I interacted with was friendly and helpful, and I am ecstatic to be a part of it for last quarter. Here is the link to the website:

With that encouragement behind me, I will more than likely enter again at the end of the year. I just need another short story first. Abyss was the last one I wrote, and honestly Iím not as proud of that one as I thought I was. Iím glad it didnít end up in LitMag at the school now. Hopefully itíll be buried in a drawer somewhere (I donít believe in deleting stories I dislike; you learn from everything) and Iíll write something moreÖmy speed. Soon. Iíve been wanting to write a backstory for a character in my novel that wonít be making it to the end of the series anyway, so now I have an excuse to make a little story dedicated to him. Everyone wins.

As far as the novel goes, Iím debating changing the main title. The Prophocies of Hell will stay the same, but Iím not sure how I feel about Aleksanderís Army. Good thing I have some time. Iíve been working with a favorite professor of mine, Mr. Thomas Glenn Irwin, at the University of MissourióSt. Louis to get it edited because there are some plot inconsistencies and stylistic issues I want to get ironed out before I finish the last section, which is about ten to twelve chapters. I actually just finished section oneís editing process tonight, and with Professor Irwinís permission Iíll be sending that to him after I do one more sweep to check for grammar and punctuation again. My goal for the summer is to finish the editing process for parts one and two, and at least get half way done writing the third section. I would like to be done with the writing process entirely by the end of August, but without knowing how my summer will go, I simply wonít make that commitment just yet. Obviously committing to blogging once a month during the school year didnít go too well. Hopefully that too will become more regular now that I can actually breathe and not spend all of my time reading classicsÖ

The Personal Stuff

First and foremost, I graduated on May 13, 2017 at 10 AM from the University of MissourióSt. Louis with my Bachelor of Arts in English. This is my greatest accomplishment, and Iím quite proud of myself. The ceremony was beautiful enough that I can almost forgive the announcer for mispronouncing my name as ďKatóLynnĒ instead of ďKatlynĒ. Itís Katlyn, guys. Just like Kaitlynn or Caitlyn or Katelyn. But itís spelled K-A-T-L-Y-N. Honestly, Iíve never had more people pronounce my name wrong than I have in the last semester of my life. Iím actually debating changing my name back on Facebook now that Iím not surrounded by a horde of Caitlyns and Kaitlynns everywhere. Anyway, finishing up this semester to get to that degree, in addition to trying to get registered for graduate school in the fall (which still isnít complete by the way; theyíre making me wait) has eaten up a lot of my time. Sixteen credits is not as easy as you think, and if youíre not a college student yet, trust me when I tell you that, as a straight A student, I hated taking sixteen credits. I actually earned my first B in twelve years because of it, and I am quite bitter about that. But at least I passed, and I still graduated Summa Cum Laude, top 3% of UMSLís graduating class. Thatís the real accomplishment, isnít it?

As for family life, my godson (the youngest nephew) turned one back in April, which explains a little bit of my absence too. We have him and his two older brothers (ages two and eight) three to five days a week, which leaves little time for blogging or writing by the time the sun goes down. Theyíre all young, you see, and theyíre hitting that age where naps are unlikely. They keep me on my toes. We may also be taking on my cousin's new baby girl, which is always a blessing because infants are the best, and she is such a princess. However, it is important to note that watching babies leaves this kind of work for my days off, or on the weekends. No, Iím not employed with a fancy career yet; I just do in-home babysitting. By all intents and meanings, Iím taking the summer off before I either dive into graduate school or go career hunting. I think Iíve earned it, at least a little bit. So I watch babies for gas money for my NEW CAR THAT MY PARENTS REWARDED ME WITH FOR GRADUATING WITH HONORS ON A SCHOLARSHIP HOLY CHEESE and to help out family. Outside of that, we might be planning another weekend getaway that, hopefully, wonít be stopped by Jesus like the last one. Weíve already hit the zoo and gone to dinner, and an art fair. Iím sure I will have many more adventures to blog about, even if itís just that my dog (Cecilia, that is) learned a new trick (unlikely because sheís too smart to be bribed) or that my cat (you remember Sebastian) decides to play hide-and-seek again.

Side note: some of our summer adventures, such as birthdays and concerts, will be on my sisterís YouTube vlog. If you havenít checked her out, just go to YouTube and search for PandaKittySaurus. Odds are youíll find her. Sheís hysterical. I recommend her birthday video myself. I'm in that one, and the concert video too! She just turned 17 back in May. Sheíll be graduating next year. How about hitting her with an early graduation present and getting her to 200+ subscribers? Here is that link too!

More exciting family news: my second oldest brother and his Fiancť are expecting their first child some time in November. I'm going to be an aunt again! We don't know the sex of the baby yet, but I am excited to find out. Congratulations to them! Shout out on the semi-professional, not so famous blog to them.

I suppose that is all I have for you this month. As summer continues, I hope to have some "story time" writing to do for you all. I will simply say that I will do my best to be back in the beginning of July, maybe sooner if something else exciting happens. I have a lot of ground to make up, donít I?

If you hear of any United States writing contests, please share the link with me on my social media account. I believe my Facebook link is still active at the bottom of the webpage. I would love to hear about anything you find, especially if entry is free.

In addition, at the end of the summer, if Iím able to read enough, Iíll do a blog about the books Iíve read or decided not to read. Post a comment on social media under this blog link about the books youíll be reading this summer, or not reading, as it were. Iíd love to see!

I will see you all soon. Until then, hang in there!

Best regards and a pool raft with cup holder,

Kat Jenning // Shade Shadows

**Song of the [Month?]: Last Young Renegade -- All Time Low**

**This one is special to me right now, as some things are going on my life that make it a bit relatable. It was also chosen to honor All Time Lowís new album that dropped at the beginning of June, Last Young Renegade. Best album Iíve heard since Revolution Radio by Green Day back in August. I'll be seeing All Time Low live in July, followed by Green Day in August.**

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