Last year I decided to enter a writing contest. It was the first time I ever put my writing out there for others to read and critique (well except for my college creative writing class). The contest was for Christmas short stories and the winning stories were going to be published in a collection. It was really fun thinking of an idea and writing and editing, and editing some more and letting other people read it and comment. It was fun reading the other stories and seeing how many different, fun ideas people came up with. I won one of the contest categories and now my story will be published, along with all of the other winners, in a collection that will be available to purchase on November 15. I'm so excited to see my first story in print. After this experience with this writing contest I've been trying to make writing more of a priority and take it more seriously. I recently sold a story to the Friend magazine, a magazine our church publishes for children. That story will be published in the June 2013 issue. I have also started a writers' group with a friend and we are gearing up for NaNoWriMo in November (National Novel Writing Month). By the end of November I hope to have my first draft of my first novel written. So, even though it's still a warm 85 degrees here in Vegas and it doesn't even feel like fall, start gearing up for Christmas by checking out Checkin' It Twice, available November 15 through Amazon. There's nothing better than reading a good holiday story to help you get into the Christmas Spirit.