It Ain’t Over Till Hamilton Sings

Well everyone, it’s official! My Inkshares campaign has been extended to allow for more time to reach the pre-order goal of 750! In other words: They Are The Last being published is a very serious likelihood.

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The whole reason for launching this campaign was because I didn’t want to throw away my shot to get published, but if it means I have to be willing to wait for it, that would be enough.

By this point (if you’re a fan of the musical Hamilton) you’re probably wondering why all the references, both in the title and the above paragraph. Simply put, its because of when my campaign ends.

November 1st. The day I’ve got tickets to Hamilton.

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Me every time I remember I’ve got a ticket…

However, that’s far from the only reason I chose that day. For one, I needed a date far enough in the future that would allow me ample time to spread the word. I’ve got a few possible conventions I’m attending (can’t wait to share more on that later) I am planning to host some local events at cafes and libraries, and growing a following online takes time. All of these elements require playing the long game. None of this is going to happen overnight for someone like me who’s just starting out in the world of publishing.

But I’m okay with that. Alexander Hamilton himself started out as the bastard, orphan, son of a whore. If he could rise up and become a founding father, surely I can become a published author. As I said, I’m willing to wait for it.

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However, unlike Aaron Burr, my waiting for it doesn’t include waiting around and seeing which way the wind will blow. It’s going to require me to write like I’m running out of time, and to work NON-STOP. I’m ready for that. In fact, I thrive on that.

Another big reason why November 1st is perfect is a bit more obvious. That’ll be the kick off to NaNoWriMo 2016. If you’ve been around this blog for a while, you know that I tried writing They Are The Last in July 2015, and then started over on November 1st, 2015. The draft I started that day would go on to become the first completed draft of the story that I’d spent over 11 years working on. As a matter of fact, the night I finished that story was New Year’s Eve. I finished shortly after 10pm, and then headed downtown for a friend’s New Year’s party. However, since I had waited so late in the night, buses were running behind, so I rang in 2016 on a Philadelphia street corner, with fireworks bursting in the sky over the skyline, feeling on top of the universe, and with a song blaring in my headphones.

The song was My Shot from Hamilton.

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I mean COME ON!! Symbolism, anyone?

Everything comes into our lives for a reason, and at times that we could have never anticipated or orchestrated. Basically, I think it is no accident that I should discover a musical about an orphaned writer who rose above all adversity to make a mark on the world. Do I think I’m gonna go on to become a treasury secretary? Hell no. But I know what I want to do with my life; always have. Tell stories. I want to write like tomorrow won’t arrive, because the truth is, I need it to survive.

So the next six months are going to be major. In that time, I’m probably going to go through enough emotions to put me on the border line of spontaneously combusting, but I’m excited for it. I’m excited to see where I succeed and where I fail, and how I rise above any of those failures that may be thrown in my way. If Hamilton teaches us anything, it is that we are none of us perfect. But we all can do one thing – the best we can. Nothing can stop us from that.

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I’m ready to take this book to 750 pre-orders, and I hope if you’re reading this, you’re willing to help me get there. Alexander surely would not have gone on to leave his mark on the world without Eliza, Angelica, or his friends. The musical Hamilton would be nothing if no one cared about it enough to listen to it, see it, or talk about it. And so They Are The Last will remain nothing but an idea in my mind if no one wants to read it.

Here’s to the next six months. Right now, I’ve gotta get back to writing. See you on the other side of the war.

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(Psst, if you want to check out the Inkshares page for my book, click here…)

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Women Slaying SciFi

For a myriad of reasons and a great deal of deep seeded issues that would take years worth of blogging to unpack, there seems to be a pretty sweeping misconception that Science Fiction stories are for men. From guys who think we’re all just interested in SciFi because we’re trying to get their attention, to executives at Disney thinking no one would want Rey merch, (REY IS EVERYTHING, HOW DID THIS HAPPEN??!!?) its something that’s hard to ignore. Who wants to have their passions called into question because of someone else’s insecurities. Seriously, who I ask you?

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The truth is, women fucking love science fiction, and this is a stereotype that needs to end like, 50 years ago. Not only do we love these kinds of narratives, we also love creating them. For goodness sakes, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is considered to be the first science fiction novel – how can you tell women we can’t be part of a genre we invented?

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So given all of that – AND the fact that March is Women’s History Month – I will be doing something special here at Elayna Musings by highlighting the works of some of my fellow female authors participating in the Nerdist Space Opera Contest on Inkshares, where my book They Are The Last is currently in the running be published.

When I first joined the contest, I couldn’t help but notice that women make up pretty small fraction of the 89 authors currently competing for publication, and so I thought what better way to show these incredible stories some love than by featuring them here! There are several author’s books that I’ll be featuring, and each post will not only tell you about their story and why you should support it, but you’ll also get to see these amazing ladies answer the following question:

Why do you think female authors and protagonists are so important to the future of sci-fi?

Nothing excites me more than discovering new, complex narratives written by women and about women. It’s become easy for so many men (and sadly even some women) to throw in an obligatory female character to support the men around her, usually have her wearing some kind of skin tight spandex, and then most likely, kill her off to further the man pain. I’m not about it y’all.

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Rey ain’t about it either.

These authors you’ll be seeing featured are forces to be reckoned with, and their representation of women in the genre is so tremendously on point. First post in the series goes live tomorrow, so be sure to check in to hear all about RH Webster’s book, Lucky!

– – – – –

Book

Elayna’s debut novel, ‘They Are The Last‘ is currently available on Inkshares! Check out the links below to read the first two chapters of the first book in this upcoming space opera trilogy!

Chapter One
Chapter Two

Pre-order They Are The Last

Patient Understanding: Losing a Legend

On June 25th, 2009, the world was in mourning. Michael Jackson had died. As someone who was never a big MJ fan, I didn’t understand why everyone was so upset. At the time, I was worried about enough things, for on that very same day, my mother had just gotten out of the hospital. Who had time to worry about a celebrity who had passed when my mother was ill?

The very next morning, my mother joined him. While the world was still grieving over Michael, I began grieving over my mom, and my sentiments of apathy and frustration about everyone’s focus on this celebrity death was only made worse.

As I listened to the world despair that someone had died that they had never met, I was angry. At the time, I was 18 years old, two months from starting college, and now – an orphan. I didn’t understand what everyone else could possibly be grappling with because I was young, scared, and going through more pain at my mother’s unexpected passing than I ever had ever known before. In those moments, I did not think it conceivable that the loss of a stranger could be anywhere near as agonizing as what I was going through. I was heartbroken, and those scars may never fully heal. But because of what I experienced yesterday, I know now that thinking their hurt was any less real than mine, was wrong.

Yesterday morning (January 14th) I awoke to a message from a friend saying . . .

I know how upset you’re going to be today. Just know I’m just as upset and I love ya.

Both shock and fear gripped me. What had happened? What was wrong? Had someone died? I immediately went to twitter, and the name I saw at the top of the trends for a moment made me exclaim, “No, no, no . . .”

Sure enough, it was true. The world had lost Alan Rickman.

A loss of someone I’d never met, which had six years ago been incomprehensible to me, somehow now made sense. With perfect clarity, I began to feel a pain, sadness and confusion that I ‘d never known before. I never met Alan Rickman, and I knew I now never would, but it didn’t stop me from feeling like a friend had just died.

As someone who tells stories, I know the impact that characters, authors, and artists can have on a person – they become like friends to us, family even. I remember being 11 years old and seeing the first glimpses of Alan as Professor Snape, and I would spend the next 10 years of my life watching him brilliantly play one of the most complicated hero-villains I’ve ever seen. I watched him in behind the scenes features, heard stories of his kindness to the kids on set, and from those who knew him best. He was one of my faves.

Then I laughed hysterically because of his role in Dogma, looked for the best in him when he made mistakes in Love Actually, and then he stole my heart in Sense and Sensibility as Colonel Brandon – probably the only other role of his that majorly impacted my life. As with many other creators, he had come to be someone I looked up to, admired, and was inspired by. I’d never met the man, but he affected me.

And thus his loss has been excruciating. No doubt the pain I feel is far, far less than that of those who loved him and were a part of his daily life. Fellow Potter alumni Sean Biggerstaff and Evana Lynch posted beautiful accounts of what an incredibly caring man he was. He was someone who genuinely and freely expressed kindness towards others, even if he barely knew them. He may have spent the years in which I knew him playing a Slytherin, but these accounts have convinced me: I believe Alan may have been a Hufflepuff, and it has made me connect with him all the more now that he’s gone.

His characters will live on forever. That is the beautiful thing. His vulnerability exhibited with the utterance of one word – “Always” – will continue to inspire strength for generations to come. But for me, Alan’s death, tragic though it may be, has helped me understand something that I didn’t all those years ago.

It is okay to mourn someone you’ve never met. Was Alan just one person who passed in a world where people are dying every minute of every day? Yes. Does that make the impact of his loss any less for those who looked up to him, were inspired by him, and connected to him? No. I couldn’t possibly understand this as an 18 year old in the wake of the greatest loss I’ve ever known, but as a 25 year old who has just experienced the loss of an artist who helped shape me, I can.

As you go through the internet in the next few days, there will begin to be people who say things like – ‘Get over it, already!’ or ‘You never even met him, so you have no right to be sad!’ – I encourage you to exhibit what I’m sure someone like Alan would have. Be patient and understanding, for they may not understand. This kind of loss is unique, and for those who may never have lost an icon they looked up to, it’s not a feeling they can relate to.

Forgiveness of those who don’t sympathize with you is key – but I write this so that in reading it, you can also know you’re not alone in this. There is a whole community of us who feel it too, and who want to pay tribute. This is a sadness felt ’round the world, and as Albus Dumbledore once reminded us at a time of great loss:

Now the pain we all feel at this dreadful loss reminds me, and, reminds us, that though we may come from different countries and speak in different tongues, our hearts beat as one. – Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire film)

May we remember Alan and his legacy, always. /*

(Featured Image Photo taken by Claire Furner at Kings Cross Station in London, where a memorial for Alan Rickman began to form at Platform 9 3/4.)

VIDEO: Yay for Success!

 

In which Elayna WON NANOWRIMO! Well, she hit 50K words anyway. Watch her flail with excitement & discuss the NaNoWriMo, the #NaNoHouseCup, and her new page on Patreon!


I couldn’t be happier than to have the successful completion of NaNoWriMo be my foray back into YouTubing, especially since other than my adventure to the Studio Tour, the last video I made was during Camp NaNoWriMo in July, which I sadly did not complete.

But I should not be so sad! It was working on that novel for Camp NaNoWriMo that led me to this November’s venture, which currently is a beautifully glorious 50,085 words long. Everything happens for a reason, and I truly feel I was meant to not make it to the end back in July, because my journey wasn’t over yet.

And it still isn’t.

While I’ve slayed that 50K in less than 30 days, there’s about half of my novel left to be written, and I have no intentions of letting the magnificent momentum of the last month slow down. I’m too in it. I’ve never felt so creatively on fire, and I’m loving what I do more than I honestly believe I ever have. I can’t let that die down just because of the holidays. won’t.

Not only that, but in the three days remaining, I will be running two more #NaNoHouseCups on twitter through the @NaNoWordSprints account, which is sure to be magical. Between the first three we’ve written around a half million words, so I can’t wait to see what people can do when motivated at the eleventh hour when it counts the most.

On top of all of this, my newest video is the formal announcement that I am now a proud member of Patreon, an incredible site that allows writers, artists and creators like myself to make a living doing what they love. Basically patrons can support my work for as little as $1 a month, which may not sound like a lot. But if 100 people a month supported my work with a single dollar, that’s $100 a month, and I can start being able to live better and breathe easier because I’ll be spending my days making ends meet doing something I already love doing more than anything in the world. It’s amazing.

Basically, I’m just basking in the afterglow of this beautiful month, and really, this year. As December 31st gets closer, I can’t help but be reflective of all the wondrous things that have happened, and delight in the fact that there’s still about 30 days left in the year. And while a single month may not seem like much, it can honestly change everything.

Life Is My Patronus

This past week on September 4th, I spent much of my day crying . . . but not for the reasons you might think.

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The Doctor gets it.

Backtracking a bit, for anyone who’s been following this blog since I began it back in January, it has kind of been a really great freaking year for me. From starting my YouTube channel to London, from Scotland to MISTI Con, from my first Camp NaNo to Orlando for Geeky – it’s been a wildly excellent 2015 I’ve been having. Sure there’s been plenty of downs in that time frame, but for the first time in forever, the amazingly good is outweighing the bad in such a way that it’s much harder to get me down right now, when I have so many happy memories to make patronuses with.

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Take THAT depression & anxiety. 😛

But in the wee hours of September the 4th – just when I was thinking I might go to bed since it had become so late it was early – my phone buzzed. It was a notification that J.K. Rowling had just tweeted something. (When you work for MuggleNet, you kinda need to know when the Queen has something to say.)

The night before, we had just begun a campaign with MuggleNet called #PotterItForward, in which we’re encouraging people to leave a note about their positive experiences with the story in a copy of Harry Potter at a bookstore or library, so that a new person picking that copy up can know what a life changing tale lies between the covers of what they’re holding. I think it’s brilliant, and I am so proud of my friend at the site who came up with it. It’s one of those things that reminds me why the Potter fandom has always been so important to me – we’re all about the love & feels. So naturally, when I saw Queen Jo tweeting, I decided to tweet at her.

I’ve done it plenty of times before, but she never has interacted with one of my tweets before, which tbh I don’t take personally. The woman’s got over 5 million followers on twitter! Everyone and their mother tweets at her, and probably hundreds of thousands of people have their phones set up to know when she tweets, just like me. Every time I tweet to her, it feels like a shout into the void, but I’ve continued to do it every once and again hoping she catches it.

Well guess what kids?


THE QUEEN KNOWS ME

SHE FECKING CAUGHT IT.

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Guys, I really tried so hard to not freak out and wanted so much to just be like:

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Ah yes, the Queen has seen my tweet. How pleasant…

But to be honest, my reaction was much closer to:

HOLY SHIT HOLY SHIT HOLY SHIT
HOLY ROWLING IT HAPPENED
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IS THIS REAL LIFE?!
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ME AF RN

I’ll be honest in saying I pretty much immediately started crying. The really good kind of crying. The kind of crying where you’re more so crying for the sheer disbelief that such beautiful moments could happen in your life.

I have looked up to J.K. Rowling since I was an 8 year old girl who fell in love with a magical story. The more of her books I read, and the more I learned about her as a person . . . there was just so much about her to admire and respect. And for just a moment that morning, the woman who’s inspired me more than anyone, saw a lil icon of my face, read the words that I had to say for a change, and liked it so much she felt compelled to give it a little gold star of approval.

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Me, myself, and I at that moment.

Some people might think it’s crazy for me to have reacted in such a way – crying, having trouble breathing, being incandescently and ecstatically happy for the entire ensuing day – but if J.K. Rowling (and Luna Lovegood) have taught me anything, it’s to not care what others think of you, especially if it means not being yourself.

After a night of not being able to sleep, having a mediocre day at work, and then a night spent mostly online talking to my MuggleNet friends who mean the world and a half to me, I found myself sitting alone, and I once again started to cry. Like really, genuinely, happy cry. But the reason, I realized in that moment, was not just because some author took 2 seconds of her morning to like a tweet.

I’ve been happy crying because I have reasons to. While I have spent so, so much of my life, crying because of depression, anxiety, loss, rejection, self loathing, and a million other things, I have finally reached a point in 2015, where I have so many loving, genuine people surrounding me and filling my heart with joy and reminding me that I’ve got so much light in me that I can share, but only when I stop to realize I have it. I’ve got a job that’s okay with an apartment that I love, I’m giving back to my school through an amazing LGBTQ Alumni group, I’m starting to lose weight and feel healthier, I’ve traveled to two new countries and two different states in the last five months, I’m working for the Harry Potter fan site I’ve loved since childhood, and I’m writing again. Writing a story that’s been with me for 11 years, and which most recently helped land me a leadership position as one of the Municipal Liaisons for Philadelphia for this fall’s upcoming NaNoWriMo.

 

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How I feel about me and my life rn.

No low balance in my bank account or any hate that anyone could try to fling at me right now can take that away. My happiness is so strong that it could hold back 100 dementors any day. I’ve got so much passion, friendship and love in my life right now that I can honestly say I’ve never felt this unstoppable. But all of this realization, came from a single little gold star on a tweet that I thought would never been seen.

So if you’re feeling like your opinions (or tweets in this case) don’t matter, or that you yourself don’t matter – remember this story, and remember these words:

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On The Road Again

Today we interrupt your regularly scheduled novel blogging to take you on an adventure!

TO GEEKY CON!
TO GEEKY CON!

That’s right kids, seems like just yesterday I was leaving for Leaky Con 2014, but here I am a year later just about to set off on the road with my new MuggleNet friend Rachael.

We have a long journey ahead of us to Orlando. Tonight we will be hitting it Winchester style by crashing in some motel along the way and then completing our journey south in the morning. Can’t express enough how ready I am for this since its probably the legit-ist road trip I have ever been on, and it really is to the most exciting place ever: Geeky Con.

Best. Place. Ever.
Best. Place. Ever.

For those unfamiliar, Geeky Con used to be called Leaky Con, which started out as a small Harry Potter convention a few years back, but over time, and as other multi-fandom nerds like myself began to emerge, the con took on a bigger, crazier atmosphere – which I love, to be honest. I’ve seen a lot of hate flung this Con’s way, and while I can’t speak to what it was like before 2014 when I went for the first time, I can say going last year was some of the six best days of my life. I met John Green, made awesome new friends, chilled in a hot tub with famous YouTubers and one of the actors from Glee, and most specially – I got to meet and chat with Robbie Thompson, my favorite writer from Supernatural, and hug Amber Benson, who played Tara on Buffy. (She even took one of my business card as well!!!!!) Safe to say, Geeky is a magical place.

See? Coulson agrees!!
See? Coulson agrees!!

This year there are a number of people attending who I cannot wait to meet, many of whom are friends I have made on the internet, who I have yet to meet IRL, but now finally the time has come! We’ll get to hang out, relax, and even attend panels to help me with my writing! I may even meet Veronica Roth, the author of the incredible Divergent series. Oh, and did I mention? In addition to the con, I’M GOING BACK TO WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER AND FOR THE FIRST TIME, TO FREAKING DISNEY WORLD!!!!!!

ME RIGHT NOWWWW
ME RIGHT NOWWWW

There’s really nothing better than being able to go on another adventure like this. I’ve recently had so many people say, “Oh your so lucky!” and I’m really just at the point where I don’t believe thats it. For the first time in an extraordinarily long time, I really feel so very, very blessed. While I’ve had plenty of struggles in the past year (there’s a lot more to my life than my blog) I’ve also seen such a turnaround in my fortunes, and I truly believe it’s because I finally believe that if something good can happen, it will.

So happiness to all, chase your dreams like Bilbo chased those dwarves, and there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to . . .

 

Breakfast at Hogwarts

This blog is part of my “Elayna Ventures: London & Edinburgh 2015” Travel Journal

April 17th, 2015

DAY TWO

As my friend Claire so wonderfully put it when she posted the photo below:

Stuff Tiffany’s! Breakfast at Hogwarts is what it’s all about!”

Photo taken by & comandeered from my MuggleNet friend & fellow staffer, Claire Furner.
Photo taken by & commandeered from my MuggleNet friend & fellow staffer, Claire Furner.

After only about five hours of sleep in the span of two days, my friend Laura and I awoke trying our best not to pull a muscle from fangirling too hard, because we were about to have breakfast at Hogwarts. WHO ELSE DO YOU KNOW CAN SAY THAT?!?

Basically, over the years, we at MuggleNet have built some pretty great relationships with WB and the people behind the series. So naturally, when WB heard we were going to be rolling into London to host the biggest Harry Potter event in the UK for 2015 (#nbd) they apparently decided to do something nice for us. When our boss reached out to them about us coming to visit, they in turn offered for our staff to come in for a free tour/light breakfast. The conversation in which I discovered this excellent news is still rather priceless:

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Because what better reaction than a cactus with a balloon when you learn you’re going to Hogwarts?

#NerdyVIPI spent the ensuing week and a half after learning this information trying to hold myself together and not have a spazz attack at the thought of MuggleNet getting its own tour, so that by the time the day came, I was quite the jittery mess of feels. Some of us teamed up and caught a taxi, and I must say that there’s nothing quite like the craziness of pulling up to the studios and seeing that big logo for The Making of Harry Potter. Once inside, we were greeted by the incredibly nice people who worked at the Studio Tour, and a little sign that read MuggleNet Registration. I must be honest, it felt like we were nerdy VIP’s or something. As we waited for the rest of our group to arrive, the girl leads us through this back area and in through a room chock full o’Olivanders wands, and then there it was . . .

The actual model of the actual Hogwarts that was used to film the series that I grew up with. I was standing before the very model that I first saw on screen at age 11. I was in the place of my dreams, the one place in the world that while fictional, has always felt more real to me than anywhere else. Hogwarts was actually there to welcome me home. Holding back tears was difficult.

Pictures were taken, DELICIOUS noms were enjoyed, and we got to mingle with some more of the really delightful people who work there. You could just tell how much they love working there and getting to live that #NerdLife every day. Their excitement was infectious, and I suppose they fed off our excitement as well. The energy surrounding Hogwarts was made of nothing but happiness, I tell ya. It was the perfect way to start the day.

Once all the croissants and coffee were consumed, and all of our staff had arrived, they led us back through to actually begin the tour. I began to feel that excited sort of anxious as members of staff kept saying to me “OH MY GOSH ELAYNA WAIT TILL YOU SEE HOW THEY START THE TOUR!!” and “YOU ARE GOING TO FREAK!” But all the while, no one had told me what exactly I was going to be freaking out over. As we walked away from Hogwarts I remember saying to someone, “You were right. Starting the morning off at the castle was great.” and they responded with, “That wasn’t what we meant! There’s something EVEN BETTER! Just wait and see.”

It took my mind a second to receive and process the idea that there was something better than mother effing Hogwarts.

We were ushered into a dark room, where soon a video began to play on the walls. The feels began immediately as the video showed footage from the filmmakers and cast about the experience of making the films. It brought back so, so, so many memories and I got a little teary eyed pretty quick. But once that was over, they ushered us into a cinema, where we watched yet another video, which made my case of the feels turn chronic. Here I am, at the Studio Tour, with MuggleNet friends, watching Dan, Rupert and Emma standing in front of the Great Hall on the screen, talking about the films that changed my life.

Then it happened.

The video ends and then THE SCREEN GOES UP AND THE ACTUAL GREAT HALL DOORS ARE RIGHT THERE. I completely lost it.

CALL 999. I'M HAVING EMOTIONS.
CALL 999. I’M HAVING EMOTIONS.

By this point I’m already hysterical with happiness, and that’s why it took me several seconds to realize that the tour guide was saying, “Can I have Aimee and Elayna come on up please?” Its at this moment I FULLY realizes that the ‘better than Hogwarts moment’ was.

The staff had picked me as one of the people to come up and open the doors. There are no words I can type that can sum up what it felt like. I have never been so overwhelmed with joy. Everyone from staff was smiling, and here I am, sobbing like an idiot, because I can’t believe they would actually have picked me for this auspicious moment.

To make the experience even MORE special (like that’s even possible at that point) it bears being said that the scene in the first film, where McGonagall first walks them into the Great Hall was one of my favorite parts of the series, because every time I’d watch it, I’d remember how I first felt watching the first trailer, and the same sense of magic and wonder I felt when seeing it for the first time at the age of 11 would wash over me. So as I’m standing there, hand on the same freaking door handle that so many people from the films have touched, with the tour guide saying “Welcome to Hogwarts” was The. Single. Happiest. Moment. Of. My. Life.

We walked into the Great Hall and the happy sobbing continued. MuggleNet staff reading this: you can never know how much that moment meant to me – to have had that chance to be there with you all and be the chosen one to open those doors. (God I am actually crying happy tears right now typing this, thanks for that) Everything about that day, from the hall to the Hogwarts Express, from all the props, costumes, effects, drawings and wands to the beautiful moment at the end of the tour where we came full circle back to the castle: it was 1000 times more perfect than anything I could have imagined for it still being my first 24 hours in London.

The rest of the day felt like a blurry mix of feels and excitement, for Expo Patronum was set to happen the very next morning. We spent the evening stuffing bags and getting registrations ready, and I discovered the craziest thing, which is that in the UK you can buy wine by the glass at a freaking train station. (#AmericanProbs)

The whole day was just so memorable and full of more happy emotions than I could have conceived were IMG_6941possible to feel in a single day. I grew closer with friends I’d already met from Leaky, and new ones that I’d only just met once arriving to the UK. But honestly, it was those people that made everything worth it. Seeing the Studio Tour was incredible beyond measure, yes, but to experience it with fellow people of MuggleNet, fellow fans who understand the feels, and amongst who there was no judgement whatsoever. Being with them, in that sacred nerdy space, made for the most magical day of my life.

TO BE CONTINUED IN “EXPO PATRONUM” . . .

My London Miracle

Bet you thought you’d seen the last of me . . .

Rocking the pixie look.
Rocking the pixie cut!

A lot’s been going on since I created my 25×25 list. I’ve since been able to check off 2 of those items (and blog posts about fulfilling these items shall be coming soon!) which were building a blanket fort and chopping my hair really short. Both have been rewarding and liberating experiences. However, today I’m getting back to blogging because I am about to check off two incredibly exciting items on this list, thanks to the grace and goodness of a kind hearted person and God.

When this week began, I did not know how on Earth I was going to still be making it to London for next week’s Expo Patronum, which is MuggleNet.com’s first ever convention – and the largest Harry Potter event happening in the UK this year! It all sounded too incredibly good to be true: if I attended, it would be my first time out of the country, going to the country I’ve ALWAYS wanted to visit, with my dear friends of MuggleNet, for their first convention, meeting amazing people who made the film series that changed my life. Dream scenario for nerdy little me. I tried fundraising, but with everyone else going through financial times as rough as my own, that just wasn’t in the cards. But despite every piece of logic, evidence and reason that had a big neon sign pointing to THERE’S NO WAY THIS TRIP CAN HAPPEN, I tried my hardest to keep something that’s recently become a huge part of my life in a way I could never have expected, and that’s faith.

People kept asking what my plans were, and I’d just smile and nod and say, I don’t know, but I believe it’s going to happen. Despite their looks of – Bitch, you crazy – I carried on my merry way by looking up little places I could write in London and jotted down promising cafe names. I researched the kind of hostel I’d stay in, and made a list of all the iconic London landmarks I’d need to take selfies in front of. I put all of the positive hope I could muster out into the universe, and when alone at night, I’d pray that this amazing journey could happen for me. I prayed about this dream coming true over and over again, knowing that this was going to be a trip of a lifetime, and I refused to believe it wouldn’t happen, even though everyone else didn’t think it would.

Then in swooped my guardian angel.

A friend of mine that I met in college, one whom has always been so sweet but who I’ve never gotten to know as well as I’d have liked, offered to help me so that I could make this dream adventure into a reality. Needless to say I’ve spent the ensuing days trying to not self destruct from an overdose of joy and blessedness. This person has shown me so much kindness, and acted so selflessly, that I’m now a mere five days from jetting 3,000 miles from home to soil I’ve never stood on before where the possibilities of life changing experiences I can have are endless. God is so real that I just can’t even.

Which brings me back to blogging! While I will be recording as much of the trip as humanly possible and making it into video blogs for my YouTube channel, I also know the way in which I’ve always best expressed myself is through words. While I’m in London (and wherever else in the UK I end up!) I want to make sure I record as much of the trip as I can, both for my sake and for the enjoyment of others who may need a reminder that anything you want is possible if you just have faith. These written posts here will serve as a nice compliment to the videos I’ll be sharing about my journey.

Elayna's latest youtube video - announcing the trip to the world.
Elayna’s latest youtube video – announcing the trip to the world.

I look forward to sharing this grand adventure with the people of the interwebs, because quite frankly, stories are what I am all about. I love listening to them, watching them, creating them, and most importantly LIVING them, so that I might share this crazy, beautiful mess of a life I have with all of you.

Here’s to London, here’s to making dreams come true, and here’s to kind people who use their goodness to change people’s lives. Stay blessed.