Second Chances - A Guest Post By Kayla King

Last year, I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time. Within that month, I returned to a story I so love, which started in 2009. I thought I knew all the characters and storylines, but three magical sisters appeared upon my return to that world. Lina, Nora, and Layne Weyward took up residence in a New York City brownstone with a small dog named Earl Grey who liked to drink. This is what I knew then. I tried to write around their backstories, but I’ve never been that kind of writer. And so, I finished the 50,000 words before going back to querying a different project.

When I was asked to contribute to Mistletoe & Magic: A YA Books Central Holiday Anthology, I knew I wanted to return to the three Weyward sisters. I started drafting the story during this summer, and perhaps the heat of August contributed to the celebration of Burning Day within this short story.

In writing a holiday tale from December 19, 1923 to December 24, 1923, I discovered what was missing in my work-in-progress. While drafting this story, I had no intention of returning to NaNoWriMo this year. But as the days passed and “In the Valley of Stars” got closer to being completed, I knew I couldn’t abandon the fresh ideas of this magical world. Some of my favorite scenes and chapters that I completed this year before winning NaNoWriMo 2018 are associated with my Weyward sisters and their magic.

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I finished my last day of this month long challenge by listening to “Second Chances” by Gregory Alan Isakov nonstop, and in a way, that song has become a reflection of what this year’s National Novel Writing Month was for me; a second chance at a story I so love. I can’t wait to see how these Weyward sisters help shape the world and the words I need to finish this next book in 2019. The completion of this newest draft has been almost a decade in the making, and I’m awaiting the adventures of these three magical sisters in the writing days to come.

Until then, I’ll be drinking tea, wishing on leaves, and waiting for the day these sisters might step from the pages and tell me that magic is real. It is a little bit easier to believe so close to the holidays, and maybe, that is why I chose to tell the sisters’ story over the course of this holiday-themed short story; this season is magic.

I hope you will read my short story “In the Valley of Stars” to get an idea of what is on the horizon for me as a writer as I continue to pursue publication and this lifetime love of storytelling. You can purchase a copy of the anthology HERE. To follow more of my journey as a writer, you can follow me @KaylaMKing or visit my website at

I hope you remember the power of stories, of wishes, of dreams. And may your holiday season be filled with magic, too.

Kayla King is a graduate of the Mountainview MFA. She is the author of These Are the Women We Write About, a micro-collection of poetry published by The Poetry Annals. Her short story, “In the Valley of Stars,” is included in Mistletoe & Magic: A YA Books Central Holiday Anthology. Kayla's fiction and poetry has been published by or is forthcoming from Plath Poetry Project, Dear Damsels, Figroot Press, Ink In Thirds Magazine, Firewords Magazine, Sobotka Literary Magazine, and Twelve Winters Press, among others. You can follow Kayla’s writing journey over at her website: or her twitterings @KaylaMKing.