Colleen Houck

“I took hold of that scourge -filled ship and crushed it between my limbs, hurtling it into the second sun, the red one that gave me strength. But I was too late." Terraformer

Colleen's blog

  • November Thankful Contest and October Art Contest Winner!

    November 2, 2016

    what are you thankful for, girl in forest pondering

    Just days ago, the whole town was alive with music and laughter. Parades, carnivals, and parties; dancing, eating, and singing. Yes, it was Halloween. The adults danced and danced in costumes both scary and silly while the trick-or-treaters paraded the streets, feasting on skittles, sour pops and all sorts of sweets. The air was filled with excitement and magic that night but now, the streets and sidewalks have gone quiet. Costumes and candy wrappers litter the floor of the children’s rooms and the jack-o-lantern’s light has long since gone out.


    For those of you who participated in October’s Contest of the Month, a huge thanks! We received some awesome art entries and thought I’d share a couple with you!

    contest1 houck_october_art_contest_1_by_autumnleaves16-daljuc2 houck_october_art_contest_2_by_autumnleaves16-daljv9g sara-fan-art

    And the winner of October’s art contest . . .

    Emma Scharf


    Congrats! The winner will receive an ASPIRING ARTIST prize package! It will also include REAWAKENED.

    give t hanks block letters

    November Thankful Contest

    What better way to start the holiday season with a focus on the things we have and less on the have nots. November is a wonderful time for reflection and pause, a time to show our gratitude for our many blessings. And, yes, we all have them despite our circumstance.

    For this month’s contest, we invite you to write a quick two to three paragraph essay about what you’re thankful for and to perform a random act of kindness.

    For those of you who’d like to participate, it’s easy.

    Simply post your thankful essay in the comments below and share what you have done or will do as your random act of kindness. It can be as simple as having a friendly conversation with some one who might need a friend or buying a Starbucks for the person in line behind you or writing a note of thanks to someone who touched your life for good.  One random participant will win a special YA book package and a runner-up will win a small personalized gift from Colleen. Both winners will also win an official signed copy of Tiger’s Curse for a friend new to the Tiger’s Curse Series!

    summer 2013 052

    Have fun with this one!

    ~Till next time,

    Linda Louise Lotti

    This entry was posted in Contest, Contest Winners.

    16 Responses to November Thankful Contest and October Art Contest Winner!

    1. Aakifah Syed says:

      First, I am thankful for my family. They help me so much and encourage me a lot. My sister is such an important part of my life, she helps me in tough times, in homework, in basically everything. Actually, its because of her i actually started reading your books! My mom and dad are the diamonds in my crown. My mom, who is the sweetest human being in the world, is an inspiration. If i can’t do something by myself, my mom would be right there for me. And of course i can forget the boys in my family. Sure My brothers can get annoying and dad is way to goofy, i still love them.

      Second, I’m thankful for my friends. They are the people who you can count on. They always have my back, even if i did something wrong. They help me in my studies. I probably wouldn’t be the fun, loving (and kind of annoying) person I am right now. And if i need to talk to someone, My friends would be the perfect people. And I love them so much!

      Finally, im thankful for what i have. Like my house, food, car, etc. If I think about it, i would have a really difficult life if it weren’t for these things. Without a phone, its hard to contact people, without a house, i would be homeless, without a car, i would take twice as long to the place i need to get to. So i’m thankful for all these things.

      An act of kindness that i did was when i was going to a festival, i saw a homeless woman. I had finally saved up money to buy myself something,
      but i then thought that this women needs this money even more than i do. So i went up to her and gave her 25 dollars and went in the gates. I had a good feeling for what i did and hoped that women won’t be homeless anymore.

    2. Kylie Benavides says:

      The main thing I am thankful for this year is my supportive family. They have made moving across the country over the summer much easier on me with all their love and support. I am also thankful for the new experiences I got to gain this year with my family and friends. I am thankful that all my family members and I are safe, healthy, and together this year.

      Another thing I am thankful for is my wonderful pets. My dog recently got into some medicine and I am thankful he is now fully recovered and healthy again. He is going on nine years and still has the energy of a puppy. I’m so grateful for every day I get to spend with him. I am also thankful for my fish which keep me company in my room. Only pet owners can appreciate what having a pet feels like, no matter if it has fur, feathers, or scales. I hope to gain more pets this year.

      I am also thankful for my friends. I have many across the country and I am thankful that so many of them have kept in touch with me. I am also thankful that one of them, who recently got in a car crash, is safe and won a diving competition. Seeing supportive friends throughout my day always cheers me up when I’m down. No matter if it’s in person or through a screen.

      This Thanksgiving I am going to write letters to the soldiers who dedicate their lives to letting us live ours the way we want. They won’t get to spend this holiday with their family because they choose to serve their country. That just moves me in a way that can’t be explained through words and I want them to let them know that I appreciate their sacrifice.

    3. Rhonda Helton says:

      I am Thankful for my family. I came across an indie author two years ago who inspired me to want to do more for our soldiers. She always posted about buying them a coffee or lunch and this got me thinking that I too can make a difference in someone’s day! A simple small gesture means a lot. I started with buying a coffee for a soldier and it escalated from there, not realizing the impact I made on my own kids who are teenagers! My son was at work and he walked up to a young man who was in uniform and said, “sir thank you for your service.” He bought the soldier and one other soldier a sub sandwich. I didn’t realize one act of kindness could flourish so quick.

    4. Samantha McClain says:

      I’m thankful for a lot of things.

      I’m thankful for my home because only last year I was in a hotel room all to small for me, my parents, and are five cats.

      I’m thankful for the surgeon that performed my mother’s gallbladder surgery. She healthier and happier then she has been in years.

      I’m thankful for those five cats. They can drive me crazy but i would rather be crazy then lonely.

      I’m thankful for the cheese factory because I set out to try and get a job but i would have never thought I would get one. I’m glad to have worked in the Tillamook cheese factory and to be able to add it to my resume.

      I’m thankful to be alive. Hey, not everyone lives to see the next year so I’m gonna be thankful that i’m still here.

      I tried my best while I was still working to help anyone I could. Whether it’s bus money or helping them with their groceries. I remember wishing for help any help once so I do what I can.

      I’m looking forward to thanksgiving. we are inviting my Dad’s coworker over so he has a good meal on thanksgiving. We are also going to spoil are cats rotten and have a good dinner. I’m looking forward to having the break for school. I’m a sophomore and in yearbook. It’s going to give me time to finish up my spread and put together a list of people to talk to so I have quotes for a lot of people. I’m always left out of the yearbook it seems so I want to forward are goal to get everyone in it once or twice as much as possible.

    5. Adriana Christ says:

      I am so thankful to go to an amazing school, have a loving family, and so much more. I have the opportunity to work hard and travel and do fun things. My family is not that well off financially but this weekend I get to go see a special screening of fantastic beasts and where to find them in Carnegie hall in New York (even though I live in MN) with an interview with JK Rowling before the movie. It was very expensive, (it’s for JK’s charity, Lumos) but I really wanted to go so I saved up and worked really hard and I’m really grateful to be able to be in the same room as her this weekend.

      I am so grateful for my twin sister. I am really introverted and I have a hard time around lots of people but my sister is almost always with me and she helps me to be okay and to enjoy things even with lots of people around.

      I’m grateful for my dad who even though Reawakened is totally not his type of book, went to a signing for me since I live in MN and it’s to far away. (He lives in Oregon)

      I’m grateful for music. I have a lot of anxiety and it’s hard for me to calm down and be rational. I have been playing the viola for 5 years and I work really hard to play as best as I can. Whenever I am having a hard time, if it’s reasonable at the time, I get out my viola and play and I am always calmed down.

      I’m grateful for my church. I am LDS and proud (most people call that Mormon). I can also pray whenever I am having a hard time. I grateful for the support of my church family along with my blood family.

      I am soooo grateful for books. Books are my life. They make me feel happy and give me hope. They help me learn and be smarter and I love sharing them with other people (read Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger guys it’s so good) they cheer me up and they help me make connections with people when I’m feeling especially introverted at the moment. Looooooovvvvvvveeeee books forever❤️

      This week I did an act of service by helping set up a Youth celebration of excellence at my church. It is a lot of work and I am kind of artsy fartsy so I helped ease the load of the leader who was throwing the party and I decorated. It ended up being really fun.

    6. Lindsey young says:

      Over the past couple of months I have been through a lot. My father was diagnosed with cancer and died in August. But I’m thankful for the years I got to spend with him. I am thankful for my mother and my brother and his wife and son who are healthy and support me with their love and understanding.

      I am thankful for being able to go to school and to have friends who support me. I am thankful for my health. I am also thankful for the books that Ian able to read because without books I would not be where I am today. I am also thankful for everything God has given me and the places he has allowed me to go.

      For. Y act of kindness I plan to take my little nephew to a surprise train ride and to a cave to explore. I want to teach him to read so he can have the same experience that I get to have every time I open a book. Even thought I have had a lot of hard times this year, I am still thankful for the things I do have.

    7. Marie Cruz says:

      So I know ideally many people would think having no problems at all is a good day or week but for me it’s been able to say that my biggest problems homework. I’m a college student which means I eat, live and breathe textbooks for months on end. And I’m glad that I get stress, cry over bad grades and sometimes lack of money because you know others have it worse. It’s not diminishing your problems no matter how big or small but I recognize how good I have it.

      I get to talk to my mom and laugh or mock my sisters. I have a roof over my head and I get to eat fast food. I’m lucky not have an illness or struggle with addiction. I might need to save money for Christmas presents but you know what? It’s awesome to give. So this year we’ve had a funeral car was for a deceased friend of my moms from work and once again our hope is to give a Thansgiving food box to her struggling children. We give one every year to a family we think could use the help.

      I’m thankful for so much that’s it’s hard to squeeze it all out here. I’m grateful that I get to put up our seven Christmas trees up (my big sister loves Christmas!) and how we’re gonna make tamales till our feet hurt from standing and we’re gonna eat like six as soon as their done lol. And we’re gonna groom our dogs and make them wear Christmas sweaters. I’m grateful for everything I have and I everything I don’t have.

    8. Aspyn Leonardo says:

      I am thankful. I am thankful for being able to say I am thankful. I am thankful for the life that I have been given. All the components making up my timeline from then to now. I am thankful for the ones that love me and the ones I love, I am thankful to be capable of such a feeling as love. I am thankful to be able to express my emotions in every way: anger, fear, despair, joy, love. I am thankful for the people in the world who don’t know that their actions mean so much to others. I am thankful for the people who try to discourage me, because I will only rise stronger. I am thankful for the ones who support me, their faith is a constant reminder to my motivation.

      I am incredibly thankful for the will to write that I was given by my ancestors and God. I am thankful for the paper and pencil that marked my beginning as a poet. I am thankful for the hardships that I endured, and the experience they graced me with. I am thankful for authors all around the world, they inspire me to write and encourage me to dream. I am thankful for my siblings, their constant bugging keeps me young. I am thankful for this. I am thankful for you. I am thankful.

      This week, I plan to pass out cards to random strangers that say a few words of encouragement: “You look amazing today”, “Have a wonderful day”, “Someone, right now, is thinking of you”, “You can do it!”, “Believe in the you that believes in yourself”, “Your smile can change someone’s day for the better”, “Smiles are contagious!”, “You deserve to feel like you matter”, “You DO matter”.
      As much as we like to say “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me”, words do mean a lot to some people, and you never know who your words can help or hurt. I plan to use the power of words for the better and, hopefully, make someone’s day. Thank you. 🙂

    9. Brittany Gray says:

      I am thankful for my husband. He is my rock, my soul. I like to gripe on him but I really could not have asked for a more amazing husband. He helps out around the house, lives spending time with our daughter and works his tail off. Oh, and he puts up with me. 😀

      I’m also thankful for my daughter. She is the light of my life. Whenever I am feeling blue she can turn my data around. She’s so innocent and smart. She’s only 2 1/2 so we spend a lot of time playing and watching Wonder Pets. She can take my mind off of whatever may be bothering me. She’s a reader like me. She may only be 2 1/2 but books are her favorite. She will constantly bring me books and pretend to read them to me.

      I’m thankful for my bosses. I’ve worked at a small office for 5 years and besides my boss and his wife there is only one other office staff beside myself. My bosses show their appreciation to us all the time whether it be a gift card or taking us to lunch. I’ve worked at other places where my bosses never showed appreciation so it means so much to me to be treated with appreciation.

      • Brittany Gray says:

        I forgot my act of kindness! I bought my co-worker a latte the other day when she didn’t have time to stop for one.

    10. Micaela Swentik says:

      What am I thankful for. First and foremost I am thankful for my life and my family. But to get a bit more complicated I am thankful for my home and the ability to eat home cooked food.
      This past year has been a struggle for my family. We have gone from owning a home and having personal belonging to homeless and nothing to our name in the matter of days. With a family of 6 it isn’t easy just walking into someones house and be comfortable. Although welcomed, you still feel a sense of burden and sometime obligation. That is when we moved into the motel. Where we lived for a few weeks this summer. No stove, not oven. Just a micro wave to cook our meals. We were warm and had a place to sleep but we just couldn’t make it home.
      Fast Foward two months. We are now in an apartment with new “things” to fill it and a place to cook warm meals. It has been nice to just be together, eat when were hungry again and relax on our own beds in our own sheets with our own pillows.
      This brings me to my act of Kindness…(copied from my Facebook from November 2nd 2016)
      Rant: why are people in America going hungry. I met a man today, his name is Nathan. Now granted I don’t know his story I don’t need to. I just know he was hungry.
      Story: Heading to cheer practice I pulled into McDonald’s for 3 ice waters and a root beer. When I noticed a man sitting criss cross apple sauce on the Side of the street with a sign. “Just Hungry” I stop, roll down my window and ask what he wants. He brightens up and says anything your willing to share. I say no what do you want, anything. He says a cheeseburger. I say you don’t want something to drink or fries? He was in disbelief. Need less to say he got the two cheeseburger meal large sized with a coke. I got so much more. A hand shake and a hug that will forever stick with me. He genuinely was hungry.
      Lesson: stop judging just start helping. This is America right. Our people should not be hungry.
      My Wish: my children will hopefully remember this day too and learn to love and give.with out expectations.

    11. BreyAnna Rollins says:

      When your at your lowest, sometimes it’s hard to be thankful for a lot of things. Sometimes it’s when your at your lowest that you can be thankful for the things that you have. This week has been very hard in my life, at a time where my life is drastically changing and I’m gonna leave high school, and soon move on to college in a few months. I have lost friends, and I have made new ones. And it’s because of my new friends that I know what I’m most thankful for. I am most thankful for the friends that support me, as well as my family that love me wholefully every day. I’m even thankful for my school teachers that more and more everyday convince me to go after my dreams. I appreciate everyone that has touched my heart in some way, or the ones that I may not talk to anymore but have learned lessons from in their absence. Those people have made me learn that it is good to let things go and let things be, and I’m strongly thankful for them for making me realize that. I am especially thankful for my schools volleyball team, a weird thing to be thankful for, but in joining the team last year for my junior year I was able to find out all that my new town offered. I was able to get over my hometown as I had just moved the year before, because I had finally seen the spirit and love that my new home had. I wasn’t full of self pity anymore. Most of all, im really thankful for the path in my life that has led me to switch schools and to a new home, because without that stepping stone in my life, I never would have been grateful for what I have. Before I moved, I took things for granted, friendships for granted, and I never want that to happen again.

      As for my act of kindness, it’s sort of a romantic gesture of kindness. To start fm the beginning, I always try to be kind to people, but lately my efforts has been kind of biting me in the butt so to speak. My stressful couple of weeks has made me up my game in being more happy, and making others happy-but I still have made some mistakes. I’ve said nasty things that I didn’t mean at the time, mostly in part because of my stressed out mind, and I plan to apologize to all that I’ve hurt. Because of the stress of making too many mistakes, losing friends, and almost failing my classes, I’ve got to be honest here, I was a little depressed. But it was because of the struggles I was facing that I was really starting to hold on to the strong feelings I’ve been having about a certain someone I’ve had a crush on for awhile. He’s a great guy and always seems to want to make everyone happy: super nice, smart, talented, and above all, makes me laugh, at all his jokes, no matter how weird and critical they get sometimes. we only have chorus class together and we sit very close, so one day, couple of days ago,when I was really sad and didn’t really feel like singing, he tried to cheer me up. It really hit home with me because my friends sitting beside me didn’t seem to see how depressed I was and it broke my heart that the person I had a crush on, out of everyone in chorus, would notice that I was struggling, and had felt the need to do something.
      After that day, my feelings have gotten stronger and I’ve been beginning to question whether or not this guy likes me back. Ive been torn, but all I can think about is tellling him how I feel, but more than that, tell him how great of a person he is. My act of kindness will to tell this guy how he has impacted me and has helped me in more ways than one. Yes my attentions are to tell him my feelingsabiut liking him but overall he needs to know that I don’t take him, or anyone, for granted, and that I notice and am thankful for what he does everyday to make people like me smile. Thinking of writing him a note in the shape of a paper crane, a symbol of hope, and let all the magic unravel itself.
      My mind is too romantic for even me to handle, and I’m thankful for a writer like Colleen that seems to understand what being romantic looks like! Thank you Colleen for your aspiring books! I actually have some quotes from reawakened on my wall!
      Thanks for reading everyone! Your books will always be my favorites Colleen!

    12. Anna Eschmann says:

      I want to start with the fact that we all live on a beautiful planet Earth. I’m thankful for the opportunity to see the beauty of our planet. The planet that is full of beautiful flora and fauna. I feel terrible when I hear the news about poaching and cutting down the rain forest…
      I’m thankful for everything I have in my life. My family of course. Family is what keeps us strong and motivated. Your family is very important and no matter how mad you can be sometimes at each other, it is still your family. The only family you have

    13. Cali says:

      When Thanksgiving comes around I seem to forget how good my life really is. I always think about the negative things like how I hate my job and I wish I had a better job; one that doesn’t make me feel like a failure. Then you stop and think and remember that some people don’t have a job, some people don’t have a roof over their heads or food on their tables. Then you remember how blessed you are that you have a warm house, food, and friends and family that care about you. That’s what Thanksgiving is to me remembering all the blessings in my life.
      Every Thanksgiving I like to spread a blessing to someone, sort of a spread the love kind of thing. I usually pick a charity and donate money to it, but this year I decided to so something different. There is a charity at my church called Christian Missionary Pilots: Operation Christmas Stocking. It’s where you fill a homemade draw-string bag with basic essentials like toothbrushes, soap, etc. for a child or teen in another country that has nothing. I decided to do a couple bags for a teen girl and boy because strangely no one wanted to make bags for the teens. I put in a couple extra Christmas surprises as well. I hope that my gifts bring some joy and new memories to a young teen’s life. Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas. <3

    14. Kayl says:

      The world may not have been the same as my own childhood utopia, I am still grateful. Grateful for every single breath of fresh air, for every single bird that sings and knocks on my glasses window, for every mornings and nights, for every single human being, for every single second of my life.

      My life goal is to always be a good example to my fellow, a harbinger of change, that’s why if ever I have the chance to, I always try my best to help other people out. I wouldn’t waste the chance. We all have a life and it’s up to us to make it good or bad. The first quarter of this year has never been easy for me (as it is for somebody else). The struggle between being a college senior and having to fight depression is quite an obstacle that I need to surpass. I am just thankful that I am able to rewire it and use acts of kindness as my way of therapy. I helped my friends finish their thesis despite my personal struggle to finish mine. I always did encourage them whenever they feel like giving up despite my own mind trying to betray my hopes. And as my faith in goodness begets goodness, we were all able to graduate. I am thankful that despite all the chances of choosing to be miserable, I have chosen to hold on to hope. And I wouldn’t do it without the support of other people too, my family, my friends, and my spiritual circle.

      Also, I am thankful for the authors that I’ve known all throughout my journey after college as they rekindled more of my desire to pursue my dreams and that a little act of kindness goes a long, long way. Despite the dramas in the book world, these authors choose to support one another and bring even more joy to the readers.

      This coming Holidays, I’m giving my friends a surprise signed paperback of one of their favorite authors. I will also be doing some random act of kindness in sending a stranger a book as my way of giving back since I’ve been blessed with a lot of good authors. It’s not that much but it’s what I have been thinking lately. Thinking about it makes me already excited to put the plan in action.

      Whether one celebrates or not, may we all have a wonderful holidays and may we find goodness in all things!

    15. Helen Chang says:

      I am so very grateful for all that my parents have given me so I am thankful to have them. They have given me all that I have ever wanted which is a roof over my head and happiness. Though I do not always show my appreciation for them, there is always those small moments that I cherish that make me realize how important they are to me.

      I am also very thankful to have my sister. She may be a pain at times, but that is what all siblings go through. Pushing aside all of our banters, she is an amazing person that I am happy to call my sister.She has helped me through thick and thin, and has always been there for me when I needed her.

      As for my friends, they are the greatest and I am thankful to have them in my life. They have supported me all throughout my years and have stuck by me. We have had countless disagreements but that pulled us all closer together. Friends always have one another’s backs and I believe that we always look out for each other.

      Just recently, I had seen a homeless man at a nearby park I was doing my project at and he looked very old and sad. I decided to give him some money and talk to him. It brightened up his day and mine as well. I hope he is doing okay wherever he is and I hope that others do the same for people in need of anything.

      Happy Thanksgiving!!! <3 (P.S. Don't forget to eat some TURKEYYY!)

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    Author Bio

    I’m Linda Louise, one of the bloggers on this website and Colleen’s little sister. I’m just a girl in her mid-thirties who feels thirteen when I play outside with my boys, fifteen when I sing my heart out listening to tunes while driving by myself, and sixty five when I go out past ten at night. I have a thing for junior mints, Mt. Dew, shrimp and kale (though not all at once) and I have a crush on Superman. I still get girlish butterflies when I read Twilight, cry when I read These is My Words, and smile from ear to ear when I read Anne of Green Gables. I have nightmares about aliens on a regular basis and I have a bad habit of midnight snacking. I love everything sports, except golf (although can that honestly be considered a sport??), and I hate anything that slithers, hisses, or stings. I have a problem with giggling at inappropriate moments and I sometimes wish life was a musical. I love science, hate math, love Dr. Seuss, and hate olives. My family is my world and my joys come from their happiness. I’ve learned I don’t know much about anything and I live for a good adventure, naps, cuddles, stories, exceptional food and The Shire.