Hello everyone —I know it's been a long long time since you've last heard from me. I'm truly sorry that it has taken me this long to get word out on my whereabouts. As my last notes have indicated, I just got caught up with life, with school and everything else that one goes through between graduating high school and graduating college.
I'm not sure how many of my fans from the past are still keeping up with All Along or fictionpress in general - seeing that even I haven't visited the site in years. I can only assume that many of you went on to write your own brilliant stories and are all probably published by now. I do, however, want you to know that I've always kept up with wonderful emails and reviews that I have received over these past few years. Each and every one of them — good or bad — have made me extremely happy, knowing that I was able to leave such an impression on fictionpress readers (despite the fact that All Along wasn't exactly the smoothest of writings). Those who have taken the time to reach out to me personally, thank you for all your support and encouragement. Those who have stuck with All Along all these years, thank you for being such great fans, despite my lack of updates. I am so happy to have had such a great fan base over these years.
For being mia after all this time, I definitely feel like I owe you an explanation on where I'm at in life in general and where All Along's status (of course) is, especially since you have all been so faithful! This, as I imagine, will be a long note, so please bear with me as I try to give you a download on everything that has happened since Chapter 18 of All Along.
When I started this story, I was so very very young. I wrote the first chapter in middle school and had no idea what I was getting myself into. I'm now 23-years-old. Even to this day, when I look back at the first couple of chapters of All Along, I cringe at the atrocity that was my writing. To be honest, it's been so long that I can't imagine what went through my head back then — back when I was writing about Neely, Devon and Chris. I didn't even know what half the stuff I was writing was about! Drinking, partying like crazy in high school? Ha…was I naive! What I do know is that All Along grew into something I never expected it to become, and I'll always remember the joy I had writing about a simple girl who fell in love with her brother's best friend. Of course, now that I like to think of myself as a more mature individual, I look back and gasp at how insane it sort of actually all was. Neely — wow, Neely was dense and a Mary Sue in every single way. And wow did Devon have anger issues. Nevertheless, I still and always will love my characters because as my writing evolved, so did they.
Where have I been since the last time you heard from me? Well for one thing, I went to college — the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign where I graduated this past May. I was a busy bee being your typical college student. I wish I could say I wrote during that time, but unfortunately...I didn't. I did what one expects from any typical college student...I studied, worked, interned, joined clubs, and well...had a social life. As much as my passion has always been in reading and writing, other things ended up being priority. Sad...I know, but inevitable. It's the only thing I regret because I absolutely loved my college experience. Now that I've graduated, I'm working full time in Chicago - trying to get accustomed to the real world as a young professional. Things have changed drastically since I last wrote for fictionpress and I'm sure that once you (or maybe you already have) go through all of this, you'll understand how busy life can get when you're worrying about paying off school loans!
Regardless, I have never forgotten about Neely and Chris's story. For the past couple of months, I've actually been rereading All Along (while still cringing all the way), and while the grammar is absolutely horrible, I'm actually surprised at how entertaining it all turned out. Many of you have inquired about me getting All Along published, and while I wish that one day I can go back and rewrite the whole thing (which is definitely need), it's not something I think will happen any time soon (though I want to). All Along is extremely long and has so many many things wrong with it. And seeing that it is not even finished, it would take a lot of willpower to go through it all and revamp in a timely manner – time that I don't really have at the moment. To be honest, All Along was never just a book in my head. It was more like a series of books – which was probably why it turned out so long in the end. It would be so difficult to turn it into a real book with a beginning, middle and end — since there are so many obstacles that our characters encounter.
And so…as many of you have already guessed and already know…I would like to officially inform you that All Along will no longer be continued on fictionpress. That doesn't mean that I won't or haven't considered rewriting this story at some point in my life. Who knows…I might just randomly continue it in the future. I just have so many other things I want to do with the little amount of time I have to spare — one of which is…well…to write a book.
A real book.
While I wrote teen romances for fictionpress, I've always been a fantasy geek at heart. Young adult fantasy actually with romance. I've always read and loved them, and deep down — even throughout high school and college — I've always had fantasy storylines running in the back of my head. Must have been due to my anime obsession growing up (I started with fanfiction first before I moved here). Now that I'm graduated, now that I'm working, and now that I've got a 1.5 hour commute each day to the city by Metra, I'm serious about writing a real book. Since finishing school, I've finally been able to get back in my reading mode – the mode that I used to be in before I had to choose a major. And boy, do I love it. I'm so serious about writing this book in my head, that I've already gotten started. And I have to say, it's such a joy to creatively write again.
But it didn't feel right to continue without informing my fictionpress readers about the status of All Along and of course the status of KNE — me. I know that many of you will be upset and disappointed by this decision. Many of you are new readers of All Along, and probably haven't had to wait for an update as long as others. For this group, it has been a very long time since I last wrote for this website. Five years actually. But for every one of you who has added All Along as a favorite story, reviewed, criticized or critiqued the story — I am so so grateful for everything you have done over these past few years, months and even days to show that you took the time to read my story. Without your encouragement and support, I don't think All Along would have ever lasted as long as it did, nor received as much attention.
For every fictionpress award that All Along has won, I am so thankful for everyone who voted even though it was years ago. For every shout out, every email, every music recommendation, every fan art that was sent to me, I appreciate it all so very much. You have no idea! I still have everything in my inbox — despite the fact that my yahoo email is an absolute mess right now. I wish somehow I could express how much I love my fans and that I am so sorry that I was never able to finish this story for you. But I hope that one day; you will all understand why I made this decision. Writing All Along as a teenager was so fun back then, but I've grown up and my interests and goals have changed. And as much as I would love to continue this story…I want to do other things as well, things that I'm more motivated to do now.
As for my goals to publish a young adult fantasy novel one day, if that day ever comes, I'll be sure to inform you first even if it's years and years from now – seeing that you are one of the reasons why I still want to continue writing. You are the ones that gave me the confidence to write all these years and I will never forget that. Never. Until then, I would love to keep in contact with you all, even if it's a simple hello from time to time. I know I disappeared in the past, but I'm really hoping to make a better effort. And in doing so, I will provide my new email, twitter account and blog should anyone ever feel the need to reach out. I'm not a brilliant writer or an editor, but I love reading and providing my insights on books, movies or romances (I have a book blog that's just about me ranting about YA books) and so if there is anyone who just wants to talk—whether it's about a story idea, life, etc. — feel free to reach out. For everything that you have done, it's the least I could do.
Now…I know that some of you just want me to tell you what happens in the end of All Along. But unfortunately, I can't tell you. Why? Because I'm just one of those people that need it to end 100 percent right. Not rushed. No shortcuts. And since it will be a while before I finish All Along, telling you the end would be like…I don't know…quickly wrapping up a story just to finish it without thinking things through? I hate when that happens to book (but I guess…I can't say much since there's no real ending for All Along just yet). I think it's just something that we will have to accept for now.
And so…as I wrap up this extremely long note (which I'm sure the majority of you didn't even read), I wanted touch on one more thing. As you are aware, I've always been extremely cautious about my online identity. I think I've always been a little wary since I was only in middle school when I started writing online. I still am – especially since we are warned every day about the content that we put online. But, all these years, everyone has always asked me what KNE stood for. My first name is Darlene and my middle name is Kana – though I'm called Kana by my family the majority of the time. 'K' stood for Kana, 'N' stood for my last name, and E…stood for nothing. It was just a third letter I added on because my dad suggested it. Now, feel free to Google me, though I can assure you that you won't find much ;)
With that, I want to say thank you THANK YOU one more time for sticking with me all these years. Thank you for everyone who wrote 'red' in their review or emails. Thank you for everyone who has reached out. And thank you for loving All Along as much as I truly did. After eight years, All Along has collected more than 4,600 reviews with 19 chapters, is on the favorites list of more than 3,200 fictionpress readers, has won six online fiction awards, and has been plagiarized at least four times to my knowledge (thank you for those who caught them and informed me). I will always and forever be grateful for every word of encouragement and every word of advice that I have ever received over the years. It was truly a wonderful time of my life and I cannot express my gratitude – it is so sad to finally write this. To think that all those years ago, I was once just a teenager hogging her family's desktop day and night. All Along would not have been All Along without such great fans. If I could actually give a shout out to each and every one of you, I would. Until then, please find my contact information below and please do keep in contact:
I'll be happy to give you my personal email and twitter, but I didn't want it out in the open on this website just in case. If you want it, please email the above address and I'd gladly share! Good luck to all of you on fictionpress. It was definitely a website that I will never forget — a place where I learned so much in so little time and spent hours and hours of my life on. And of course…the place where I fell in love with Christopher Donovan, my favorite arrogant character of them all.
*Note: This will be posted on my author profile as well. Thanks!