Meeting Orson Scott Card

Hey everyone!  I know it’s been a loooong time… I’m just busy making music.

Anyway, on October 18, 2013, Orson Scott Card visited my school for a book signing soon after the movie release of “Ender’s Game”.  He’s actually an adjunct professor here and even teaches a summer writing course.   (Too bad I’m never here over the summer!)

I met him and he signed my (as yet unread – it’s still on my list!) copy of “Ender’s Game”.  I had about 30 seconds to ask him a few questions.  I wish I had written our conversation down earlier, as it’s not quite word-for-word in my memory anymore.  But I think he made some really good comments so I thought I’d share. Keep in mind this is me paraphrasing while trying to remain as accurate as possible.

Me: What’s your favorite story out of ones you’ve written?
Card: Ender has been very good to me. (I sensed that perhaps another book is secrely his favorite, but due to all the monetary gain and publicity he’s gotten from “Ender’s Game” I can understand why he might be reluctant to say it’s something else.)

Me: What’s the best part of being a writer?
Card: Getting a check when I’m finished! (laughs)

Me: What advice do you have for amateur writers, even people like me who might not ever get their work published?
Card: Always try to make your writing the best it can be.  Even if you only write for yourself, someday, someone else will read your work and you want it to be a good representation of you and your voice as a writer.  If you write for yourself only, you should still be able to take pride in the material you produce.  

Me: Do you have any other writing tips?
Card: Always remember: people make any one decision for more than one reason.  And every decision has several consequences. 

There have been some very unkind things about him in the news, but for the little while I was with him, he and his wife were very nice, engaging to speak with, and seemed very genuine. Even though is now quite famous, he struck me as very down-to-earth and fun.

Me (with the big white bow) waiting with my friends Kira and Geri.

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Thursday Fun: English teachers vs. Authors

I saw this while scrolling through Pinterest today and thought you all would appreciate it.  (I also just want to celebrate how nice it is being out of college for the summer!)  I think this is so true! 


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My Guest Post on Julia’s Blog

Hey everybody!  I didn’t mean to go so long without posting.  I woke up today and realized I hadn’t written anything on my blog in over a week!  I’ve been studying and practicing hard lately.  Anyway, my guest post on my friend Julia’s blog is now live! 

You can click HERE to read it.

Please give your opinions and comments on it.  I’d love to hear what you all think!  

My (belated) Monday Musings report on my “novel in nine weeks” project: 

 I am going to finish my story Ransomed which I started almost three years ago.  I said I was starting this project two weeks ago, but I had already written about 7,000 words before I started this project.  As I was re-reading what I already had down, I was noticing some pretty bad continuity issues regarding characters, my attempts at writing pirate dialogue were awful, and I had slightly changed where I wanted the story to go in my mind, so I needed to adjust the beginning of the story accordingly.  

I decided that this Monday (2 days ago) is the new Week 1, Day 1.  So today is Week 1, Day 3.  This puts my last day of this nine week project at August 24 – just barely before I go back to college in Virginia!  I guess the 13-hour drive back will give me plenty of time to edit!

You can read along with my progress on Figment HERE.  I will be uploading on a chapter-by-chapter basis, so I can’t really schedule when more of the story will be available to read.  If you’d like updates whenever I upload more, you can create a FREE account on Figment and “follow” me.

Remember to smile! 🙂 

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Thursday Fun: The Aftershock

A friend of mine showed me this video a few weeks ago and I just thought of it again this morning.
If you are a fan of any book/movie/TV show, you will understand The Aftershock and relate to this video.


Watch “THE AFTERSHOCK” on YouTube

Remember to smile! 🙂

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Monday Musings: I’m a Guest Poster!

Hello everybody!

I am writing a guest post for my friend Julia the Writer Girl!  If you haven’t heard of her before, please go check out her blog!  She has been much more consistent with writing over the years than I have been.  She has written lots of material and is also in the process of trying to get published.  She is a really sweet girl and gives excellent perspective and advice about writing and the publishing process.  

I am very excited for this opportunity.  I have known her via the internet for a long time.  Even though we have never met in person, she encourages and inspires me to keep writing.  She is also a college student like me, so she understands the challenge of balancing schoolwork and creative projects.  I will let you all know when my post on her blog goes live.

Sadly, I don’t have any new material to post for my very first Monday Musings.  I was really busy this weekend saying my goodbyes to a bunch of my friends who will be away serving missions for my church for the next two years.  It is kind of a bittersweet experience.  I am very excited that they will be sharing the message of Christ with people in faraway places, but at the same time, I will really miss them!

This week is also my first of nine weeks following Bill Dodd’s plan to write 25,000 words in nine weeks!  I am very excited to start!

Remember to smile! 🙂

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Thursday Fun: Dream Journals

My very first Thursday Fun post is devoted to a GREAT writing tip that I got from some random, hokey article on dream interpretation that a friend showed me for giggles a few weeks ago.  I’ve lost the link, but basically the article suggested using a dream journal to record your dreams and use them to “unlock the messages to yourself from your own subconscious!” or some cheesy line like that. 

But it gave me a great writing tip.  

 I don’t know about you, but my best story ideas usually come from dreams.  The problem with dreams is that I usually forget them during the course of the day – if I can even remember them past breakfast!  

Keep a notebook right next to your bed and write down what you remember of the previous night as soon as you wake up.  If you don’t recall any dreams, say so.  Simply getting into the habit of stopping to think will help.

I have found that if first thing in the morning, I try really hard to remember something that I dreamt, over time I get better at remembering my dreams.  Then, I have a whole notebook of raw material to use for starting or fleshing out stories!

Try keeping a dream journal this weekend and let me know what the results are.

Remember to smile! 🙂

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Interview with Aubrie Dionne on Publishing

I have another interview for you all!  This time, it’s with the wonderful Aubrie Dionne.  She is not only an author, she is also my flute teacher!  I think she gives some great advice and encouragement to budding authors.
For more info on her books, check out her website:

1. After you complete the first draft of a story, what do you do to get it ready for publishing?  And about how many times do you edit/revise?
I edit and revise the previous day’s work before writing anything new for the day, so I’m constantly editing and revising. Sometimes I go back during the course of writing the novel and fix up the beginning or other sections that may seem weak. I also have two beta readers and a critique partner read my work while I’m writing it. That way, they can spot problems before they get to be too big. Lastly, once all that is finished and I’ve incorporated all of their suggestions, I let it sit for a few days. When I take the manuscript out again, I read the entire book in one or two days to spot consistency issues.

2.  How did you go about getting your [first published] story published? 
I sent my manuscript to hundreds of publishing companies before I found one to publish it! Never give up, and keep sending your work in. Although the first two books I wrote weren’t bestsellers, they taught me so much about the writing and publishing process.

3. Why did you choose the publishing track you did? 
It took me four books to get an agent. During that time, I submitted to small, indie publishers. My fourth book, Paradise 21, finally got the attention of an agent, and she suggested Entangled Publishing, which has been a fantastic publisher for me. Not only do they publish in ebook and print, but they also have a distributer who works to get their books on shelves across the nation. They have professional editors and a three pass editing system which really improves each book. My first editorial letter is usually ten pages long.
I’ve learned so much from them!

4. When you began writing that story, was your final goal to get it published? 
Yes, it always is. 🙂

5. What were the hardest and easiest parts of the publishing process, for you?  Or was the whole process equally challenging? 
Rejection is the hardest part, followed by reading bad reviews. After a very bad rejection or a nasty review, it takes me a day or two to get back into writing. But, even Stephen King gets bad reviews, and he had a load of rejections before he got famous, so it’s just something you have to deal with as a writer. Not everyone is going to enjoy your work. You can’t make everyone happy 100 percent of the time.

6. What helps you to achieve success in the writing business, and what does “success” mean to you?
Having people that support me makes the biggest difference. I have loyal critique partners, and my family is also a great support to me. Success can be measured in so many ways: getting published, getting an agent, getting the first royalty check, getting an excellent review from someone you don’t know.

7. What mistakes did you make, and what misinformation did you find, that you would like to warn other authors about?
None so far! Thank goodness! I did have an idea that you write one book and then get rich and famous. But, that doesn’t happen to most people. You have to write several books to establish yourself as an author and gain a following. Like I said, it took four books to get an agent. I’ve written eight books total, and I still don’t have enough readers to climb the charts at either Amazon or Barnes and Noble, or make enough to pay any substantial bills. Now, I try to write three books a year. And I plan on writing like that for the rest of my life. It’s not a quick get rich scheme. It’s a long journey with loads of hard work.

8. After you published your first book, was it easier to publish another?

Oh yes! My first book took two and a half years to write. Now, it takes me about 3-6 months to write a book. Much easier!

9. What are your favorite “tools of the trade” and how do you bring attention to your books?

Donald Maass has a great book, “Writing the Breakout Novel.” Also, Stephen King’s book “On Writing” has been very helpful. You should also read “The First Five Pages” by Noah Lukeman. To bring attention to my books, I participate in book blog tours, have a blog of my own where I host other authors, and a Twitter account. Goodreads is also very helpful.

10. What advice would you give to someone (who has not been published yet) hoping to publish a book?

Write, write, write! Try to have a word count goal (mine is 1k per day) and stick to it. I write my word count down everyday to keep honest, and at the end of the year, I should have 365K logged in. That’s at least three novels a year! If I miss my word count one day, I try to make up for it on days that I have off.

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