Follow if you are a writer and/or dreamer . . . or if you're just awesome.

Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

Most of us have New Year's Resolutions at the beginning of a new year. I have a few personal ones again this year, even though I never stick with them.
   I also have some blogging (and writing) "resolutions" or goals that I will share with you. I hope to have this by the end of 2011.

♥ Get 10,000 pageviews (not including my own)

♥ Have 250 Posts

♥ Have 500 Total Comments

♥ Get 25 Comments on one post

♥ Have 4 Novels Published

♥ Sell 1,000 Copies of Appaloosy

♥ Get 100 Followers

Kind of far-fetched, huh? Reach for the sky, they say. Expect the Unexpected. Dream Big. Of course, I can't do it without any of you guys. Thanks! I hope I can help you reach your blogging dreams, too. What are your blogging goals for 2011?


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Let It Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!

     You trudge through eight inches of fresh snow, the full moon and your little flashlight are the only lights that you have to see by. The wind blows at nearly forty miles an hour, and the snow and ice pelts your face the instant you turn just a little bit. You're amazed that you were able to make it home from work only an hour ago, the roads were nearly covered in snow and you couldn't see more than ten feet ahead of you.
     But the animals are hungry and they need to be put in the barn. You rub your nose a little bit, the biting wind forces tears out of your eyes and you just know your face is redder than Rudoph's nose. There's a little hole in your sock, you can feel it as your boots fill up with snow despite the fact that you very carefully pushed your snowpants into your boots before you left the warm house. What is it out here, anyway, -5? -10 maybe? Weatherman says it's 35 below windchill.
     And welcome to my life. Well, my life in January, Feburary, and the beginning of March.
     What was that volcab word? Oh yeah, Mesenchyme, I think to myself as I pick up a nearly frozen, but yet alive, chicken out of the snow and throw it into the warm chicken coop. The jelly-like substance that seperates the epidermis from the inner cells in a sponge. I think of my Volcabulary over and over. Usually I listen to my mp3 but last time I did I only got to listen to music for about six minutes until my earbuds froze and broke off.

     North Dakota is so-well, COLD! Right now we are having a giant snowstorm. I was supposed to work today and tommorrow but Jay called me and said that I didn't have to. Well, I can kiss that decent paycheck goodbye, that's for sure. Here's some pictures! Yay!

Better get that snow off the barn before the roof collapses! Sawyer can do it.
And for a little surpise--a picture of me! Don't I look happy in this one? :D

Have a cozy day!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Writing Tip Wednesday

 The Top Five Ways Writers Bore Readers

We are all guilty of these in our writing sometimes, myself included. I'm going to start with number 5 and work down to number 1.

#5 --- Stiff Dialogue

One thing that really bothers me in other's writing is stiff dialogue.
     "Hey how are you?" Molly said.
     "Good." said Jeff.
     "That's good," said Molly.

 Booring! No one wants to read something like that. Dialogue can tell a story all on it's own. Let's try that super short scene again.

Molly bounded up to Jeff and tapped him on the back, then smiled at him. "Hey, how are you doing today?" She asked.
  Jeff shifted his eyes away then answered casually, "I'm doing pretty good."
  "That's good," Molly replied, but she could sense that something was wrong.

   You can see that you can add details into the way people say things to make them seem more "alive". But space is short so I'm going to move on.

#4 Unimportant Information

This one bothers me too.
     Storm was a tall brown Appaloosa, whose mother was Misty, whose father was Blackhawk, and Storm liked apples and oats the best but he sometimes liked eating hay. He spent most of his days grazing but sometimes he like to watch butterflies fly by or canter around wildly.

There is a definite fine line here between too much information and a beautiful description. Use your judgement/common sense mostly on this one. Would you want to read about what times of day that Storm takes a drink? Probably not. I think you rather read the exciting book called Appaloosy.

#3 Enticing Openings and Wrap-up endings

Sometimes I have a hard time with this one. Close your eyes. Wait, don't close your eyes, you won't be able to read this. Imagine this instead. You've published your novel! It lies on a bookstore shelf waiting for someone to purchase it with their hard earned money. They read the back of it. They like it. So they open the book at start reading the first few sentences of the story. But-Alas! the story seems to be just not quite interesting enough for them to want to buy it. They close it and put it back on the shelf, uninterested.
     Now-Bang! Your back in real life. You really don't want that for YOUR novel, right? Use enticing openings. Take a look at Appaloosy as an example. I've snatched a lot of people if they would only read the first few paragraphs.
    As for endings-Not with a whimper, but with a bang! You want people to remember your story, to have the last words ring in their head. Think of your favorite book. How does that one end?

I think that this post is getting a bit too long. I wouldn't want to, uh, bore you with it, so I think that I'll leave the last two ways for next Wednesday. Can't wait, eh?
   Your friend,

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Today is the day that

. . . you get to look at the painting that will be used on the cover of Dusty's Trail! I'm so excited, the painting looks great. Sorry about the poor quality--this is all I have for now. The painting was a complete original created by David Sweep of Minnesota and is currently residing in Nebraska at the publishing house.

Okay so--CHANGE OF PLANS my computer/camera will not work to let me find the picture-so I'm going to cheat and let you look at the Cover Proof that was sent to me via email. It kind of spoils it a little bit, but oh well.

  You know that feeling you get--when your computer refuses to do anything you want it to? I really have that feeling right now because it really isn't working. >:-(  At least you get a little look at what the basic thing will look like. 

  Happy Trails!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Well, Merry Late Christmas!

    Did everyone get what they wanted? You'll never guess what I got. Hay money! I'm going to need it though. I also got headphones for my guitar and purple pens for signing books but that's about it. My blog's been a little boring lately, but I'll try to keep up with it better. You know how things go on the holidays!
  By the way, here is a cool blog that I think that all horselovers should go to:
Anora is really determined to win this contest! If she didn't, I would probably be pretty disapointed.
    Well, mom is bothering me to get off now so I'd better go. ;)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Shout-out to Followers

 The following followers are entered in the contest and I am very grateful to them for following!!!

Lulu   (awesome blogger!)

Michele  (real life friend!)

Courtney  (Thanks for one of my first follows)

Weezer  (another real life friend)

Alistar of Woodland  (an awesome writer)

Lauren (Love the red hair sister! Oh yeah, and your blog! =)

Sierra  (Your blog is always so interesting)

Anora  (I love your imagination!)

Tiana (Love your stories! Keep them coming!)

Bleah (Always keeps me on my feet)

and Book Blogger (my newest follower has now entered the contest!)

I wish I had the time to always keep up with all your blogs and comment and everything else, but time is always short around here. I try to read all of them at least every once in while. All of you keep up the good work, and thanks so much for following! You guys are the first entered in my contest.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wednesday Writing Tip

Today's writing tip--the top three grammar mistakes I see people make! So look closely and see if you do any of these.

#1 Commas, Commas, Commas!
   This is one of the worst problems I had with Appaloosy. Even now when you read it you can see a little bit of an overusage.
 If, perchance, you tend to use a lot of, commas, it, kindof, makes things break up, and hard to read. Can you see? Know your comma rules and stick to them.

#2 Capitalization and Consistency
  Make sure you have all of your capitalization in the right places! It seems obvious, but sometimes it's easy to forget and it will, trust me, make you look at least a little stupid.
  And once you decide that a word is going to be capitalized, like Appaloosy or Indian, then make sure every time that it appears it is capitalized.

#3 Quotations
   If people (or animals) are going to talk in your story, you better make sure that they are easy to understand. Remember that each time someone else begins to speak you need to give them a paragraph break. And for goodness sakes, don't let all the grammar rules slip for them, even if they are supposed to be uneducated, etc.
    Some things can change in dialogue that are easy to tell what they are, like 'em for them, ain't and other words that are slipped into every day language. But don't make every aren't aint and every Hey 'ey! or your characters might not even seem real.

  I've critiqued a lot of amateur manuscripts so far, and these are probably the worst and most common mistakes that I've noticed, so make sure to keep a look out for them in your writing! (but P.S. I am still an amateur too--just an amateur with a little more practice.=)

     I hope this helps. Look out for next Wednesday, I'm going to explain the top three ways writers Bore readers.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Amazing Giveaway!

  Okay, it sounds like an advertisement, but it is! Let everyone know about this . . . *wink* thank you!

To everyone who becomes a follower----you get an entry for a drawing with three great prizes!

Grand Prize
  • 1 autographed copy of my book Appaloosy
  • 1 autographed copy of Dusty's Trail 
  •  one autographed copy of my book Golden Sunrise with
the words First Copy!! written in on the title page.
(but you won't get it until it comes out probably in June of 2011 :)
  • Your Blog Featured on My Blog

Total Value= $23.85+free shipping+free advertising for ya!

First Prize
Set of two: One Copy of Appaloosy and one of Dusty's Trail
plus free shipping

Second Prize:

Complementary Copy of Appaloosy
(with free shipping of course)

So, Rules:
  1. You are entered when you become a follower. Everyone who is already following will be entered. If you recommend someone to become a follower and they tell me that you showed them, or if you feature this contest on your blog you will be entered twice. (!)
  2. The contest starts December 21, 2010 and goes until February 1rst, 2011
  3. Winners will be announced February 3rd.
  4. I can add any more rules if I forgot any and/or remember them later. :)
So get ready to win some great prizes!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Pretty Cool Quote

What no wife of a writer can ever understand is that a writer is working when he's staring out the window. ~Burton Rascoe

Change "wife" to "parents", "friends" or "coworkers" and this quote is amazing to me! Do you agree?

I love it!

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Piece That I Wrote for the Valley Equestrian

I can't belive that it's been almost two years since I last sent in anything to any newspapers or magazines. Here is a little something I sent in last January to my favorite Horse newspaper, the Valley Equestrian.
   Even though it's been awhile since I have sent it in, I've never shared it with my blog readers yet so here it is, as it was published:

 Mattie Richardson is a fifteen year old homeschooler who lives in the small town of Sheldon, ND with her parents, six siblings and two horses. She enjoys spending her spare time reading, writing articles, novels, poems and stories, participating in 4-H, and riding her favorite stubborn horse, Spike.

Life Lessons I've Learned from My Horse
By Mattie Richardson
The Valley Equestrian would like to thank Mattie for sharing her "Life Lessons"
with our readers. They are wonderful resolutions.
Happy New Year!

1. Always have at least one close friend.

2. Keep the burrs from under your saddle.

3. A good bite or kick will reprimand anyone.

4. Don't be afraid to be curious--but always be ready to flee.

5. Hold the reins of life lightly.

6. It's best to keep your shoes on

7. The most fun you'll have is when you horse around

8. Chomping at the bit won't get you anywhere

9. It's easy to run away from the halter and lead rope, but its honor to go to work faithfully.

10. It's always nice to have someone else groom you

11. Keep your feet in good condition--they've got to last you a lifetime

12. Always be ready to carry a friend in need.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wednesday Writing Tip

     A day late of course.
     Wednesday just happens to be the busiest day of the week for me, but it is the only day of the week that starts with the letter "w".
     So here is your writing tip


    Writing Tip: A list of necessities for serious writing

1. A good word processor program that works well
   I wrote my first book on a low-quality word processor. It worked out alright, but if you really look at my book you will notice typos, page numbers off center, and a ton of other things that could of been solved with a good word processor.

2. White Out
   When you first begin writing, always remember that Nothing is permanent and your handy jug of white out will help you remember that

3. A punching bag or a hard physical job.

One of the most important things. When I get angry, frustrated, or stopped in my tracks by writer's block, a punching bag really would come in handy. I shovel the driveway instead.

4.Help and support from family members, agents or editors.

This will really make your life easier. Find a trusted friend or family member that will critique and give you advice on how to improve your story.
 If you do hire an editor, make sure that they are qualified for the job and that they will offer ideas and not just spelling and grammar corrections. Although agents really are helpful, I don't recommend hiring one unless you have already sold a lot of books and if the agent is very friendly. (and not just out there to get your money)

5. A small ego
 Well, you don't need a really small ego. In fact, having too small of one will hinder you. I had a very hard time when I first started out because people would ask me about my book "You wrote a book?"
   "Yeah," I would mumble and then change the subject. Obviously I didn't get a lot of book sales that way.
     But you also must not get a big head (hard for me sometimes too) or you will be disappointed and let down and your future writing career may be spoiled or even ruined.
   6. Inspiration

The most important. I know everyone won't agree with me, but I know one thing: Writing people are different people. They find inspiration in every day life and use it to their advantage. Inspiration lies everywhere, just open you mind and really look. Writers are different. Which, most of the time, is good. =)


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Look for an ad in the Valley Equestrian Newspaper

  I got a free ad in the Valley Equestrian newspaper because of my recent contribuations to the newspaper. (value= about $100)  Here's a low-quality scan, I did a horrible job of croping it. Why don't you go look for it instead in the paper itself? =)
  Or read the newspaper online HERE

Have a nice day!

Monday, December 13, 2010

I've been tagged!

Oh, no I've actually been tagged! This is an interesting tag from Bleah Briann, an ipod shuffle kind of tag. Here are the rules:

1. Put your iTunes, Windows Media Player, etc. on shuffle.

2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.

4. Tag 20 friends.
5. Everyone tagged has to do the same thing.
6. Have Fun!

I'm adding one rule though:

7. If you have ten or fewer followers, you only have to tag 10 friends 

I don't really think it's fair though, because I only have about 40 songs on my mp3 but oh well!
  Here we go:

If someone says, "are you okay?"  what do you say?

"Dynamite" By Taio Cruiz

What would best describe your personality?

"One of the Boys" By Katy Perry (ooh soo true! how'd I get that one?)

How would you describe yourself?

"Swing, Swing" by the All-American Rejects

What do you like in a guy/girl?

"Take on Me" by Aha

How do you feel today?

"Everyday Hero" by Allstar

What is your life's purpose?

"Light up the Sky" by the Afters

What's your motto?

"Freebird" By Lynyrd Skynrd

What do your friends think of you?

"I'm Just a Kid" By Simple Plan

What do your parents think of you?

"21 Guns" By Green Day
What do you think about very often?

"Rock and Roll Train" By AC/DC

What is 2+2?

"Fifteen" By Taylor Swift (Ha!)
What do you think of your best friend?

"Teardrops on my Guitar" By Taylor Swift

What do you think of the person you like?

"The Spirit of Radio" By Rush

What do you want to be when you grow up?

"Monster" By Skillet

What do you think when you see the person you like?

"Runaway" By Mike Posner

What will you do at your wedding?

"Juke Box Hero" By Foreigner

What will they play at your wedding?

"White and Nerdy" By Weird Al

What is your life story?

"Fireflies" By Owl City
What do you want to be when you grow up?

"Thriller" By Michael Jackson
What do you think of your friends?

"More Than a Feeling" By Boston

What is the worst thing that could happen?"Owner of a Lonely Heart" By YES

What is the one thing that you regret?
"Carry On my Wayward Son" By Kansas

What makes you laugh?"Land of Confusion" By Genesis

What makes you cry?"Don't Stop Believing" By Journey

Will you ever get married?

"Bad Day" By Daniel Powter
What scares you the most?

"Dancing Queen" By Abba

Does anyone like you?

"The Devil Went Down to Georgia" By Charlie Daniels

If you could go back in time, what would you change?"Go Your Own Way" By Fleetwood Mac

What hurts right now?

"The Christmas Song" By Owl City

What would you want to say to the person who tagged you?

"One Way or Another" By Blonde (Sorry Bleah!)

What will you name this note?
"Life is a Highway" By Rascal Flatts

Whew, that was a long one!! I think I used almost every song on my Mp3 for this one!

I tag

St. Jimmy

And that's all I can think of! Anyone feel left out? Let me know and I'll add you on my list!!!  (cause I need three more people)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Book Excerpt!

 I stood outside, saddled and waiting for the next rider. It was a strange time of the day for me to be going out, right in the middle of the afternoon, when the sun was at it hottest. I tossed my head, anxious for the next rider to appear.
     The stationmaster held my head in place until he saw the next rider coming up ahead on the horizon. I whinnied excitedly when I saw that it was Levi. The mochila was thrown onto my back and Levi jumped on after it, and off I charged like a runaway locomotive. There was no horse that could beat me when I had the mail, especially with Levi, my master and friend, riding.
     My head was up and so was my long tail as it flowed in the wind behind me. Levi leaned closer to my neck, gripping tight with is knees and letting my head free to do what I wanted with it. I knew where we had to go.
     Dust swirled up around my feet and choked Levi so that he put his kerchief over his mouth. I galloped up a sharp incline and then slid down a hill. No shying today. I wanted to get this run over with fast.
     I suddenly heard a strange noise, and threw my head up to see where it was coming from. Levi put his head up, too. I heard it again.
     "Yiiiii! Yiiiiii! Yii!" I twas some sort of strange holler, but I didn't see any people. I looked around myself, until all of the sudden I saw an Indian, racing bareback on a paint horse behind us and somewhat to the left of us. Yikes! He held a bow and arrow, and put the arrow in place before he let it spring toward us. It missed and Levi dug his heels into me.
     "Go Dusty go! We gotta get out of here!"
     Two more indians appeared, followed by three more. I didn't need any more prompting by Levi. I ran! My hooves pounded on the ground and my ears swept back, the whites of my eyes showed the fear in my heart. These Indians wanted the mail, and they wouldn't be afraid to kill to get it. People or horses.
     It didn't matter that the mail really had no value to them at all. They were curious about what was inside the pouches, it must be something very special and valuable. Why else would the white riders keep the mochila locked and always on the back of a galloping horse?
     A bronze-skinned brave moved out of the group and galloped closer to us. His horse easily caught up to us as their horses where fresh whereas I had already been running for a couple miles. He pulled out a knife and held it between his teeth for a minute while his hands pulled his horse's head closer to me. He then grabbed the knife and slashed it at Levi, but I quickly lunged ahead and he missed, cutting a hole in the mochila instead.
     Mail spilled out behind us. I didn't care. I hurdled over a rock and kept on running. The Indians pulled their horses around the rock, a brave one with a tall horse jumped over it. Arrows flew at us. The sun continued to beat down on my back, and my breath came in short bursts as I began to run out of substance. I was used to running, but not this fast at such a long distance.
     But the fear instinct was strong. I would run until my lungs burst if I had to. One Indian turned behind us and galloped up a small cliff. I ran into a little canyon, still following the trail. There only had to be a few more miles until we made it to the next station. We had to make it!
     But I suddenly slid to a stop when another Indian appeared, only feet in front of me! I gave a terrified whinny as the Indian let an arrow fly. It missed Levi but the arrow burrowed itself into my shoulder. The sudden stop threw Levi out of the saddle, and he land with a hard thump onto the ground ahead of me. Breathing hard, I whirled and ran back to the other station.
     The saddle was empty now, which made it easier for me. I ran even faster. But as I ran, my heart told me, "Stop! Stop! Go back for Levi!" but my head told me "Run! Run if you want to live!"
     I craned my head around to see the Indians binding Levi and throwing him onto the rump of another horse. The image immediately froze in my mind but my legs kept racing automatically and I could do nothing about it.


How about it? Congratulations if you read all the way to the end! Got a screen-time headache yet?
     Please excuse all the typos. (But if they're really bad let me know) I'm writing here in my pajamas and I have to be at the Grocery store to work at 9:00! Go to go!
     Thanks for reading,

(will post a little more information later)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sorry I can disappointing sometimes

  Hey there-- I now have 5 followers! It only shows five because of some kind of glitch that won't let Bleah Briann follower icon appear on my blog. Thank you to all followers! Including the newest one, weezer (who is actually someone I know in real life who probably doesn't even want to follow-but that's a long story.)
   I'm sorry that I can be disappointing sometimes. Tommorrow I promise to put up that book excerpt!
   Tommorrow I am also supposed to work and play guitar at the Christmas thing in town but I might chicken out, I still don't know. I've been playing for about a month now (I got an electric guitar for my birthday in October) and I've been teaching myself. Not really long enough to play very good, but oh well.
     Can I do it?
     I don't know.

Monday, December 6, 2010

It's getting closer . . .

  Boy, am I impatient for my book. I have been writing away on my new book, (chronologically--4th)  Blackberry Blossom and right now I'm about 16,000 words into it. I'm going for approximately 40,000-80,000 words, as this book is going to be a bit bigger and for the older crowd.
   Why on earth, you are wondering, is it called "Blackberry Blossom" of all things? Well the book is set in the great depression, and the main character is a girl who travels around and performs with her fiddle. I couldn't really think of a great name for it, so I looked through my old-time fiddle book to find a great name for the book.
     I could call it anything from "Boil the Cabbage" to "Turkey in the Straw" but I liked the song Blackberry Blossom best. It seems unrelated to the story, but I am going to add quite a few incidents with the song.
     As for the song itself, it's quite an interesting song but seems to be going extinct (you can look it up on youtube) so I am hoping that this book will bring it back to life a little bit.
     So grab your fiddle and play away! Maybe I should learn some Christmas songs, too.
     Your blogger friend,

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Advance Order Coupons

The advance order coupons aren't totally amazing, and I'm not sure that I can make them super special like I wanted to. But here's what they look like anyway:

I am not an artist and can't make them very eye-appealing, but I will be sure to write a special note on them for everyone! And I will include a small plastic horse with each advance order coupon, just to get you in the mood.

      Is everyone getting ready for Christmas? I get called a scrooge sometimes, but only because I don't feel like getting ready for Christmas (buying gifts, listening to Christmas music constantly, and watching Christmas movies) until about two weeks before. But I've changed my Appaloosa in the corner there, he's ready for Christmas! And soon I will put up a Christmas playlist.
     But, in all this chaos, remember the reason for the season, which I'm sure you all know. (Luke 2)

    Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Funny Vegetarian Commercial

Maybe you should reconsider becoming a vegetarian . . . .

And please don't be offended, if there really are any vegetarians reading this . . . admit it, it is kind of funny.

Have a nice (and safe!) day,


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dusty's Trail


The countdown begins. I'm setting up thirty as the number of days that you'll have to wait to see my new book. (It may be more or less depending on a lot of different things) VERY unfortunately, it will not be in time for Christmas, but I will be making advance sale coupons for those who want to buy them as a gift. In "celebration" I will post the synopsis of the book here. It is what will be on the back of the book. However, it may change if I get the proof and I don't like it.


When young Levi Anderson reads this ad in a local newspaper, he can hardly resist the urge to saddle up and head out for a new job.

Trouble is, his horse Dusty doesn’t think it’s such a good idea.

Dusty enjoys his quiet life working on Levi’s small family ranch, taking Levi to town, chasing cows, fixing fence and sometimes even horseracing with the neighbors. He couldn’t imagine leaving.

Levi steals away in the middle of the night, taking the reluctant Dusty along with him. Dusty may sometimes rear and buck, gallop and balk, but he tries to be good and really is in with his friend and rider Levi for the long run. And the more they gallop on those wild runs with the “Pony Mail”, the closer they bond as friends.

But when Indian trouble arises, endangering the Pony Express Stations and Levi’s life, will Dusty prove to be a worthy mount?

     Keep on reading this blog for other cool stuff coming up!
     Day  #25 - See what the advance sale coupons look like (I will try to make them a little special for those who wish to put them under the tree)
     Day #20-- Book excerpt of Dusty's Trail -- about one full quarter of an exciting chapter

     Day  #10--Get a look at the painting that will be used for the cover

     Day  #5-- I spill the beans about my third book! =)
     Day #1-- Get a look at the finished product!
     Day # 0 -- I send out pre-ordered books.

  To pre-order books, email me or call me. I am setting up a pre-order special, all the way to day #0.
     Buy the first book at retail price ($7.95) , and get the second for $6.00, or buy three for $20. I will send out advance sale coupons as soon as I receive payment for the books.  

     Here's an awesome picture of a Pony Express rider I found on the Internet. The picture conveys some of the action and adventure that lies in my new book!Sorry, I'm just sooooo excited! I hope you are too!


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Some Things You Didn't Know About Thanksgiving

 Are you remembering to give thanks? I wasn't planning on doing anything really amazing for Thanksgiving but now Grandma and Grandpa are here so we're going to have the works.  And in the spirit of Thanksgiving, here is some interesting facts for you.

1. While the first Thanksgiving was held in 1621, it would take more than 150 years before all 13 colonies celebrated Thanksgiving at once, in October 1777. In 1789, George Washington hailed the holiday, while President Thomas Jefferson scoffed at the notion, calling Thanksgiving “the most ridiculous idea” ever conceived. For his part, Benjamin Franklin had such an affinity for turkey that he lobbied to make it the national bird (to no avail).

2. The average person consumes about 3,000 calories during Thanksgiving dinner. With other meals and snacking that can easily go up to around 4,000 and 6,000 calories. It could take 8 hours or more of moderate exercise to burn that off. (Making you feel a little guilty!)

3. Thanksgiving may not have actually started with the Pilgrims, although this all is still very controversial. There are different places that claim to have had the first Thanksgiving, including Texas and Virgina, and without the Pilgrims. If it did start in Plymouth Rock, we still don't know if they even ate Turkey. The only thing we know for sure that they had was deer meat.

4. Have you ever heard of a Turducken? It sounds super gross to me, but some people claim it to be a delicious delicacy. This is exactly what it is: a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken. Whoa!

 I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving! Here's a challenge for you: Think of ten things you are thankful for. Then think of ten things you are not thankful for. Figure out a way or a reason why you really are thankful for it.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I Would Have Never Known These Words Existed

 if I had never worked. :) Kind of a boring post, but informational if you plan on getting a teenage job soon. Just another lame post by Mattie because she doesn't know what to write about.


DELUXE--A way people like their burgers--with everything, sometimes with a few exceptions, don't forget to charge extra!

CHECKER/CARRYOUT: Two different positions at small-town grocery stores. Checker is a sometimes coveted position of supposed laziness that only the girls and old ladies get.  I prefer to work carryout, characterized by its long days of facing, stocking and bathroom cleaning, as well as-- well, carrying out groceries. Usually only the boys work it but I like it better because it's way less boring.

FACE: To continually pull products to the front of the shelf and rearrange products so that they look neater. In other's (not necessarily my own) words: a waste of life.

FLATS: Black trays that hold 20, 50 or up to a hundred individual plants. I've spent quite a few hours washing these.

FLUFFING: To "fluff" the dirt around the plants, getting the moldy, flattened dirt freshened up and providing air to the plant.

H+B : Apparently, another name for the Health&Beauty section of the Grocery Store.

MESSUPS: Toppled ice cream cones, ruined shakes and sundaes--the less experience, the more messups. Kept in the freezer in the back. But SHHH! It's a secret. I take them home for my siblings to enjoy.

HELGA: The name of our ice cream machine. (Yes, our ice cream machine) It says so on her name tag. (Although there is another secret reason for her name tag) Helga can be pretty temperamental at times!

WALK IN: A large refrigerator that you can walk in. Duh! :)

#1, 2, 3 and so on: Greenhouses. I have a hard time keeping track of which one's which.

V-00:  Value=$0 A coupon that has this number on it has absolutely no value. It's a fake!

I know this probably won't be much use to you. But congratulations on reading the full post!
Have a Happy Thanksgiving, (look for a Thanksgiving post tomorrow)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

An interesting recipe for you

  Today is bright and snappy. I let my horse Spike out because he's not going anywhere with all of this snow on the ground, but he refuses to let me catch him. The cold air is making the 21 year-old pretty excited. Speaking of that, his birthday is Jan. 1 (as all Standadbred's are) and he'll be 22. Boy time goes fast. I got him when he was seventeen. Here's a very unfocused picture that will make you dizzy, courtesy of Clarissa. Spike is the dark brown one, Sunny's got her head stuck in the feeder. Clarissa thought it was really funny, because when the camera occasionally flashed the horses would go running!

  The recipe is for a cheese ring, a deliciously unhealthy thing you can make to go with pizza. Except for the crust, I basically made it up. Here it is:

 Delicious Cheese Ring

Note: I make this recipe in a bread machine. If you don't have one, you can make it as you would any other dough  with appropriate times to rise, etc. If you really want clear directions on how to do that, you can email me.

1/2 t. Salt
3 cups All-purpose flour
1 -1/2 t. Active Dry Yeast
7/8-1 cup water
2 T. Olive or Vegetable Oil 

Dried Minced Garlic
Mozzarella Cheese

1. Combine all of the first set of ingredients into the bread machine pan, and select dough setting.

2. When dough is done, pull it out of the bread machine and roll about half of it out onto a floured surface. You can use all of the dough, 1/2 of it or even 1/4 of it depending on how large you want the cheese ring.  (Because we have such a large family, I can usually make 2 fairly large cheese rings from the dough.) It should be rolled out between 1/4-1/2 of an inch thick depending on how much bread/how fluffy you want it.

3. Place the rolled disk onto a pizza pan. Take an empty round container such as a sour cream cup and use it to make a hole in the center of the dough. Next, spread butter all around the dough's surface. Sprinkle about 2 Tbs. minced garlic (or to taste) around  the ring. Then sprinkle Mozzarella cheese around the outside of the dough. (How much depends on how big your cheese ring is.)

4. Roll the ring up. It should look like a bulgy under inflated tire when you're finished. Make sure to pinch up the edges so that the cheese doesn't leak out.

5. Bake at 400 degrees for 14-20 minutes, (once again, it depends on how big your ring is) Be careful, it can be hard to tell when it's done. I've bit into a doughy cheese ring more than once. Let cool before tasting.

I know, I know, what an appropriate recipe for Thanksgiving! I just had it last night though, so I it was pretty fresh in my mind. And note: this recipe will take a lot of trial and error. And if you do try it out, let me know how it tasted because it might not actually be delicious I just might have a really weird sense of taste!

Thanksgiving is 2 days away! I hope you have a happy one!

    The Dairy Queen

Monday, November 22, 2010

Even More Snow!

  There's a TON of snow out right now. I'd say at least three inches, and it keeps falling! Jay called me at 8:30 this morning and asked me to come into work. What did I say? I told him "well, I will come if I can make it out of my driveway." :D
     Since all of my siblings are gone and life is very boring, I guess I'm going to do a tag. (no one actually tagged me, but I thought it would be intesting to put one on here)
  A General Winter-ish Tag:

Favorite smell? Horses (clean ones, anyway)

Favorite Food? I don't know, it changes a lot. Right now I think it's chocolate-covered pretzels

Favorite Color? I always like my colors in pairs. My favorite is Brown&Pink.

Favorite Drink? Moutain Dew Throwback

Favorite Place to Go? Mexico, New York

Favorite Candy? Shock Tarts. :)

Favorite Clothing to wear? Anything informal. Jeans and T-shirt will always do.

Favorite Holiday? Christmas

Favorite Pie? French Silk

Favorite thing to do when no one's Watching? Rock out on my guitar and sing like I think I can sing.

Favorite thing about Snow? Dogsledding!

Least Favorite Thing About Snow? Trying to get to work, also ice and spinning out on the road.

Biggest Pet Peeve? Hmmm, don't know for sure. I think maybe it's got a name. (VIOLETTE!) Just kidding. I don't have one. :)

Best part about winter? Spring!

I don't know if I can tag anyone back though because a big part of the people who read this don't even have blogs! But please feel free to comment and post some (or all) of this tag and your answers for everyone to read.

I took a few pictures from inside the house today because I really didn't want to go out in my pajamas. Here's a our winter wonderland for you: (and trust me, things look a lot better when our yard is covered with snow then when it's not!)

Man-I've got a lot of work to do if I plan on getting to Jay's today.

Poor Ducks are Still outside. They could go into the chicken barn, but they really are determined to
stay out as long as they can.

Cody keeping watch.

     Oh, yes there is one thing that I have been doing.
    I'm going to learn to take care of cars! Well, at least a little bit. Here's 1 book I'm going to start off with. It promises to be easy. (Picture from
    Try to stay warm today!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Snowball Festival

    Hi! Sorry I haven't posted for awhile.
    Yesterday, I went to the Snowball Festival in Valley City, North Dakota to sell books. It was an event where people mainly went to shop for Christmas stuff, but there were also a few kinds of entertainment things like Santa Claus visiting,some tap-dancing teenagers a guitar player/singer and a piano player. I only sold about 11 books. Mainly I think it is because I wasn't really in an ideal place, about 95% of the stuff that was there was craft stuff. But I talked to a lot of people, and that is the most important thing.
     Sometimes selling books at events can be the thing I dislike most about my project. A lot of people simply walk by after a quick glance, coldly ignoring my "hi" and frowning. (Hey I'm not making a major profit or hardly any profit off these so layoff) Some people can even say mean things that really hurt.
     But I try not to dwell on it and I remember that for every one mean, hurtful thing that people can randomly say there is about 10 good things that people tell me. But then I also remember that for every 50 good things people say to me, I get about one book sale. :S
     But there was a few people who came and said that they already had my book and that they really liked it. I'm glad for that! Cause right now it's just mostly getting my name out there for people to know about me. Sorry! There's no pictures though because I was all by myself and I forgot the camera. arrgh.  
     I am so impatient for my second book. I wish it was here now. (Or preferably, yesterday.) It snowed today for the first time so here's a picture of some of it.

      I had to get the ducks some water this morning because all of theirs froze up. Notice how the cat's looking at the light colored duck in the picture. Cute!
     Hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving,

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

     I am so bored with life right now. I am waiting on the cover of my book so I still can't send it in to the publisher yet. I am having so much fun being home with no other kids around, but after a couple days I've decided its just a little too boring. Yeah, I'm getting lots of stuff done, I guess. But there's not even anything to write about.
    On Wednesday I went to "the Studio" which is what they call the youth group. I was thinking about joining the one at our church but it is such a long drive and I don't really know anyone there. A lot of my friends go to this youth group at First Assembly chuch, and I've been getting a ride every week, and think that I like it better.

     I have to take the van over to get it fixed, it's got a leak in the something or other and needs to get fixed before tommorow! Our life with cars is very involoved. We have a lot of old, tired cars, not one new one. In fact, here is a list of what we have:

  •     1 1996 Saturn SL2 (accessory belt is slipping and needs to be taken in before I can drive it.)
  •  1 old (1980 something) gray ford pickup, can be driven but needs a lot of work on it.
  • 1 old chevy pickup, automatic, named "Bess" by our uncle Brad, belt is also squealing on that and isn't really realiable enough to bring me to Valley City and back. It's more of a farm truck.
  • 2 1996 15-passenger vans, 1 big red one mom has taken to SD,
  • and one white one that happens to be okay but Dad needs to take it to work. (Which is alright by me--it doesn't have a working radio)
  • 1 van that runs okay, but is totally smashed from when my dad rolled it. We use it for a parts van for all our other vans.
  • 1 1996 Ford Club Wagon. My "black van" although no one wants to hear me say it. It was my first car that I've gotten to drive and I've had alot of fun with it, though it seems to contantly be in need of repair. We just got a new windshield for it now (my brother had smashed it with his head--when the car wasn't even moving. Don't ask me about it) I'm going to take this one with me to Valley City. (hopefully)

    And if you're like some people, don't tell me they always need to be fixed because they're fords. I hate to admit it, but I'm very hard on the cars I drive. The black van has the least miles on it and that's 130,000. A lot of people get rid of their cars before it even gets to that. Though right now I am against new cars, as I think they are mainly made of plastic and have interior tracking devices or something like that, so we should make our old ones last as long as they can. Anyway, I think that maybe when I grow up I should be a mechanic!

 Happy Trails!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Official Polls are Closed

 And the winner of "Favorite Breed" is a three-way tie! We've had 8 votes, (Thank you all) two each for Appaloosa, Quarter Horse, and Other. One vote each for Thoroughbred and Paint. I'm going to put another poll up, so make sure to vote! I guess I should give you your writing tip too, although I didn't even remember that it was Wednesday until now.
Writing Tip--Writer's Block

Is it real, or is it imaginary? I didn't believe in it when I first started writing, but now I definitely do. Writer's block is defined as a time when you simply can not think of anything to write, or when you feel like giving up. No fear, here are my ways of getting over writer's block.
(a) Let the material sit for awhile. Leave it alone for at least a day. When you come back to it, you will have a fresh mind and that will help to give you ideas.
(b) do something physical. Go for a walk, play a sport with some friends, or ride horses. Activity helps when you're suffering from writer's block.
(c)Talk to other people for ideas. Talk about your story to your friends, parents or other writers you know. Often they will have ideas that will benefit your story.
(d) Talk to your character. That's right, you heard me, talk to him.
"Storm, what do you want to do now?"
If you really think about it, you have a god-like presence in your story because you can change anything as you like, (unlike reality) but you can also consult your character. Sometimes you will give him what he wants. Sometimes you will make his life hard.
(e) if all else fails, JUST WRITE! I know this is sometimes hard, but just keep writing anything that comes to your mind. This is what editing is for afterward.
Follow these steps to help overcome writer's block. But the absolute best thing you can do is Persist!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Top Five Jobs I Want

   As I am already seventeen years old, I have been thinking about what kind of job I would like to have. Can you believe that I am still undecided?! I wish I could really make up my mind. But while I thought about it, these were the top five jobs that I really want.

#5 Horse Breeder

  I know it's hard work, but if I could make a living off it I would love to breed champion horses! I would also like to train horses, I love being able to accomplish amazing things with amazing horses.

#4 Cartoonist

 I love drawing cartoons! Part of the reason I love drawing cartoons so much is because of how frustrated I get when I try to draw things realistically. It's different with cartoons. It doesn't matter if it doesn't look real. I actually love to draw in the style of Butch Hartman cartoons, making myself and my family into cartoons. 

#3 Nascar Driver
 Getting paid to drive?? And drive FAST? I would so LOVE that job. I could do it for free.


 I've got the guitar, now what? I would love to be a rockstar, except for I would be one of the few who would actually set a good example. And let's face it, we have a shortage of good female rockstars. 

#1 Best-Selling Freelance Author
  Wait, aren't I that already? Well, not quite yet. Only 900,783 more books to sell. Okay, okay I know I could probably never make the best-seller list, but I think that I would be content with just making a living. I'll have to do a little more work on that though.

   Now you know what I'd like to do when I grow up. =) I thought I'd take an entire blog post to tell people because they are always asking me since I'm homeschooled.
 But when I do figure out what I want to do realistically and for sure, I'll let you know.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Quiet Day

  It's quiet around here today. I worked at Jay's from 10-3 (a horrible shift) and then came home. Yesterday, I was supposed to bring the kids to Minnesota around 10:00 am or so, but before I even set off I drove into the ditch. There I said it. I was driving too fast and being stupid, so I drove right into the ditch after attempting to make a 45 mph turn on a small gravel back road.
Man, I wish I had my camera with me!!
    I was so mad that I was crying, but I think it would of made a wonderful picture story for 4H and for my blog. I had three of the kids with me. I had my sister (10 years old) drive and I tried to push it out of the ditch. I had gone into the ditch before, and usually I can get that little car out by myself. However, all we managed to do was get it stuck about a hundred times worse. The front end was jammed into a piece of land that stuck out a little too far, and the back end was stuck into the side of the ditch.
  I cried. I screamed. I cussed. I prayed. I don't handle car accidents (even if they're very minor) too well. Then I called my dad and sat down in the ditch to cry. I had just gotten my hair cut that morning too and I didn't have time to comb it so I hung in my face and made me look even more pathetic.
   Before dad came over someone else stopped. Two guys came out. "Hey, are you alright?" one of them asked. I wiped that horrible frown off my face and attempted to smile. "Yeah. I 'm waiting for my dad." I explained my circumstances to them and I'm sure they thought I was a moron, but when Dad came and brought a chain the two men (one of which happened to know my dad) helped us get out with their pickup.
     Dad didn't kill me either or call me bad names or anything. I think that he probably knew what a bad time I was having already (trying to raise the kids, get my schoolwork done, work on my second book, keep the house clean, figure out what to make for meals, and all that other stuff) I was stressed out to the max and making it to Fergus Falls to meet the grandparents on time made it even worse. He didn't say anything.
     So I'm alright.


P.S. Sorry no pictures at all. If I find some AA batteries I can post a few new ones.

Friday, November 12, 2010

What We Were Busy Doing

We have been busy lately making pumpkin to store in the freezer for later use in breads, pies and cakes, etc. It's actually a lot harder than you think. I made it myself this year, I grew the pumpkins in the garden all by myself 'cause no one wanted to help me. We picked them a couple of days ago and now I finally got around to making some. I'll post directions on it if anyone's interested.

Step one: Gut out pumpkin as if you were going to carve it into a jack o' latern. Make sure all of the seeds are out. Save seeds for roasted pumpkin seeds.

Step 2: Cut pumpkin in halves, then into quarters. Scrape out remaining pumpkin slop. Place as much of the pumpkin as you can into a roasting pan. Fill with just enough water to cover the bottom. Here is a picture of two quarters ready to go into the oven. Roast pumpkin in 300 degree oven from 1-1 1/2  hours.

Step 3: After pumpkin has cooled, peel the skin off the soft pumpkin. Cut into cubes.

    Side note: Here's a goofy face I made when Clarissa wanted to take pictures of me. That's how much I hate it. But I did think that it would be helpful to put the pictures on the blog, as long as she let me put one of her too.
 Step 4: Put pumkin cubes into food processor. Grind 'em up until they are pretty fine. Then scoop it all out and put it into a freezer bag and . . .

Label it and put it in the freezer and Waaalaa! You have homemade canned pumpkin! And please don't tell me that I could have saved all that work and went to the grocery store and bought a can of pumpkin for 89 cents. I don't want to hear it. 100% organic, 100% additive free.

    Wow, what a lot of fun! Lots of pictures, I don't care, you can know my identity if you really want to. We didn't even do this today, we did it two days ago though.

     Something terrible (but kinda funny if you're lightearted about most things like me) happened today. I'm too tired to write more right now. I'll let you know all about it tommorow.

As always, shy homeschooler, crazy redhead kid, terrible driver, your friend,
Mattie R.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wednesday Writing Tip

Did I say I was going to do something interesting and fun? That I would post on it the next day?
     Well, it turns out that it was SO interesting that I didn't get a chance to post anything yesterday. Yeah, right. The only thing we did yesterday was make pumpkin to put in the freezer but I guess I can write about that tomorrow. I didn't go to youth group.
      Here's your writing tip of the week--fresh from my head.

Writing Tip-- Making It Work

   This is one of the hardest things about writing fiction--your story must work. What do I mean by work? Well, if you read closely in most fiction books you will realise that there is a specific pattern that most of the stories follow. A book can be divided into about six parts:

     The introduction introduces your characters, the people who will lead people through your story.
 The conflict is just what it sounds like. A conflict that comes along to make life hard for your character.
    From the crisis to the climax the author uses the skill of suspense building. The problem builds, new characters arise, etc. The Climax is the point at which the novel is the most tense. It is where your main character has to confront the enemy, his fears, and whatever else is involved.
     The resolution is the knight in shining armor. Most often it comes just in the nick of time. It may be an idea, an escape, or the main character making a realization about his life and problems. This is the time when the conflict is solved.
     The conclusion is the cooling point of a novel. It helps keep the story from ending too suddenly. However, you shouldn't keep going on and on until you get to the next story. Save that for an epiloge or sequel.
     It's funny how I tell you to use this though, because I didn't sit down and plan out Appaloosy like this (though most authors do plan their books out before they invest a lot of time into it). I just sat down in front of the computer and wrote it. You will, however, see that it matches this pattern.
     So, just do what feels right to you. Some people say that if you plan it out, it will help you keep away writer's block. I find it the opposite. But like so many things it's just another thing that defines your writing style.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Geometry For Dummies

   Is there such a thing? Because if there is, I want it!!!!
   Euclid, who is commonly called the father of geometry, invented Proofs and Postulates in his book the Elements around 300 B.C. primarily to torture high-school kids in the 20th and 21rst Centuries.
     I don't know why Geometry is so hard for me. Algebra was fairly easy, although I find writing and English much more enjoyable than I got about a 75% score on my test. So you know what that means for homeschoolers. STUDY, study, study and TRY again. Try again until you get a B. Which is all I'll probably be able to get in Geometry anyway. Darn! I hate it.

     Nothing too interesting happened today. Right now I was working on page numbers for my book. I am so close to having it published and I still can't think of what to call it. So far I have two names: The Dusty Trail, or Brave Spirit. I think that I would call it "The Dusty Trail" because the story is about the journey of a horse called Dusty. But I don't know if I should call it "Brave Spirit" partially because it sounds so cool and partially because it is about a character who learns the true meaning of courage. So E me or comment! What do you think?
     And about the page numbers--those are the hardest things in the world to figure out. I almost ripped the cord out of the wall and threw my computer out the window I was so frustrated. But thankfully there was some other; cheaper objects for me to take out my wrath on.
     I hope to have the press-ready manuscript ready tomorrow. I am sending it to one more person to read for typos then It's off to the publishing house!!! I'm so excited, I hope I can have it ready for Christmas.
     No pictures today, sorry. I spent the majority of my afternoon facing grocery aisles at Jay's. But tomorrow we are going to do some fun and interesting stuff, so I'll have at least one photo of that. Make sure to check it out! ;)

  Mattie "MJ" Richardson

Monday, November 8, 2010

Redheads . . .UNITE!

   A variation of Karl Marx's slogan, "Working men of all countries, UNITE!" :D
    Nothing too interesting is going on here today. Dad's home so that means I'll probably have to go to work with him. The house is a mess and I don't care.
     Some weird red head facts:
  • Redheads make up less than 4% of the world population, making it the world's most unusual hair color
  • There was once a rumor going around that redheads would become extinct. It is a myth that is entirely false.
  • Red hair is actually caused by a genetic mutation
  • Redheads are traditionally associated with a bad temper and that they can get mad easily. How weird is that? I don't get too mad at anyone. (except my brother)
  • Sixty percent of people who dye their hair do so at home. Of that, 26% go blond, 27% any brunette color, and 30% choose red hair. Jealous, are we?
  • Red heads often get picked on mercilessly. I don't understand that at all. It's not like we chose red hair.
     So, I've decided to just live with it instead of hating it or dying my hair some other color. (I can do that when I'm old!) People always say stuff like; Stand out, Be different, you don't have to be like everyone else! So I apply that to red hair. Like I always tell anyone who picks on me for it you're just jealous. :P

    So, I hope your day is going well. I now have 2 followers! Thanks Michele!
     Here's a redhead joke for you to finish off:

     There was once a lovely couple who had been married for 50 years. The wife was growing quite old and felt as if she was going to die soon. So she told her husband, "Go up to the closet in my room. On the top shelf, you'll find a box. Bring that to me please."
     The loving husband did as he was told. He brought the box down and showed it to her. "Open it." she said.
     Inside was two doilies and $45,324 in cash. The husband was puzzled. "What is this?" he asked.
     "Well, my mother told me never to let my red headed temper get the best of me," the wife answered, "so she told me to make a doily every time I got mad at you."
     The husband was touched that in 50 years of marriage, the wife only had gotten mad at him twice. "So what is the $45, 324 for?" He asked.
     "Oh," said the wife, "that's the money I made selling all the other doilies"

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Playing Violin for the Elderly

  . . . Is very stressful!! I forgot to mention I played violin on Friday for the older folks in a nursing home that is in Lisbon. Of course, I got there early (I'm always early or late because I have no working clock with me when I travel) and that's always awkward. I played a few songs but messed some of them up terribly. I guess all in all I didn't do too bad.
     I offered to bring a copy of Appaloosy in for them to read and such, but I couldn't bring it in right away because of the darn fact that I am still out of copies. I hope I get them soon.
    Some of the old people really appreciate the fact that I'm playing, and they talk to me and shake my hand and say stuff like, "oh, well I knew that song!" or, "My father played violin!" I like when people say that stuff. Other people just grunt and move their wheelchairs back to their rooms.
     I am so awkward in every way when it comes to performing. I am so shy, I really need to work on that. Why am I scared to show myself off to people? For pete's sake, I even look nervous in pictures!
     Speaking of which, there are none of me playing on Friday. No one was able to go with me so I had to go all by myself. I'll upload one of me playing in my performance garb, this one's at the Summer Reading program in Bismarck. This was one of the best places to go for selling books, and I had a lot of fun, but I think my grandma (who was with me) had to pretty much force me to play.