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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!