Monthly Archives: May 2012

Mandaloriangirl Interview

If you’re a Star Wars fan, you’ll appreciate my first interview.  Ladies and Gentlemen, the one, the only… Mandalorian Girl!  Even if you’re not a Star Wars fan, you should check out her blog.  I may be a little biased, but it’s pretty awesome. You can also follow her on facebook and twitter.

Bbt: Hi Mandaloriangirl.  Thank you for taking time to do this interview. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

There really isn’t much to tell.  I am just a country girl who loves sci-fi, Star Wars and writing stories. There is constantly some sort of story rattling around in my head; I have a vivid imagination.  I am just your average geek girl and avid gamer.  My head is always in a book or a game. When I am not doing that, I like to be with my husband and my animals. I have 5 cats, 2 dogs, 6 ducks and 11 chickens.

Bbt: You write non-cannon Star Wars fan fiction, can you explain that for any readers that may be unfamiliar with the terminology and tell us a little about your blog?

Non-cannon fan fiction is when a fan takes a specific story or fictionalized universe and adds their own twist. They may just add their own characters to the already made story or they may create a whole new story based on the already created universe or storyline. It is a testament to the love we have for the fiction we are writing about and shows our desire to be a part of it in our own way.  In my blog, I write about a Mandalorian girl in the Old Republic era of The Star Wars universe named Na’sha Tal-i. I am very passionate about Star Wars and I love that particular era.  It is about seeing the galaxy from her point of view and following her through her adventures. She is on an important mission, not only to save the galaxy, but to find her true self.   I try to keep the story cannon in that I stick to what is happening in the era. I make sure to get things accurate for the time she is in.  I am creating the story and most of the characters, while adding cannon characters and staying as true to the original timeline as possible.

Bbt: How did you first get involved in with blogging? What inspired you to start your blog?

I was just sitting at my computer and I wanted to create a twitter account. I saw all of the star wars fanson there, roll playing and thought that it would be fun to get to know people who share my love of Star Wars.  Once I got on there, I decided to give the persona I had created on twitter a backstory. I figured that the best way to do that was a blog.  I have a habit of not taking time to write but I thought if I were to do this story where others could read it, it would force me to make the time.

Bbt: Do you have a strategy or process for writing?

Truthfully, no.  I usually sit down and just write.  I attempt at times to do an outline, but the characters always have a way of doing something totally different once I sit down to write. I don’t know what is going to happen from one entry to the next. It keeps things interesting.

Bbt: Would you say you and Na’sha are a lot alike?

Probably more than I would like to admit. She is a little more outgoing than I am, for the most part, I think we share a lot of the same qualities, especially being stubborn and fighting for what we believe in.

Bbt: What is the most challenging moment in your blog content development process and why?

Stopping.  Each time I make a new entry I have to find the perfect place to end it.  There always has to be a what is coming next moment. I want the readers to want to come back. Each piece needs to leaving them wanting to read the next part. Sometimes I start writing and can’t really find that point.

Bbt: What’s the best thing that’s come from your blogging?

Getting to interact with so many different people whom I would never have gotten in touch with otherwise. I have gotten connected with Star Wars actors, amazing artists in the community, authors and just all around amazing people.  The Old Republic community and the SW community as a whole, is filled with some amazing people, people I am privileged and honored to know.

Bbt: Do you like to read a lot? What genres do you prefer?

I love to read! I enjoy all types of books but my favorites are Science fiction and Fantasy stories.  I love space operas and you can find me on many evenings curled up with a good zombie book. I love zombies!

Bbt: What authors have inspired your writing?

I am inspired by so many authors.  I would have to say that when it comes to Star Wars though, I am most inspired by Karen Traviss, Arron Allston and Paul S. Kemp. They are awesome writers and their stories grab your attention. They make you want to be part of their tales.

Bbt: If you could be any Star Wars character from the original trilogy,  who would you be and why?

There are so many to choose; I love them all, but I think that from the original, it would be fun to be R2D2.  He has been present during a lot of pivotal  instances in the lives of some very important characters.  He has seen and heard some pretty awesome things. His being a droid allows him to get in places and not be noticed. He just observes. I bet he has some great stories to tell and I think it would be interesting to see things from his perspective.

Bbt: How do you keep coming up with content for your blog?

I treat it like a video game. In a game, you have missions and you meet new companions. I am playing out a game in my head and writing it out.  I try to make the characters very deep though. I want them to have real emotions and real conversations.  Finding content to write about is easy enough, but making it flow smoothly, is a bit harder.

Bbt: What has been your strategy for creating visibility to yourself and your blog?

I haven’t really done much for creating visibility.  I have been lucky to have been noticed by a great group of people, the founders of  TORSyndicate. Their website allows Star Wars fans to come together and share info. We help each other. They feature me reading sections of my blog on their weekly podcast that is downloaded by thousands of people on iTunes.  Other members of the community have featured me and my blog in countless interviews and they are good about sharing my website with their fan bases. Bioware, the creates of the MMO Star Wars the Old republic, even mentioned my blog in an interview they did for video podcast in the SW community. Without the wonderful Star Wars fans embracing my story, I would never be able to share this story like I have.

Bbt: Besides blogging, what other roles does writing play in your life? Are you working on any other projects?

I have started a young adult novel and I have a couple of ideas in my head for another.  I am also in the process for compiling a book of my poetry.

Bbt: That’s great! Can’t wait to read them.

Bbt: With 689 subscribed followers and 18410 hits, averaging at just under a thousand hits a month, your blog has caused a big stir in the Star Wars fan fiction community over the past year. Did you ever think you would have so many followers?

Never! I am so pleasantly shocked. I hadn’t even counted on having a hundred and now,  I have well over a thousand on twitter and both my Facebook and Google+  fan base is growing by leaps and bounds.  I love all of them. I have found so many great people and made some life long friendships. They are so great and so supportive.  They encourage me to keep going.  They are the reason I write.

Bbt: If someone was interested in blogging, what would be a few things you would suggest?

Pick a topic that you are passionate about.  People write better when it is about something they love.  Once you get started, stick to it.  Don’t get discouraged if you don’t have thousands or even hundreds of readers. It isn’t about numbers, it is about writing about what you want and sharing your views and opinions.  Also, don’t let people’s comments bother you. Not everyone will like your blog or your views, but so what!? Just write and enjoy it.

Thanks again, Mandaloriangirl! To my readers, I hope you enjoyed the interview as much as I did 🙂 Mandaloriangirl is also a fellow authonomite and if you’re interested, you can check out a sample of one of her books here.  I’ll be doing more interviews with various authors, published and unpublished, so be sure to subscribe or check back here often! I usually post on Wednesday or Thursday. Y’all take care, now. Bye!

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Proofreading


An important aspect of writing is proofreading. I’m no expert, but I’ve learned a few things. I got a lot of good advice when I was a newbie to writing, so I try to pass it along when I can. Here’s some advice to get you on the right track.

It really helps if you know the proofreading correction symbols. You can find them by googling them online, or find them in your trusty gramar and punctuation handbook (Every writer needs one! I recommend Writer’s Inc.: A Student Handbook for Writing and Learning, or The Blue Book of Gramar and Punctuation, but any will do.) I borrowed the chart above from http://www.ramonausd.net. I like to print a copy of my work to make corrections on.

You’ll also want to familiarize yourself with your wordprocessor’s functions. You can read about them online and some places even offer classes to teach you more about them.

Sometimes I proofread as I go, checking for typos and errors, but more often I wait until I’ve completed the first draft. I check back through my outlines and chapter goals to insure I didn’t leave anything out. I search for strengths and weaknesses in my literary elements and structure (e. g. plot, conflict, theme, characters, setting, dialogue, POV, denoument)* If there is anything I’m unsure of, such as punctuation or gramar, I do a bit of research before continuing on. Be sure you have a good dictionary and thesaurus on hand.

Once my second draft is complete, my work goes to the first link in my chain of editors, my husband. He reads it over to check for mistakes and to make suggestions. That’s when I make my third draft. Then it continues on to my sister and then one of my best buds for the same process. After my fifth draft, I go over it one more time to tie up any loose ends. I actually go through this process with every chapter. I’m very lucky to have such amazing people that love me and put up with me. 🙂 I guess some people might think this a bit overkill, but I can’t imagine doing it any other way.

If you don’t have your own personal editors available or even if you do, it’s a good idea to join a writing group. The feedback you get from fellow authors is invaluable. You can check with your library or look online for groups in your area. If there aren’t any, why not start one?

There are also online communities such as Authonomy, Wattpad,  and Goodreads , where you can post your work and get reviews from other authors, as well as readers; an amazing opportunity. It’s priceless to be able to get perspectives from both sides. You’ll also make good friends you might not otherwise know. Who knows, you might even land a publishing contract.

As with almost everything, there’s more than one way to go about your proofreading routine. Find whatever process works for you and stick with it. You’ll want to have your book in it’s best form before you submit it to publishers and even more so if you decide to self publish.

*For more on story elements check out this site: absolutewrite.com

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Setting for The Magic Telescope

I love being in the country at night and looking up to see a black sky dotted with millions of twinkling stars. You realize how big space is and how small you are. That’s something you miss when you live near a city.  I love reading books about planets and constellations, too.  It’s fun to look for different stars and planets that I’ve read about with my little telescope.  It’s a hobby of mine. It’s also a hobby of my character Seth, in The Magic Telescope. I get a lot of inquiry as to which moon of Jupiter Seth travels to in the story.

The planet Jupiter has 63 known moons as of 2012 according to NASA. You can find out more about Jupiter’s moons on their website.   Wow, can you imagine looking up into the sky and seeing it covered in moons?

The four largest moons are called the Galilean satellites, after the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei who was credited with their discovery in 1610. These large moons are named Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto.  It is on Europa that Seth’s story takes place.  I didn’t add this information in the story because really, y’all, how many ten year old boys can tell you which moon of Jupiter they’re looking at through a telescope? Not many.

Europa’s surface is mostly water ice.  There is evidence to suggest that it may be covering an ocean of water or slushy ice beneath it.  Scientists believe that Europa may have twice the water Earth does. Astrobiologists are intrigued by this moon because of its potential for having a “habitable zone.” Life forms have been found thriving near extreme locations on Earth so it’s reasonable to think they may offer a glimpse into what exists on Europa. I actually didn’t know that the possibility of life on Europa was possible when I started my story, so I thought that was pretty awesome.

I came up with the idea for The Magic Telescope when I was writing a story for my Creative Writing class.  I was racking my brain for an idea and had just about given up when I opened my hall closet door and there sat my telescope.  From there it just kind of flowed.  I chose a moon of Jupiter as my setting because it’s my favorite planet (besides Earth).   I hope this post will help my readers understand and connect with my story a little better.

It’s important to me to put pieces of who you are into your work, and just as important for there to be some element of truth or reality in it.   If you haven’t already done so, you can get my book at smashwords to find out more about Seth and his journey.  Happy Reading!

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Freebies!

There’s this awesome site you should visit, Pocket Your Dollars.  You’ll find coupons, samples, freebies, and frugal living tips.  Today there was a link for a free e book, Crafting Novels and Short Stories: Everything You Need to Know to Write Great Fiction (I’m not sure when this expires) and a link to the Free Comic Book Day website.  Apparently, Saturday May 5, 2012 is free comic book day and stores around the country will be giving away free comics and they’ll have signings and guest appearances.  You can find a store near you on the site. Just look on the left hand side of the page and there’ll be a box for you to enter your zip-code. Check pocketyourdollars.com often for cool stuff! I check it once or twice a day. 

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Greatest Books for Children?

In the 2012 March issue of Scholastic Parent & Child magazine, there’s a list of the 100 greatest books for kids. Charlotte’s Web came in at number 1, Harry Potter at number 6, and Green Eggs and Ham, number 7. You can check the entire list out at the Scholastic website. There were books I’d never even heard of and some that I really don’t feel belonged.  I’m sure everyone has their opinion, and I definitely have mine. For the most part, I didn’t agree with the list at all. Many of the greatest books were on there, but not in the order I would’ve chosen.  The Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum, Dr. Seuss’s Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?, Sir Small and the Dragonfly, by Jane O’Connor, Hug a Bug, by Eileen Spinelli, and Lemony Snickett’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, were among the books that didn’t make the list.  Inconceivable! Maybe I’ll make my own list… I’ll get back to you with that.  Do you agree with Scholastic’s list?  What books would you have added or left out?

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