BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Some Writing Advice from author Sara Olds and A Giveaway

Today's guest is Sara Olds. Sara has been telling stories for as long as she can remember. A busy mom with kids, and full time teaching Jr. High, she presently lives in Utah. She's published several historical novels - for adults and children, short stories, written, produced and directed plays all for children, and written science fiction -- both short story and novel length. It was her life long love affair with music that opened the path for her research project on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Playing the violin since the 4th grade and with her 130 year old violin in hand, she knew the banks of Missouri called to hear those songs of old once more. (No she didn't actually take that violin on the river, because she knew that Sacagawea wouldn't be there to rescue it if the canoe flipped.)  

Find Sara Online:


Disclosure: I am employed by Astraea Press. I am not being compensated for putting up this post. 

My book, "My Life as a Lumberjack or How I Fell for the Wrong Guy(s)" became a book because of my journalism class which I taught.  I told them these funny stories that happened to me when I was 17 and worked for the Forest Service.  And after awhile, they ordered me to put them all in a book. At first, I told them I couldn't do it. They were funny because of the way I told them. But they wouldn't let it go.  I'll admit to a little fear and trepidation. Could I be funny on the page?

At last I took a deep breath and launched out.  I picked the best ones, created the characters to fill in around them and I took off.

It was tons of fun to write because every day, they would practically wait at the school doors to get the next pages. Talk about pressure! And I was writing every spare second. I wrote it in less than four months! 

Well—as students find out that I’m an author, they often come to me and say something like: “I have book I’m writing…well…I haven’t finished it yet…but…” Or, “I’ve always dreamed of being a writer.”

And then they ask if I want to read their book.

I’m faced with an immediate dilemma. Do I want to be honest or kind? 

Most young teens who are “writing” a book need a couple of pieces of advice. So…here you go:

1.       Finish the book! So many times people (including me) start books and never finish them. It’s important to be able to take an idea and follow it all the way through from beginning to end. Just starting and starting, while it’s awfully fun is not going to help you reach your goals as a writer.
2.       Put it onto a computer. Before asking someone to read your writing—unless your handwriting is beautiful—put it onto a screen and/or then print it out so they can make comments.
3.       Use good grammar and formatting—this means you need to look at books and found out how things are set up. And bad grammar makes your writing look weak. Also, paragraphs are very important (yes, I know, shocking isn’t it?)
4.       Ask the person who has agreed to read it to look for specific things. Like: are your characters believable or even likeable? Does the plot work? Is there enough conflict? Or, to look for grammatical things. Just to say—what’d you think is really tough on a reader.
5.       Decide if you want truth or to be loved. If you want to be loved, have your mother or best friend read it. If you want truth, know that you may not like what people tell you.
6.       Understand it’s NOT personal. If someone takes the time to read your project and give suggestions, that means they’ve given you a gift…their time. And if they care that much about you, they’re not out to get you—they’re trying to help.
7.       You don’t have to change the project because someone else tells you. If you want your hero to be a gum-chewing, eleven-toed, acid-tongued creep, who is knock-down, drag-out gorgeous, and nobody that reads it seems to like it, consider their reasons and then do what you want! (But know that it’s possible you won’t find an audience.)
8.       Know that just publishing a book doesn’t mean you’re going to be famous. (Ask my checking account about that….) It’s almost more about marketing than writing these days. And know that just because you've finished it, doesn't mean it's going to be published.
9.       Read, read, read. The more you read, the more vocabulary you’ll learn and the more you’ll learn to understand conflict, character, and plot.
10.   Write, write, write. The more you write, the better you’ll be. And most importantly, you’ll love watching your characters develop which is the most fun part about writing.


Me, Mercedes Bennion? Working for the US Forest Service? I’ve never thought of myself as the outdoorsy, hard-working type. But one quick glance at those mouth-watering forest rangers and oh, baby, sign this seventeen-year-old up for a whole summer of fresh air, mountains and starry, starry nights!

I love the colors in this cover, so eye-catching and cheery!

Publisher: Astraea Press
Format: ebook, print
Genre: YA, romance
Release Date: May 30, 2013
Buying Links: Amazon* | Barnes & Noble | OmniLit*
* affiliate links; clicking & purchasing results in a small commission for the blog. 



Sara has generously offered two digital copies of her book, "My Life as a Lumberjack or How I Fell for the Wrong Guy(s)", one per winner. Enter using the rafflecopter. Please read my Giveaway Policy.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I tried to sit near him in class, just so he would have to pass by me on the way out of the room.

  2. I have left a dance before because I was really bored, gone out the door, saw him come in, and turned back around. I also a long, long time ago sat next to a guy I liked in church every Sunday, but then wouldn't talk to him. I was really young and obviously clueless. The poor guy got teased constantly for it, but was still nice to me even though he had no interest in me. I hope he's happy and has a terrific wife and family now. ;)

  3. Lied to my mom that I'm going to school but in truth I ditched school to go out on a date with a guy. I felt guilty for the first couple of hours but it was worth it! :)


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